#SonofaPitch Entry 7: Flying Close to the Ground #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Flying Close to the Ground

Category or Genre: Young Adult – Coming of Age
Word Count: 62,00
 
Query:

For 17 year-old Jessie Reilly, life moves very fast – in perfect ovals. She’s an apprentice jockey at the local racetrack. To Jessie, nothing beats the feeling of tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”. 

But, as any pilot will tell you, flying close to the ground is a dangerous business. You have no margin for error and little chance of recovering if you make a mistake. And Jessie’s certainly under a lot of pressure. Her rivalry with an aggressive fellow apprentice, her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements, and the dangerous nature of horse racing challenge her at the track. Away from the track, Jessie dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father, and struggles to balance school and racing.

Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control?

 
First 250 Words:
What’s the secret to being a good jockey? It’s control – both of the horse and of yourself. Even though you’re racing around at 40 miles an hour, you want your body to be the picture of serenity. You want to be completely still, back flat and steady enough to carry a wine glass. You want a good rhythm, your hands moving with the motion of the horse’s head. Most of all, you want perfect balance, your center of gravity holding you in place as you fly around the track. 
We get through a mile of cantering and then I goad Miz into a gallop. She doesn’t need a lot of urging. I feel her gait change from a 3-beat to a 4-beat. I saw a photograph once that showed a racing horse at that split-second when all four of its feet are off the ground. It confirmed my belief that what we do is flying, just very close to the ground.
The galloping goes by quickly and then I pull out the crop and ask her for all she’s got for the last stretch. It doesn’t feel appreciably different to me. When we finish, I pull her back to a trot and we have a cool-down lap. Patch didn’t ask for this, but I’ve been working with him long enough to know that he always wants one cool-down and that he might want another. When I’ve completed one, I look at him and when he doesn’t nod, I bring 

9 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch Entry 7: Flying Close to the Ground #TeamDroids

  1. Pingback: #SonofaPitch Round 2 The Golden Rule and the entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. Query: Jessie’s struggle seems so relatable!! Trying to keep everything in balance – the pressure of being a teen and having other responsibilities, especially outside school. Love it. The query has some great phrasings and covers the bases. I snipped a few words and added a few thoughts.

    As an apprentice jockey at the local racetrack, 17 year-old Jessie Reilly’s life moves fast –and always in perfect ovals. To Jessie, nothing beats tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”.

    Any pilot will tell you that flying close to the ground leaves no margin for error and little chance of recovering from a mistake. And Jessie’s certainly under a lot of pressure. Her rivalry with an aggressive fellow apprentice, her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements, and the dangerous nature of horse racing (challenge her at the track – amp this up?). Away from the track life’s no easier? pressure is just as intense? , Jessie dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father, and struggles to balance school and racing.

    Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control? Is there a situation or circumstance that triggers her to fight for balance or threatens her to lose it?

    You’re off to a great start and have all the parts. Tinker with the details/tension just a bit to amp up the end. Great stuff.

    First 250 Words:
    What’s the secret to being a good jockey? Control – both of the horse and of yourself. Even though you’re racing around at 40 miles an hour, you want your body to be the picture of serenity. You want to be completely still, back flat and steady enough to carry a wine glass. (is this a teenager thought? A wine glass?) You want a good rhythm, your hands moving with the motion of the horse’s head. Most of all, you want perfect balance, your center of gravity holding you in place as you fly around the track. (The intro here reveals a strong understanding of the art of being a good jockey. And I’m digging the imagery . Is the jockey talking to herself as she rounds a turn?)
    We get through a mile of cantering and then I goad Miz into a gallop. She doesn’t need a lot of urging. (why not? Does Mix prefer a gallop over a canter?) Her gait changes from a 3-beat to a 4-beat. Once I saw a photograph showing a racing horse at the split-second when all four of its feet are off the ground. It confirmed my belief that (what we do – riding, jockeying?) is flying, just very close to the ground. (is the photograph of a canter or a gallop? Might throw that in – Love the description of the beat – helps define the gaits for readers.)
    The galloping goes by quickly (why?) and then I pull out the crop and ask her for all she’s got for the last stretch. It doesn’t feel appreciably different to me. Do the horses muscle flex differently when she goes all out? Does the rider have to tighten her grip? I’d slow down here and since the riding is such a thrill for the jockey- add a detail or two about the exhilaration?) – does dust fly up?) When we finish, I pull her back to a trot and we have a cool-down lap. Patch (who is Patch? I thought the horse was Miz. …? Is Patch the stable owner/manager? Need to identify )didn’t ask for this, but I’ve been working with him long enough to know that he always wants one cool-down and that he might want another. When I’ve completed one, I look at him and when he doesn’t nod, I bring

    I made a few notes and added a few questions in the intro. The first paragraph is rich in details from the jockeys’ vantage and I think more of the rush would be good a bit later as well. Slowing down could give a better feel of what the jockey experiences that makes this so awesome. Strong start – thanks for sharing your words!!

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    • Kudos for entering SOAP. If you have any questions/concerns or want another look at changes/tinkerings/updates or need anything else, just give me a yell. All suggestions and opinions are humbly offered and I thank you for sharing your work!

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  3. My opinions are jut that…opinions. Please take what works and forget the rest.

    Query:
    For 17 year-old Jessie Reilly, life moves very fast – in perfect ovals. She’s an apprentice jockey at the local racetrack. To Jessie, nothing beats the feeling of tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”. (the second sentence feels out of beat…out of step? Maybe adding that thought to the next sentence? To Jessie, as an apprentice jockey at the local racetrack, nothing beats the feeling… Great set up. I love the relation of riding to flying.)

    But, as any pilot will tell you, flying close to the ground is a dangerous business. You have no margin for error and little chance of recovering if you make a mistake. And Jessie’s certainly under a lot of pressure. Her rivalry with an aggressive fellow apprentice, her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements, and the dangerous nature of horse racing challenge her at the track. (A bit of detail can help this stand out. I hint at what the rivalry means or is doing to her…what stresses does maintaining her weight cause, have there been any near fatal mistakes that make her worry?) Away from the track, Jessie dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father, and struggles to balance school and racing. (Geez, this poor girl.)

    Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control? (Is there a moment where she begins to question her ability to do it all? What is at stake if she can’t? Sounds like a emotional ms! I think I’d put it under the Contemporary genre.)

    First 250 Words:
    What’s the secret to being a good jockey? It’s control – both of the horse and of yourself. Even though you’re racing around at 40 miles an hour, you want your body to be the picture of serenity. You want to be completely still, back flat and steady enough to carry a wine glass. You want a good rhythm, your hands moving with the motion of the horse’s head. Most of all, you want perfect balance, your center of gravity holding you in place as you fly around the track. (I don’t ride, so this is really interesting!)
    We get through a mile of cantering and then I goad Miz into a gallop. (Any sights, sounds, smells? Set us in the scene. How’s her breathing, her heart beat? What does it feel like to be up there?) She doesn’t need a lot of urging. I feel her gait change from a 3-beat to a 4-beat. (How does she feel that? Show me. Feel with her legs? The motion of her hands?) I saw a photograph once that showed a racing horse at that split-second when all four of its feet are off the ground. It confirmed my belief that what we do is flying, just very close to the ground. (Nice!)
    The galloping goes by quickly (What does that mean?) and then I pull out the crop and ask her for all she’s got for the last stretch. It doesn’t feel appreciably different to me. (How? What is happening to her body? What does she see?) When we finish, I pull her back to a trot and we have a cool-down lap. (Sounds of the horses hooves? Sounds of the horse breathing? Snorting? Is the mane tied up in braids or free and flowing over her hands?) Patch (who’s Patch? Can she see him?) didn’t ask for this, but I’ve been working with him long enough to know that he always wants one cool-down and that he might want another. When I’ve completed one, I look at him and when he doesn’t nod, I bring
    (A good look into her world. But I would like a bit more detail to make it come to life. In her mind…is she thinking that she wants to do this forever? Is she thinking she could live on the racetrack that it helps her forget any problems?)

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    • Thank you so much – I really appreciate the feedback, esp regarding genre. I struggled with genre a lot and I thought contemporary was more like for literary-ish stuff. Thanks also for pointing out where more details are needed.
      I appreciate the help!

      Like

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