First Page Critiques Update

 I had five people email me that wanted to participate but didn’t have blogs yet so the ones that already attached their first page I posted below. But since this was really to help promote Heather Burch’s debut novel, Halflings, I listed ways you can help even if you don’t have a blog. *If  you do have a blog and are participating, please give a shout out to Heather*  Now yessssss, I know we’re all super swamped right now & these things take time, but you do want that karma for when you get published one day, right? I must say, I’m amazed at the support of the writing community since immersing myself in it last month~Kudos to all of you! So some suggestions:

 Sharing on Twitter or your Facebook page. I’d like to invite you to visit and/or join Heather Burch Books on Facebook.

If you read the book:

www.amazon.com is a good place to start. You can review a book without having purchased it from Amazon. Although you will have to register an account with them, it’s free and takes only a few minutes of your time. If you’ve ever ordered from Amazon you already have an account. After you have the account, in the search box type in Heather Burch and choose Halflings book 1, scroll down and give a review.
 
www.goodreads.com is a highly visited site. Again, you must register and then search Heather Burch or Halflings, choose Book 1 and review.
 
www.BN.com (Barnes & Noble) register and review
 
www.christianbook.com register and review
 
www.walmart.com Go to books- and search either Halflings or Heather Burch – you will have to register to review.
  
Your efforts are much appreciated!!!
 
First 250 Words from Kimberly Lynn Workman’s Paranormal Fantasy, Heaven and Hell Alike:

When Liam took over the body of a railroad worker fifty years ago, he hadn’t realized he’d suffer from caffeine withdrawal every morning. Though, at the time, he wasn’t able to be picky.
 
Liam was back on his Harley after only five hours of sleep, heading through Davenport, Wyoming to track down the local diner. He promised to meet Sid on his way through town, but that was something he was regretting now.
 
Rounding the next block, the weather-worn sign for Davenport Diner came into view. Liam headed toward the far right of the parking lot, safely away from the crowd of cars. He’d rather not be forced to do harm to some fool who scratched his bike, even by accident. The altercation in Stewart was still fresh in his mind and he didn’t have the desire for a repeat.
 
Shutting off the engine, Liam removed his helmet and watched Sid cross the cracked, gray pavement. Unlike himself, Sid looked like his early morning had been filled with sugar or illegal substances. Knowing Sid’s usual activities, it was more likely he hadn’t even been to bed yet.
 
I need coffee,” Liam said, his voice deep from lack of use. “Drag me out here way too early and then you’re all hyper. Something’s wrong with your head.”
 
Sid plastered on a wide grin and gave a shrug. “You always said we’ve got to be crazy in our line of work, boss. I’m just living up to my reputation.”
 
Liam grunted, walking toward the door and waving his hand, calling for Sid to follow him. Of all the demons who had worked for him over the centuries, Sid had become his favorite. It was mainly because he liked being topside almost as much as Liam did. There weren’t many of their kind who wanted to live among the humans littering the earth, even less who wanted the glorified sales job he offered, so Liam didn’t have a ton lining up for the task. And, not to lay the blame solely on Hell, he would also admit a few personality clashes had gotten in the way of lasting relationships with some of his former subordinates. The pool of potentials was almost empty when Sid was offered up to him, but so far the arrangement had worked out quite well. Sid took his assignments and did what Liam asked of him. He was even starting to arrange more contracts on his own, taking Liam’s guidance when necessary. In return for proving his worth, Liam let Sid have the run of the planet in his off-hours. Granted, most of Sid’s off-hours were spent trying to have sex with as many women as he could find, but they all deserved some perks now and then.
 
First Page of Sweet Tooth By Cynthia Gail:
 
Angela rushed into the small employee bathroom, hung up her apron and looked at the reflection in the mirror. After picking a speck of icing from her hair, she wiped the flour off her cheek and swore. Even her splurge for expensive cover up couldn’t conceal the dark circles anymore. And she was fairly certain the lack of shine in her dishwater blonde hair had nothing to do with bad lighting.
After picking up a light sweater, Angela hurried back to the front of the store and grabbed her purse from under the counter. “I’ll do my best to be back by eleven, Juanita.”
 
“Don’t worry about me. I can handle it. You just need to relax and concentrate on getting this job. Booking the Preston wedding will open the doors you’ve been looking for.”
 
“Thanks. But I’ll still try –.”
 
The sound of metal crunching and tires screeching stopped her in mid-sentence and both women turned to look out the shop windows. “Oh, my God! My car!” Angela dropped everything and ran out the front door.
 
“My car!” she yelled, taking in the scene. A large delivery truck had backed into her Ford Tempo, crumpling the hood and corner panels. Both front tires were flat. She’d just spent the last thousand dollars of her savings having the transmission worked on and couldn’t afford to buy another car. She couldn’t afford to have this one fixed. She couldn’t…
 
“Are you okay ma’am? You look a little pale. Maybe you should sit down.”
 
First Page of The Symbol of Infinity by Golda Kvint:
 
The reek of burning hair squeezed into Kai’s room.Oh, not again. He hurled his Algebra book into his backpack, flipped
the desk light off, and sprung toward the window. Forcing it open, he
cursed his grandmother for collecting her combings and disposing of
them in such a hideous way. Next she’d try to kill the odor with
lily-scented room spray. The perfect smell for a good night’s sleep.

Letting December freshness chase the filthy fumes from his lungs, he
stared at the snowflakes that swirled in front of the rickety fence
and melted before reaching the ground. Suddenly, the gate screeched
open and a tall body glided through the narrow opening.

Keeping his eyes on the trespasser, Kai inched toward the window
frame. His grandma had mumbled someone had tried to break into a house
across the street. If that was a burglar, he’d chosen the wrong house
to rob.

Kai made a quick plan. He’d have his grandmother run to the neighbors
and call 911 while he kept the intruder at bay. Before darting off to
his grandmother’s room, Kai glanced outside one more time.

As the man turned around to pull something through the crack in the
gate, the moon shone on his ponytail and coveralls. No doubt, that was
Kai’s dad.

Kai jerked away from the glass and ran into the desk corner with his
bony hip. Biting the knuckle of his forefinger to suppress a groan,
Kai flattened himself against the wall, covered with peeling
wallpaper, and peeked outside.

His father skulked toward the front porch carrying a box almost the
size of his six-foot frame.

 
*Please address your comments for them by referring to their name or ms. title below. Thanks! 
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7 comments on “First Page Critiques Update

  1. Kimberly, I can tell your story is gonna be packed with action (yay!) and conflict, but you really drew me in after they were already at the diner parking lot. I know it’s hard to cut, but you may want to consider tweaking your starting point a bit.

    Cynthia, love the setting and by the end of your first page, I’m drawn in. I love the way you punish your character:)

    Golda, the FIRST LINE of your story is immediately engaging. You have beautiful prose that really adds to the atmosphere!

  2. Thank you for giving us this opportunity!

    Re: Sweet Tooth

    The first line doesn’t grab me. That’s the one you have to use in order to get your reader to sit up and pay attention. Right now it’s just a list of actions. (You’re also missing a comma after apron, since it’s a list.) What makes your character unique? Use a hook to encapsulate her personality or situation really fast. I’m intrigued by the character in the rest of the piece, but not right off.

    Re: The Symbol of Infinity

    Going by the tone of the piece and the POV, I’m guessing this is the first page of a YA novel.

    Like the first sentence, though I’m unsure of the use of “squeezed.” Smells don’t have the mass to squeeze. And since I’m assuming the next sentence is his thought, it needs to be set apart and formatted as such.

    The actions of getting him to the window is a listing. Do you need to say he turned the desk light off? Maybe “He dropped his Algebra book onto the desk before he ran toward the window.”

    I have no idea what this sentence means–“Forcing it open, he cursed his grandmother for collecting her combings and disposing of them in such a hideous way.” At first I thought the combings (hair?) was in the window somehow and then I got that the combings were supposed to be the burning hair he was referring to, but still not sure why it’s phrased in that way.

    In this sentence, there’s a ton of F and S sounds. Maybe cut that down a bit?–“Letting December freshness chase the filthy fumes from his lungs, he stared at the snowflakes that swirled in front of the rickety fence and melted before reaching the ground.”

    Not sure about the time placement on this one–“His grandma had mumbled someone had tried to break into a house across the street.” When did she mumble that? At the moment? I didn’t think she was in the room, since her burning hair was somewhere else.

    The use of modifiers is on my mind today and I’m noticing a slight issue with this in the piece. Here’s a post about it: http://heydeadguy.typepad.com/heydeadguy/2011/06/the-modifier-zone.html Think about how you’re describing. Does the modifier add to the point you’re making? If not, simplify.

    Hope my notes were helpful to you both! These feedback sessions are a great way to share our writing with others and getting different viewpoints. I appreciate these types of opportunities 🙂

  3. Hi, Jamie,

    Thank you very much! I’m glad you liked my first line!

    Hi Kimberly,

    Thank you very much for your comments! They will help me revise my 1st page and the rest of the manuscript.

    Golda

    • Re: Kimberly Lynn’s Heaven and Hell Alike

      The first sentence hooked me! The demon’s sales job sounds cool! What stood out for me was a little too much tell vs. show toward the end. A few random comments are in brackets in the text below.

      When Liam took over the body of a railroad worker fifty years ago, he hadn’t realized he’d suffer from caffeine withdrawal every morning. Though, at the time, he wasn’t able to be picky. (m.b. “couldn’t be picky” or “couldn’t afford to be picky” Also, I guess I would wish to have some indication to the railroad worker’s age.)

      Liam was back on his Harley after only five hours of sleep, heading through Davenport, Wyoming to track down the local diner (I don’t think “track down” is the right verb here). He (he’d?) promised to meet Sid on his way through town, but that was something he was regretting now. (I thought he actually met Sid in the Diner, not on the way through the town…)

      Rounding the next block, the weather-worn sign for Davenport Diner came into view. (It sounds like the weather-worn sign rounded the next block. M.b. “”As he rounded the next block…)

      Liam headed toward the far right of the parking lot, safely away from the crowd of cars. He’d rather not be forced to do harm to some fool who scratched his bike, even by accident. The altercation in Stewart was still fresh in his mind and he didn’t have the desire for a repeat.

      Shutting off the engine, Liam removed his helmet and watched Sid cross the cracked, gray pavement. (I think you can delete “gray” since it’s a regular color of pavement). Unlike himself, Sid looked like his early morning had been filled with sugar or illegal substances. Knowing Sid’s usual activities, it was more likely he hadn’t even been to bed yet.

      “I need coffee,” Liam said, his voice deep from lack of use. (I think you need “the” before “lack of use”) “Drag me out here way too early and then you’re all hyper. Something’s wrong with your head.”

      Sid plastered on a wide grin and gave a shrug (a shrug of what? shoulders?) “You always said we’ve got to be crazy in our line of work, boss. I’m just living up to my reputation.”

      Liam grunted, walking toward the door and waving his hand, calling for Sid to follow him. Of all the demons who had worked for him over the centuries, Sid had become his favorite. It was mainly because he liked being topside almost as much as Liam did. There weren’t many of their kind who wanted to live among the humans littering the earth (LOVE THIS!), even less who wanted the glorified sales job he offered, so Liam didn’t have a ton lining up for the task. And, not to lay the blame solely on Hell, he would also admit a few personality clashes had gotten in the way of lasting relationships with some of his former subordinates. The pool of potentials was almost empty when Sid was offered up (You don’t think you need “up”) to him, but so far the arrangement had worked out quite well. Sid took his assignments and did what Liam asked of him. He was even starting to arrange more contracts on his own, taking Liam’s guidance when necessary. In return for proving his worth, Liam let Sid have the run of the planet in his off-hours. Granted, most of Sid’s off-hours were spent trying to have sex with as many women as he could find, but they all deserved some perks now and then.

  4. Well I feel like I’ve run out of time and I won’t be able to post mine and critique other before Wed. So I am just going to blog about this awesome sounding book tomorrow on my blog. I hope it will help at least a little. Jamie you are so awesome for all that you do for writers:)

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