Friday, September 7, 2012

first impressions - Lovesense

Our second first impression comes from Robin. Here is the first page of her YA Magical Realism, Lovesense. My comments are in purple and don't forget to check out what Dianne has to say. Your comments are welcome and, if you're a follower, will get you entered into the great give away :)

     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. No more reading relationships at work, (I wonder if there's a way to make it clearer what she's doing. I had to read this paragraph a few times before I figured it out. Then again, it could just be me...) I remind myself as I tap my cross trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip. It spews three hundred prints of the same two smiling faces, but I'm not looking. Never again, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one. Plus it's creepy to boot!
     Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock: forty-seven minutes to bride time. (bride time?) The whir is louder than our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no, is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction recovery program to save me.
     I pull a photo off the top of the stack. Even with the wonderful aroma of fresh ink, it doesn’t begin to cover the stench of this couple. It’s more than that rotten-egg sulfur smell I made in chem lab yesterday. It’s also, rotting meat, and moldy, squishy potatoes. A good dinner gone wrong. Love this comparison.
     As I squint at the picture, the formally clad couple separates, not mere millimeters like I usually see. No, they’re on opposite sides of the photo. This breakup is going to be ugly. I cross my eyes, looking for the timeline, and there it is on her diamond: six months. That scum guy is already holding someone else’s hand. I scratch at his face with my nonexistent nail, but it doesn’t even nick the photo. Blah. No wonder I can’t stand love; every time I’m supposed to see it I get numbers, distance, and raunch. Raunch? According to my dictionary raunch is not a word. Raunchy, however, is and means smutty or indecent.

The premise you've got is very intriguing; a young woman who can 'read/see' from photos whether a relationship is going to work out or not and how it's going to go wrong. I would actually suggest starting with the last paragraph where you show us our narrator doing exactly that. This way it will be clear what her gift is and when she comments on it - her interior dialogue - there won't be any confusion. I also like how she thinks of love in terms of numbers and distance. But if this is her talent, then wouldn't she also see photos where love lasts? Just asking/pointing out.

Oh, and I would definitely read on :) 


  1. After I read the opening a few times, I understood what Marcy was talking about. I think it's that the first sentence is a head thought, while the next is action. Maybe mingle the two.

    I love the voice. Nice job!

  2. Wow, what a good job you did. I like the work and the critique.

  3. Unusual choice of words in some spots. I still don't understand the first part. However, the rotten eggs part will stick with me all day.

  4. Yeah, it took reading the entire paragraph a few times to figure out exactly what was going on. I agree that starting with her paranormal gift at the beginning might make it a lot easier to appreciate what she's seeing and doing and feeling with better understanding.

    Love the premise of someone who can look at photos and see into the relationships. Very cool.

  5. Oh wow this line: It’s more than that rotten-egg sulfur smell I made in chem lab yesterday. It’s also, rotting meat, and moldy, squishy potatoes. A good dinner gone wrong
    is so evocative.

  6. Good comments here.
    btw, I love your header photo!

  7. The concept is fascinating. It's quite unique!

    I'd agree with your comments about the first and last paragraphs.

  8. Thank you for all your helpful comments. I'm tweaking my 1st page yet again. Thanks Marcy for having me. Your First Impressions series is so helpful. I'm contemplating starting with that 4th paragraph. We'll see:)


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