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Friday, November 14, 2014

First Page Critique #3

Hey everyone! Here with another critique :)

Happy Friday!!!


First Page: 


London

I’m guessing you’re still up. Can you call me?

After sending the text, Kat Williamson set her cell down and combed the tangles from her wet hair. When the phone rang, she answered on the first ring and shut the bathroom door in case her boyfriend, C.J. entered the adjacent bedroom.

“Are you okay, sweetie?” her stepmother Jilly asked.

“Yes, of course I’m okay,” Kat said quickly. “I’m about to go to the first major social event of my life, and tomorrow, I’m going to attend a real royal wedding with a prince no less. How could I not be okay, right?” She sank down onto the closed toilet seat and groaned. “I am so not okay.”

She closed her eyes and took a couple of long, slow breaths while ordering her spazzy inner teenager to go away. “What if I do something stupid tonight? What if I trip going into the Abbey in front of the television cameras tomorrow? Half the world will be watching.”

“You’ll be fine,” Jilly said softy. “It’s just a case of nerves. It’s to be expected. This is your first real public appearance with C.J.”

“What if it’s my last?” Kat whispered, voicing the real worry that had been plaguing her for weeks now. “What if he’s only doing this to give me something to remember him by? He’s done with grad school in less than a month. He’s going home to Höhenburg. The fact that I haven’t been there yet since I came to Europe is pretty telling, don’t you think?”

“Well…”

“See?” Kat said, trying not to cry. “You know I’m right. Maybe I should break up with him first.”

“No!”


Critique:

Overall, I think the writing is pretty solid. However, I didn't feel there was much of an into., so I felt like I was kind of thrust right into the story. I would maybe suggest just a little more of a set up for the scene to help readers get grounded in the story/page(s)--maybe a little interaction between Kat and her stepmother?). Also, I was wondering why she thought C.J. might show up...it seems that it's kind of late because she says she guesses he's still up. And her stepmother seems like she's just appeared, which was a bit jarring. Not a bad start, though :) 

Friday, November 7, 2014

First Page Critique #2

Hey everyone! I hope you guys are finding these critiques helpful. Please feel free to comment. Here is critique #2. 


First Page:

Nobody could outrun Rosa Walker. She raced along the eight-kilometer loop that encircled Wirthlin Base, passing enlistees and fellow officers as if they were standing still. Many increased their pace when her blond ponytail streaked past, but each would fall back after a hundred meters or so, shaking their heads.

Seventy-nine meters from the broken tree to the water tower, Rosa calculated. Elapsed time, nine-point-one seconds. Average speed: thirty-one-point-two-five kilometers per hour. Twelve minutes to dawn.

The numbers were a constant stream, a flood that ceased only when she slept. Most of it she pushed aside like background noise, focusing only on the bits she needed. Right now she was more concerned with putting one foot in front of the other, with the slow burn in lungs and leg muscles as she pushed her body to the limit.

Above her, a glittering arc of asteroids crossed the sky--the white and orange rings of Pegasus Four. They writhed as a trio of tiny moons spun through at eccentric angles, shepherding them into complex, serpentine waves. The rings grew fainter with every passing moment, paling until they might have been one long cloud stretched across the sky.

Soon the slow burn became a fire that would not be denied, and Rosa reduced her speed. A breeze filtered through the trees to either side of this part of the loop, stirring the azure foliage and cooling her face. Wind speed eight kilometers per hour, north by sixteen degrees west. Dawn’s light cast a reddish hue across the sky, promising rain before nightfall.

Ahead ran the neat double file of Wirthlin’s Tactical Armor squad--a dozen men and two women, all with hair cropped to a centimeter or shorter. Each bore the winged egg of the Nidus Defense Forces across their white T-shirts and athletic shorts. A pair of officers led the file.

Rosa wet her lips with anticipation. This was her favorite part of the morning run--the final 500-meters. About a year ago the TAG squad started running it with her whenever they happened to share the road. No one ever beat Rosa to the training yard, but they made her push herself hard.

The younger of the two officers spotted Rosa coming up from behind and caught the attention of Captain Reynolds, a steel-eyed man with a touch of grey in his brown hair. Reynolds checked the traffic on the road and nodded his approval. Eager grins rippled backward through the squad.

Just before they reached their marker, a lamppost on the right, a familiar sensation washed over Rosa. It was an invisible wave, a subtle vibration that reminded her of sunlight filtering through a canopy of leaves. She didn’t know what caused it, or why nobody else ever seemed to notice. It was just something she took for granted, like the numbers that inundated her day and night.

The squad spread out across the road beside Rosa and the other officers. Ten meters to the lamppost. Five. The Tactical Armor squad took off like lightning, but Rosa stumbled. A second vibration had joined the first, new and unfamiliar. It had its own rhythm, more rapid and erratic than the first. Like a bonfire flickering on a hilltop.

The others had almost a forty-meter lead by the time Rosa shook off her surprise. The new vibration was distracting, an anomaly that demanded explanation. She couldn’t focus, and it cost her precious seconds.

Rosa reached the exercise yard in fifth place. She tried not to let her embarrassment show as she walked a cool-down lap around the yard, but it was difficult. She hadn’t run that stretch so slow since before her last promotion.


Critique: 

I think you have some good descriptions here. For instance, I really like the imagery in the paragraph about the asteroids. However, I didn't really feel I got a good sense of the setting/characters. Are we on Earth? For me, there seemed to be an abrupt transition between this paragraph and the other paragraphs. I know it's only the first page, but I think this paragraph is the only one that hints at the story being science fiction. Also, I felt there might have been a little bit too much emphasis on numbers (why are the numbers so important to her and how is she able to calculate certain things?), and I would have loved to see some interaction between the characters.  



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Page Critique #1

Hey, everyone! Here is my first post for the first page critiques. Thanks so much to everyone who has already sent me one. I know it's only the first page, but I hope you guys will find this helpful :)

First Page:

My parents got married two weeks after they graduated from high school. One year later they had my sister Sherry. Two years after Sherry, Valerie was born. Three years after Valerie, I was born.

My mother had children relatively easily; so, following the classical human pattern, they decided to go after one more child, hoping, of course, it would be a boy. Disaster! My mother did get pregnant, and the child was a boy; but my mother got an abortion because the baby was literally killing her.

I am told my parents reacted very differently to this tragedy, and their reactions would affect my life far more than my sisters’. You would think my mother would have become depressed by this loss. She didn’t. After a period of mourning, she snapped right back. She regained her health and continued her life.

My mother’s sound mind and behavior was a good thing for my sisters and me, because my dad fell into the deep end of the psychic pool. He was like King David mourning the death of Absalom. He was inconsolable. Family and friends could not comfort him. Even doctors were of little help.

I am one of the people who helped him come out of his depression. It’s true, but it’s not like cute, little me came up to my depressed father and said, “Daddy, I love you. Won’t you smile for me again? There’s a beautiful rainbow outside the door.”

No, it didn’t happen that way. You see, my dad is a gung-ho golfer. He even watches it on TV for fun, and he dreamed of playing golf with his son. That dream was lost, but at some point my father must have said to himself, “Well, I do have three living children, and one of them does show some interest in golf. If I can’t play golf with my son, I’ll play golf with my daughter.”

So Daddy took me at an early age and turned me into a golfing fanatic, and as a little girl I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I loved the attention my dad gave me, and I loved it that my older sisters would not get near a golf club.

Daddy was an excellent teacher. He taught me the classic Byron Nelson/Ben Hogan golf swing. He always bought me the best equipment, all fitted for my size. Plus, he indulged me with golf outfits galore. (I later rejected dressing like a girl on the golf course—too much work.) When he took the family to Scotland and Hawaii, he spent a lot of his time playing golf with me. As a ten-year-old in Hawaii, I would astound strangers with my long, straight drives. I loved to hear them say, “Wow! Mozart on the links!”

Laying aside all this materialism and pride, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being on a beautiful golf course with my father. There he would tell me the secrets of his heart, as if he were talking to himself. I learned his thoughts about God, his family, and the world. I knew—probably even before my mother—when Daddy’s business was good and when it was bad.


Critique: 

I feel that there is quite a bit of telling in the first page here. For instance, the reader doesn't really learn much about the other sisters (also, the narrator isn't yet named), or her mother (we only really learn that she was able to handle the death of her son better than her husband); also, many readers might not be familiar with Byron Nelson/Ben Hogan golf swing, so you perhaps you could explain its significance (does her dad think it's the best golf swing? where did he learn it?). We are given a lot of information within a few paragraphs, but it's only snippets. For example, the narrator mentions a trip to Hawaii in only a sentence. I do like the father's love of golf was able to help him somewhat recover from his loss, and that the narrator enjoyed spending time playing golf with her father, but you might consider working on showing the reader how this was a bonding experience for them. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly First Page Critique

I will be hosting a weekly first page critique. If you would be interested in having your first page critiqued here on my blog, please email your genre and first page to me at jordy[at] thebookeralbertagency[dot]com. Please put First Page Critique in the subject line. I'm hoping you guys will find this helpful! 

Current Wishlist

Middle Grade

Action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, contemporary...anything fun and entertaining, with great character and world building.

Young Adult

I'm looking for YA in all sub-genres! Especially contemporary and thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy and anything with a strong romance. Also, I'm looking for YA that has a more mature voice...and I love characters with sarcasm, wit, some snark, but still be likable. And of course, looking for fresh stories, or stories with familiar elements but are unique. Some favorite recent reads:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

NA/Adult

Romance!!! Contemporary, Historical, romantic suspense/thrillers (with a strong romance)...

Some of my favorite Authors:

Karen Marie Moning
Kresley Cole
Gena Showalter
Teresa Medeiros
Sabrina Jeffries
Lisa Kleypas
Eloisa James
Lauren Layne

Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines

You can also find our guidelines here. I am only accepting electronic queries at this time. 

*Please send a Query and the first 10 pages of your completed manuscript to query[at]thebookeralbertagency[dot]com. I do NOT respond to queries sent to my personal email. In the subject line of your query, please include QUERY: JORDY and TITLE

*Please make sure your pages are pasted into the email-I do NOT open attachments unless I've requested materials.

*Please include your name and contact information.

*You should receive an auto-response message confirming we have received your submission. If you do not receive an auto-response, please check your spam (just in case). Feel free to drop us a line either through the contact form on our website, or email letting us know, so we can check to see if there is an issue with our email.

*If you have not received a response from me in four to six weeks, I have decided to pass on your project.

*If I'm considering your work (partial/full), please do keep me posted on any offers you might receive (from agents or editors)

*If you haven't heard from me, please feel to follow up after six to eight weeks.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Help promote the Booker Albert Agency!

Please join us tomorrow and Friday (May 15-16) for a Twitter (and facebook) party to support the Booker Albert Agency! Please follow #BookerAlbertBlast and spread the word. Share the # and tweet away! We'll be offering a five page critique to 6 random followers. Stay tuned!