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First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 9:16 pm
by BlancheKing
So i figured I'd past my first page here for revision and review. Thank you all in advance
...
Chapter 1

Sincerity. Four taps of the tongue, once around; simple and clean. It was the lesson my grandmother taught me when I got my first Gucci bag.
“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”
Her words. Wise words.
Never followed.
When the police arrived, I told them I’d missed the merge sign. I’d even complained that there were too many Water Streets in Massachusetts.
I couldn’t tell them that a ghost had dived headfirst into my windshield.
She was still in my passenger seat.
“Your license?” said the officer. I handed it to him. Behind me, the car horn honked. The ghost threw a pebble at my head.
When the officer was satisfied, he reached through her and picked up the parcel labeled “Manuscript”.
“You a writer?” he asked, handing it to me.
I nodded. The ghost asked him to apologize.
“That’s great,” said the officer. “What’s it about?”
“College and ghosts,” I said.
“And Spirit World,” added my ghost.
“And Spirit World,” I said.
He looked interested. “Fiction, huh? Gonna be the next J. K. Rowling?” He chuckled at his own quip, and then tipped his hat. “You’ll have to let me know when it gets published.”
As I watched the tow truck take my car away, I flipped through my story. It had taken me a year to write, and half more to polish.
And one before that to learn that all ghosts were notorious liars…

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 9:48 pm
by JustineDell
BlancheKing wrote:I couldn’t tell them that a ghost had dived headfirst into my windshield.
She was still in my passenger seat.
“Your license?” said the officer. I handed it to him. Behind me, the car horn honked. The ghost threw a pebble at my head.
Sorry I don't have time for more, but I wanted to tell you - Right here...you had me right here.

~JD

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 9:54 pm
by CoachMT
You have an excellent beginning here, but I have to say, I have no idea what
Sincerity. Four taps of the tongue, once around; simple and clean. It was the lesson my grandmother taught me when I got my first Gucci bag.
means : )

That aside. Good stuff.

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 9:56 pm
by JustineDell
CoachMT wrote:You have an excellent beginning here, but I have to say, I have no idea what
Sincerity. Four taps of the tongue, once around; simple and clean. It was the lesson my grandmother taught me when I got my first Gucci bag.
means : )

That aside. Good stuff.
Oh, Ditto...

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 10:02 pm
by BlancheKing
oh, it just the girl musing momentarily on the word "Sincerity". Four taps of the tongue = 4 syllables, once around = the word changes; from a hiss to a roll and ends in a tap, her lesson = explained later in the chapter

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 10:13 pm
by HillaryJ
Delightful and interesting. You had me at "pebble". I understood the taps of the tongue for sincerity but worry that, even if explained soon, it's not as engaging a beginning as the description of the ghost and the accident.

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 10:26 pm
by dahosek
There's a nice sharp voice here. Some nits:
Four taps of the tongue, once around; simple and clean.
It took me a couple reads to understand what you were saying with this.
It was the lesson my grandmother taught me when I got my first Gucci bag.
I don't see a connection between getting a handbag and sincerity. It does establish the gender of the narrator, but otherwise doesn't make a lot of sense.

Sentence fragments can be great emphasis. They can also be overused. I think you come right up to the line if not past it on their use here.

I'm presuming there was some sort of accident, but the setting is a bit confused.
Behind me, the car horn honked. The ghost threw a pebble at my head.
When I first read this, I had pictured another car behind the one in the accident. Now I realize that the narrator and the police officer are in front of the car. Not sure why the police officer would ignore an empty car's horn honking.
he reached through her and picked up the parcel labeled “Manuscript”.
I totally don't see this happening. No way a police officer just reaches into the car and takes a package out of the car. And none of my printed copies of my work is ever labeled "Manuscript." I'll bet the same is true of yours. Perhaps the narrator retrieves the manuscript from the car before the tow truck takes away the car and the police officer sees it.

But in general, there's a good voice here, you just need to make sure to keep some clarity for the reader in what's happening.

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 30th, 2010, 10:39 pm
by BlancheKing
@ hosek: it's interesting that you find my style lacking explanation. The agent that had rejected my partial had actually commented on my tendency to over-explain things (that and the too-chatty voice)

thank you though =) it gives me something to think about

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 31st, 2010, 12:20 am
by GeeGee55
Hi,
BlancheKing wrote:So i figured I'd past my first page here for revision and review. Thank you all in advance
...
Chapter 1

This reminds me of the opening of Lolita, I think the story really begins below Sincerity. Four taps of the tongue, once around; simple and clean. It was the lesson my grandmother taught me when I got my first Gucci bag.
“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”
Her words. Wise words.
Never followed.
Right here, I think is where it begins, and this is unique, at least I have't seen it before When the police arrived, I told them I’d missed the merge sign. I’d even complained that there were too many Water Streets in Massachusetts.
I couldn’t tell them that a ghost had dived headfirst into my windshield.
She was still in my passenger seat.
“Your license?” said the officer. I handed it to him. Behind me, the car horn honked. The ghost threw a pebble at my head.
When the officer was satisfied, he reached through her and picked up the parcel labeled “Manuscript”.
“You a writer?” he asked, handing it to me.
I nodded. The ghost asked him to apologize.
“That’s great,” said the officer. “What’s it about?”
“College and ghosts,” I said.
“And Spirit World,” added my ghost.
“And Spirit World,” I said.
He looked interested. “Fiction, huh? Gonna be the next J. K. Rowling?” He chuckled at his own quip, and then tipped his hat. “You’ll have to let me know when it gets published.”
As I watched the tow truck take my car away, I flipped through my story. It had taken me a year to write, and half more to polish.
And one before that to learn that all ghosts were notorious liars…
I'm definitely interested

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 31st, 2010, 4:39 am
by JTB
I'd second GeeGee's comments about the beginning - dahosek's point about the police reaching in is correct - but that's easily overcome

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: March 31st, 2010, 3:28 pm
by BlancheKing
I'm confused. Are police not allowed to reach inside a stopped car at the scene of an accident? (this sounds stupid, but I've never been in an accident so I don't know) Are they allowed to take anything out of a car?

The parcel is based on mine: a big yellow envelope with the word "manuscript" on it. This is so that I won't confuse it with my other paperwork (and no one will take it on accident). Should I specify?

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: April 1st, 2010, 5:52 am
by JTB
it is unlikely a police officer would reach inside a persons car unless he has very good reason - they might be armed, the package might be harmful, they lose control of being able to move away quickly etc etc - they have no idea the driver doesn't have a weapon, isn't drugged, on the run etc etc - they might ask for permission first - if anything (but why would they be interested in a package on the seat marked manuscript?) - check your procedurals, go ask a cop

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: April 1st, 2010, 9:44 am
by kenpochick
I don't understand the first paragraph at all and I see that you explain it later in the chapter so maybe it could show up somewhere else if it's important. You had me when the ghost threw the pebble. I like it.

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: April 1st, 2010, 9:45 am
by kenpochick
Oh, one more thing.

My husbands a cop. I agree, they won't reach into a car. They could however gesture to it with their hand, ticket book, flashlight etc.

Re: First Page Revision? - SftOS

Posted: April 1st, 2010, 12:46 pm
by BlancheKing
thank you guys so much =D your advice is really helpful. I've decided to cut the first few lines and just start with "when the police...". As for the cop, I've decided that he would ask her to pick it up.

any chance I can get someone to edit the first chapter? i'd be happy to privately e-mail it or something.