Wednesday, June 4, 2014

First Impressions - Soulless


Our second First Impression of the month comes from Crystal Collier, author of Moonless, who blogs about her love of cheese and other interesting things here. This is the first page of SOULLESS, sequel to Moonless, a YA Paranormal/Historical.



1
Predators and Prey

Alexia’s eyes snapped open, heart thundering.
Well, she wasn’t dead. Yet.
Caught somewhere between annoyed and relieved, she settled on grateful—that she’d recovered enough to dream again, even if her nightmares always came true. She could still feel phantom fingers pressed at the back of her skull, crushing her face into the pillow until she ceased to breathe.
She shuddered.
Lace curtains scattered shadow creatures across the wood floor, twisting in a late summer breeze from the unlatched balcony door. Specters clawed at the pastel walls, up a bureau, and over a wardrobe of fashionable clothes for seventeen-seventy. Costumes. Façades. Pretensions.
She sat up in the bed she’d used all eighteen years of her life, the down mattress soft but no longer able to resurrect the comforts as it used to inspire. Like her nanny soothing away her fears. Or Father reading to her.
Father, who slumbered at the other end of the too-empty estate.
Father, whom she had never expected to see again.
Father who had begged her to abandon her true heritage.
In this very bed, she’d witnessed death after death through her night terrors. Alexia had hoped the dreams would cease for good now that she’d discovered the true extent of her gift, the ability to slow or freeze time. But wishing was futile. She’d nearly killed herself by overextending the night their enemies attacked, like using a muscle until it was destroyed, but she must be making progress in her recovery if the dreams had resumed.
And now she was going to die.
***

 My thoughts:
Grammar: Caught somewhere between annoyed and relieved, she settled on grateful—that she’d recovered enough to dream again, even if her nightmares always came true. Should be either this: Caught somewhere between annoyed and relieved - she settled on grateful - that she’d recovered enough to dream again, even if her nightmares always came true. Or this: Caught somewhere between annoyed and relieved (she settled on grateful) that she’d recovered enough to dream again, even if her nightmares always came true. I'd opt for the parentheses myself.
Lace curtains scattered shadow creatures across the wood floor, twisting in a late summer breeze...What is twisting in the late summer breeze, the shadow creatures, or the curtains?  
 ...a wardrobe of fashionable clothes for seventeen-seventy. Do we really need the date here? Since this is a sequel most readers will already be familiar with the time period the story takes place in plus I would assume the the cover makes reference to when this tale occurs. I think I noticed this because it seems unnecessary - imho.
Lastly, I wonder if the second to last paragraph might work better as a brief recap of the major events of the first book? This would serve two purposes. It would remind readers of the first book what happened, and it would offer any new readers a clue as to what has previously happened.

Otherwise, I liked this first page and I'm thinking I ought to snag book one before book two comes out! What do you think? Any thoughts on Crystal's first page? If you want to see what Dianne Salerni thought of this page, go here, and if you would like to offer up your first page for a free crit, we still have one slot left for Friday.

14 comments:

  1. I didn't see much wrong with it at all - flowed well and with personality. Yeah, better read the first one before this one comes out!

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  2. Great comments, Marcy! Other than that, I'm with Alex.

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  3. Nice excerpt. And I love the photo at the top. My lupine are finally mature enough to get those huge blooms. I'm insanely proud of them. :)

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  4. It's always interesting to see two different critiques / reactions to the same text. Dianne had some great points and so do you. And I’m with ya, Marcy--I need to get book one!

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  5. It's very interesting. Those shadow things are creepy and cool.

    I'm not sure about the Father passage. I think I need to read book 1 to really get it. Well done!

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  6. Marcy! Great thoughts. Thank you so much for having me here today. Awesome suggestions.

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  7. I agree that tightening up the language in those areas would make everything flow much smoother. They're small points but would make a big difference.

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  8. It sounded okay to me, but I'm usually easy to please and don't catch nuances of editing. The story sounds like a good one.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

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  9. Sequels are tough--you have a group of readers who read the first book and are familiar with it and a group of readers who didn't read the first book, so the book has to be a standalone one, as well. You don't want to overwhelm the reader with details from the other books but you have to work in a few things to let new readers know what's gong on. This looks great to me--I haven't read the first book yet and I could jump right in. I'd rather read the first book first, though!

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  10. nice style of writing, but I don't do that genre....

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  11. Good critique, and I really liked Crystal's MOONLESS. Sequels really have to recap carefully--too much and you'll annoy people who remember everything, and not enough and you'll frustrate the ones who can't remember much. And sentences like that lace curtain one are tough!--the subject of the sentence is probably the twisting item, but since the verb is close to the shadow creatures (or even the floor) it can sound like it refers to those things instead.

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  12. Great critique, as always. And I agree... I think I need to read Book One, too. (Come to think of it, I might even already have it on my Kindle.)

    However, I disagree with you about the date. Not everyone who reads this book will have read the first one, so I think it's a good idea to place it in time for those unfortunate readers.

    Like I already said on Dianne's blog, I think this is a terrific first page. Sure made a great first impression on ME!

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  13. I really like this passage! It has excellent flow. I like the way she alternates between longer sentences and fragments.

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