Wednesday, October 5, 2011

first impressions - The Blinded Gardiner

Our second submission for the month is a YA Contemp from Michael over at In Time . My comments are in purple and you’ll find Dianne’s here


One moment I’m my Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. That is, until Danny stepped into the picture and discovered my secret.

Dad forced me (should it be us? Just asking.) to move across the country, and once again, I found myself at a new school, the third in two years. It sucked having a dad in the military. This is a pretty powerful opening. It feels like there's a lot of back story hinted at between this first and second sentence and I wonder whether it would work to begin with this paragraph instead. And again, it's just a thought. 

The warning bell rang for first period. The halls cleared with the slamming of doors. As I wandered about searching for my classroom, I heard someone approach me from behind. I turned and saw a blonde guy walking up the center of the hallway. Long bangs fell over his eyes as he loped past me with a kind of natural ease. I kinda like how we've been plunked down in the middle of school.

How blind is this guy? Didn’t he see me standing here, fiddling with this useless map.

“Hey, dude. Could you tell me how to get to room 305?” I'd make it clear who is speaking here. I was a little confused at first.

A slight curl formed on his lips as he faced me. He tossed his head. Platinum fringe shifted to the side and revealed freakish blue eyes that glanced toward me, unfocused.

Holy shit! Is he blind? Stoned is more like it.

“I’m heading that way.” His deep voice held a trace of a southern accent. He turned and continued his long strides. I think it reads better without this and we can infer that he moves along.

I envied his height: well over six feet and me just an average dude. Great voice throughout.

“You better move. Connors loses it when you’re late.”

I rushed (ran maybe? sounds more active imho) to catch up to him. His hand overshot the rickety metal banister. On the second swipe, he made contact and climbed the stairs.

ok. I am definitely intrigued.There's a ton of back story just waiting and who is this platinum haired dude with the freakish blue eyes. I want to know! 

Nice job. 


  1. Great job Michael. You have a great voice here. I actually like the first paragraph but think you might need a better transition to the second one.

    Perhaps just start the second with Once again I found myself in a new school. Just an idea. Good luck.

  2. I left more detailed thoughts at Dianne's, but this is another excellent critique!

    BTW, your query is up, Marcy.

  3. Ah, HA! On Dianne's blog, I suggested the omission of the second paragraph, but must agree your suggestion is much better. Starting with the second paragraph would work extremely well.

    Great first page, and a great critique of it.

  4. Thanks Marcy for your critique. You definitely hit on some very useful points.

    I'm glad you liked the voice. I need a powerful voice for the prose to be believable.


    Thanks, I'm so happy that you like the voice too. I have to think a bit on how I want to polish this.

    Thanks Matthew. I'll pop over to Diane's in a sec to see what you had to say.

    Thanks Susan, I'll definitely have a think on all of it.


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