Show Me the Voice Contest!

Brenda over at Brenda Drake Writes…under the influence of coffee is hosting a really fun contest that I’m participating in. And I need your help! Here I’ve posted the first 250ish words of my manuscript, MELISMA. I need critiques, so here it is for critique! I’m trying to make it the best I can so I have a shot at winning a critique from agent Natalie Fischer. 🙂

PS. If I get some good critiques today, I’ll edit this and post the rewrite tomorrow.


Name: Karen Krueger

Title: Melisma

Genre: YA urban fantasy

The very first time I remember my mom telling me her secret about music and magic, the only light came from the moon and the lightning bugs in our backyard. I was snuggled up to her, listening to her hum a song that seemed to harmonize with the cicadas, as she kept the beat with the creaking of the porch swing, pushing it back and forth with one foot. My twin brother Isaac sat on her other side, playing with the seam on her jeans.

She stopped humming for a moment, and whispered, “Tessa, I want to tell you a secret. . . . Music is magic.” She looked down at me, into my eyes when she said that. “The magic gathers up inside of you and if you do it just right, you can change the world with a song.”

I felt a sense of wonder then. A tingling in my chest. And I knew that I wanted to be a singer. It was probably in the silly, little kid kind of way: “I want to be a singer when I grow up!” But I didn’t quite grow out of it. I mean, now I don’t literally believe music is magic—which I, eh hem, thought until I was eight. But even now at seventeen, when I sing I want it to feel like magic.

Standing in the stage wings of the Rialto theatre, the only light comes from the house lights seeping around the edges of the curtains, reminding me of that night when I was six.



About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
This entry was posted in Contests, Personal, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Show Me the Voice Contest!

  1. Liked the story and the premise. Especially how music is magic. Good luck with contest. Keep up the good writing. 🙂 Reggie

  2. rbs says:

    This thought comes from me – an avid reader but mediocre writer – and so I am not sure how helpful it will be.

    I think voice can be improved through tighter writing: weighing each word to decide if it really pushes plot forward and/or strengthens characters.

    With that said, I might eliminate some of those 250ish words in this scene from MELISMA – which I really like because of the circular way the back story is wrapped into the present scene!

    I hope you don’t mind, but I have taken the liberty of omitting and changing a few words from your first line in an attempt to “tighten the writing.” You can be the only judge about whether or not it heightens the voice in these scene.

    “The first time Mom shared her secret about music and magic, only the the moon and the lightning bugs brightened our backyard.”

  3. rbs says:

    Note to self: PROOF-READ before posting comments!

    Please eliminate one of the “thes” in my example of omitting unnecessary words. How ironic!

    Oh, and you can change “these scene” to “THIS scene.” Duh!


  4. Elaine says:

    Highlighted by yellow moonlight and the lightning bugs in our backyard, my mom told me the secrets of music and magic.

  5. Shelley says:

    Nice, Karen!

    You weave a sweet scene here.

    I especially liked the jean seam.

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