Monday, September 8, 2014

First Impressions - untitled

Our final first impression comes from Talynn, who unfortunately is in the midst of a move and without internet. Because of that we have no piccie or title to share, altho I did find Talynn's blog, Ink in the Book. Here is the first page of her manuscript, which we think is either a YA steampunk or fantasy. As always, my partner Dianne Salerni will be critiquing this same first page on her blog so head over and see what she thought if you get a chance. 

The clockwork dragon detonated in a barrage of fire and metal.
I yanked the sword I wielded and shoved the shield in front of my body, but it was too late. The acid laced fire already started to melt the silver blade. I growled and flung the weapon away from my body. It settled (settled feels like a weak verb here in comparison to the others used thus far) in a muddy bog and slid beneath the surface. The dragon hissed and disappeared, transmitted (ooh, wait, I want to know more about what this means) back to it’s creator, though it left most of it’s working parts scattered around the battleground.
“Echo!” I yelled over the explosion of noise. “It’s over. You can come out now.”
My twin sister had been standing behind me a few minutes earlier, tucked away in safety, but now (who is she fighting now? And with what? Didn't her blade melt? Or do you really mean:  My twin sister had been standing behind me a few minutes earlier, tucked away safely while I fought alone in the damp muskeg.) I fought alone in the damp muskeg. I scrunched up my nose, the acrid smell left behind from the dragon burned when I breathed. I glanced around me. It wasn’t easy to concentrate on the battle when Echo wasn’t in sight. (Why?) Nothing but dark shadows, where the bog mixed with cypress tress and deep caves in the distance. All I could make out was rocky crags with dark circles that looked like black eyes keeping watch over the swamp. Creepy, even for me. Echo wouldn’t have run in there. With one last look around, I walked back toward base camp, betting my cards she’s run home to the safe house.

My first thought is that this is a pretty cool beginning. A clockwork dragon? Transmitting back? Transmitting back where? And who's its creator? Lots of interesting questions to encourage the reader to turn the page. I would've liked a little more character, but I like that our narrator is worried about her twin and the last line makes me worry, too! The only other thing I'll mention is the second paragraph which suggests that the fight is still going on but nothing happens. It seems more like the aftermath to me. But that's an easy fix. Either show that the fight is continuing or reword the paragraph. Other than that, I thought this was a darn good first page.

Readers, what did you think? Any thoughts for Talynn?


  1. I know Talynn!
    I really like this beginning. A clockwork dragon is intriguing.

  2. I actually just left my comments over on Dianne's site. I'm with Alex. The first line is very intriguing!

  3. I still don't understand the whole "steampunk" concept, but great start! Being without internet is the worst part of moving.

  4. Is this chapter one? I have a lot of the same questions. The paragraphs leave me with lots of questions. Great critique!

  5. Just saw this on Dianne's blog! I suggested tightening up the language and axing unnecessary words to make the action even more urgent and immediate. But this is a great, compelling start!

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  7. poor clockwork dragon...

  8. An intriguing beginning.

  9. i like the sound of this! love the idea of a clockwork dragon - sounds like she won this battle, but more will come. my only suggestion - make sure the verbs are all in the same tense and more active (ex. last line - Betting my cards she ran home...)
    great opening scene!

  10. This beginning is pretty good. Need to see more.

  11. A clockwork dragon: what a fabulous word combination.

  12. This isn't the sort of story I usually read, but it sounds quite interesting. I'd probably keep reading to learn more about the clockwork dragon. Great start!


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