Wednesday, July 3, 2013

first impressions - ROSE AND WATCHES.

Our second first impression this month comes from Nicole Zoltack, who you can find on her blog, or on her website. This is the first page of her steampunk romance, ROSE AND WATCHES. My comments will be in purple and do go check out what Dianne Salerni had to say about this first page.

Cage wrinkled his nose at the stench of rotting food, then adjusted his goggles, the green shifting around and made his stomach churn.(not sure if you want the word 'and' here. It doesn't read right to me. I'm also uncertain about what is green and shifting.)  His Stygian Specs allowed him to see the paw prints on the dirt ground; without them, tracking at such a late hour would be impossible. What are Stygian Specs? I'm curious!
He intended to find out why such a large animal haunted London. Rumors of a huge wolf beast—one with intelligence, capable of human speech, a fierce solo predator—had circulated lately. His great fear was that this beast and the creature he was tracking were one and the same. I think starting with the second sentence reads better. Readers, do chime in.
Not that he hadn't hunted other odd, powerful creatures and always emerged the victor.
His fingers brushed against the handle of his six-shooter. Shadows crept along the alley. He stalked along the trail, his cape fluttering behind him. Down the next alley, he spied wetness on the stones. He bent down and touched it, brought his finger to his nose. Tasted metal. (Does he bring his finger to his nose or lips or both?) Blood. But whose? The animal's or a victim's?
Cage quickened his pace through the lonely alleyways. This late at night, most of London was either sleeping or partying. He wasn't much the partying type and refused to believe they were worth the extravagance most boasted of them.
The trail broke here and there, with larger and larger gaps between. When it disappeared, Cage punched a gloved fist into his other hand. A wasted expedition. Nothing did he hate more than time spent in an inefficient manner. This reads awkward to me and stands out in comparison to the rest of the language.
Hurmph. He removed his Stygian Specs and tucked them into one of his inner vest pockets. With a jerk, he pivoted and returned to the previous unoccupied alley.
            Only it was no longer unoccupied. Uh oh. 

I would actually begin like so:  "Cage (I'd use his full name name here as well) peered through his Stygian Specs at the massive paw prints on the dirt ground." then go on to describe his surroundings and bring in the sensory details. Of course I'm assuming the creature he's hunting has big paws and if they're not then another adjective will need to be found, something that shows that these are not ordinary dog paw prints. I'm also curious about the specs he has and wonder if more can be said about them since they're obviously special. Maybe the second line could explain how they help Cage to see better. Lastly, love that last line. If I'd been reading the actual book I would've turned the page quickly to find out exactly what was in that alley.

Now, what about you, dear readers? Any thoughts for Nicole? Suggestions? You know we love comments around here so do speak up : ) 


  1. I like your suggested beginning sentence. Yes, some of the wording feels a little awkward. I had to read several lines twice. Like the story idea though, Nicole!

  2. I commented on Dianne's blog, but like seeing the differenced between your two impressions. I do so like the change in paragraph two, Marcy! Makes the graf much stronger!

  3. Hi Nicole, hi Marcy!! I don't know but I feel sorry for this beast all of a sudden! LOL! It's cos it (he/she?) is being hunted by Cage whom I presume will just kill and take no prisoners! Awww! Poor beastie!

    Take care

  4. love your new banner picture, Marcy :)

  5. I left a long comment on Dianne's blog, but I'll chime in here, too. Agree with deleting that first sentence in the second paragraph. It's really not needed. I was going to say, "But she needs to mention London," until I realized Nicole mentions it further on.

    And I like your suggested opening sentence, Marcy.

  6. Thanks for sharing this with us Nicole! I agree with you Marcy on the spots that read a little awkward. And changing the opening in the second paragraph makes it flow better. Overall, I did enjoy this excerpt and great hook at the end. I would have totally turned the page. (:

  7. Thanks for the critique, everyone!

  8. I commented on Dianne's earlier. But I do like your suggestions Marcy! Especially the start!


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