Em-dashes and two spaces after semi-colons make it easier on our tired eyes. Things like underlining rather than italics make it much easier to find. (My personal most hated is _word_ because it requires annoying deleting.) We ask for industry-standard formatting to make it easier for writers, so please read our guidelines.
Ok, here goes with another First Page Contestent:
Each time Jewel promised herself she’d remember, but she never did.
It started the same way; standing at the turnstile holding a ticket made of stars. It shined so brightly she couldn’t read what it said. Jewel handed it to the clapping monkey who waved her through. She passed under the arched entrance and took in the carnival music, the giggling of children, and the sound of roller coasters whooshing through the air. Now she remembered.
“Welcome back,” said a park greeter who resembled Jewel’s mother. The woman’s cotton candy pink lips stretched and spun into a smile.
“Thank you.” Jewel continued on, leaving the woman and the memory of her mom to dissolve like warm sugar into the sunlight.
“Would you like a map?” asked a man with white cheddar popcorn teeth. She inhaled his hospitality, relishing the fresh popped smell.
“No, thank you. I’ve been here many times,” she said confidently.
Jewel walked past the merry-go-round. The blasé faces rotated along the circular track; their scenery never changing, their ride lacking excitement.
Under her breath she uttered, “Never again.”There's some evocative imagery here--the ticket made of stars, the clapping monkey, the popcorn teeth and warm sugar in sunshine. Unfortunately, I have no idea what this story is about. The first line in particular bothers me. I'm not crazy about enigmatic hooks. In my experience, too often it means the premise and story problem isn't solid enough. But I think it's an easy fix. Simply state what it is she won't remember, if that does in fact relate to the story problem. (I'm thinking it had better relate, being the first line and all.)
I'm going to pick out another line because it holds both showing and telling. For the record, I don't disapprove of telling, nor this line. I just think it's an interesting opportunity to study a subtle difference.
The blasé faces rotated along the circular track; their scenery never changing, their ride lacking excitement.
The first two clauses are showing - pure description. Their ride lacking excitement leans more to the telling camp, because it makes a judgement call for the reader. This writer is good enough to not rely on much telling because of demonstrated skill with description. But back to my disclaimer: sometimes it's easier to tell in a short story because we don't have a lot of real estate to move the plot along. That's a writer's judgement call.
Overall, even though the description puts me in the scene, not knowing why Jewel is there makes it tough for me to care. Writing is communicating. A story is a contract that claims: here is a problem and I'm going to give you a rollicking ride to its resolution. Don't keep secrets from the reader. Be specific. Show action that provides pertinent, solid information. Set not only the scene--which is done well here--but the premise for the story.
Thanks so much for sending this in! I've got lots more coming up, so stay tuned!