Wednesday, May 4, 2011

first impressions #2

Our second submission comes to us from Katie Mills, aka Creepy Query Girl. She writes from France and this is the first page of her contemporary Romance, Kisses for Coffee. My comments/suggestions are in purple.

In Tokyo, high school kids don’t have to be at registration until 8:30 a.m. And by then, it’s daylight. And they ride in on the tram or the subway. How do I know this? Well, Nanako Ivana Saki- Canterbury’s only Japanese foreign exchange student just told me. And yes, that is her real name. (I rather like the way this opens with a voice of someone telling us how things are and how she knows.)

I stifle a yawn and struggle to stay focused on the road but Nanako keeps mumbling nervously, the whites of her almond-shaped eyes visible in the car’s shadowy interior.

“Is so dark outside,” she says, for the third time.

“Yup,” I nod. “The sun comes up a little later here in winter.”

She sinks back into the front passenger’s seat, her child-like body almost disappearing completely from my peripheral vision. “The routes are so…isolated,” she says, her delicate white fingers digging into my BMW’s leather interior. (if this is high school, how does she manage to get her own BMW? Is she a rich kid or is she just calling it hers when in fact it really belongs to her parents? just asking...)

My headlights create bouncing shadows down yet another winding road. “Just the back roads. But it’s faster this way. We have to pick up a couple of my friends and then we’ll head towards downtown.”

Nanako swallows. “Sadie?” She says my name with a really soft ‘d’ so it comes out sounding more like ‘Saylieeee?’

"Hmn?” I answer. Dear God, why can’t she save her questions for when I’m fully conscious and not trying to maneuver around sharp curves with no street lights?

“How many murders you say have happened in your town?”

“None Nanako,” I sigh. “I told you, there have been no murders in Canterbury.”

Nanako shakes her head skeptically, pin straight black hair falling across her cheek. “This place looks like the setting for every horror movie I has ever seen.” She jumps up and gapes out the window. “What was sat?” This makes me curious, why is Nanako so nervous? Has something happened or does she just have a vivid imagination? And where has she gotten the idea that a murder had occurred?

“A squirrel.” I reply, hands tightening around the steering wheel. I take a deep cleansing breath, hoping if I relax, Nanako will take my lead.

This was actually very difficult for me to critique because technically, there's nothing wrong. I read it a number of times before I could figure out what I wanted more of in this first page. It's that voice in the beginning. Sadie's voice. I'd actually like to be in her head a little longer before she picks Nanako up if possible. I want to bond with her so that she's the one I'm interested in, not Nanako. It doesn't have to be a long inner dialogue, just enough to make me wish she was my friend. Because then I'll follow her.

what do you think? let katie know. Because your opinion might very well differ from mine or Dianne's.


  1. Really apprecieate your taking the time to do this! Diane said something along those lines too- adding just a little bit more 'Sadie' before picking up on Nanako and clarifying the setting. Thanks again!

  2. I think the opening sentence is a little long and could be catchier. Moving the sentence with voice about that being her real name might help. Everything else looked copacetic.

  3. Well done here. Katie is the best!

  4. I'm totally biased cause I've read little bites of Katie before and like her style :D
    Nice job.


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