Wednesday, November 7, 2012

first impressions - Paradox

Our final first impression of the month comes from Blake who can be found at The Tattered Page or @TheTatteredPage (Twitter). Don't you love the cover even though it's not really the cover? Something about the black and white intrigues me. Anyway, here is the first page of Blake's YA Paranormal Romance, PARODOX. My comments will be in purple and don't forget to go see what Dianne Salerni has to say.

             Sleepy Hollow, Say It Proudly!
             My high school’s slogan was printed at the top of the bulletin board I found myself examining in the empty hallway. It was the middle of July. The summertime and I was in school. Voluntarily. I don't think you need that because we know July is the middle of summer.
             How lame.
             Sleepy Hollow High School is located near the East bank of the Hudson River, with a total of eight-hundred fifty students. The entrance of the school is right along Route 9, like most other important places in town. The large brick and granite sign that reads Sleepy Hollow High School Home of the Horsemen makes sure you can’t miss it. Once you enter the front parking lot you can see and appreciate the high school’s structure. The outside, with its deep warm brown shaded bricks, makes the school appear as if it was erected only a few years ago. The inside is brightly lit, the walls are painted a soft gray – which I guess was in effort to keep rowdy teenagers as calm as possible -- and the floors are freshly buffed and waxed industrial tiles. This is a lot of telling and I wonder if #1, it's necessary and #2, if some of this description could be imparted in smaller increments. For example, in the next paragraph our narrator is waiting for her mom, maybe she might notice the decor while waiting and comment on it then. 
             I was waiting for my mother, Bianca, (Do we need to know mom's name? Most kids don't think about their parents' names - even now I never refer to or think about my parents by their given names. They're still mom and dad to me.) to finish her discussion with the assistant principal. It was about allowing me to enter the summer bridge program to earn extra credits for college; I was determined to graduate a year early. My schedule this year was already going to be filled with more classes than any sane student would ask for. So naturally there was resistance from my mother along with my guidance counselor, Ms. Tolkin, but I didn’t budge. After realizing that they didn’t have a choice (Why didn't they have a choice?) but to let me take the extra classes they surrendered. “Too stubborn for your own good,” my mother had said, as she always did when there was no changing my mind.
            “Thanks again,” I heard a voice call out as the person attached to it exited the secretarial office.
            That is when I first see Him. My eyes eat up the body that lies underneath His burgundy Nike T-shirt and beige shorts. I was acutely aware of the way His tight T-shirt showed off His tan and tall, athletic physique enhanced by his obscenely hot broad rounded shoulders. His black hair is cut short and His brown eyes are complimented by a long rounded nose and Orlando Bloom lips. The strength and long length of his fingers quickened my pulse as I pictured them running down my bare back. (naughty girl!) This guy had All-American quarterback down to a TSee, here is where things get interesting so I would definitely lose most of the description and get right to the appearance of Him. The only other thing I'd work on is your tenses, which change from present to past. Pick one and stick to it! Oh, and love the Sleepy Hollow reference which sets up all sorts of interesting expectations :)

Now, what do you guys think of Blake's first page? Any comments or suggestions that might be helpful?


  1. I do love the cover even though it's not really a cover yet. That's the second thought I had. My first thought was that I LOVE the title!

    Great crit, Marcy. Maybe Blake could use some sort of memory to draw the reader in during that initial paragraph description of the school, etc... That way, it would relate to the character and not just be info.

    1. great idea, Sheri! And I love the title, too.

  2. I love the cover that's not a cover yet too. I agree with your crit. I felt bogged down by a few of the school description details, especially the number of students . . .do we need to know that? I think having some of those descriptions mixed with the feelings and thoughts on the character's mom would be good, and the description (wow moment) with the guy should definitely come a little faster.

  3. I was going to point out the tense issues, and then you got it at the end. Also agree that some of the setting/description could be worked in later. But, hey, those obscenely hot broad shoulders got my attention. :))

  4. You have a laser eye for honing in on repetitive phrases. Your corrections/suggestions are great.

  5. I agree with you Marcy. I like the idea of this and the telling about the scenery could be woven in with action. My eyes perked up with the description of Him. :) Good luck with this, Blake. You have a great start and awesome cover.

  6. Hey I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to give me feedback on PARADOX!!!
    And my hat (and gratitude) goes off to Marcy for featuring the first page of PARADOX on her blog for First Impressions.

  7. Some great suggestions. I too have a fondness for getting my back story and descriptions out, up front. Not a pretty site. It's hard to work them in and they do help flesh out the story. I have decided it's an art to know when to shut it. One I'm working on.

  8. Backstory will always show up somewhere, but I agree that one paragraph is too much at once.

  9. I already commented at Dianne's place, so I won't repeat here. Great critique, Marcy.

  10. I'm usually against backstory in the beginning, but I got a good sense of voice in this one, and I liked that voice. The only thing that bothered me was the use of the capital "H" for the guy-related pronouns at the end. Yeah, I'm sure he's a cutie, but those pronouns reminded me of God (really the only place they're ever used) and quelled all romantic feelings. Sex and religion don't mix well...

    I loved the cover, btw. Good luck! :-)

  11. I agree with Marcy's comments. Two of my biggest issues in my first WIP were changing tense without realizing it, and too much description/back story in the first part of the first chapter to try to set the proper scene, so I'm sensitive to it.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  12. I love the black and white too!
    I'm popping over from the QQQE - thanks for sharing your query there. I'm intrigued!

  13. I don't have time for a full crit today, but great job, Marcy!


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