Wednesday, March 7, 2012

first impressions - The 49th Parallel revisited

I don't know if you remember PK but Dianne and I recently critiqued the first page of her YA Thriller, THE 49th PARALLEL. Since then, PK has done a little revising...

            Mom says I’m my father’s daughter.
            She doesn’t mean it in a good way. It’s why I’m stuck here in the most boring town in upstate New York for the summer, working in the public library. It was this or change bedpans  for old people in a retirement home, and I’m not about to work around human defecation all day.
One more book to return and I’m done for the night. I roll the book cart onward, just as my MP3 dies, right in the middle of a filthy jazz riff too. Hate it when that happens. I flick the buds out of my ears and reel toward the American History section. The faded parquet floor creaks like it’s in pain. Except for that, it’s totally quiet right now—too quiet on my first night closing alone. At least the head librarian doesn’t hover over my shoulder. She lets me handle the lockdown on my own, and sad to say, right now she may be the only one who trusts me.
This big old building is kind of creepy. It’s three levels, with the third floor skirting a transparent railing around the center staircase. From up here, you can see all the way down to the atrium floor, where moonlight from the glass ceiling spills in like silvery rain. Distorted shadows dance across the floor there, provoked by a breeze through the tree limbs that hug the outside windows.
This job is supposed to keep me out of trouble, and I have to admit, even though it’s torture being away from my friends in Manhattan, it’s way better than forever being labeled a youth offender for something I didn’t do. Mom doesn’t get it—why I put myself on the line for my friends. That’s what she means when she says I’m my father’s daughter. Dad was a firefighter and made a career of getting people out of trouble. There’s even a memorial for him, along with the other firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. They dubbed him a hero, like the name was somehow supposed to make up for his death.

First off, I really like the changes. The voice is so much more distinct. I can practically hear it. I don't know if anyone remembers how I questioned the lack of explanation for why our narrator was allowed to lock up by herself (in version one) but I LOVE how PK has not only given me an explanation but also made me wonder why is the librarian the only one who trusts her? I want to know more. About both of them.
 I also love the bit of back story that follows, which is perfectly placed - imho - coming after our introduction to the mc. Because by this time I'm interested in this person and how she got where she is and where she's headed. PK's first page was good before, but now it's great!

What do you think?  
And don't forget to check out what Dianne had to say about PK's revised first page. 


  1. Thank you, Marcy! I appreciate all your feedback and for hosting me here!! :)

  2. This is awesome! My only small criticism - and honestly, it is merely a matter of opinion - is that maybe the paragraph that begins "This big old building is kind of creepy," could be removed and used later. I feel like it takes away from the explanation of what your character is doing in the library.

    Otherwise, I think it's fab!

  3. Hi Marcy, Hi, PK...

    I was just over at Diane's blog and sang PK's praises...


    I agree that the backstory is crucial and adds so much to this first page.


  4. I agree this flows really nicely now. I want to know the characters more now

  5. I definitely want to know more! Nice job, PK!

  6. I think she nailed it this time! Kudo's!! :)


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