Saturday, June 25, 2011

My First Page: Contest Entry

I use this page for entry in contests and to get feedback. Links for the contests are usually in the Friday Freebies posts. So here's my first page for you all to look at.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Wordcount: 84,000

"You shouldn’t do that.” The Boy narrowed his eyes and glared with all the indignation called for in such a situation.

"Do what?" The target of his fury, a girl no older than he, swung her legs back and forth.

At twelve and not old enough for a title, the Boy kept his focus on himself, but he had stopped his daily walk through the cemetery at a sight even he could not ignore.

The girl had brown eyes, but as for her other features, he had not taken the time to notice them. He found something else far more interesting. "What you’re doing, sitting on that headstone there."

"And why shouldn’t I?" Her question seemed genuine, but the Boy could not fathom how she could not see the issue with her actions.

"Because. Someone died there."

The Brown-Eyed Girl brushed an orange leaf from the headstone. "No they didn’t. Not one of these people died here. They all died at home in their beds, or abroad in the world, or wherever it suited the world best to have them die."

The Boy paused in surprise at her response, but could not deny she was right. "Well, I’m sure that person doesn’t want you sitting on his headstone.”

"Oh, I’m quite certain she doesn’t mind."

The Boy jolted. Who did she think she was? He puffed up his chest. "And how can you be so certain?"

She ran her fingers through her hair and shook it loose. "Because,” she said, “this headstone is mine.”


Riley Redgate said...

Tansy! Sup.

I have only nitpicks for you, my dear.

"he stopped his daily walk"
He HAD stopped his daily walk, because he's already done it at the start of the narrative

"He was watching the girl with brown eyes."
I'm not sure about this sentence. I'd maybe suggest rephrasing it as "The girl had brown eyes."? It seems to flow a little better to the next topic at hand.

""Because, someone died there.""
I know this is for the purpose of showing us the flow of his dialogue, but it just feels so odd. It'd sit better with me if it were "Because. Someone died there." 2 separate thoughts and all.

"The Boy felt flustered she would do such a thing."
Hm, I'd cut it off at 'flustered', to be honest. I'm not seeing the 'thing' she supposedly does.

That's it for me! Good luck! Love how your page 1 has such a ZING at the end of it <3

Tracy said...

Thanks! Nitpicks are easy to handle. I'll take a look and see what I can do to make this even more awesome! As always: thanks!

Lori said...

I love the opening line and the last line, everything in between...just kidding, but you did catch my attention with the opening line. The last line had me wanting more. It would work better if we knew immediately they were in a cemetery. I'd put that information within the first lines and get rid of the exclamation point.
He was watching the girl with brown eyes. As for her other features, he had not taken the time to notice them. Rework these sentences into one. They sound a little too formal for a boy. You mention she has brown eyes, twice, we got that.

audrey2011 said...

This is very interesting. The opening line is great. I like your voice, and I like the relationship between your two characters.

My questions: why is "Boy" capitalized?

Is this an alternate world (it felt like that to me, because he says something about not having a title, which isn't an established custom in this world, haha :) )?

You mention her eye color kind of a lot. Are brown eyes special in this world?

The Boy seems rather mature for twelve, he seemed like a late-teen to me.

Amazing hook on the last line :)


Tracy said...

@ Audrey Boy is capitalized because that remains his default title for the whole book. People are hiding their names because of extreme problems with identity theft. They refer to either by titles or particularly noticeable attributes. So she is the Brown-Eyed Girl for the rest of the novel and he is the Boy. Brown-eyes aren't special, but its all he can recall about her, which is important. So yup. Alternate world. He is a bit mature for twelve but you'll see a bit more why later. If you keep reading that is.

@Lori hey thanks for the comments. The whole story has a rather formal voice. I'm trying to establish it early. But if that is awkward I can look at it. I'll try to make the cemetery setting clear earlier. I'll be mentioning her brown eyes a lot. That's what everyone calls her. The Brown-Eyed Girl. See my comments to Aubrey for more on that.

@everyone thanks for commenting. Really great to get feedback!

Lis said...

I really liked it. Great hook at the start and at the end of it. I agree with the other post above that he does sound older than 12, but some kids do in real life too.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Really like that last line! :)
Couple issues:
Aside from the headstone, had absolutely no sense of the scene. The headstone could have been anywhere.
" glared with all the indignation called for in such a situation" - I don't know what this means, since I don't know the situation.
Telling me the situation later doesn't help since the moment is gone.
"He found something else far more interesting"-I don't know what that is either. What's wrong with just saying, "He found the stone under her butt much more interesting" or something?
"but could not deny she was right"-why not?
"The Boy felt flustered she would do such a thing"-You're telling me he's flustered but I don't really feel it. Would like a more visceral reaction than "felt flustered." Squeezed fist. Sneered. Dropped his pants.
Nice hook. Definitely want to know why she thinks it's her stone.

Lori said...

Tracey, if he's supposed to be formal, leave it. It's so hard to tell in 250 words the gist of a story, the real feel for it. Keep going.

Louisa said...

Wow! Great hook at the end. I agree with all the above comments. I think you write well and this flowed smoothly. My only worry was that your novel is YA with a 12 year old protagonist and teens typically don't like to reader about main characters younger than them.

Tracy said...

Thanks for all the great comments!
@Louisa. This is the inciting incident at 12, but for the rest of the novel he is about 16-17.

Keep it coming!

MarcyKate said...

Great start! I really liked this. @rileyredgate pretty much already covered most of my nits, so I'm just going to say Great Job and I'd keep reading!

Erin L. Schneider said...

This is a really great submit! Strong voice throughout, I'm intrigued by the set up of your scene - and then the hook at the end? Yeah, I'd turn the page for sure!

Everyone has already pointed out some of the minor instances that would tighten this up - but otherwise, I'm on board with Boy (and like that you capitalized this!) and his voice. I don't think he sounds too old - it makes you wonder what's happened in his life, to make him grow up so fast.

Great job - and best of luck in the contest!

AmberD said...

Wow, this sounds great! I like the maturity of the Boy; it makes you wonder about his character and curiosity at the beginning helps set the book. I also agree that setting the scene a little more is necessary. It could easily be done when talking about the Boy's walk by including where he goes. I also feel you could put emotion into why he stops his walk.

"He stopped his daily walk at a sight even he could not ignore"
Annoyed and intrigued he stopped his daily walk in front of the *insert type of feel here* cemetery. (could help set his maturity too).

Personally, I liked the brown eye part, it made it feel important or significant.

I like your voice a lot and can't wait for more!

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Yay! First runner up! Hope it all works out!

Tracy said...

Thank you! And thank you for the comments!

Alison Miller said...

You completely have me hooked with the last line. Wow - I'm intrigued.

Okay - a few nit-picks that others may have already picked up on. Brown eyes are such a normal feature - can you go into more of WHY hers are so intriguing. Is there some glimmer in them, a shadow, a distortion? Are they the color of barfed up chocolate?

You don't have to overo the colors - oragne leaf. I think it will make the BROWN stand out more.

And most kids speak in contractions. Could not = couldn't. This stuck out to me.

Um - intrigued by "twelve and not old enough for a title" Very intriguing.

Great job! Hope this helps!

Scribbling Scarlet said...

I like it all. Nothing sounded clunky to me. Everything flowed. Your voice is likable. I had a clear picture.

Scribbling Scarlet said...

Here it is two days later and I've thought about you're story twice wondering where it goes from here.

Just thought you'd like to know. (I'd want to know).

Tracy N. Jorgensen said...

Thank you. I do like knowing that. I also like your name. Tracy is a good one. ;) I wish you luck with your MS.

Scribbling Scarlet said...

Thnx! :o) you too!