Monday, March 4, 2013

first impressions - Not Me

Our second first impression for March (only 16 days til spring!!!) comes from Taffy Lovell, who can be found in two places: Taffy's Writings and  The Book Addict. This is the first page of her YA thriller, NOT ME. My comments will be in purple and be sure to go see what Dianne Salerni had to say...
I glance out my dirty bedroom window. The sky promises another beautiful day. If my days were normal, I might hang out at the pool, pretending not to watch the lifeguards. If my life were normal, I might sit under the shade of the trees and daydream. If I were normal, I might gossip with friends late into the night. We would sit on someone’s bed, eating popcorn and talking about everything and nothing. But I left normal behind ages ago--in quiet cemeteries. Very ominous beginning. I like the dirty windows juxtaposed with the promise of a beautiful day.
My computer desk is unorganized chaos. I hide the scissors and yesterdays newspaper under my bed. The obituaries can wait. Hmm, a peruser of the obits, eh? Curiouser and curiouser...
A worn-out and yellowed clipping flutters to the floor. I pick it up and study it. John Birch’s trench coat is thrown over my little sister and me. He’s trying to shield us from the snooping cameras. The caption reads “Lost Memories or Fake Amnesia?” I like the dropping of clues.
I tuck the old news story into the red shoebox and place it in the closet shelf. Time for reality.
My hair is a ratty mess. I flip my head over and try to force my tangled mane into a ponytail. I peek in the mirror. It will work. Easy. That’s how I roll. If she wasn't successful then 'try to' would be ok.
The t-shirt I wore to bed reeks like last night’s Chinese takeout. Not how I roll. A black piece of fabric peeks out from beneath my pillow. Pulling my favorite AC/DC vintage t-shirt close I inhale and pretend it smells like the last boy I crushed on. I haven’t lost memories of him. Implying that she has lost other memories...
I trade the shirt with another, cleaner one off the floor and shake it out for good measure. A green frog grins at me with the thought bubble: “It isn’t easy being green!” I'm not sure if I like the whole going through the tee shirt designs. Is there a reason for it - other than to show us what she likes to wear? I think one example is fine.
Georgie is still in bed, I’m sure. She doesn’t have a morning ritual because she has natural beauty. Everyone says so. She doesn’t even sweat, she glows.
      “Georgie!” I scream from my doorway. “I can’t be late again or I’ll get detention!”

Very interesting and intriguing beginning. Lots of clues but nothing pointing to anything with certainty. Who is John Birch and why was he shielding the sisters? What memories have been lost? Were they kidnapped? I also love how the first two lines hint at opposites, dirty vs beautiful and normal vs not. I would definitely read on because I want to know what's going to happen next.

Now, what do you guys think? Can you think of anything that might help Taffy make this first page better? And thank you Taffy for your submission! I liked it :)


  1. Lots of clues. No idea where this is all going although there are many possibilities.

  2. :) Left my comments on Dianne's site!

  3. I myself never liked short sentences so I can't comment on this one. I'd always go for longer ones even when the short ones have a point.

  4. I think this is a great first page. It's nicely paced and really draws the reader in. I like that it starts with the main character showing us that she understands what normal is, but--for reasons we only get hints at--she cannot be part of it, even though she wants to. It makes us automatically care about her. Good job, Taffy.

  5. It's an interesting start, for sure. One slight defense on the t-shirt description....things like that can, sometimes, lend insight into a characters personality.

    Again, it's interesting, though :)

    1. Good point, Mark, thanks :)

  6. I agree. Love the tone at the start! I agree with tees part too--one example is sufficient. And I may switch the word order of ACDC and vintage.

    Nice job Taffy! Very intriguing!

  7. Very curious. I like the pacing and the voice.

  8. I left my comments on Dianne's blog, but I wanted to say that Marcy is right about the t-shirt descriptions. Are they really important? Good luck! :-)

  9. I was intrigued and would read more!
    Thanks for sharing! barb

  10. I especially like the first paragraph. Very nice writing in having three sentences (the magic of three) in a row beginning with the similarly structured "if" phrases. Then the "bomb" sentence about quiet cemeteries. Great beginning.

    Instead of saying the computer desk is unorganized chaos, maybe a more definitive description of what that means? Even if it were just to say something about there being so much stuff piled on the desk, there's no place left to put the scissors and clipping.

    I like the whole part about the tee shirts, too. Picking a less dirty one off the floor and giving it a shake is a great touch. And very authentic teenager behavior.

  11. Thank you! Your comments were helpful. I'll do a bit more tweaking.

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