Living a Nightmare

By: Heather Hale

My interview with West Side Buffalo native Teresa Sepulveda gave definition to what a dreaded phone call really is. Five days before her 20th birthday, Teresa was going to speak at a conference through the organization Puerto Rican Youth Development and Resource Center, and within this organization she works as a suicide prevention worker. Right before getting on stage to give her presentation she received a phone call from her boyfriend of seven years that he had been shot,  he was still back home in Buffalo and had not gone to the conference.  One of the young ladies in the youth group with Teresa at this conference was her boyfriend’s sister who was receiving a similar call about her brother at the same time. Both were obviously very upset by this news and immediately left the conference. The trip from Syracuse back to Buffalo took an hour and that trip in normal not wanting the cops chasing you speeds would take at least 2 hours. Thoughts of the worst possibilities were running through Teresa’s head during that trip and all she wanted was to be back to Buffalo and by her boyfriend’s side.  It ended up that her boyfriend had been shot once in the face and once in the chest as the result of what appeared to be a robbery gone very wrong.  During the five days following the incident, Teresa only left the hospital once. Her boyfriend apologized to Teresa for putting her through all of this. He apologized in spite of the fact that it was not his fault and he was the one in physical pain and laying in the hospital bed. Since the shooting Teresa and her boyfriend have moved away from the sight of the shooting as it also became rumored that the shooting/robbery was a targeted one stemming from jealousy.  Hopefully this is the last incident of this nature that they will  need to endure, but overall their relationship has become stronger as a result of it.

Advertisements

One response to “Living a Nightmare

  1. Lead: 4 Your instincts are right here. Start with the most exciting moment. I’d drop the first sentence though. More dramatic to just jump right in.
    Interviews: 2/3 Clearly you asked a lot of questions and were able to recount events as they unfolded, which is great. Still, I’d like to know more. I still don’t understand how the shooting occurred. What wasn’t his fault? Whose fault was it? Was he part of the robbery? An innocent victim? Who was jealous of whom? Why did he apologize to her? Why is she still with him? What does she see in him — these are all questions a good interviewer needs to ask.

    . When you say “thoughts of the worst possibilities were running through her head,” my question is, “What thoughts?” A careful interviewer will ask and then use those details to pull the reader in — and to help him/her understand Teresa better.

    So you could say: Thoughts of him dead on a cold street flashed through her head. Or what if he lived but was paralyzed, blind or unable to speak? She imagined his mother (you fill in the blanks here — but through her thoughts we not only learn about her, but about him and their relationship.)
    Grammar/style: 2/3 What happened to paragraphs? This huge block is hard to read.
    Also you insert opinion with luckily, hopefully.

    Your writing here is not as sharp as it has been. Some sentences verge on run-ons.

    For instance:
    One of the young ladies in the youth group with Teresa at this conference was her boyfriend’s sister who was receiving a similar call about her brother at the same time. Both were obviously very upset by this news and immediately left the conference

    This is confusing. Why not say:
    Her boyfriend’s sister xx (give name) was with her. Xx’s brother was also shot and the two rushed out together in tears.

    Here’s an example of showing, not telling. Say they were in tears or whatever they did to show emotion rather than say they were “obviously upset.”

    . The trip from Syracuse back to Buffalo took an hour and that trip in normal not wanting the cops chasing you speeds would take at least 2 hours.

    They drove carefully on the xx mile trip from Buffalo to Syracuse, not wanting further contact with the law. The calm speed of the car belied their inner panic.

    Hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s