Writer in Motion – Week Four

The week in which I post the version after receiving helpful critiques from an editor. Big thanks to Justine Manzano for her helpful thoughts on my work! I especially appreciate what she did, as most of the people in the group wrote short stories. I, on the the hand, decided to imagine the start of a novel. That’s something altogether different.

And before I continue, another big thanks for the RewriteIt Club for posting an interview with me this week! Not scary at all, er, was it!?

Anywho… Justine made some helpful suggestions.

  1. Some extraneous info in the second para;
  2. A grammatical oops in the third para; and, most importantly
  3. We have character growth, but we don’t see any motivation. So we know that Cami has been into Ben, and that she has been going through this ritual of watching him while she’s there, and aside from watching a couple make out, we really don’t get any sense of what has shifted that makes her decide that she’ll speak to him.

Yeah, that number 3 comment made me think a bit.  So I ended up with this. Here’s hoping it works.

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Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)

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 lavender 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. Three shirtless guys with slicked-back hair 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 beneath their movements, but the duo remained unaware, lost in their wrestling. Her 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. Nearby, a booth blasted My Sharona by the Knack. A shiver raced down the back of her neck, her arms, everywhere. But Ben, who had just graduated high school with her brother Tim, never spoke to her.  As Tim drove her to Seaside, he told her that Ben’s heart had broken. 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. “One day, I’ll find someone honest. But right now, that’s not happening,” Tim said, recounting Ben’s words.

Sighing, she sat up. Maybe she didn’t have a lot of experience in the dating department, but Cami knew one thing: she was no liar. Sure, that burned her on a number of occasions, but she was never one to tell tales. But how would Ben know that? They’d hardly said more beyond hello. Her hands shook, and those little tremors began working their way up her arms. She had to let him know. But how?

Soon, midnight blue would reign supreme, and only stars, street lamps, and glowing cigarette ends attached to Brooklyn’s finest tourists would light her way. That, and the screamingly bright signs by the games area where Ben worked…where she was drawn next, a moth to the neon. 

Well, can’t run home now, even if I wanted to. 

Cami stood up and brushed the splinters off her shorts. She began the first of her seemingly 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.

She sneaked into Dickey’s Arcade, where Ben worked nights, and sidled up beside her favorite hiding spot, a seldom-used pinball machine. There, she’d blend in amidst the cacophony and characters.  She was safely hidden unless it was a night when Tim’s shift was also there. But tonight, Tim was in another building. And tonight, she would not be invisible. 

She would speak to Ben.


I had so much fun participating in Writer in Motion. Now, to figure out what Cami is going to do next…

3 thoughts on “Writer in Motion – Week Four

  1. Your additions brought Cami’s crush to life! I had thought it was just another aspect that made her feel invisible to the world, but this new twist gave her agency! Nicely done!

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