Friday, October 2, 2015

First Impressions - Curse Curse

Welcome everyone to First Impressions, whereby three authors (that would be moi, Dianne Salerni, and Krystalyn Drown) critique someone's first page at our respective blogs. This month we have three submissions to share, and first up is CURSE CURSE from Angelo Michaels, an MG Magical Realism novel. 


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SEEA
CHAPTER 1

            I knew the imposter wasn’t my sister.  Genuine or not, her appearance, her mere presence suggested that my sister might’ve still been alive.  There was no explanation in the discovery, no means to an end.  My sister was still missing even though the doppelganger was recovered.    
            There were small tells, like Siena pulling on the wrong side of her razor straight black hair or tapping her left foot, instead of right, when annoyed.  I could see right through her because she didn’t have her defensive shield in place—her innate, inanimate ability to control her environment with her commanding personality.  Always the boss since she followed me out of our mother twenty-two minutes after I arrived in the world.  
            Siena was always playing catch up.  Picking up on skills like walking, talking and writing, slightly before me—pushing her way to the front, barreling me over in the process.  It was easy for her because I was the timid, shy introvert.  She spoke for both of us, made the decisions and I just followed along. 
            Surviving in her wake, but never thriving in her shadow.
            Even now, entering adulthood at 18, the sea of time between then and now seems to have been absorbed like a sponge.  Those critical years of discovery, both of body and principle, meld together until they become one journey, one thought. 
            All these years later the pain of losing Siena is still as fresh, the fear still as raw as the night she went missing. 
            The night of our 13th birthday I was scared, petrified at the thought of never seeing Siena again.  Dragging around my half self for the rest of my days, the other half vanished, stolen in the night.  If she was dead than I didn’t want to live.  The world would cease to exist without her in it, but the globe continued to spin in the void so she must’ve been alive, somewhere out there.
            I thought my mother, Genieve Grace, being a psychic, would’ve sensed Siena had been replaced when she returned.  Astrologist is her professional title.  Genieve gives Reading, lays tarot cards and plots star charts.  Her ability stems from a heightened intuition bordering on premonition.  She calls it the Wave because it rolls over her, compressing her thoughts until one trumps the others.
            That’s why when Siena went missing I thought Genieve would’ve been more helpful.  More insightful in locating her and more cognizant, upon Siena’s return, that she wasn’t my sister. 
            I knew it, and not just because she was my twin, but because we’re Witches.
***

My first thoughts: I can't help but wonder if starting with the night Siena goes missing might not be a better place to start this story. Her disappearance seems to be the inciting event, why not start here? What better place to start than with a disappearance? Most of the above I see as coming after, especially if the plan is to have the 18 year old narrator tell the story. But I also wonder why the story is being told by the 18yr old, rather than by the 13yr old? Is that the best person to tell the story? 

Regarding the rest:
I knew the imposter impostor wasn’t my sister.  Genuine or not, her appearance, her mere presence suggested that my sister might’ve still been alive.(how so?)  There was no explanation in the discovery, no means to an end.(I'm not sure what this means)  My sister was still missing even though the doppelganger was recovered. (I want to know more about this!)

Surviving in her wake, but never thriving in her shadow.(This leads me to believe that the narrator isn't/wasn't entirely happy in his role. Is this true?)  

 The night of our 13th birthday I was scared, petrified at the thought of never seeing Siena again.  Dragging around my half self for the rest of my days, the other half vanished, stolen in the night.  If she was dead than I didn’t want to live.  The world would cease to exist without her in it, but the globe continued to spin in the void so she must’ve been alive, somewhere out there. (see, I want to read this, see what happened that night through his eyes, especially the finding of the doppelganger. Where was it found? By whom? Is our narrator really the only one who knows it isn't his sister?!)

I knew it, and not just because she was my twin, but because we’re Witches. (Just them? Or is their mother one, too? Just curious...)

Final thoughts: I think this sounds like a pretty neat set up. I love the idea of a doppelganger pretending to be his sister. How horrifying!!! I also want to know more about why our narrator calls his mom
Genieve instead of Mom, and if they're the only witches, and who took Siena, and why. There are a lot of interesting questions here, giving the reader plenty of reasons to turn the page.

Readers, what do you think? Care to add your thoughts in the comments? You know we especially like comments for our First Impressions posts. A big thank you to Angelo for submitting his first page, and don't forget to go visit Dianne and Krystalyn to see their thoughts. I'll be back on Monday with our second First Impression for October.

8 comments:

  1. I do think started with the disappearance and then sliding into the present would be better. That would eliminate of lot of the backstory here.

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  2. Even though the first paragraph poses more questions than answers, I like the way this story starts. The first sentence is an attention-grabber, and the overall paragraph makes one wonder about this supposed doppelganger and how it was "recovered." Makes one want to keep on reading. (And isn't that the purpose?)

    My favorite lines? "Surviving in her wake, but never thriving in her shadow." Not only does this have a pleasing rhythm and sound to it, it also induces speculation about the relationship between the twins. Then the phrase, "... dragging around my half self..." and that whole section reveals more poignantly how he felt about the loss of his sister.

    And then the surprising drama of the last sentence, about them also being witches... I like that, too.

    Usually, I prefer stories that follow a more linear time line, but I think this story has the potential to be quite effective as it is. Good work, Angelo.

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    Replies
    1. Thank You so much for the feedback!! I love the first sentence as well and the entire story developed from that single thought and I want to start with it. I wanted readers to to get that feeling of "I want to keep reading" (how could this happen, etc...)

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  3. I am intrigued. I want to know when the doppelganger was recovered. How? Who by? Where?
    Like Susan I love the line 'Surviving in her wake, but never thriving...'
    Interestingly two of the commentators have assumed that the narrator is male. Which I didn't.

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    Replies
    1. Thank You for the feedback!! So funny you say that about the narrator because she is female, the twins are identical sisters.

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  4. I left my comments at Dianne's but I forgot to mention that the voice seems too old for MG -- even upper MG. I think it's probably because the real narrator is 18, not a 13 year old. Although the voice sounds old for 13, it's missing the snark and slang of an 18 year old too. I'd get rid of the bracketing story and make the voice younger (use easier words, sentences, and concepts).

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