Monday, May 5, 2014

First Impressions - The Animate



 


For our second day of First Impressions, we have Elizabeth Arroyo, author of The Second Sign, who blogs over at Chandara Writes. This is the first page of her NA Sci-fi/Dystopian. Author Dianne Salerni - who can be found over at In High Spirits - is also critiquing this same first page at her blog and you can see if we agreed on our crit - or not! Your comments are always welcome and if you're interested in submitting, check out my sidebar for the FAQs.



Morph could almost forget that Earth was a dying planet. It looked normal from space: a bright blue sphere with a stable atmosphere. Most of its natural resources, including humans, had been depleted as the Earth crumbled in on itself, unstable and volatile.
“Lieutenant Murphy.”
Morph turned to the cyborg. Its sole purpose to record and retrieve information, Aislyn, priest and executioner, listened when you thought you were alone and backstabbed you to Crux with the information. Morph could forgive it since it didn’t have a conscience. “Aislyn, how are you?”
“I am well, thank you. This way.” Aislyn led him into the circular chamber hovering between Earth’s atmosphere and space. The Needle.
The blackness of space jolted Morph’s nerves. Shyla had demanded his council eighteen times in the last six months, and he’d denied her until now. Keeping the supply ship from him had convinced him of her power. As leader of the world government, Shyla was not used to waiting. She was going to be pissed.
“Well, well, it’s about time.”
Morph drew a smile on his lips and turned to the shadow figure outlined in red. “Hello, Shyla.” He had to admit, though never to her, that he was relieved she decided to use a holograph. It had been three years since he’d last set foot on the Phoenix where Crux had settled. Since his mother died.
“I thought you were dead,” she said.
“Not yet.”
 *** 

Okay, so now to my suggestions for making this a better first page:
Morph could almost forget that Earth was a dying planet. It looked normal from space: a bright blue sphere with a stable atmosphere. But most of its natural resources, including humans, had been depleted as the Earth crumbled in on itself, unstable and volatile. Here is where I would insert how this happened and/or what caused it. You don't need a big long paragraph, just a few short sentences will do.
Its sole purpose to record and retrieve information, Aislyn, priest and executioner, listened when you thought you were alone and backstabbed you to Crux with the information. I had to read this sentence a few times before it made sense to me. At first I thought it was a fragment but I think reworking the order of words would make a big difference, like so: Morph turned to the cyborg, Aislyn, whose sole purpose was to record and retrieve information. It listened when you thought you were alone you were alone and then back-stabbed you to Crux with the information. Not perfect but better, I think. Also, Aislyn is a feminine name which would suggest the cyborg might have a feminine appearance and thus be referred to as she. Referring to it as it is fine, but just remember, you'll have to do so consistently throughout.
The phrase 'demanded his council' felt odd, too, since it implies Morph and Shyla are on equal turns but the fact that she withheld the supply ship suggests otherwise. Demanded a meeting might be better.
Lastly, I might save the 'since his mother died' for when Morph goes down to earth (I'm making the assumption here that he will be going down) and sees the place. That might be a good opportunity to use those words to lead into some backstory. 
I like the use of certain words like Needle and Crux, which, while they aren't explained, suggest enough to satisfy the reader but also make her curious to find out more - especially about Crux. What is it? Who is it? Some sort of Government entity? Something else? I want to know more! And who is this Shyla person in red?!

Thank you Elizabeth for submitting your first page. I hope my suggestions/comments helped, and I hope my readers will chime in with theirs.

Happy Monday all!  

7 comments:

  1. I would also change "Morph drew a smile on his lips". It just read as if he actually drew a smile on his lips! I would argue against the need to "genderise" Aislyn though, but that's just my personal opinion!

    Have a great Monday! Take care
    x

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  2. I could feel the personality emerging, which was good. That second full paragraph confused me as well.

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  3. Ooh, I like this, Elizabeth. Very different for you and refreshing. I really like your opening two sentences. I think the third could be inserted elsewhere, just a bit later. Leaving it out creates more tension, at least for me.

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  4. Thanks! I've been tinkering with the story for a few...years. My biggest challenge in Sci-fi/Fantasy is grounding the reader in setting, characters, and circumstance. Finding that balance isn't easy for me. This helps. =)

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  5. I struggled to understand the "back stab to Crux" sentence. Perhaps a little more detail. "...back stabbed you to the council on Crux" or something like that?

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