Monday, July 9, 2012

First Impressions - The Transparents

Our third and final submission for the month of July comes from Victoria who blogs from All the World's in Words. Here is the first page of her MG Mystery,  THE TRANSPARENTS. My comments are in purple and be sure to head over to In High Spirits where Dianne Salerni is critiquing this same first page.

Chapter 1: The Sneeze

           Sometimes I wish I could disappear like my hero, Houdini. Get myself out of dangerous situations and tight spots. Today is one of those days.
           Ms. Lopez’s long, dark hair sways gently as she turns her head from side to side. I’m slumped down so low that my nose practically touches my desk. I try to mentally convince her that I’m not here and to pick someone else.
           You do not see me. You will walk right past me. I am not the volunteer you seek. LOL!
           I avoid her piercing black eyes. Don’t get me wrong. Normally, I like Ms. Lopez’s eyes. Normally, I live to hear her say “Daniel” in that melodious sing-song that could rival any bird. Just not when she’s looking for volunteers.
           A sneeze begins to build in my nose, which would be the absolute worst. Ms. Lopez needs to forget my existence. For now. Until she finds her victim—I mean, volunteer. She won’t be able to ignore me if I sneeze. She’ll be alerted to my presence and I might as well stand up now and wave my arms around.
           I’m not here. I’m a speck of dust in the corner of your vision. Choose someone else.
           I really don’t want to solve the math problem she wrote on the whiteboard. I’m okay at math. Just like as I’m okay at English, and okay at Social Studies, and okay at Science. Which is better than being sucky at Gym.
           But I don’t like being on the spot. I don’t perform well under pressure.
           If only I were more like Houdini. He could escape any situation, thrill a crowd, and stroll into and out of danger without messing a single strand of hair. Okay, there isn’t much hope for my limp hair, but the rest of it sure would make sixth grade easier.
           The sneeze tickles my nostrils and forces my eyes closed. It’s coming and there’s nothing I can do about it.

well. First off I have to say I do not read much MG so I would like to make it clear I am probably not the best person to critique this first page. I am going to hope that my friend Sheri will stop by and offer her opinion since she's much more familiar with this particular genre. That said, I didn't really find anything that struck me. The only place I marked was just a word that seemed too adult (as) which I replace with 'like' which seemed more like MG to me. Other than that this felt like a 6th grade boy to me (not that I know very much about them), one who'd just as soon pass through school mostly unnoticed. One who admires Houdini and his ability to get out of tight spots. And one who wants to be cool but knows he probably isn't. He's a regular kid who wants to be a little bit special which seems pretty normal to me. I'm also very curious about the impending sneeze. Since this is the title of the first chapter I suspect the sneeze will be important. But how? How could a sneeze possibly be important? Definitely an intriguing beginning and great voice imo.

Now what do you guys think?

ps If you would like to have your first page critiqued by us simple past it into the body of the email, include the title and genre, and use the subject 'first impressions' so we'll know it's not junk. We still have two slots left for August; you could be next!


  1. Thanks Marcy! You totally get Daniel. And that sneeze IS important because right after he sneezes he realizes he's invisible.

    Thanks again to you, Dianne and your readers!


  2. Great start. This isn't the kind of book I typically read, either, but it rings with authenticity. Daniel's voice and thoughts are completely believable as that of a sixth-grade boy.

  3. This isn't a book I would normally read either, but I felt that it was very well done! Kudo's!! :)

  4. Great start. A few phrases don't quite ring true "melodious sing-song" and "alerted to my presence" sound a bit too mature. Love the character though, can just see him cringing!

  5. I commented over at Dianne's blog, but had an additional thought. I totally want to know more about the sneeze. I think Daniel is off to a great start.


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