I only hope I'm not getting in over my head.

I noticed Chro over at Journey of the Scribe is doing critiques too. I liked his idea of a disclaimer so much I'm going to do it too.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not published. I haven't even tried yet, and couldn't enter this contest because I'm in the replotting stage of my first ever manuscript, and didn't have a polished front page. That said, I've been a voracious reader since I was four, and I know enough about what writing should be like to have been able to realize that said manuscript needed reworked. Besides, it's not like this is costing you anything. ;-)

6. kelly maher - Okay, I didn't see where the mystery came in. I'm really not familiar with cozy mysteries, or mysteries of any kind, so feel free to disregard my opinions! ;-) I thought there was too much back story- almost the entire page was backstory. We need to know it, but there must be a better way to work it into the current scene then an inaudible conversation. I guess what I'm looking for is more action. Also, I like the opening thought, but I think you could lose the cartoon bubble line, which was confusing. The italics conveys that she's not saying it aloud.

7. taylor (Valden's Heir) - Cool concept, making the pov a dinosaur, but one of the things a first page is supposed to do is make us care about the main character, and I'm afraid I didn't. I'm wondering if it's just because he *is* a dinosaur, and so I have less ways to relate to him, or because the only thing I know about him is he's a loner. That helps a little, but in general we need to know what the main character cares about, what their ambition is, etc in order to care about what happens to them. His ambition seemed to be eating ferns. I imagine cows think about grass a lot, and I'm not exactly a vegetarian. What are Igasho's problems? Are there bullies in the herd? How old is he- a kid? An adult with kids? If he's a kid, is there a female Kentosaurus that he's into? In other words, what does he do besides eat ferns?

8. vinnie sorce, jimmy vincent - Um, "nasal passages"? That's a really wierd way to phrase that feeling... Okay, the voice made me smile for the first half of the page, but by the end of it, I was ready to stop reading. Now, my husband would probably feel differently, but I'm a total goody-goody, and while I might *think* all those idiots out there on the roads deserve what Jimmy Vincent is giving them, he gave me the creeps. So, sorry, not fond of your concept, but your ability to create a character using narrative voice is impressive. Objectively, there's not a lot of action happening in the beginning, which is often a fault, but I think your character's voice is strong enough to pull people into the story in spite of that.

9. cat - Do you have any idea how many people used the word "cat" in their entries? It was hard to find yours. Anways. I like the character's voice, but I have no idea where the story is going. Who is Dean? What's his relationship to the main character? Why was it such a bad thing for him to squeeze her hand? If I already knew both characters, I think it would be a great scene. Your writing style started out awkward for the first two paragraphs, and then you seem to have gotten more comfortable and everything flows nicely. On the first paragraph/sentence: we already know it was a multi-syballic pronunciation, I'd try something like "That was a sure-fire indicator that the man sprawled across my passenger seat..." On the second para/sent: Is she really aware that her mouth is in a grim line? Couldn't she just clench her teeth?

I have got to make these shorter, or I'll never have time to do them all.

10. tiffany aller - I'm afraid I just wound up confused. Why does he have to kill people to get his DNA? Why does he refer to whoever arrived in the alley as "the other"? That's persistant, but I had a hard time understanding if it was a non-human, and so should be capitalized, or was just meant to be a quirk in the way he referred to them. Overall writing style- you seem to throw in sentences that aren't necessary, which slows the story down. Do we need to know there's water dripping? From that sentence, I expected the water dripping to be significant later. And "Following the instructions of his own directive for this operation" and then he just leans against the wall. That seemed like a little bit of overwriting. I like the concept of the rest of the book- but I'm not sure the prologue is going to be useful to the reader until after they've already read the rest of it and know more about the bad guy.

11. jennifer walker - I like the concept, but you're giving us a lot of backstory without any action. I think a lot of that backstory could be worked into a conversation with Fran. That's where I thought the page really got interesting- when Kathryn answered the phone. Another concern is that there was no conflict (maybe that's because it was all backstory? I'm learning here too.)- in a story like this I want to know what Kathryn is going to do, now that her daughter's gone, and who's going to oppose her in it. I'm guessing that's where the conflict will be. Maybe I critiqued this one too much like a pitch, expecting all that in the first page? I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I hadn't come to the part about Fran, I probably would have put the book back on the shelf, because I don't yet care about Kathryn in particular.

12. scott - This was another one from that bunch I read in the beginning that really caught my attention. Good setup, and I like your characters- very quirky. I'm just not sure where the story is going, but I would have read on based on the strength of the characters. You're obviously a good writer, and your descriptions create a good sense of surroundings without slowing down the story. No suggestions.

I welcome comments about my comments- I'm learning a lot from critiquing these. Thanks for the opportunity.

5 comments:

I'd love to know what you think of mine. It's comment #475 or so, and it has no title but it's the one about Daniel at the shrine.

January 30, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

Hey, I'll take a critique. Search for "Brigid," or the title "Wicked Sensibility." Thanks!!

January 30, 2008 at 3:26 PM  

Feel free to critique mine. I'm Viva, posted 29Jan08 at 3:02pm.

Thanks!

January 30, 2008 at 3:50 PM  

I'd like one of your critiques. They're interesting and thoughtful, so have at mine. For Sparta, by A.Genova. Thanks

http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/01/surprisingly-essential-first-page.html#c8664257401068312096

January 31, 2008 at 1:42 AM  

I've been posting humble requests for critiques at individual blogs rather than on Nathan's site. Could I add myself to your queue? The title is 'Repose'. Much thanks!

January 31, 2008 at 3:50 AM  

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