Well, it's been a while since Dianne and I have done this, but out of the blue someone emailed me wanting their first page critiqued and who am I to refuse a fellow writer in need? So, without further ado, I present Selena's first page from her work in progress.
She woke up with a splitting headache and a muddled mind. Without opening her eyes or trying to form a coherent thought, she pushed her head deeper into the soft pillow and sent a silent prayer to the heavens for the pain to go away and let her sleep a little longer. Unfortunately, it took only seconds for a nagging feeling to appear in her stomach, telling her something was wrong. Peeling her eyelids open, she took in her surroundings. The city lights coming through the large floor-to-ceiling window were enough for the sleek lines of the furniture around her to form a disturbing picture in her head. A hotel room. She was in a hotel room. An expensive one at that, if the leather armchairs positioned by the coffee table and plush curtains framing the window were anything to go by. At the same time, she noticed the silky feel of the sheets covering her body and realized she was naked. Panic made her lift her head up with the jerk, and she immediately regretted the move since blindingly sharp needles of pain pierced her brain. Firmly shutting her eyes, she let her head fall back down and waited for the onslaught of nausea to pass. She really was in a hotel with possibly the worst hangover of her life. The good news was that the room was still dark which meant the morning didn’t come yet. Nobody was in bed with her or even in the room, so she didn’t have to get up right this second. Her brain
will would probably offer some information about the
last night events at some point, so there was no need to panic. She allowed
herself to relax just a little bit and sunk sank into the softness of the bed trying
to decide on the a course of action that will would get her out of this room and home.
Preferably as soon as possible. A headache wasn’t going anywhere, and she
didn’t have any painkillers so the shower should probably be the first stop of
her escape route. That will clear her head enough to find her stuff, leave the
hotel and find a cab that will drive her home. Well, it appears that forging
the plan wasn’t so hard after all.
My thoughts: First off, I would give her a name. It's hard to connect with someone who doesn't have a name and the goal of the first page is to pull the reader in and get her to connect with the character. Like so:
Sasha woke up with a splitting headache and a muddled mind Without opening her eyes or trying to form a coherent thought, she pushed her head deeper into the soft pillow and sent a silent prayer to the heavens for the pain to go away and let her sleep a little longer.
It's much easier to feel sorry for Sasha than some unnamed person.
The second thing I noticed was that our narrator isn't too alarmed at finding herself in a high end motel room, naked no less, and has access to painkillers, although she doesn't have any on her. This leads me to make certain assumptions about her. Is she a call girl? Does she often drink too much and end up in strange people's beds?
Last but not least, a first page needs to do something to make the reader want to turn the page and read more. The question of how this character got where she is isn't enough, in my opinion, but mostly because the character is so nonchalant about it. She's not worried so why should the reader be?
With that said, if there's a reason our character had so much to drink, I suggest that information be conveyed sooner to give the reader more impetus to turn the page. I would also suggest that she feel some regret. Not necessarily for ending up in a hotel room for a one night stand, but for having drank so much that she can't recall. That's not a good thing, and even an alcoholic would be remorseful - and want to get the heck out of there as fast as possible.
Selena, thank you for submitting your first page, and I hope my thoughts have helped. Readers, if you have anything helpful to add please do, and don't forget that Dianne is critiquing this page as well so head over to her place to see what she had to say.