Monday, October 15, 2012

HWCAC First Page Sample

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Be still my beating heart. My page is open for slaughter...

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Ashton traced the outline glowing in his palm while he waited for his mission assignment to be completed. His amethyst eyes squinted at the fireball about to unleash a new day.   
Watching the girl from a safe distance, he wondered what she had to do with his mission. He read his palm again. Yes, he had found the right person. She looked as though she was about to fly the coop, leaving behind a dead body crumpled on the ground.  
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River tore a piece of material from the hem of her petticoat and wrapped it around her hand, clenching the cloth between her teeth. The white linen turned red before she finished tying the knot. Her stomach tightened and for a moment she thought she would be sick. Taking in a long breath calmed her enough to stop the shakes in her hands. An image laced with pink swirled through her mind, yet River didn’t recognize it.
            She shook her head as if to erase the memory. “How did they find me?  Oh God! I have to get out of here. But where can I go?”
            Staggering to her feet, River leaned against the side of the wagon. She strained her ears for any noise, any movement. Nothing. She had to hurry, before they came back for her. No time to think, no time to waste. They would return once they knew their assassin had failed. She stared past the dried up, yellowing plants of the garden towards her house.
            The shanty door swung back and forth, creaking a sad, singsong melody as if to say goodbye. Someone had been inside her makeshift home. Panic clamped down as she thought of the Memory Book.
            Every muscle in River’s body throbbed, but she forced her legs to move forward. Her entire life hinged upon keeping the Memory Book safe, away from prying eyes. No one knew it existed. Except the Thief Takers. They had chased her for months lusting after the powers held within its pages.    
            Trembling fingers brushed a stray piece of yellow hair from her eyes as she silenced the fear echoing inside her head. She limped toward the waving door but the closer she got the more courage she found. She pulled her shoulders back and barged through the flimsy shanty door. To her relief, the room stood empty of unwanted visitors. Her grandmother’s antique mirror teetered from a loose nail in the wall. One harsh movement could send it crashing to the floor. Tiptoeing over, River reached to steady the swaying glass.

33 comments:

  1. My nickel's worth of free advice, start with the paragraph in italics. Her pulling the makeshift bandage is great, but put it later. Have her run first, trailing blood. Then stop to tie it. I like it!

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    1. Okay, so I may work with this idea. I've never tried that. YET. But I love feedback, so I'm going to see what I can do...

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  2. Commonly, pov changes within a chapter have a break after it, I think you might get away with this if Ashton's piece were small. Since we'll be seeing more of him, I'd suggest the placing of some ***, or whatever you'd normally use, between the two scenes. Even if it's just for on here.
    The only thing I do wonder about Ashton's piece. His eyes: how does he see the colour of his own eyes? I know he'll know what shade they are and you want the reader to know, but this is meant to be his pov right? Would he refer to his eyes as being amethyst (I love that you've given him that colour btw)? Perhaps "He squinted ..." would suit for now.

    Now River's pov:
    All that bothers me here is the piece where she speaks aloud. I'm thinking perhaps turning it into internal thoughts as, in the next paragraph, she is listening for other people so it makes more sense to me to have her quiet from the get go.

    The rest is good. ^_^

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    1. Oh. My. Word! I had it written EXACTLY like that, the way you descried, and then changed it for this clinic. I thought those changes would make it easier for others to understand in a just a small portion, but I guess I should have left it as original. Thanks!

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  3. I only have one cent of thoughts instead of my usual two...I loved the continuous tension. It kept me nibbling away at the story, eager for the next bite. Your name choices were wonderful, although I thought Thief Takers was redundant (unless they're kidnapping other thieves).

    In the second paragraph, there was an overuse of "this girl/the girl," and a misuse of coupe. You mean coop. I loved how you ended this first bit with her steadying the swaying glass...trivial, but a little detail that makes all the difference.

    Nice.

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    1. Oh, and yes, Thief Takers are EXACTLY what the names implies, they kidnap other thieves.

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    2. Then it's perfect! I realize that this is a portion of your work and the name might be expounded on later...and as always, it is your work...just passing along where my understanding lacked or my reader's needs weren't met. :o)

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    3. Ha! You understood more than you realize. Thief Takers are after River for a very good reason...:)

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  4. Ink you're probably going to kill me bc I can be very brutal with my crit! But here we go.....

    *I was confused with the opening italics, and within them -I was wondering if it is necessary for the character to have purple eyes. I feel like a lot of fantasy characters do and it's no longer neat or original.

    *I didn't think River's inner thoughts were necessary. The reader can get what you're implying without that.

    *With lines like this "Trembling fingers brushed a stray piece of yellow hair from her eyes as she silenced the fear echoing inside her head." for example, you don't need as much purple prose-ish stuff...Ink, you can just say this as "Her fingers trembled as she brushed a stray piece of hair from her eyes. The fear in her head silenced." It gets your point across in a little less wordage. You can do this with a few of your sentences in the above page sample.

    *With the upcoming empty room, I really hope you take time to give us a place of setting. Right now I didn't get an idea of where we were and I'd love to 'see' the room besides the mirror. What colour are the walls? What kind of smell does the room have? etc.

    best of luck!!!!!


    Of course these are only suggestions and my thoughts and this is YOUR book so take what you will from my comments.

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    1. I didn't think that was brutal at all! Valuable input and spot-on. I may look you up, Rachel, when I need that second pair of eyes.

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  5. I love getting feedback! Thanks for your thoughts, they are appreciated:)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Oh, and yes, his amethyst eyes are very important to mention. His eyes are mood ring eyes and change colors with his mood...this is explained later on in the book!

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  6. I can critique queries all day long, but I am sooo wary of critiquing the actual book. (I'd make a terrible crit partner) I would agree that the bit where she is talking to herself threw me. It might work better as internal dialogue as she is collecting herself. Other than that, I love the voice and I love the tension! Great opening!

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    1. I'm so different. I'll critique novels all day long, but I can be very nit-picky. ^_^

      Queries ... now queries I've only a tenuous grasp of.

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    2. Thank you Mara! I really did have it in italics before I posted here, but because of my little prologue with Ashton, I changed it.

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  7. Hey, Talynn! I think you do a great job dropping us right into the action. I have a few minor suggestions, take them for what you will!

    1. "Mission assignment" is redundant. You can probably just say "assignment."

    2. "“How did they find me? Oh God! I have to get out of here. But where can I go?” " Personally, I'm not a huge fan of characters talking to themselves, unless that's a habit of theirs, and even then, in a high-pressure situation like this where she feels hunted, she probably wouldn't stop to talk to herself. I think you can take it out and the first page still reads fine to me.

    3. "Barged" strikes me as a bit off. I don't think you can barge into your own home.

    4. "One harsh movement could send it crashing to the floor." Probably unnecessary, and slightly confusing, because "harsh movement" is a phrase usually associated with people/animals. I think the "teetering" sentence gets across the image you want, making the "harsh movement" sentence redundant.

    Overall, a very well done first page. I would read on to find out more.

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    1. River does talk to herself. A lot. She's very thoughtful and rational. A couple of people have mentioned this, though, so I'm not for sure what I want to do about it. Talking to herself is a huge part of her character. It even gets in her in some big trouble when her talking goes from silent to out loud later on in the book.

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  8. You DEFINITELY have talent. A lot of great stuff in here. And great tension. Thanks so much for sharing! This was fun. :)

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    1. Thank you Morgan. And thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Talynn:

    I agree, choose one mission or assignment.
    I was a little confused by this sentence: "She looked as though she was about to fly the coop, leaving behind a dead body crumpled on the ground." She can leave her body?
    Here I would put a period after shakes. "shakes in her hands."
    "she strained her ears for any noise" I would rephrase. maybe leave out 'her ears'.
    Okay, I'm no expert, obviously. I like your piece, but a little tightening maybe? Lots of good advice, take a deep breath, sleep on it and re-post. I did, I think mine is better for it.

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    1. No, she didn't leave her body, there was someone else there....dum, dumdum, dum duuuum....the plot thickens from the get go. mawhahahah!

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  10. I see I am coming in late to this discussion and I think the areas that I had questions and concerns have already been mentioned and I don't want to be redundant. I love it so far...just needs a few tweaks. :)

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    1. Thank you Connie! I appreciate your thoughts!

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  11. I think the different view in italics at the beginning should be completely cut and added in later. Start it with the sentence "River tore..."

    Changing POV so quickly throws the reader out of the story. I've heard it's best to change by chapters but I think that may be a writer/reader preference thing.

    The talking outloud thing is silly! Italicize it and make it internet dialogue!

    Other things that I saw were previously mentioned so I will just state, as always, you've been given some great advice! Rachel and Storymuliverse covered the things I was going to say.

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  12. Internal! Sorry...typing on my iPhone! Lol!

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  13. Also... Make this one sentence:

    No one knew it existed, except the Theif Takers.

    Breaking it in between isn't neccessary.

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  14. I posted a few questions for you on my blog but I don't know if you get updates for whenever someone replies on their own page:)

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    1. I thought about what you said. Honestly, I don't think that it matters that it starts with River's point of view considering she is a main part of your story. Your query gives the overall storyline. You may want to add that it is written in two different points of views ...but adding that may be a question for someone who is more experienced with accepting queries. You have a strong start...I think starting it with those two paragraphs doesn't do anything for the reader. If they are really important, you could add the information somewhere else whenever it clicks to Ashton's POV.

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  15. Late, as usual! The only issue I can add, everyone else hit the points I would have made :), as a general rule, when writing in third POV, keep it to ONE POV during a chapter. I've had feedback from agents and editors thrashing me for the same thing - even a short one change. If you need to leave it in, this is YOUR work!, ensure you have a transitional sentence. The "***" doesn't work well and can jolt a few readers out of the world you are creating.

    Overall? I love it, the voice is good and you have a great talent for world building - which I have serious envy!

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