Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Perfect 9.5 - Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 32




Welcome to the Romantic Friday Writers' fortnightly writing challenge, started and hosted by , where participants share their own 300-400-word text - story or poem - on a given theme. This week's theme for Friday 24th February, Challenge No. 32, is 'The Perfect 9.5'. My text is written directly for this REW-challenge.




Here is my text :
(Scroll down past the 'Romantic Friday Writers' Badge to read a new version of this story applying advice from RFW-member Linda Katmarian.)
-------

Ginny and Tommy were good at this. Although not identical twins, only brother and sister born at the same time, they shared thoughts and could anticipate each other's movements. They had practiced for weeks. Now was the time to dance before the judges. For Ginny and Tommy, dancing was not romantic; it was a sporting event to music. You feel the music and know your moves. Being twins made it easier.

They sat with their mother and the rest of the contestants waiting for their turn. Mrs Jones, a tall woman wearing a long Cerulean blue frock, signaled to the next pair to dance. She then approached the microphone and spoke:

'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wolverhampton's annual ballroom-dancing competition for ten-year-olds. Let's give each of the competing couples a round of applause as they walk out on the floor.'

The first couple got a lot of sevens and eights. Good, thought, Ginny, There's still hope for us. Several more pairs of children danced and were judged. For one dancing-couple the judges held up cards with several eights and one nine. 'Oh no', whispered Tommy, 'They're getting better'.

Then Mrs Jones signaled to Tommy and Ginny to go. They walked out to the middle of the floor, took their starting position and waited. The music began to play and they were off. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, they counted in their heads. Ginny smiled at the judges when they twirled closer to them. Tommy smiled the whole time at her.

Ginny wondered how it will be when it is 'for real', if
they would each dance with someone who wasn't their twin? She loved Tommy and wondered if she could ever love anyone more than him.

One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. It was going alright. Tommy had not stepped on her toes, nor did she step on his. Their music was coming to a close and they synchronised their last movements perfectly with the moment the music stopped. They returned to their seats and waited for the judges.
They were not the last couple, but this score was decisive. Finally the judges held up their score cards: One with eight, and six with 9.5!

'Does this mean that we win?' whispered Ginny to her mother.
'I don't know. But to me, you're both perfect.' She gave Ginny and Tommy each a hug.
'A perfect 9.5!' laughed Tommy.


[Text copyright 2012 Christina Wigren]



Word count according to WordCalc: 399; NCCO; No Critique, Comments Only.




------
Best wishes,
Anna



P.S.
This is a piece of fiction.


P.P.S. in reponse to Linda Katmarian's suggestions:

The first version of this story was from the point of view of the frustrated but proud mother of these twin dancers. But I was so bored with writing stories about unhappy divorcées that I decided to put the focus on these two children, who can work so well together.

Some years ago, I was aquainted with a family that had a pair of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, who were so different from my own son and daughter. These children never fought and teased each other the way mine did and still do. My son is two and a half years older than my daughter and their age difference is a source of constant conflicts. These twins were always nice to each other because they were the same age and understood each other. They had learned early to be considerate.

The choice of twins for my main characters, is important to the plot because these dancing children have to know each other well in order to dance well. It is not important that they win the dance contest. They do very well and get high scores compared to the other couples, but the main point is that they can work well together; and this is partly because they are twins and so close to each other.

I think that good marriages work in a similar way; it's just that married couples need to take more time, patience and effort to get to know each other.

One might speculate that perhaps this couple of siblings, who really like and care about each other, will be disappointed in the people they meet later in life, because no one will ever understand them better than their twin.

These were some of my thoughts when I wrote this story.

Best wishes,
Anna




First Commenter:

Weissdorn
of
Tales from the Rhön




To read other texts for Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No.32, with the theme 'The Perfect 9.5', please visit this site or click on the image below:



One of the purposes of RFW's fortnightly writing challenges, is to help each other in the writing process. Linda Katmarian has left some suggestions in a comment that I am going to use in my text to see if these changes are an improvement. Read Linda's critique in the comment box.

Ginny and Tommy were good at dancing. Although fraternal, and not identical twins, they shared thoughts and could anticipate each other's movements. They had practiced for weeks. Now was the time to dance before the judges. For Ginny and Tommy, ballroom dancing was not romantic; it was a sporting event to music. You feel the music and know your moves. Being twins made it easier.

They sat with their mother and the rest of the contestants waiting for their turn. Mrs Jones, a tall woman wearing a long Cerulean blue frock, signaled to the next pair to dance. She then approached the microphone and spoke:

'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wolverhampton's annual ballroom-dancing competition for ten-year-olds. Let's give each of the competing couples a round of applause as they walk out on the floor.'

The first couple got a lot of sevens and eights. Good, thought, Ginny, There's still hope for us. Several more pairs of children danced and were judged. For one dancing-couple the judges held up cards with several eights and one nine. 'Oh no', whispered Tommy, 'They're getting better'.

Then Mrs Jones signaled to Tommy and Ginny to go. They walked out to the middle of the floor, took their starting position and waited. The music began to play and they were off. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, they counted in their heads. Ginny smiled at the judges when they twirled closer to them. Tommy smiled the whole time at her.

Ginny wondered how it will be when it is 'for real', if
they would each dance with someone who wasn't their twin? She loved Tommy and wondered if she could ever love anyone more than him.

One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. It was going alright. Tommy had not stepped on her toes, nor did she step on his. Their music was coming to a close and they synchronised their last movements perfectly with the moment the music stopped. They returned to their seats and waited for the judges.
They were not the last couple, but this score was decisive. Finally the judges held up their score cards: One with eight, and six with 9.5!

'Does this mean that we win?' whispered Ginny to her mother.
'I don't know. But to me, you're both perfect.' She gave Ginny and Tommy each a hug.
'A perfect 9.5!' laughed Tommy.
------
[Text copyright 2012 Christina Wigren]
New word count according to WordCalc: 393

What do you think? Was this better? Should I use the seven words that were saved somewhere else in the text? Where do I need them? What more needs to be said here?

Donna Hole has also written an interesting comment about my text and has suggested other changes for the first paragraph. I have incorporated these changes in a third version of my text below. Let's see how it works. (I am also changing a verb form in the last paragraph.)

Here is the third version of my 'Perfect 9.5-text' with Donna Hole's suggested changes in green.
------

Ginny and Tommy were good at ballroom dancing. As fraternal twins, they had an advantage over the other ten year old beginners; they shared thoughts and could anticipate each other's movements better than most adult dancers who'd spent years as partners. They had practiced for weeks. Now was the time to dance before the judges. For Ginny and Tommy, ballroom dancing was not romantic; it was a sporting event to music. You feel the music and know your moves. Being twins made it easier.

They sat with their mother and the rest of the contestants waiting for their turn. Mrs Jones, a tall woman wearing a long Cerulean blue frock, signaled to the next pair to dance. She then approached the microphone and spoke:

'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wolverhampton's annual ballroom-dancing competition for ten-year-olds. Let's give each of the competing couples a round of applause as they walk out on the floor.'

The first couple got a lot of sevens and eights. Good, thought, Ginny, There's still hope for us. Several more pairs of children danced and were judged. For one dancing-couple the judges held up cards with several eights and one nine. 'Oh no', whispered Tommy, 'They're getting better'.

Then Mrs Jones signaled to Tommy and Ginny to go. They walked out to the middle of the floor, took their starting position and waited. The music began to play and they were off. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, they counted in their heads. Ginny smiled at the judges when they twirled closer to them. Tommy smiled the whole time at her.

Ginny wondered how it will be when it is 'for real', if
they would each dance with someone who wasn't their twin? She loved Tommy and wondered if she could ever love anyone more than him.

One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. It was going alright. Tommy had not stepped on her toes, nor did she step on his. Their music was coming to a close and they synchronised their last movements perfectly with the moment the music stopped. They returned to their seats and waited for the judges.
They were not the last couple, but this score was decisive. Finally the judges held up their score cards: One with eight, and six with 9.5!

'Does this mean that we will win?' whispered Ginny to her mother.
'I don't know. But to me, you're both perfect.' She gave Ginny and Tommy each a hug.
'A perfect 9.5!' laughed Tommy.


Word count: 413
------

Thank you, Donna, for your input here. You have thought of several things that I have not thought about at all. I must confess that I don't know much about ballroom dancing or dance competitions, so I am sure that this text has many flaws. I am not the mother of twins so here again I am probably out on a limb.

This text is not part of a work in progress; but I can imagine what the rest of the book might be like if it were. Who knows, maybe I can develop this further. But right now I don't have the time. The twin-theme maybe something that I might explore at some other time. Why not? I've tried writing about cats, ghosts, faeries, elves, gnomes and now ten year old fraternal twins. I can only guess at what I'll try next. Certainly not werewolves or vampires, but you never know!

Best wishes,
Anna





15 comments:

Weissdorn said...

I enjoyed this because it was very innocent. It's a nice short story reflecting the excitement children have when it comes to competition. Well done.

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hello Anna. I was by before but got thrown off before I could comment.

Your English just gets better and better. As Weissdorn says, a lovely, innocent story. What fun that we both chose a dancing competition!

Denise

janaki nagaraj said...

Beautiful story..hooked from the beginning.

Tanya Walton said...

What a lovely story Anna Christina....and such a nice way to out a spin on the 'love' theme.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Anna
My grandmother's name was Anna. Loved her so much so I can relate to your comments on your profile.

Great job on the theme. I enjoyed reading about your twin characters.
Nancy

Scheherazade said...

Tightly written and on topic. If you want to edit out a few words to give yourself a little more somewhere else, I would just refer to Ginny and Tommy as fraternal twins and avoid the explanation about identical and being born at the same time. Also, you can pull us into the story a little faster by changing "this" in the first sentence to "dancing." Thanks for sharing.

Anna said...

Dear Weissdorn, Denise, Janaki, Tanya, Nancy and Linda,

Thank you for reading and commenting!

I've written a new 'P.S.'

Best wishes,
Anna

Laura said...

A lovely, innocent story, and a real feeling of warmth from your characters. I really enjoyed it - beautifully written
Laura x

Adura Ojo said...

Love your story about fraternal twins, Anna. It's refreshing to read a story about fraternal twins. People often talk about identical twins and the mind communication thing. Also lovely to see children working together and not bickering. Particularly love the last line - you capture so well the playful spirit of the child in those words. Your story portrays innocence at its most beautiful.

Donna Hole said...

I read both versions Anna, and I'm a little reticent about over-commenting.

My thought is that the original version was enough for me as a reader to capture the essence of the compitition. The fact that the partners are twins - fraternal or identical - is irelevant. I enjoy formal dance myself, and I know that long term partners are kinda like twins; they have routines and signals that are unique to the dance relationship.

So my suggestion for changing the first paragraph is for something like this: Ginny and Tommy were good at ballroom dancing. As fraternal twins, they had an advantage over the other ten year old beginners; they shared thoughts and could anticipate each other's movements better than most adult dancers who'd spent years as partners."

I'm offering my feedback based on the original because nothing in the relationship of the dancers, or the overall plot has changed in the revision.

I like the tension you've built for the competition, and the smooth way you introduced the ages of the competitors, and the level or experience. I like the idea that a brother/sister act at this age is bound to be stronger than the other competitors. But you also showed that some of the couples were quite good, and represented true competition. You also added external tension by having the mother present.

I also liked the emphasis that the dance wasn't a romance between two lovers, but their trust and mutual dependence was a love relationship necessary to win the competition.

Well done on the overall concept Anna. Dancing of any type, with a partner of any relationship can't help but be intimate. If this segment is a part of a larger WIP, and you are emphasizing emotional tension, then you've hit your scene plot goals.

Both versions were excellent reads Anna. An excellent, evacative submission.

......dhole

Scheherazade said...

I like you changes and the fact that you can get oriented in the story faster--and if you have a few extra words--well, you never know where they might come in handy when you are limited to 400 words. Overall, I think you strengthened the piece with tiny changes.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I agree with Donna's suggested changes. And, whether or not those words were needed elsewhere, they were superfluous where they were. It reads cleaner this way.
Loved the submission, btw. Completely different interpretation of the 9.5 than I had expected. I really enjoyed how she viewed it as a sport, but wondered what it would be like when it was real someday.

Donna Hole said...

Aw, thanks Anna :) In all three versions, you kept the tension and the focus on the "prize". Very nicely done.

.......dhole

Andy said...

Hello Anna.
Great choice for this week'e theme. Nice progression. In this style of dancing, timing is everything so yes...you're right...they do have to have a certain type if intimacy.

I'm not a fiction writer, so I don't usually struggle with meeting the word limit. I did like the suggested changes though.
You still did an awesome job with this one! Keep it up, my dear.
Thanks for sharing & for the kind words.
(I'm also following you in Linky, hope you'll do the same.)

True Beauty Comes From Imperfection

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hi Anna. You've had some very helpful comments. I came by for another read. A lovely story. D.

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