Today we have the first page of Robin Hall's novel, LOVESENSE, a YA-Magical Realism If you want to know more about Robin (like where she blogs) go here. And if you want to read what Dianne thought about this piece head on over to her blog, In High Spirits. My comments - as always - will be in purple.
Some people can smell an artesian cheese and know to the minute how old it is, how it was made, and when it will spoil. I’m not one of those people. But give me a photo of a couple, and I can tell you those very same things. I’ll know how they’ve aged—if they’re a month-old cheddar, or a block of aged parmesan—and when the relationship will go sour. I’d much rather look at those pictures and see what the rest of the world sees: two people in love. But I’m not that lucky. This first paragraph tells me that the narrator has a gift for looking at pictures and knows a lot about cheese. The next paragraph identifies her as a seventeen year old girl. I can easily buy the girl having the gift of knowing things about couples but not that she knows so much about cheese. The voice feels a little older to me. But that's just my opinion - someone else might have something very different to say.
That’s why I often regret my part-time job as the ice cream/photo counter girl at Alfred’s Drug Store. But in a town as small as Sparrow, a seventeen-year-old doesn’t have a lot of options. Worse than the uniforms, with their straight-legged pants (awful for my curvy legs) and the Peter Pan-collared shirts with their attached red vests, are the photos I print on my Saturday morning shifts.
Right now I’m tapping my trainers (what are trainers?) against the photo processor and trying to make three-hundred prints of Mary Brighton and her fiancé without seeing their smiling faces. It’s hard to find a good place to look. (here is where I would cut with the description and give us something interesting like the narrators thoughts about the couple. Because that's what I'm curious about, not the game across the street.) Watching the empty store is depressing now that a Rite Aid opened in Hickory, so I’m taking advantage of our windows and checking out the Little League game across the street. Not that I can see much for all the trees, but then, that’s one thing I love about living in the foothills of the Appalachians. Green is everywhere.
The only other comment I'll make is that if this is YA I'd cut to the chase quicker and show the reader more about how the narrator can know things about couples, let us in on her thoughts so we see her, understand her, connect with her. I think there's an interesting mystery here but it's buried beneath too much description.
Anyway, that's my opinion, for what it's worth, but do go check out what Dianne's thoughts were because I'll wager they're quite different than mine. And I would love to hear what anyone else thinks about this piece.