Son of a Pitch Entry #8 – The Water Child

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Title: The Water Child
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary 
Word Count: 60,000

Query: 

Most kindergarten promises don’t last, but for fifteen-year-olds Tora Hayashi and Sakura Suzuki, best friend vows mean forever. That is, until the girls move to Tokyo and Tora is forced to realize that their friendship is on the verge of changing, even dissolving. To make matters worse, Tora is abandoned by the one person who promised never to leave her, Okaasan, her own mother.

Desperate to change her life trajectory, Tora invites Sakura on a cross-country journey to her hometown, where her family keeps an ancestral shrine. There, Tora is sure she’ll discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance. But the fantasy vacation soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city.

Every new friendship gained along their trip is broken as the tsunami sucks the city dry and throws impossible obstacles in their way. In a desolate landscape, void of friends and family, Tora must fight to find and save the lost. But as she quickly learns, there is more than one wave in a tsunami, and more than one way to save a life.


First 250 Words:

Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.

“We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.

Electronic doors slide open, releasing the inconvenienced passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.

“Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.

I startle, recalled to our present journey, a last attempt to study before the high school entrance exam. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The evening breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.

Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat wafts to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.

3 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Entry #8 – The Water Child

  1. First, my disclaimer: All suggestions are IMHO and are meant to be thought provoking. Take ‘em, leave ‘em. This is your rodeo, so it’s up to you.

    Query:
    Most kindergarten promises don’t last, but for fifteen-year-olds Tora Hayashi and Sakura Suzuki (their best friend vow means forever). That is, until the girls move to Tokyo. Tora realizes that their friendship is not just changing, but dissolving. As Tora deals with the crumbling friendship?, she is abandoned by the one person who promised never to leave her, Okaasan, her own mother.

    Desperate to change her life trajectory (and hold on to what’s/who’s dear to her?), Tora invites Sakura on a cross-country journey to her hometown, where her family keeps an ancestral shrine. There, Tora is sure she’ll discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance (and hopefully heal the ailing friendship along the way? Is that why she invited her?). But the fantasy vacation soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city. (Love this imagery!)

    As the tsunami sucks the city dry and throws impossible obstacles in their way,(you mention their way – Tora and Sakura? – so what happens to them?.(Every new friendship gained along their trip is broken – this feels too light as a clause for that sentence.) In the desolate landscape void of friends and family, Tora fights fight to recover and rescue the lost. But she quickly learns there is more than one wave in a tsunami, and more than one way to save a life. (suggest recover and rescue to avoid echo of the word save in the last sentence. repeat dulls impact.)
    Your plot hits on so many levels. I love the variety of conflict woven into your storyline. I made a few comments. Especially take a look at the last paragraph to ensure you are delivering the stakes with enough oompah.

    First 250 Words:
    Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.
    “We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.
    Electronic doors slide open, releasing the **inconvenienced** (echo, new word?) passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.
    “Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.
    I startle, recalled to our present journey, a last attempt to study before the high school entrance exam. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The evening breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.
    Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat wafts to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.

    I am so digging your intriguing beginning – you captured the reaction and description of/to the event with great realism. Curiosity raised about Tora and Sakura. Great job! Best of luck!!

    Like

  2. Query:
    Most kindergarten promises don’t last, but for fifteen-year-olds Tora Hayashi and Sakura Suzuki, best friend vows mean forever. That is, until the girls move to Tokyo (Like both their families move to the same place?) and Tora is forced to realize that their friendship is on the verge of changing, even dissolving (why? what happened?). To make matters worse, Tora is abandoned by the one person who promised never to leave her, Okaasan, her own mother. (Abandoned? As in she left…or died? Sadness.)

    Desperate to change her life trajectory (to what? What does she want for herself?), Tora invites Sakura on a cross-country journey to her hometown (She wants to reconnect, regain the treasured friendship, save it? And didn’t they move from the same town…isn’t it their hometown?), where her family keeps an ancestral shrine. There, Tora is sure she’ll discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance (Why does she think the answers are there?). But the fantasy vacation soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city. (HOLY MOLY!)

    Every new friendship (What new friendships? How are they gaining these friends?)gained along their trip is broken as the tsunami sucks the city dry and throws impossible obstacles in their way. (Scary!) In a desolate landscape, void of friends and family, Tora must fight to find and save the lost. (Nice, considering she is one of the “lost”) But as she quickly learns, there is more than one wave in a tsunami, and more than one way to save a life. (And what happens to her if she fails at what she’s trying to do? Why is she fighting so hard?)

    First 250 Words:
    Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. (Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.- Move this sentence to after the conductor speaks? As the reason for the delay is left in the moment of silence until the speaker cuts off…?)

    “We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.

    Electronic doors slide open, releasing the inconvenienced passengers. (Inside the car…Sounds? Smells? Who else is there?) I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.

    “Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone. (Nice description! I feel like I know her.)

    I startle, recalled to our present journey, a last attempt to study before the high school entrance exam. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The evening breeze also falls, cut short (by the closing doors- needed?), and dissipates like a recoiling fog. (nice!)

    Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat wafts to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this. (What about home? How is it different?)

    ~The query has me intrigued about how a 15yo girl will handle being caught in a disaster. And add the layers of her really searching for her own path, her own self…that makes it even better. I’m not one to read contemporary, but this one interests me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for participating in SOAP this week and sharing your work. I hope the feedback you received helps, if only by spurring more creativity. I wish you all the best with Tora’s story. It’s a good one. 🙂

    Like

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