Our final submission of the month comes from Elizabeth. My comments can be found in purple. Dianne's can be found here. This is the first page of Elizabeth's MG fantasy. And omg, don't you just love the cover?!
It has always been her story. I’m just there, living on the outskirts. But she changed my life. Pick a tense and stick with it :)
Footsteps pounded the cobbled pavement behind me. Not good at all. A trail of marinara sauce leaked down my chin as a long piece of melted cheese flapped across my face with each step. (can he/she see where they're going?) I practically choked trying to bite the last bit of cheese while running. (I have a hard time picturing someone running scared AND continuing to eat. Just sayin...) I darted into an alley and snorted when the cheese, covered in marinara, went up my nose. (ick!) It burned! I muffled the sound with a hand over my nose. I couldn’t let them hear me.
Distracted, my black t-shirt caught against a nail beside a fire escape. It tore but I didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. The footsteps became louder. So loud. Much too loud. They rattled my eardrums. I bit my lip and chanced a look back. Adjusting my eyes, I stared into the darkness. Blinking I could see through the darkness. Shadows followed, large shadows that ran across the walls. Witches.
I wonder if the whole sauce bit is necessary? If this is supposed to be a humorous tale then I would say yes. But if not then I'd probably get rid of it. Without it, we are left with what I think is a pretty harrowing beginning. Someone running scared from someone or something else, shadows, and then...witches. The narrator knows they are witches, which tells us that this world is not the one we are familiar with and that witches are to be feared. Much more interesting than spaghetti sauce - imho.
Here's what it might look like (or, the spaghetti sauce could be replaced by a bad smell - that might work):
Footsteps pounded the cobbled pavement behind me. Not good at all. I darted into an alley, muffled the sound of my heavy breathing with my hand. I couldn’t let them hear me. My black t-shirt caught against a nail beside a fire escape. It tore but I didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. The footsteps became louder. Too loud. They rattled my eardrums. I bit my lip and chanced a look, stared back into the darkness. Shadows ran across the walls. Witches.
What do you guys think?