Saturday, June 25, 2011

First page Contest

Here is my entry for Shelly Watter's first page contest. For deets go here.

This is the first page (260 words) of my YA Contemporary. Any suggestions for improvement appreciated!  


I read somewhere that if you chant something enough times it eventually comes true.  I once chanted one hundred and three thousand times in one night for my mom to get better.  It didn’t happen. I tried the wishbone, the eyelash, and the birthday candle. I've tried coins in all types of water: fountain water, holy water and well water...nothing.  My mom was still dying. Chanting turned to praying at five bucks a pop and easily arranged through mail order. I stopped the mail order but continued the praying.  I didn't discriminate and worked with a few deities.

Moirae, Greek god of fate, please let my beat-up seventeen-year old jalopy turn on so I can get my butt to school. I turned the ignition and the engine caught with a grudging screech just as my phone rang.
           
Miranda, my best friend, never seemed bothered by anything, not even running in a cold Chicago morning wearing stilettos and carrying a book bag too big to be hers.

"Don't leave me!" she yelled into the phone, her hair flying in the wind, her hips moving side to side as if she were dancing merengue to the beat of her stilettos as they hit the concrete. 

"Hurry up, can't be late," I said, looking at her through the side mirror, my lips curled into a smile. Miranda and I have been friends since the third grade and although we pissed each other off enough times to garner snickers and glares from those unlucky enough to be in our trajectory, we were a good fit.

16 comments:

  1. Perfect. yup. perfect. I absolutely LOVE THIS! Need a beta?

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  2. Good job! Smooth writing and tension and makes you want to read on!

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  3. Good grab with mom dying, but them we switch to starting the car and its abrupt change left me in question.

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  4. Fascinating voice and really good sense of world. I do agree with Anonymous that the cliff between the first paragraph and the second is a bit steep. I lost a bit of traction with the transition and wanted to know more about what happened with the mom. Maybe even one more concluding sentence in that first paragraph?

    But, aside from that, really good. I like it.

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  5. Fabulous establishing of voice and character. I loved everyting but the "praying at five bucks a pop/mail order" line. I got a little lost in that. Maybe it's my own lack of reference to it, but overall this seems like a great draw into the character.

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  6. Thanks everyone. Awesome suggestions.

    Tanya, I may take you up on that offer. =)

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  7. I really love this :)

    It's very hooky and intriguing. I definitely want to read more. I love the main character already-- she seems very cool and interesting.

    More, please? You're a great writer :)

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  8. Strong opening... you had me intrigued. Aside from what's been said, the only part that had me re-read was that Miranda was running behind her... at first I thought she was seeing her through her phone... strange. Otherwise good.

    Best of luck

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  9. Wow, I felt connected to the mc immediately--great job!!!

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  10. I had a little trouble between the first paragraph and the second, too. She was worried about her mother dying -- trust me, I empathize -- but all of a sudden she was worried about getting to school. It was a bit abrupt.

    Despite that, I really like the opening. Intriguing!

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  11. Your imagery is wonderful, and the word choice is quirky and fun. It feels like you're in a hurry to tell me too much too fast, though.
    You cover a great deal of ground, here. Perhaps illuminate me about one aspect of this girl's life at a time and show me rather than telling me.

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  12. I agree with the above comments, especially with the jolt from talking about the dying mother before switching to the MC being late for school. You need to establish that the friend is being watched in the rear view mirror before your describe her.

    I think you write well and have a great voice. And I want to find out what's wrong with the mother, so you've hooked me!

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  13. Wow, I would keep reading.

    I was intrigued by her affection for her mother, and the fact she was dying.

    Love her BF's name. lol

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  14. Thanks everyone! I didn't want to focus on mom in this scene which was why I decided to let the praying be the focus. I'll reconsider it again. Thanks, all the suggestions are so helpful.

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  15. I don't pray, but I am fascinated by people who do. However, I do find it strange that the MC prays for her mother's health and then prays for her car to work in the very next line. Does she pray for everything? And is it integral to the plot?

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  16. Thanks Lissa. Yeah, she's lost faith and is praying all wrong. It does come to play later.

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