Wednesday, November 5, 2014

First Impressions - Ashes

Whew! I just got my power back in time to finish this post, our second First Impression for November. Today we have the first page of ASHES, a YA post-apocalyptic dystopian, from Ashley at The Tattered Page. You might recognize Ashley - like Pk, this isn't her first time at the dance. Author Dianne Salerni is also critiquing this first page so don't forget to check out her thoughts here

Till the sun explodes.
          As the sun was bidding goodnight to the star littered galaxy and dipping into the welcoming horizon of Earth, it flew into a blazing rage. A brilliant sight it was. A burst of vaporizing heat and radiant light. The shattered sky was stained in splashes of color for the first couple of weeks of The After.(this wording sounds awkward to me)
          That is the story they spit out at us in The Anthill, anyway. “They” being The Globe. The Globe is the all-seeing. Or at least that is what we are supposed to believe without a shadow of a doubt. Still, I will bet a week of my Meal Twos that some of us know otherwise. But who are we earth dwelling folk to dispute what The Globe tells us is the truth? Besides, The Globe does not tolerate blasphemy even if anyone had the nerve.
          Till the sun explodes, his smooth, comforting voice had come through the receiver. Those were the words he (who is he?) always used when he ended our conversations over the phone. Or any other conversation he could mangle it into. Those are the very words that continue to haunt me to this day. Yes, that was how long he said he would love me. And he kept his promise. He lived up to his word. Or rather he died for it. How was he to know that the sun was going to explode that afternoon?
          Or maybe he did know.
          Scientists had been working for years to harness the sun’s energy to fuel and power, well, everything. Not just homes and the occasional building but vehicles of transportation, factories, bombs and other lethal weapons. Entire cities. Like I said, everything. By trying to squeeze all of that power into single battery that would last forever. (were the scientists trying to drain the sun of its energy and thus destroy it?)         
          So the sun retaliated. (then the sun is sentient?)


My thoughts: There's a lot going on in the first page. The first paragraph starts out sounding like a myth or a story about the sun, but the second slides into first person pov, which was a little confusing only because the tone was so different. The third paragraph flashes back to the past, briefly, before connecting the memory to how the narrator has arrived at his/her present situation. It feels like a lot of jumping around but I think the real problem here is that the narrator feels distant, almost disconnected from the events. Now maybe that's on purpose but generally speaking, readers want to connect with a character, feel what they're feeling, see the world through their eyes. What does this world without a sun look like? Smell like? Feel like? That's what I want to know. 

Readers, what do you think? I know Ashley would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions...


  1. I like the concept, but it is a lot to take in at once. So many 'names' and concepts thrown at you in just a couple paragraphs.

  2. Left my comment over on Dianne's site. I agree with Alex and Marcy here, too. Best of luck with this, Ashley!

  3. there are entirely too many adjectives in the first passage!

  4. I would agree that there is a LOT packed into this small package. Which I found confusing. Confusing enough to put it aside? No, but some additional clarity would be needed. Quickly.

  5. I commented over at Dianne's, but I'll add a bit here. This sounds like it might drift into a lot of back story, when what we need is action. There's definitely potential, but we need something to bring us right into the story, now!

  6. I think you tried to introduce too many concepts in too short a time. You've got the sun exploding, the all-seeing Globe, and the old boyfriend. Pick one and develop it a little more before bring in the next one.

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