Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First impressions - The Key Collective

Well hallelujah a-z is finally over and if you finished then a big congrats to you. It was fun but a lot of work and I'm ready to get back to business as usual. It being May, Dianne and I have three new, never before seen first pages which we will be critiquing on our respective blogs. First up is this one from Alicia over at Saffron Wine. This is the first page from her Steampunk novel, THE KEY COLLECTIVE. My comments are in purple and you can find out what Dianne thinks here.




She found the key under his bed.  Not that she was looking.  She didn’t even know the guy. Why would she be looking under his bed, for crying out loud. (question mark?) Assignations are odd like that.  One minute you’re locked in the most intimate of embraces, the next you’re crawling around on his floor, ass in the air, looking for your sock.  Instead you find this key. It was just a key.  Nothing special about it.  But when her fingers touched it she automatically grasped it, glanced over her shoulder and hid it in her fist like a child sneaking away with stolen candy. Very interesting beginning. Is she a prostitute? An agent? And why does she take a key that does not belong to her? Hmm...must read more!
           Twenty minutes, money exchanged, and an awkward hug/cheek kiss good-bye she was finally able to get a good look at her stolen treasure. She leaned against a battered guard rail under a flickering florescent light in the building’s basement parking garage, and slowly unfurled her tightly clasped fist.  
           The weird pinkish yellow light seemed to be absorbed by the thick brass key cupped in her hand, giving it an odd greenish color.  It was about three inches long, fairly freshly cut, or rather, not used much. She felt the raw edges scrape over her callused fingertips as she twisted it around and around.  There weren't any distinguishing markings on it but she couldn’t seem to put it away, turning it over and over in her chilled fingers. Anoria raked her long, tangled hair out of her eyes and hunched her shoulders deeper into her threadbare navy pea coat.  Idly, her fingers twisted the key around again, rubbing it between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand. What was that groove in the head? She brought the key closer to her eyes, moving it directly under the unsteady light.
           In the pocket of her coat her cell buzzed. Startled,she jumped and almost dropped the key on the damp pavement.  “Goddamn it!” She muttered halfheartedly, (The exclamation point after goddamnit isn't consistent with the word 'halfheartedly'  - imho. I might lose that word) “What the hell can you possibly want at this time of night, Braedon?” She shoved the key deep in her pocket and wrenched the phone out, flipping it open. Text message.  Sender Blocked.  
           “What the hell…?”  Curious, she hit the open key.  Two words blipped onto the screen.  
          “Look Up.”  
         
Really loved this beginning. If I had picked this book up in the store I would've already been on my way to the checkout counter. Happily. The only thing I'd watch is if when you're writing close third, be careful how much personal info (threadbare coat) you use since your character wouldn't be thinking of those things (the hair yes, because it's in her way). She might try to hide the frayed edges of her coat so no one else would notice but I don't think she'd be noticing or thinking of the threadbare coat after having stolen a key or while she's inspecting it. Does that make sense?

Anyway, really not too much to crit here. There's great voice and even though I know very little about this character I am very interested to see what's going to happen next. Now, what do you guys think? Would you read on? Do tell :)

16 comments:

  1. Love the sound of it, and your comments are spot on :) Looking forward to hearing more about this mysterious key.

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  2. This is a great read, I was hooked and wanted to read on and know more.

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  3. I left my feedback at Dianne's, but I wanted to come here to see what you had to say, Marcy. I love that you catch different things, and that you caught a lot of stuff I missed. Well done!

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  4. Very intriguing and I wanted to read more. I liked your suggestions too.

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  5. Thanks Marcy, the insight about the close third pov was interesting. Hadn't really thought of it that way. I try not to *think* about pov as it messes me up...rather then just writing it. But that's a good point.
    The repetitive dialogue gets me too...I try to catch it. I think it's a rhythm thing. Annoying. Oh well! That's what critiquing is for! Thanks! And keep the comments coming...I enjoy the help and the other opinions.

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    1. I don't think you need to think about those things when you're writing your first draft - especially if you've got some momentum going. Get it down on paper/screen first then go back and address those issues. Not that I always follow my own advice...

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  6. Great feedback. nothing much to add. =)

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  8. I agree! I liked the excerpt as well as your comments. :) Good catch on the POV, and yep, lose the halfheartedly (or get the feeling in another way besides using a Telling adverb). Nice sense of mystery to keep the reader reading.

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  9. I already commented on Dianne's blog, but I had to see what her partner in crime had to say. Great critique, Marcy!

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  10. Great critique. I'm much too brain-dead to have much to add but I like where she's going with the story.

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  11. I would definitely read on! There are so many questions left unanswered. :)

    Great critique!

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  12. This is really cool to see how you critique!

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  13. I agree with what you've said. Man, I want to read more, though! How could it leave off with that text message. Great voice too!

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  14. Thank you everyone who commented! I know Alicia appreciates it :)

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