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NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 8th, 2017, 2:24 pm
by Nathan Bransford
If you'd like to have your page critiqued for the Page Critique events, please paste the 250 word excerpt in a post in this thread, along with the title and genre. Time permitting, I'll use a random number generator to pick the page up for critique. Please limit this thread only to page entries for critique on the blog.

Please also remember that there are separate forums for peer page, query, and synopsis critiques in case you'd like more instantaneous feedback. All non-page posts in this thread will be deleted.

Please only one entry per human.

Huzzah!

If your need for a page or query critique is more pressing, I am offering consultations!

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 11th, 2017, 12:56 pm
by julieorris
Title: Etta & Otto
Genre: Middle grade, Adventure

First 250 words:

Looking at the pile of suitcases lying around her, Etta couldn’t believe she was really doing this.
Granted, her choices were limited…this was her only option. She was excited about spending time with her aunt but nervous about what she would do for a WHOLE SUMMER in Three Trees. She had always enjoyed listening to her dad’s tales about growing up there, but she had visited a few times and knew that her dad was exaggerating…a lot.

She had spent the last three weeks of 6th grade daydreaming about carefree, summer days at Aunt Etta’s house, but now she was dreading being left there for three whole months! Her parents would be spending the summer in France studying l’art de culinaire (in other words: cooking fancy foods that no one wants to eat) and she would spend the summer watching cows chew grass. And if she was really lucky, she would then watch the grass grow back.

“Stop procrastinating Etta,” her mom yelled from the driveway. “We have everything you need!”

“Yeah,” said her dad, “including an entire suitcase of shoes that have no place in the country.”

“FINE! I’m ready to be dropped off and forgotten,” huffed Etta. “And just because your only friends were farm animals, doesn’t mean a girl like me won’t have a reason to dress nice.” She knew she wasn’t being fair to her parents. But she still felt a little like Orphan Annie.

Five hours later, they entered Three Trees. The sign next to

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 11th, 2017, 10:35 pm
by RKeelan
Title: Immortal
Genre: Fantasy

First 250 words:

"The fate of all Creation pivots about certain moments in time and space. One such moment approaches. It is yet distant to you, but to me it is perilously close. I have devised a plan—a grand plan—to employ this moment. You, Nathaniel, shall be my instrument."
It was a woman's voice, husky and low, a dangerous voice that invited confidence and blotted out doubt.
"And why would I do that?"
I spoke aloud—unnecessary, as the voice was only in my head, but speaking was easier than not. I'd heard her—Celeste—ever since a traumatic incident in my past which I preferred not to dwell on.
"You are my most trusted servant and dearest friend, Nathaniel," she said. "Contemplating personal benefit at a time like this is crass and unseemly, but in consideration of your service I shall grant you wealth and power beyond—"
"Pass."
"Pass?" The voice sounded closer now, standing right next to me. "On wealth and power?"
"I am content as I am."
"You are a slave."
"In the eyes of little men I am a slave. By my own reckoning I am—"
"Bloody Ancestors, Nathan, are you talking to yourself again?" That was Darius. He was real. "You know I hate that."
"I apologize, master. I didn’t realize you were here."
Darius, a bald head on a round torso with no neck in between, stood in the doorway, frowning at me. The folds of his toga hung about him less than

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 14th, 2017, 3:23 am
by wendy
Title: Winter Roses Never DIe
Genre: Paranormal, Mystic Christianity

PROLOGUE

~First Meeting~
With fairy eyes she sees
beyond an earthly reality
before he falls like the rain
and rises like the sun
into her day


'I know you
I met you once upon a dream'
*From Once Upon A Dream – Lyrics by Jack Lawrence and composed by Sammy Fain for the Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, and also also used in Maleficent as sung by Lana Del Rey*

(btw, using British/Australian spelling)


Below colourful clouds lies an island shrouded by secrecy and autumn-like foliage. In the shape of a long tapering leaf, the island floats upon a vibrant sea mirroring all the hues of the sky. The energy of these colours can't be seen by those of human vibration, nor can they exist in the lower energy of the mortal world. However, for those who look through the eyes of their powerful spirit, no realm is hidden. With eyes such as these, anyone could see that stretching from shore to shore are tremendous forests, home to the many creatures who co-exist with a fabulous folk – a legendary people who live on in our world through epic tales retold and elaborated upon through the centuries.

The prince of this remarkable race has recently felt unrest and decides to uncover what is hidden. Only a Lord of the Forest, who knows such things at a glance, can give the exact answers he seeks. Before a moment passes, Briona is leaning against a majestic oak and looking towards a man garbed in whisper-thin layers with all the lush hues of the foliage surrounding them. He is seated upon a wide tree-stump cushioned with moss and circled by knotty tree roots that are exposed, here and there, through the flowering clover carpeting this part of the forest.

As if aware of the princely presence, the sage slightly turns his head, smiles, and then spins around to face the handsome youth who presents as vigorous and playful as a teenager while possessing the confident air of an elder statesman. His slender frame is attired in a sleeveless tunic of shimmering shades with tight-fitting pants that seem to grow into curving and pointy-toed boots. While having a stronger jaw and narrower forehead than the sage, they both exhibit the same effortless ease and noble bearing. Lying on the sage's right is a sturdy oaken staff, handsome in its simplicity of polished surface and swirling grain. On the sage's left a panther rises to his feet, and when facing the prince snuggles back down into the pink clover. His lustrous, dark coat contrasts with his round eyes of magic green.

The panther slow-blinks a loving greeting which Briona returns by touching his chest then stretching out his hand towards the panther. "Always...Mavercomby," he replies in an unhurried manner. Briona seems confident of his ability to capture an audience without need for haste or exertion while also appearing certain that those around him will show deference and respect.

And the same could be said for Mavercomby. In response, he opens his mouth almost wide enough to swallow a crocodile, then makes a sound that could be part yawn and part delight while his tail stirs the clover behind him. The forest sage reaches down and tickles the panther's nearest ear. Mavercomby swings around to stare at the still twitching fingers.

The sage withdraws his hand then gazes, with eyes that appear unnaturally bright, upon the tall, fair prince. "You come wearing the Courtly colours. This is the visit I've been expecting."

Briona grins and replies with elfish charm, "I never disappoint."

"Your ways be true," the sage responds in a matter-of-fact fashion.

"Will it be my ways to become Consort?" Briona chuckles in a humble manner.

After searching the eyes and soul of his prince, the sage replies, "I see leadership, yes, though you will be happier when you serve."

Briona nods with understanding. "Serving is true leadership."

"You are wise," the sage responds in the same no-nonsense tone as before.

Since the prince's arrival, birds of every size and hue have gathered, some drinking from a basin of the nearby crystalline fountain, others perching on the lower branches to watch and listen. Crystal wind chimes and small wind harps hanging from the trees provide an ethereal backdrop for the meeting.

Referring to the sage's mention of leadership, Briona asks, "Will it be kingship with...?" His voice fades away on a sigh.

"You will lead with a sister, and you will lead without."

"Why so? We need our queen."

"Ne'er will you join with Lynue."

Silence fills the colourful glade while both regard each other as if having a silent conversation.

The sage announces, "There is another, another who will reign as Lynue never could, although not from this Court nor from the Autumnland."

With a sparkle in his eyes and a crinkle beneath them, the prince asks, "Who is this fair flower?"

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 16th, 2017, 6:45 pm
by Lab024
(Working) Title: Roe Higgs
Genre: YA Contemporary

Markus

Epstein-Barr is a closet-sized, dingy crap of a place on the grottiest street in the filthiest part of this city’s bowels. It draws to it as a magnet would the twisted shards of Yena’s youth. It is not a place I expected to experience the kind of life-altering event that hits you so god-damned hard in your chest that it doesn’t so much drastically alter the course of your life as it causes a violent and irrevocable cessation of the person you were and what is left is you as someone blank and becoming but-! Pause, Markus. Fucking breathe.

But that is what happened.

Well. Actually.

Roe Higgs is what happened.

The crowd presses in, entwined with the oppressive scent of armpit and spilt beer. None of the bodies that jostle against me are in possession of enough sense or outwardly-focused awareness to see that she is bleeding out on stage. They fling themselves toward her as she sings, like powder-winged moths lit up on a flame. Every one of them has missed the most vital truth of Roe Higgs – that the contents of her heart is pooling at her feet, leaking out with her words, drawing her closer to oblivion. Pulling me back into life.

Because I can see nothing but the blood. Am on fire with my will and ability to stem the flow and I am nothing but my need to be the one who does.

Roe Higgs.

She’s what happened.

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 21st, 2017, 2:20 pm
by hkate12
Title: Undecided
Genre: YA Sci-fi


A light fog rolled off of the rising water, twisting around their ankles as the trio picked their way along the crescent-shaped shore of the bay. Malachite Ko stepped carefully, his eyes alert. He’d been shown pictures of the bodies that washed up on the shores of the beach after high tide nights like this: skin bloated and turned a sickly shade of grey, eyes eaten out by carrion fish or pecked away by birds. Adventure-seekers, Lieutenant Envoy called them, or suicides. Either way idiots hoping to ride the three-moon waves. Desperate to do anything for death, or adventure, or fame.
And somehow Malachite was supposed to stop them.
“Anyone there?” Malachite called, shining his flashlight into the top of one of the gnarled, five-foot-thick palms that covered the beach. The perfect hiding spot, if anyone actually was hiding. A cluster of small purple blossoms shriveled up under the light.
No one answered.
“New-Comer must be louder,” said Officer Borghild, her voice breathy and deep. She stood a few feet ahead, watching him from over her shoulder. Catlike pupils narrowed in her shining orange eyes and moonlight from the three converging moons reflected in her double rows of gleaming, pointed teeth. Otherwise, her grey skin and black clothes blended seamlessly into the darkness. “If you want to scare the unintelligent men from the trees, New-Comer must be louder.”
“Fine. Anyone there?” he said again, louder.

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 21st, 2017, 10:10 pm
by Torno
Title: Prisoners of Laurasia: The Children of Thor
Genre: YA Fantasy

Lawson had found a way to hide his burns.

He scratched the crimson scars along his forearm. Whenever he looked at them, he had the urge to tear his skin off, like he was just peeling from a really bad sunburn, and underneath would be fresh and smooth. But sunburn only burned the outsides, and Balstifir was in every inch of Lawson; a dormant fire. Every warlock doctor or scientist that had ever lived had agreed on that. Whether the scars could be removed was still debatable.

Doctor Pox claimed she could wipe any scar or smear from the skin clear. But Lawson’s skin wasn’t covered in pimples or harmless blemishes – it was covered in burns, crusting over him, leaving him in a permanent state of monster. Balstifir with doctors was always promises and maybes, but he was weeks from prison, and promises would have to do.

Dr Pox’s promises were laid out on Lawson’s bed in the form of a glyphook; a slated warlock projector. Before and after images floated in the air, painting hope for Lawson in the form of various scar removals. He swiped his hand across the glyphook. Above, the images changed to a silent 3-D videogram of burns receding as an odd black sludge spread over a woman’s arms. Repulsive scars were shed, beautiful skin folding over the top.

“Pause,” said Lawson.

The videogram froze mid-air on that image – the gorgeous unburnt skin.

Hiding battle-scars is the act of a coward, said Zen.

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 23rd, 2017, 12:22 am
by writerinbloom
Title: The Secret Keeper
Genre: MG Magical Realism

You’re not supposed to know I exist.

Of course you’ve heard of, and even seen, me a time or two. But if asked to describe me? I bet you couldn’t. We come in all shapes, sizes, and shades, much like you. We reside all over the world and don’t discriminate whom we help. I’ve helped more people than there are stars, but my lips are sealed. Anyway, enough about me. I’ve got work to do.

I’ve never much cared for schools, but it’s where my job often takes me. This particular school reeks of body sprays, cologne, and fruity lotions, in that order. All of them are too strong for the average nose, but twelve-year-olds have yet to learn the fine art of moderation. Let that be another of our little secrets and a lesson for you. And another thing—they’re loud. So very, very loud.

Within minutes I’m standing outside John F. Kennedy Middle School. I enter the building and follow the signal to Room 38.

The classroom is filled with twenty-eight boys and girls scribbling notes while the teacher, Ms. Counterman, lectures about hyperboles. She stops mid-sentence and stares at me. I’m confused at first. She’s the one sending a signal. It usually isn’t the adults who are burdened. I stare at her for a few seconds and watch her aura flicker from peach to yellow. I move so close to her that I can smell her perfume.

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 23rd, 2017, 9:03 am
by Maureen Anne
Title: Diary of a Doppelganger - The Witch's Inn
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Magic Realism

Prologue

Saturday, February 7th, 1959 - Allocation Day
Doppelganger Soubrette elected watcher and scribe to Philomena Phoenix, aka, Bird

Chapter One
October 31st, 1995 - All Hallows Eve
The Witch’s Inn

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW DISPATCH FROM THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE.

KALEIDOSCOPIC LIGHTS BECKON.
Black-holed ambulances - portals to God knows where, litter the landscape.
Windows explode, rainbow shards perforate first responders.
Pitch-black voids disgorge devil-tongued flames.
Cesspit-jawed hosepipes ejaculate H2O into inflamed erection.
Heros evacuate victims.
Broken forms lie on stretchers.
Ragdolls dangle from arms
Breathless souls inhabit shiny black body bags.
Guardian of the peace blows into a silver-lipped whistle.
Milling crowd stills.
****
‘Oh God, Soubrette, I hope this is Simon’s directorial debut.’
‘No lights, camera, action clapperboard snap, so assume not.
Intent fixed on our keep; a fleet-footed humanoid sliced through the blistering labyrinth and leapfrogged the foam laden POLICE DO NOT CROSS partition.
‘Nifty on his feet,’ said Bird.
‘On the eye too,’ said I, Soubrette.
‘Awe, sparked an erogenous zone, has he?’ she tickled my ectoplasmic ribcage.
‘Doppelgangers don’t have zones.’
‘Bones neither,’ she breathed life back into her digits.
‘Zone-less, boneless—’
‘Toneless. Look at us clowning around while The Witch’s Inn and God knows who….’
‘We’re in shock. ’
‘And trouble, look.’
Our subject approached and lodged his resolute frame at the drawbridge of our citadel.
Feet planted.
Appendages akimbo.
Craned neck
Lupine gaze.
‘Madame, Philomena Phoenix?’
‘Mademoiselle.’
‘An obsequious “yes sir” would’ve sufficed.’
‘Obsequious off, Soubrette.’
‘Detective Inspector Chevalier Latour, a word?’

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 23rd, 2017, 11:13 pm
by Tepelus
Title: Lake One
Genre: Historical Paranormal

Chapter 1
Monday, May 28th 1923

A mourning dove cooed into the still morning air and dew glistened upon the cemetery lawn. Jennie added a bouquet of white foxglove and late red tulips, freshly cut from Mom's garden, to the corpses of flowers blanketing Clara Ann’s grave. Millie wept softly behind her for her murdered friend and troupe partner.

“I still don't understand who would have done this to her,” Millie quivered between sobs.

Jennie hugged her best friend. “I don't either.”

No one did. Her death was still under investigation. The other day, Dad and his good friend Sheriff Parker, discussed the case in the living room while Jennie listened at the top of the stairwell. Clara Ann had been found on the beach of Lake One beside the old boathouse, her body white as milk and drained of blood. Her neck and wrists were slashed, her skull bludgeoned, but there was no blood on the ground or on her skin. Sheriff Parker thought the murderer killed her elsewhere and dumped her body there. Jennie had her suspicions. Millie didn't know her friend's condition when she was found. She didn't need to know and Jennie wasn't about to tell her.

Millie breathed deeply, and said, “Nashville surely won't be the same after this.”

“No, it won't.”

Jennie turned toward the old end of the cemetery, behind it the hill leading down to Lake One and the ramshackle of a boathouse they found Clara next to. Now that the place was no longer a crime scene,

Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Posted: April 25th, 2017, 2:49 pm
by JBC
First 238 words of my novel, A Unified Theory of Love (literary fiction)

Prologue
Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1943

The first day Elizabeth entered Building 9731, she felt a strange pull. Ricocheting inside her skull, caroming around her stripped-bark heart: Oh you again, aren’t we lovely?
She had been told to wait at the Castle on the Hill. Fronted by four narrow steps, the Castle, as everyone here called the administration building, was a small wooden house painted white, doubtlessly leftover from an old farmstead, now stamped with the letters U.S. and A.E.C. for Eastman Chemical. Beyond where she stood, hills sueded with newly-leaved trees dipped into Gamble Valley, and, barer, formed the parallel ridges that walled off a morning sky the color of beeswax.

Her hand skittered over her belly. It rose, slightly rounded. But she bled every month. Carter was both disappointed and relieved, she knew. He could be called overseas at any moment, his disease made irrelevant by necessity. Since she was a teenager, she had dreamed of giving birth to a flower, its long stalk dotted with starry clusters, its rootstock as long as her legs. And a baby. Just not quite yet. First: this. She did not know what this was specifically, but there must be a purpose. That she had survived, that she had hoodwinked her very own fate.

A woman emerged from the Castle. She did not give her name or extend her hand, but merely glanced over the top of her clipboard and nodded once, definite.