Saturday, June 25, 2011

First Page Contest!!!

**Thanks to the WONDERFUL Shelley Watters I will be taking part in a first page contest! Any critique is appreciated! I have a  day to get it shaped up before it gets entered. Thanks!!**

Adult UF, 80,000 words

I burst out of the door, all goosebumps and cold sweat, and held it closed behind me. Heat and humidity grabbed me. It would take some time to walk off the chill of the store's air conditioner. I started making that happen. In a few steps, I felt the slight "pop" of walking past the store's magical wards. I kept trucking.

I took a moment to breathe in Philly. Above me a sliver of open sky peeked between the buildings. The city lights obliterated the stars, one of the few things I didn't like about urban living, but a blind man could have seen the shooting star that streaked across just then.

I ambled along, happy to have caught a glimpse of the meteor. I wondered how many other people had seen it, even in a city this size. My feet carried me down the usual path toward home, my comfy couch, my dog and a good book. Walking with my eyes on the sky was pure, unadulterated dumb. I'd spent my whole life in Philly. I knew better than to wander around, not checking down dark alleys and not peering behind crouching stoops. 

              He was just crossing the street, or so I thought. But instead of breezing by, he grabbed my hand. Pulled it across my chest. Snapped his body behind mine. I couldn't see him. Time slowed down.
It's like we're doing the tango. My assailant used my own arm to pin my body to his. It wasn't until something cold and sharp pressed into the soft space under my ear that I realized just how fucked I was.


Anonymous said...

Hey! On the whole I liked this, but I do have a few suggestions for you.

I'm wondering over the usefulness of that first paragraph, since there isn't much significant about it. I understand that you want to mention the wards to set up that there's magic in this world, but if there's a way to do that farther down the page, I'd consider it. Also, there are a few awkward turns of phrase in there like, "I made it happen," which doesn't really feel like it's in your character's voice.

I almost think if you're going to start with description you should start with your second paragraph, which sets the scene in a nicer, more eloquent way, and try and mention the magic wards somewhere down the page like I suggested.

However, I liked the last two paragraphs a lot. I'd certainly be eager to know what happens next. Fuss with the beginning a little, and you'd have me hooked.


Sarah said...

I like your descriptions, especially: "Heat and humidity grabbed me."

What I'd watch is that a lot of your sentences are structured similarly, many starting with the word "I".

Tami Absi said...

I thought the same thing as I read this. The second paragraph is very strong. I'm not sure where the character is at first, and I wanted to be more grounded in the setting. Also, I'm not sure a girl being assaulted would compare the experience to a dance.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

BTW your link on Shelly's page is mangled (you can resubmit and that should update it)

Lived in Philly for 4 years, really get the heat and humidity.
Liked that something happened right away.
Couple things.
Feels a bit wordy at times.
"I started making that happen" is ambiguous. Try to avoid "it" or "that".
Not sure what the "pop" was.
Not sure why there's a trucking metaphor in here.
I want a better description of the shooting star. A lot of this piece feels told to me.
I want to feel Philly, from the garbage-lined streets to the hovering facades of the buildings.
The f-word comes out of nowhere.
The sentences seem to fall into a pattern. Consider varying them.
I am curious to know what happens next, but I'd like a better glimpse of the character. Not sure why I should like (him/her), especially after such dumb (your word) mistake.

Laura said...

I like it alot. I have to know what happens next. Here's a suggestion for your first sentence:

I burst out of the door, all goosebumps and cold sweat.

If you burst out of a door I don't think you can hold it closed behind you. That pulled me out.

The slight "pop" of walking past the store's magical wards both intrigued and confused me a bit. But didn't stop me.

The rest is great. Good luck!

Melinda Chapman said...

Hi! wow I like how it jumps right in.

-In terms of the first paragraph being necessary, to me it depends on whether giving an idea of where she's just left is important to the story. Sometimes those tiny details can tell something about a character rather then 'she was walking down a street and this happened'.

- I agree that you don't need 'I started making that happen'. Her reflection in the sentence before explains that's what she's doing naturally, and it flows better into the next sentence.

- As far as comparing an assault to a tango, I think that depends on your character, not what we imagine the standard realistic response would be. If you're character uses internal false bravado as a delayed reaction to many dangerous situations until the point where her power is taken away, then write her that way. If it's the first time something remotely threatening has happened to her, then make her heart pump up into her throat.
It also depends on the overall tone and treatment of 'serious' events in your book.

Thanks for being brave and posting your page - it's great for people like me to learn from the feedback too! Good luck :)