Friday, December 2, 2011

First Page Shooter #13

Word Count: 78,000
Title: The Morphine Murders


Original Text:

Raina tensed as Tyler embraced her with a tenderness that contradicted his strength. He brushed the back of his hand along her cheek and swept her dark hair from her face. She felt his heartbeat while he held her against his chest, placed his hand at the back of her head, and kissed her for the first time. Raina relaxed into his arms.

Together they reclined onto the couch, still entwined and engaged in their kiss. She opened her eyes and focused beyond Tyler to the high ceiling of his living room. It seemed so far away, as did Danny, her boyfriend.

The thought of Danny burned her already flushed face. Raina put her hands flat against Tyler’s chest. His warmth heated her palms, making her hesitate. She wanted to pull him back to her, but instead watched him move away without any resistance.

“I should go,” she said.

She adjusted her tank top and pulled her hair into a clip. Tyler touched her shoulder and followed her to the door as though nothing was wrong. They gazed at each other, momentarily allowing their passion to erase all other thoughts. She squeezed his hand and then headed to her car, already anticipating the awkwardness for when she saw him at work the following day.

She sped away with the convertible top up. As his house disappeared from sight in her rearview mirror, her phone rang.

“I know, I know. I’m late. I’ll explain when I get there,” Raina said.

 How? How was she going to explain?

With Suzie's Comments:

Before we start, I have two main problems with this.


1. It's a lot of telling. I don't feel what the character is feeling, and there should be a lot of emotion here.


2. I also feel really dropped into the middle of things. And while I usually like being dropped in the middle of the action, I'm wondering if this is a right moment. I feel more confused and a little turned off than intrigued.


Raina tensed (why? Is this good tense or bad tense?) as Tyler embraced her with a tenderness that contradicted his strength (I do like this detail about him). He brushed the back of his hand along her cheek (the back of his hand? that's an odd way to do it, isn't it?) and swept her dark hair from her face. (what else does she feel? This should be swoonworthy, right?) She felt his heartbeat while he held her against his chest., placed his hand at the back of her head, and kissed her for the first time. (Describe the kiss. If this is the FIRST KISS and this is supposed to be swoonworthy, draw it out a little more) Raina relaxed into his arms.

Together they reclined onto the couch, still entwined and engaged in their kiss. She opened her eyes and focused beyond Tyler to the high ceiling of his living room. It seemed so far away, as did Danny, her boyfriend.

Reclining on the couch threw me off guard a little. I guess because I'd been imagining them standing. It feels awkward. As the transition to her thoughts of Danny doesn't work. She notices the high ceiling? How boring must that kiss have been? And oh yeah, her boyfriend is far away. It's too anticlimactic. And it makes her seem very nonchalant and unemotional.

The thought of Danny burned her already flushed face. Raina put her hands flat against Tyler’s chest. His warmth heated her palms, making her hesitate. She wanted to pull him back to her, but instead watched him move away without any resistance.

Now they both seem unemotional...

“I should go,” she said.

She adjusted her tank top and pulled her hair into a clip. Tyler touched her shoulder and followed her to the door as though nothing was wrong. They gazed at each other, momentarily allowing their passion to erase all other thoughts. (huh? What passion? Show that passion somehow.) She squeezed his hand and then headed to her car, already anticipating the awkwardness for when she saw him at work the following day.

She sped away with the convertible top up. As his house disappeared from sight in her rearview mirror, her phone rang.

“I know, I know. I’m late. I’ll explain when I get there,” Raina said.

 How? How was she going to explain?

I don't feel anxious for Raina, because I don't feel like I know anything about her yet. And I don't relate to her yet. We need to know more about her, about Tyler, about why she's making out with him while Danny is at home, if I'm going to be hooked and want to read more.

4 comments:

Lauren B. said...

I think it would help to state the genre of manuscript along with the title and wordcount.

I agree with Suzie's notes. Infidelity ought to be rife with tension, and yet this falls very flat. The author may deliberately be keeping some distance between Raina and the reader-- and that's a totally legitimate authorial choice, but if we aren't going to get a better feel for Raina then there needs to be some more personality in the voice of the author to draw me in.

sara said...

I think there's an important yet incredibly elusive balance between creating a middle-of-the-action opening scene where the readers are simply watching the action unfold, and where they are wondering why it's happening and what's going to happen next. Right now I feel like this is in the first category, but if we had more of Raina internal thoughts or angst just before she's about to go through with the infidelity, or some kind of sense of the stakes, then it might fall into the latter category. It's not badly written, but as an opening scene, I have reason to care about the characters or what happens to them.

Alex said...

There is no emotional context for why Riana is cheating on Danny and this makes her unsympathetic. Their is very little emotional context for what she is feeling at all and this makes her removed and difficult to feel empathy for.

This should make me feel something. It is a very emotional situation and seems she's had a bit of a history with Tyler, yet there is nothing that grabs me.

Sarah L. Blair said...

An opening to a book is almost like walking into someone else's dream. It makes sense to the person who is dreaming, but whoever is on the outside (the reader) has no clue what's going on.
With this text, I feel as if the pages got stuck together and I started reading on page 2 or 3. It's disorienting because there are no clues as to who these two people are or why we should care that they're kissing. It almost seems as if all the clues are on page 1, but that page was covered in some kind of dark mysterious goop that was spilled by whoever checked it out at the library last.
I think it would make a big difference to start out just a little earlier and set the scene up with more clues about what these characters are feeling, and what the stakes are that make this kiss important enough to begin the entire book with it.

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?