ReadtoWrite

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Message to Readers

I would love feedback about my dialogue and how to make it more cohesive and natural. I also experimented a lot with dashes and fragmented sentences and I wanted to know your thoughts on those.

Excerpt from Catastrophic Collisions

November 19, 2019


    Lying on the beige carpet, broken and shattered and embedded into the fibers of the material, were the pieces of the glass heart. Its fragments glinted in the summer sunlight, glittering with a hidden secret. For three days, Nicole had stared at the broken pieces, her face contorted into a mask of confusion and pain as memories came back to her in flashes. 
  
 About a month later, the shards lay on the oak headboard of her bed, yet the sunlight, so beautiful and pure, hit the shards unnaturally tainting the broken fragments of the glass heart. For a fraction of a second, if one looked hard enough, they could glimpse, for a brief moment, a pair of dark hazel eyes, no longer bloodshot and tired, and a pair of electric blue ones, no longer closed and gone. For that brief moment, hidden in the whispering breezes, one could hear the brilliant sounds of laughter that echoed off the walls. But if one were to wait, for the next fraction of the second, if they waited for the sickening crunch of metal and shatter of glass, they might see the faces of Nicole and Olivia, frozen in the terrifying darkness that enveloped them. But nobody except Nicole ever waited for the rest of the second, instead remembering the happiness and joy that the girls brought with them. 

  When they asked her about Olivia, she could only really remember the lake house. How they both went back to the lake house trying to forget all that had happened in an effort to relive the warm summer days of their childhood. They had gone back to remain grounded, tethered to the lake that overflowed with their laughter and happiness. It was there that they had gone on that drive, Olivia eagerly unwrapping her last birthday present while Nicole drove through the intersection as the light changed and the semi accelerated through. There in that hospital room, filled with flowers and family, Nicole knew even before the nurses told her that Olivia was gone. They told her to move on. That what happened with Olivia wasn't her fault. They told her to write her own story, one that wasn't about a pair of girls who existed in the first fraction of the second. Those first few days, all she could think about was that red light and that fractured heart--about that girl with the blue eyes that lit up the night sky. 

  Later, Nicole became better at pretending to forget. She laughed and smiled so convincingly that her parents believed her. Or maybe they wanted to believe her--wanted to believe that their youngest daughter, their little angel, would be alright. They moved their family to the West Coast--to warm winters and stifling summers--away from every memory of Olivia. 

  Written across the page in bright red ink, her English teacher had written "Good work! Great metaphoric interpretation of leaving from home." Nicole forced herself to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. It would have been worse if her teacher had realized that Nicole's story was a reflection of her own life. She fixed her face into a mask of enthusiasm and exuberance before turning her attention to the student standing next to her. 
  
    "Guess what day is tomorrow?" Nicole asked brightly, her words punctuated by her high-pitched laughter.

    "Tuesday," Jackson teased, turning to her with a grin.

    "No. Why would I be asking if it was just Tuesday?" grumbled Nicole. He just laughed, slamming his locker door as he waved goodbye already turning to someone else. She sighed before turning back to her own locker filled with crumpled worksheets and tests. She knew her personality--or at least the one that she projected outwards--kept her from being popular or even well-liked. She felt a deeply rooted necessity to hide her true nature--to hide that part of her that would always be connected to Olivia-so she accepted the subtle snubs without comment. 
 
 "Hey, bitch," called a voice from behind her, "Did we have any Spanish homework." She turned around fixing a careful faux-angry expression on her face before answering. 

  "I don't know," she called back. Then, as an afterthought, "I might remember if you stopped calling me that."

  Alex snickered before replying, "I don't know, it kind of suits you and your know-it-all attitude." Beside him, Ethan glanced up at her before staring down at his phone. She forced out a laugh--high pitched and hysterical--before closing the locker and attempting to disappear into the crowd. They never knew how much it hurt her to be called that. To be reminded of what she really was. She took in a deep breath, ragged and erratic, swallowing down the torrent of words that rose up in her throat. Her nails dug into her palms as she forced herself to take deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Beside her, someone cleared their throat. 

  "I'm sorry about him," Ethan said his voice deep and resonant. She inhaled and then turned to him plastering a smile across her face. 

  "For what?" she asked, trying to sound unaffected and light. She attempted to channel parts of the old Nicole. The one that laughed and flipped her hair. The one that was the life of the party. The one that drove too fast and threw caution to the wind. The one that killed her best friend.

  He stared at her for a second before saying, his voice low and clear, "For the reminder of everything that you've lost." 


  


  
This was part of the first chapter of a novel that I am writing and I hope you guys enjoy it. 

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