Fame and consequences
I think you've got interesting story line here, Reese. There are lots of literary couples who've had volatile relationships, the stuff interesting novels are made of, including Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, and Michael Ondaatjie and Linda Spalding.
Read the story now
I've only read the first chapter of Fame and Consequences but I'm a bit surprised that you have yet to introduce the Goal, Motivation and Conflict. These three elements are the basis of every (yes, every story) and are almost always introduced within the first chapter, often with the opening paragraph.
So the case of Fame and Consequences the reader wants to know what the Parker (the protagonist) wants - what's her goal; why does she want it (motivation); and what's preventing her from getting it (conflict).
A story usually presents this at the beginning and then increases the tension by adding more obstacles to the goal. Finally, a climax is reached and the protagonist either wins or loses. This is the traditional story arc and if you follow it a story will unfold naturally. If you don't, well...
In the first chapter it appears Parker has everything she wants - so why read on?
Your writing is natural but lacks imagination and power.
Here's a few suggestions you might consider to improve it:
- don't describe your dialogue with adverbs. Examples:
Elijah says calmly
says with authority
I say politely
I tell him my voice shaking.
Usually it's not necessary, you can leave the delivery up to the reader's imagination. If it does need to be described than it's weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb
Try not to use so many adverbs - words usually ending in "ly". Again, they're usually unnecessary for the reasons stated above. Extra words suck the energy out of your writing.
clear my throat awkwardly -
cheers loudly - do crowds cheer quietly
Watch for contradictions:
Your description of Elijah seems incongruous - a total goofball who likes to think he's in control of his world? Aren't control freaks, well, controlled, uptight, OCD? I've never met one who was a goofball.
lean of my tiptoes ??? Shouldn't that be stand on my tiptoes?
First Parker is so nervous she's going to vomit and then suddenly she's reassuring Elijah? Quick recovery?
Try not to use cliches
- blows my mind
My Jane Hancock
Cliche´s are not original (that's why their called clichés) and a writer writing about a writer really should avoid them and go for original language.
Description should not be dumped like Parker's description of Elijah. It's best when it's motivated - have a reason to describe a person's appearance.
I would suggest the anecdote about Parker and Elijah meeting is miles too long. Anything that does not develop character or advance the plot should likely be deleted.
I know you love these characters but you have to be ruthless for the sake of good writing and an interesting story.