Thursday, February 26, 2015

First Page Critique #5

Hello, everyone! 
Here is another first page critique. I really hope you guys are finding these critiques helpful!

First Page: 

There are three types of people in this world: the oppressors, those running from the oppressors, and those unaffected by the oppressors. Guess which group counts me as a member? [This paragraph feel a little unfinished to me...I think it might help if there was a sentence to help the transition between this one and the next, so that it connects with the rest.]
The final bell rang. I’d have to make it home on my own today; his appointment [Whose?] was at 1:45, and I doubted he’d be back yet. I decided to try a new tactic. Instead of dashing out the front door at 2:19, like I did every other day, I lingered at my locker. [I like the voice/language here.] My heart pounded in my chest. Could I do it? Could I really slip past them? [I'm a little unclear here...the narrator (she/he? seems female) first says "his appointment," and here she/he is saying them.]
Right now, they’d be on the front steps of the school, waiting for me, searching for my face in the throng of students clogging up the entrance. Maybe they would find one of their other targets and forget about me for today. Maybe if I delayed long enough, either they would leave or he would arrive. [Is the narrator a target of bullying? How so? He? The one who had the appointment?]
I rearranged my notebooks and swept the junk at the bottom of the locker – gum wrappers and rubber bands and paper clips – onto the floor with my hand. [I think this is a nice job of showing something about the characters environment.] I took my phone out of my pocket and checked the time. By now, all but a few stragglers will have exited the building. I sifted through the coats and sweatshirts stuffed onto the hooks and found my old green windbreaker. Ha! So that’s where it had gone. I pulled it on and tried to stretch the sleeves down. No doing; three inches of boney wrist stuck out at the bottom of each sleeve. Whatever. I pushed the sleeves up to the elbows and headed down the hallway to the back door.
Most of the other students – the ones without after-school activities - had already left the school. It felt strange to be in the building; I was not an after-school activity person. A janitor walked by, rounding up little bits of trash and dust with his enormous broom. He kept his head straight, but his eyes slid over and gave me a quick glance; he knew I didn’t belong here. [Not a bad start. I think there are some things that need flushed out, such as why is the narrator is reluctant to leave this time? There are a number of things that readers could infer, so you'd want to clarify.]

Saturday, January 31, 2015

First Page Critique #4

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great holiday season. I know I am very late on a critique, and I'll do my best to post more often. Happy weekend!

First Page:

The shower gurgled behind me, draining away cold water and sweat. Beads of moisture on my legs turned warm as I stepped from the tub and relinquished myself to the heat. It was early June, but the cicadas were already blaring beneath the angry sun. It was the beginning of a remarkably hot summer.

I stood, damp in the doorway between my bathroom and bedroom, staring at the bed. Seven AM and my yellow lab, Scout, lay where my husband should have been. I tried to remember the last time I had seen him. Some nights he came home and stumbled into bed. Other times I woke up and found him face down on the couch. But on the nights that our ships never passed, I didn't know where he was sleeping. Buried under the weight of my own stubbornness, I tried not to think where he could have been.

Sweat was already beginning to form on my forehead. I took my towel and blotted it away, grumbling to myself as my air conditioner perched pointlessly in my window. My only relief from the heat had bit the bullet. So I stood naked before my closet, avoiding dressing and sealing in the heat, when I heard a knock at the door.

Wrapping myself in a towel, I thought irritably of my grandmother. I was sure she was standing on my front porch, bursting at the seams with coffee and gossip. She showed up some mornings to ride to work together, despite the fact that she claimed to have retired.

“Grandma, it’s open!” I shouted from the loft. Scout thumped her tail at the prospect of a visitor. When I didn’t hear the front door squeak, I looked at her and said, “I guess she’s going deaf.” She paced back and forth with her ears perked up in excitement. I closed her in the bedroom. She had a history of jumping, and I wanted to prevent a broken hip at all costs.

Tucking my towel tight around me, I headed down the stairs. My damp feet slapped against the wood floor as the knocking sounded again.

“I’m coming!” I shouted and reached for the door knob.

It’s funny that in those unsuspecting moments when we find our most sensitive selves exposed, we react in our truest nature. In my mousy haired, green eyed way, I was so taken aback by the person standing in my doorway that I must have looked like a forest animal, snuck into the nearest shelter, still soaked from last night’s rain. And I stopped, as if a passing car caught me in their head lights, shocked, yet unable to move.

A pair of eyes, balanced between gray and blue found me, naked beside my dryer worn towel. My skin tingled in the awareness of its exposure. His dark, disheveled hair threw a shadow over those eyes as they found mine. Work boots and dirty denim, covering long legs that led up to a broad torso, wrapped in a carelessly wrinkled white t-shirt. Tall. Tall enough to intimidate or comfort. He was a sleepy image, as if he’d just rolled out of bed. In my forest animal way, I blinked but didn’t move. This was not my seventy-eight year old grandmother.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, and pulled my towel tight over my chest. Though he quickly averted his eyes, I couldn't help but catch a hint of the devil in his smile.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” his low voice resonated. “I’m Tristan, farmer Carpenter’s grandson. I’m here to pick up the rent.” His eyes turned to me briefly before stealing back towards the ground.

Hiding my body behind the door, I said, “Oh, yeah. Of course. Um, just- just let me grab my check book. And clothes.”

A smirk flirted across his lips.


Not a bad start. I kinda felt a little lost at times, for example, I thought the couple sentences about her husband were a little jarring because we really don't learn anything else. (I know it's only a page.) I also wasn't sure what type of relationship she has with her husband, but it sort of seems a little strained--we learn that he's slept on the couch. So you might consider showing the reader a little more about her marriage.