Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Page Critique Contest


Jamie Ayers is hosting a first page critique contest on her blog!  It's not too late to sign up either.  She has moved the deadline until next Wednesday, but contact her right away so you have time to get plenty of critique from others. Here is the info straight from Jamie, "If you’d like to participate, then please email me at info@jamieayres.com & post the first page of your manuscript on YOUR blog. I will compile a list of the participating blogs and post them here. That way, everyone can hop around and post constructive feedback on each others first page. I will randomly draw five names to receive a personal critique from [author] Heather [Burch]."

Very cool!  Thanks Jamie!

Now on the my entry...





Name: Sharon Bayliss
Title: Destruction
Genre: Upmarket Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000

Pitch: When David’s missing children are found, they claim that their abuser had been a dark wizard. The case manager believes they use this fairy tale to cope with their trauma, but David suspects otherwise.


David never ignored calls from unknown numbers. The only times he didn’t answer unknowns were in church, in important business meetings, and while making love to his wife. Any phone call could be the one he had been waiting to receive for the past eleven years.
            The call came when David was lying in bed with Amanda watching television. She was asleep with her head on his arm. His fingers were tingling from the weight of her head cutting off his circulation, but he didn’t push her away. Not quite yet. This was the only time in the day when she slowed down enough that he could see the blond tips of her eyelashes or the freckles between her breasts. No one else noticed these things, perhaps not even Amanda herself.  
When his phone rang on the nightstand, Amanda opened her eyes. It was a 432 area code. His heart rate increased.
            “It’s past eleven,” Amanda said.
            “I’m sorry.”
            “All your kids are at home, babe, so it’s nothing important like that. Business can wait until morning.”
“Hello,” David said into the receiver.
            “May I speak with David Vandergraff?” The woman on the end of the line had a thick West Texas accent and she stretched out the vowels in his last name.  
 “This is he,” David said.
Amanda shook her head and rolled over in bed. He knew that she had long since given up on his unexplained phone answering addiction.
“My name is Josie Barstow, I work for the Odessa Police Department. I’m calling about the missing persons report you filed for your children in 2002.”

16 comments:

  1. You set up the suspense very nicely, and from the get go we know this guy hasn't been able to let go of the past. And then he receives the magical phone call... I'm curious now to find out what happens between him and Amanda, his reaction, what the case is etc...

    Only things I noticed were:

    His hear race increased... the word 'increased' doesn't read smoothly here. Suggest a stronger word to really show us how this has impacted him

    "It's past eleven," Amanda said. I got the impression she was sleeping, and kind of expected her to respond with a groggy voice.

    Good luck... This was a good intro.

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  2. Very gripping! I would definitely read on.

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  3. Very, very cool. I agree with Nicole. I would read on.

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  4. Nice hook...makes me want to read more.

    -Cheryl

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  5. I'm so glad he doesn't answer the phone when he's with his wife, lol! Great cliffhanger, makes me want to know more.

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  6. Nice catch. Her comment about kids being home makes me wonder why his wife doesn't know about his missing children. Want to read more :)

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  7. You immediately drew me in! Lovely:)

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  8. This is well written and definitely gripping. I was a little confused by the line “All your kids are at home, babe, so it’s nothing important like that. Business can wait until morning.” It may be because she doesn't know he has kids, but if that is not the reason she says this, then perhaps you should clarify this. Otherwise it's tight!

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  9. Nice pitch and good introduction of the conflict in the first page!
    I like the details about the blonde tips of Amanda's eyelashes and the freckles on her breasts--and how David wouldn't move his arm to disturb her even though it was numb. That contrasted well with him moving it to answer the phone. Nicely done.
    The second line starting with 'The only time he didn't answer unknowns...' seemed unnecessary to me though. The story seemed to do a good job of setting that up, and so early in the story it broke up the flow, in my opinion.
    I really like that the mystery is introduced in the very first paragraphs, and that I get an idea of what the characters are like.
    Great start for what will certainly be a gripping story!

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  10. Wow! I got chills and teary-eyed at the end of that! I really want to read more! Great intro! Your writing flows exceptionally well. If I had to pick one thing (there really is no need for change) it was the sentence about his heart rate increasing, this could be a good short sentence to quickly show this, but again you absolutely don't need it :) Awesome story beginning!

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  11. Super intriguing premise! A few things:

    1.The first two sentences seem to be contradicting each other. The first one says he never ignored the calls, the second says he did ignore them during certain times.

    2. Nice details about Amanda. These show David's love for her.

    3. "heart rate increased" sounds too technical unless David is a doctor.

    4. “I’m sorry.”
    “All your kids are at home, babe, so it’s nothing important like that. Business can wait until morning.” - this dialog sounds unnatural. Why is David apologizing? He's not the one calling at such a late hour. How could Amanda know that it's nothing important? Phone calls late at night are often important.

    5. "He knew that she had long since given up on his unexplained phone answering addiction" - why wouldn't he explain this to his wife?

    This is a fantastic idea for a story, though!

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  12. Thank you all so much for your wonderful feedback! I have some good stuff to work with and it's also great to know that you enjoyed it and would read on. I also learned that the first page may be confusing with just the pitch...in the query I explain that David's wife doesn't know he has other kids that are missing. If you don't know that, I can see why it's confusing. Thanks for noticing that. Thanks again!

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  13. Great first page! Pulled me in and nothing jumped out at me grammar wise or that sounded awkward. My only stumbling block was Amanda saying the kids were home but I thought they were missing? It might be because she doesn't know, which is interesting, but it did make me pause...

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  14. You have a good idea for detail... I enjoyed the small things, like the blonde tips of her eyelashes and the freckles between her breasts... very fun. Good clean writing. You definitely intrigued me with where it ended... Nice work! :D

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  15. Bummer that I missed this. But I guess I can still put in my two cents. I LOVED THIS! And I'm not just saying that. From the great attention to detail to the last sentence about his missing children after his wife just said they were safe. I would totally keep reading.

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  16. I was totally HOOKED!!! I have to admit that the pitch really drew me in, so I'm not sure if the first page would have been enough to keep me reading. No, I take that back. I think it would. How can I read more? :)

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