Writer in Motion – Week Two

So this is the week where we take last week’s word vomit rough draft and do an edit. I do a lot of editing in my head, but I am trying to break down the process a little, as the whole point of this exercise is to see how people do it.

First, I will probably break this down into more bite-size pieces — both paras and sentences.

Then, I’ll look in places to see repetitive things. For example, “brayed noisily”–is there really any other kind of braying? Not in my world. I’m keeping zeppoles, even though it is something people probably will have to look up. Zeppoles are a fixture on the Jersey Shore, where the story is taking place. (Zeppoles? Fried dough with powdered sugar on them. When made well, they are simply heavenly.)

I felt like pushing the date back of the time period a little, so I changed the song blasting on the Boardwalk. (So sue me.) We’re now in 1979, for those keeping score. It just felt better to me. The edge of a decade. The edge of…something happening.

So this is what happened.

Cami laid flat on the splintery park bench, her high, brown ponytail draped over the seat’s end. She inhaled the boardwalk perfume of tar, oily sausage, and fried zeppoles while staring at the sky.  pPinpricks of white bursting through the midnight blue–which pushed the indigo, which in turn squashed a tiny sliver of gentian down below the horizon line, drowning it in the black of the ocean. “Just like the New York tourists,” she thought. “Everyone’s gotta be on top, first in line, best seat on the ride.”

She gingerly turned herself sideways, her stomach pressed against the seat back, and peered over the side of the seatback through the space between the slats. Three shirtless boys with slicked-back hair–they could be her classmates at High School North if they’d been townies–brayed noisily at some unknown hilarity.  Meanwhile, a man with an ample belly shouted at his little girl, swatting her on the ass while another small boy–her brother perhaps?–wailed, pointing at a cone on the ground. A glance tTo their right, revealed an unnatural blonde stuffed in clingy black shorts and a magenta hot pink bikini top, stormeding in the direction of the custard stand.

Cami turned and gazed the oppositether way toward the beach. Through the metal bar fence, her eyes caught  at the beach. A a couple rollinged in the sand, smothering each other with kisses– first she on top, then he. Edges of beach blanket folded up from the rolling, but the duo remained unaware, lost in their wrestling. Cami’s eyes focusedixed on them, her breath trapped inside her until she remembered to exhale.

Ben would be working tonight at the arcade near Casino Pier. Her heart rose into her throat every time she thought about him, his strong, tan arms contrasting with soft eyelashes framing warm chocolate eyes, contrasting with chiseled, angular face. A nearby booth blasted “My Sharona” by the KnackDon’t You Want Me” by the Human League, and she felt the answer a shivering  raced down the back of her neck, her arms, everywhere. But Ben, who’d just graduated with her brother (and best friend) Tim, thought of her as the dreaded little sister. Cami had turned 16 a few weeks ago in late May, but that didn’t matter. As he Tim drove her to Seaside–him for work, her for a prowl since their parents would not let her work on the boardwalk–Tim he told her that Ben’s heart had broken when his girlfriend since freshman year dumped him at the prom.  Soon, he’d be off to college, but until then? Ben wanted nothing to do with high school girls.

Sighing, she sat up. Soon, midnight blue would reign supreme, and only stars, street lamps, and glowing cigarette ends attached to Brooklyn’s finest on holiday would light her way. “Well, there’s nothing else to do at home,” she thought. Cami stood up and brushed the splinters off her shorts. She began to the first of endless solo laps up and down the boards until Tim finished at midnight. Thousands of people, their lives in progress, would surround her as she walked. But no one would see her.

Cami remained invisible.


And now, if you prefer the cleaned-up version…


Cami laid flat on the splintery park bench, her high, brown ponytail draped over the seat’s end. She inhaled the boardwalk perfume of tar, oily sausage, and fried zeppoles while staring at the sky.  Pinpricks of white burst through the midnight blue–which pushed the indigo, which in turn squashed a tiny sliver of gentian down below the horizon line, drowning it in the black of the ocean. “Just like the New York tourists,” she thought. “Everyone’s gotta be on top, first in line, best seat on the ride.”

She gingerly turned herself sideways, her stomach pressed against the seat back, and peered over the side of the seat back. Three shirtless boys with slicked-back hair–they could be her classmates at High School North if they’d been townies–brayed at some unknown hilarity.  Meanwhile, a man with an ample belly shouted at his little girl, swatting her on the ass while another small boy–her brother perhaps?–wailed, pointing at a cone on the ground. To their right, an unnatural blonde stuffed in clingy black shorts and a hot pink bikini top stormed in the direction of the custard stand.

Cami turned and gazed the opposite way. Through the metal bar fence, her eyes caught  a couple rolling in the sand, smothering each other with kisses– first she on top, then he. Edges of beach blanket folded up from the rolling, but the duo remained unaware, lost in their wrestling. Cami’s eyes focused on them, her breath trapped inside her until she remembered to exhale.

Ben would be working tonight at the arcade near Casino Pier. Her heart rose into her throat every time she thought about him, his soft eyelashes framing warm chocolate eyes, contrasting with his chiseled, angular face. A nearby booth blasted “My Sharona” by the Knack, and a shiver  raced down the back of her neck, her arms, everywhere. But Ben, who had just graduated with her brother Tim, thought of her as the dreaded little sister. Cami had turned 16 a few weeks ago in late May, but that didn’t matter. As Tim drove her to Seaside–him for work, her for a prowl since their parents would not let her work on the boardwalk–he told her that Ben’s heart had broken when his girlfriend since freshman year dumped him at the prom.  Soon, he’d be off to college, but until then? Ben wanted nothing to do with high school girls.

Sighing, she sat up. Soon, midnight blue would reign supreme, and only stars, street lamps, and glowing cigarette ends attached to Brooklyn’s finest on holiday would light her way. “Well, there’s nothing else to do at home,” she thought. Cami stood up and brushed the splinters off her shorts. She began the first of endless solo laps up and down the boards until Tim finished at midnight. Thousands of people, their lives in progress, would surround her as she walked. But no one would see her.

Cami remained invisible.


A big thanks to everyone who has given feedback thus far, both people I know and even new friend on the internet also gave me some helpful feedback, so a big thanks to M Dooley, wherever he may be.

Now, to send this to my new Critique Partners for this endeavor and see what hilarity ensues. Stay tuned…

3 thoughts on “Writer in Motion – Week Two

  1. This is so good! Your edits were bang on and improved the flow of things. It makes me feel very nostalgic. Love your descriptions of the night sky. Happy sigh. 🙂 Excited to see what happens after your CP feedback.

  2. Such a lovely story that evokes much feeling – the melancholy of teenaged longing, the unrequited love, the nostalgic setting. Beautifully done!

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