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. 


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