Monday, November 5, 2012

first impressions - Mingled




Today we have a first page from Angela Brown and if you don't know Angela then you have not been paying attention. Or maybe you were on vacation. Anyway. She is the author of NEVERLOVE, and in addition to her own blog has partnered with Gwen Gardiner here. This is the first page of her YA urban fantasy/dystopian, MINGLED. As always, my comments will be in purple and do go see what Dianne Salerni thinks about this first page. 

     Rubbing my parents’ gold coins for luck was a bad habit.
     And a terrible idea. Their disappearance was proof enough. I just couldn’t stop myself. Until graduation, (this indicates that graduation might change that fact but I'm not sure if that's what you mean since two sentences back it's stated they've disappeared.) that’s all I had of them, all I could turn to when I needed to feel their presence the most. This is a good set up, immediately eliciting sympathy from the reader for the narrator.
     I shook my head and slipped their coins into my pocket. Leaning into the hallway, I took in the dim lighting and shadows.
     Empty. Perfect.
     Carpet muffled the clunky footfalls of my hand-me-down boots and the loud click from closing my bedroom door. I crept along the wall, listening for anything at all. No surprise I only heard my pounding heartbeat. The other kids were at school, the same place I should’ve been five minutes ago. Screwy alarm clock! Why didn’t it work?  Each step downstairs brought me closer to the first floor, closer to getting away from…
     “Whitley!” The corners of my lips curled into a hurried grin.  “Didn’t expect to see you.” At least it was the truth.
     She stood at the foot of the stairway, pinning me with narrowed eyes. A familiar gelatinous material molded flush to her ear, whisper thin. (fragment. Some fragments are ok, especially when used for emphasis, or like the next one, but I'd make this one into a complete sentence or put a comma after eyes and combine.) Her Collective Communications Tag. Unlike mine, hers included the virtual extension with the wrap-around lens fitted to the eye. A major upgrade overnight? Wonder who she sold out to get it?

And I wonder who she is! This good, beginning with instant sympathy for the orphan, a hint of futuristic - and slightly creepy! - technology, and two mysteries. One is what was our narrator trying to get away from and two is the identity of the she in the last paragraph who is made ominous by 'pinning me with narrowed eyes' and 'Wonder who she sold out to get it?' Excellent beginning. I definitely want to know more. 

Now, what do you guys think? Any suggestions on making this first page better?

Come back Wednesday for a last first impression for the and if you're interested in getting your first page critiqued by me and Dianne, we'd love to see it. Just email one of us.

8 comments:

  1. Intriguing setup. Makes me wonder what is going on.

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  2. I do love the way this is described: "A familiar gelatinous material molded flush to her ear, whisper thin" - I can picture it but it's also gross and creepy.

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  3. "Her Collective Communications Tag. Unlike mine, hers included the virtual extension with the wrap-around lens fitted to the eye." This has me intrigued!

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  4. That's a very interesting critique - especially your comments on the use of fragments.

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    1. thank you for mentioning this, because when I read it again, it doesn't appear to be a fragment after all. I think it depends on how one reads it. And at first glance I read it to mean that the piece was molded to her ear and it seemed like the word 'was' was missing. But reading a second time, I see that molded is the verb here, which means, no fragment.

      Thank you Sherry for making me take a second look at this :)

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  5. I'm so glad I shared this with you and Dianne. The feedback is great and I'm excited to take it back to my MS and work on improving it.

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  6. I really like this opening, Angela! I definitely want to read more and find out exactly what's going on. It sounds like some kind of dystopian society where people are kept track of by their Collective Communication Tags. Creepy and disturbing! Keep going! :)

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