Friday, October 7, 2011

first impressions - Knights of Avalon

Our last submission for the month is from Melissa Barlow who can be found at Surviving Writing a Book This is the first page of her YA Urban Fantasy. My comments are in purple and Dianne's can be found on her blog.

 A fencing champion destined for the Olympics, a martial arts prodigy, an organizer for Habitat for Humanity.  Someone was murdering the brightest, most brilliant teens in New Jersey .  (I'm not sure I like this as the first sentence. I wonder if they could be switched, if that would work. Just a thought.) Now in the middle of the night, the persistent ringing of my cell phone broke me out of my sleep. I think it reads better shorter - but that's just my opinion. 

I scrambled to get my bearings in the darkness.  I was in my bedroom, the Bruce Lee (like that; Bruce Lee rocks) posters on the walls told me that much.  Through bleary eyes, I could see the alarm clock shining 3:11 back at me.  I froze, shaking off the last remnants of sleep.  Why would someone be calling at 3am ?  I peered at the phone, trying to place the number.  Then I took a deep breath and picked up.  “Hello?”

“Hi, Justine.  I’m sorry to be calling so late.”  I immediately recognized the shaky voice on the other end of the line, it was my best friend’s Mom, Mrs. Martinez, but I had never heard her sound like this.  “Gwen’s not with you, is she?”

My mouth dropped, the question a punch to the gut.  Three in the morning on a school night.  A murderer on the loose, cutting down the best kids in the state.  And Gwen?  She was the most incredible person I had ever met.  She had an inner light, a compassion that shone like a beacon, and now she was missing.

“No,” I said, my mind racing with possibilities, each one more horrible than the last.
“Why would she be?”  I was jumping to conclusions, I told myself, even as my pulse pounded.  I had to hear Mrs. Martinez out, let her explain what was going on.  But Gwen was a straight ‘A’ student.  She was going to be a heart surgeon and work for Doctors Without Borders one day.   There had always been something different about her.  She was like the other victims.  Special.   She was special. Just like the other victims. (Again, just a thought)

I'm a little confused as to who this person is and how old she is but I still like this opening. It immediately sets up a bunch of questions about Justine and Gwen and the murders and is Gwen next? And what's Justine going to do? It makes me wonder what is going to happen next. And that's what a good story is supposed to do. 


  1. This is a very strong start, and makes this reader want more, please.

  2. I love these first impressions posts. Nice job! Found your blog through Dianne Marenco Salerni's. :0) Christy

  3. I really like that opening. I defs want to read more!

  4. School night makes me think they are in high school, so I've got no problem with age. Intriguing! Not knowing what comes next, this could be off the mark, but I'd leave out the "Just like the over victims" because it's kind of obvious. But I liked this start. A lot.

  5. You're right -- and that's what Stephen King is a master of, making us wonder what's going to happen next. Trying to harness that in my own writing is another matter!


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