Monday, August 26, 2013

How Would You Label? By Linda S. Glaz

I’m rather curious how you might label each of these opening paragraphs. What genre would you fit them into and why?

The Wooden Swing
A soft breeze rustled, causing our wooden swing to sway in an unforgettable rhythm. Back and forth, hypnotizing me toward action.
I grew up in Samsaddie, North Carolina, twenty-one years ago. A beautiful small town on a river, almost Mayberry-like with all the folks waving and laughing with one another as they sat on their front porches with ice-cold lemonade. A safe town, a town where you could raise children and feel safe. As kids we played hide and go seek until dark every night in the summer. Mosquitoes buzzed over our bare feet leaving welts the size of silver dollars. Still, we played.
Moms and Dads rang a bell or shouted when it was time to come in, and it didn’t matter whose parents called first, all us kids ran for home or faced the switch if it took us longer than five minutes.
I loved my parents and chose not to worry them needlessly; I ran home at the first gong.
My kid sister, Ellie, ran, too, but stopped along the way to smell each and every wild rose. Oftentimes she’d arrive home crying with rose chafers sticking to her clothes, but Mom would hug her and all would be right in her three-year-old world.

The Wooden Swing
Chapter One
One minute, I sat mesmerized while my three-year-old sister, Ellie, kicked her feet, sending the wooden swing high into the air. The next, I was screaming Ellie’s name. A man muffled her mouth and forced her far from the protection of our backyard.
Dogs barked as he must have raced through the neighbors’ yards. But no one saw him…or Ellie. Ever again.
Thirteen years ago, that idyllic Mayberry-style life in Samsaddie, North Carolina ended. No more hide and seek until dark, no more cheerful hugs from Mom and Dad. Nowadays, acquaintances stared at the ground whenever Ellie was mentioned, afraid if they acknowledged it could happen here, their own children would be in danger.
 Now, at nineteen, I was old enough to disregard my parents’ wishes and apply for my PI’s license. I would leave behind my once happy family, the town that had meant safety for so many of us kids, and start the hunt in earnest.
Somewhere out there, my kid sister still waited for me, Jessie Blanchett, to find her and bring her home. Safely.


Iola Goulton said...

The prologue sounds like women's fiction, as though it's going to be mostly about relationships and personal growth. Why? Because of the first person POV and the use of language (welts the size of silver dollars).

Nothing wrong with it, but it doesn't grab me as a reader.

Chapter one sounds like YA suspense, possibly romantic suspense. YA because the narrator clearly identifies that she's nineteen. Suspense because she's a PI looking for her lost sister. Possibly romantic suspense because that seems to be more popular than straight suspense.

This sounds more interesting. You can tell something is going to happen.

Linda Glaz said...

Nicely said, Iola. And nice evaluation.

Tom Threadgill said...

Interesting question. I wouldn't label the prologue as anything. It hits me as a bit of an unneeded information dump. The action doesn't start until Chapter One, so I'd consider cutting the whole prologue and weaving it into the story.

For Chapter One, I'll agree with Iola on the suspense part, but I'm not sold that it's YA. The writing does seem to lean that way, but with just a little "toughening" could easily appeal to older audiences as well.

Just my $.02.

Now on to prove to you that I'm not a robot.