Updated YA first page :)

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otherside89girl
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Updated YA first page :)

Post by otherside89girl » April 5th, 2010, 7:09 pm

*Updated*

Thanks for the feedback everyone!
Last edited by otherside89girl on June 26th, 2010, 1:09 am, edited 8 times in total.

JTB
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by JTB » April 5th, 2010, 7:25 pm

it's difficult not knowing the context of this - some blurb would help and a title. Maybe put together three lines - the core of the story: 'this is the story of so and so and .... blah blah blah...'

a quick scan and it's a little odd she collapses and no one does anything and the teacher just carries on .... and where's the hook, where's the thing that makes you think, wow, i wonder what happens next?

some context would help.

the writing itself is quite dead-pan - matter of fact - and lacks tension, is that deliberate?

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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by kenpochick » April 5th, 2010, 7:51 pm

So far I like it. I remember getting ready for freshman year of highschool and thinking I was going to re-invent myself. In fact, now that I think about it, I thought the same thing starting college. I think it's something teenagers can relate to.

Without knowing what your story is about though I can't say too much. So far so good.

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mmcdonald64
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by mmcdonald64 » April 5th, 2010, 8:06 pm

I wonder why she's the only freshman. At first, I thought she was a new student having to start mid term, but then you mention that she chose the class in early summer with her best friend so that theory went out the window. I'm just confused, I guess. The writing is pretty good, it definitely has a voice. I'm just finding the situation odd. My first day of highschool had all of us freshman trying to find our classes. It was chaos, not this quiet class where she slips in almost unnoticed. Would't the teacher at least ask her name? Don't they take attendance? Since it's first day, the teacher can't know her by sight. I also wonder if she has no artistic talent, how did she get into a specialized artsy highschool? Don't they have tests or criteria for getting in?

otherside89girl
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by otherside89girl » April 5th, 2010, 8:22 pm

Thanks, mmcdonald64, haha... you definitely pointed out some logistic questions that I hadn't considered. The photography class was actually based on a class I took as a freshman so I didn't stop to think about whether that was normal. I'll try to throw some more explanations in there.

Emily J
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by Emily J » April 6th, 2010, 10:35 am

otherside89girl wrote:My (almost complete but as yet untitled) WIP is a YA novel aimed toward girls (I'm guessing...) Now that I'm almost finished with the first draft, I'm looking for some fresh eyes. Would anyone mind reading and reviewing my first page? I would really appreciate it :) Thank you, thank you!

*Edit*
The novel is about a teenage girl, Ronnie Gold, and it follows her through her freshman and senior years. It's sort of a YA romance so it talks about her and her best friend and their teenage relationships. (Haven't written a query yet or I would share some of that with you!)
Also, as I said I haven't officially started editing yet, so I will be taking out some of the "crutch" gestures, some of which are on the first page...
Well, critique away!


My first high school class. I stood outside the door, even though it was cold and dark and drizzling outside. This was typical first day of school weather for Seattle – or in my case, Benton, a little suburb most people haven’t heard of. As I peered nervously through the tiny window in the door, my breath appearing in puffs in front of my face, I frantically searched for someone else who looked like a freshman. No such luck; it looked like I would start my first day of high school alone.

I thought about scanning the room for potential friends before choosing a seat, but as soon as I opened the door I was overwhelmed by fluorescent lights and a heating vent blowing into my face. I like this sentence, nice description I looked up to see a classroom full of older students, seated grouped "seated grouped" seems unnecessary and awkward, why not just seated around... around plastic tables, staring at me. I collapsed into the chair closest to the door, dropping my backpack with a loud whump.

As I waited for the blood to drain out of my face and return to the rest of my body, I casually glanced around. I noticed some of the students already had cameras with them. Great. I didn’t even know anything about photography. The teacher, a tall think u need a comma here bald man with glasses named Mr. Mildy, started talking to the class about art and what was expected of us in this class, maybe course instead of class? with a lot of photography jargon mixed in. I kept my eyes on the black and gray flecks on of? rather than on maybe? unless they are specks on the table the plastic tabletop.

I clearly remembered signing up for this class at the beginning of the summer. My best friend Jem and I were sitting on my bedroom floor, our school forms scattered over the carpet. We were excited about our brilliant decision to go to the “artsy” school, Chimakum High, the one where we wouldn’t know anyone. We could get a fresh start. It had seemed like the best idea at the time… Jem busily signed up for theater and choir, while I randomly selected classes from the list. Drawing, painting, photography.

Sitting in Mr. Mildy’s class, listening to the monotonous hum of his voice, with the rain dripping quietly into the mud puddles outside the door, I realized that I was not an artsy person. I didn’t know how to draw, or paint, or take pictures. I kind of had this idea that when I started high school I would just become someone else; a colorful and lively person with artistic abilities. this description could be more specific, cosmopolitan? berret-wearing? latte-drinking? unshaven bohemian? skinny-jeans-wearing hipster?? In that classroom, under the blinking fluorescent lights, I felt very out of place, and very much the same person. a lot of your sentences have multiple dependent clauses, don't let this become tiring! At that moment, I felt like I would always be Ronnie Gold, no more, no less.

Suddenly, I noticed the hum had gotten louder. Apparently, notice how this sentence structure is similar to the preceding sentence? I would switch up the syntax of one or the other Mr. Mildy had instructed the class to discuss something. Chairs scraped against the floor as the other students leaned across the tables to talk to each other. I looked up at my tablemates sheepishly, but none of them seemed to notice me.

The girl across from me was leaning back in her chair, twirling a lock of hair in one hand, while the other hand waved lazily in the air, emphasizing something she was saying about driving to the city to take pictures of homeless people. this sentence is long, 4 clauses!I examined her as she talked. Her hair was straight, long, and the perfect light shade of brown. Much lighter than mine. I absently started tugging my curls, which barely grazed my collarbone, as I turned to the girl on my left. She was pretty, with black almond-shaped eyes, freckles, and stick-straight hair. i like this description She smiled a lot. I wondered what we were supposed to be talking about.

I was distracted by someone laughing behind me. I bit my lip to keep from smiling; it was infectious, a real belly laugh, and the low tones of the person’s voice were unexpectedly pleasant. Resting my chin in my hand, I slowly glanced over my shoulder. The laughing boy was leaning forward on the table, his face obscured by a black hood. Under the table, I noticed he was also wearing black pants, tucked into big black boots. Raising my eyebrows, I turned back to face my table.
I really like your writing, your descriptions especially are great. A few places I found you had an over-reliance on long sentences with multiple dependent clauses. Aside from that, though, I really liked this. It had good voice.

otherside89girl
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by otherside89girl » April 6th, 2010, 4:17 pm

EmilyJ, thanks so much! That was really helpful. I definitely see what you mean about the structure of some of those sentences.

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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by ThinkBlue » April 9th, 2010, 11:54 pm

I immediately loved the name, Ronnie Gold. Fantastic.

otherside89girl
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by otherside89girl » April 10th, 2010, 12:45 am

ThinkBlue, thanks so much! I'm glad you like it as much as I do!

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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by wildheart » April 13th, 2010, 1:32 am

First of all...I'm writing a YA too! So I was interested as soon as I saw who your MC was.

That being said I do think many of your sentences are pretty long. You could shorten some of them. When they are all the same length like that it gets pretty tiresome, especially seeing all those commas! But I will be the first to admit I love commas too!

I LOVE your characters name. Great choice. It really stood out to me and made me like her right away.

And your first sentence. It bothers me for some reason. Just not catchy enough. But reading your post again you said you just finished the first draft, so that is to be expected. Just know that might be something to think of fixing.

I remember my first day as a freshman very well. It was for just us, with some upperclassmen there only to help us to our classes. I am only saying this because when your character couldn't find anyone her age it confused me. I'm not sure all schools work the way mine did though.

I really like how your character wants to reinvent themselves, be someone else. I think you hit what its like to be a teenager really well with this statement. In fact, I think its true for people even in their twenties as well. So good job with this, it made your character that much more believeable!

Good job! I really don't have much else to say but I like your voice. It works with your genre.
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bigheadx
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by bigheadx » April 15th, 2010, 1:56 pm

It appears you have received some excellent advice from other readers, so allow me to comment on a few "technical" and content issues:
otherside89girl wrote:..........
My first high school class. I stood outside at the classroom door, even though it was cold and dark and drizzling outside. This was typical first day of school weather for Seattle – or in my case, Benton, a little suburb most people haven’t heard of. As I peered nervously through the door's tiny windowin the door, my breath appearing in puffs in front of my face, I frantically searched for someone else who looked like a freshman. No such luck; it looked like I would start my first day of high school alone. [Actually, the character is not "alone," just apparently the only freshman. Try and convey that in this sentence.

I tried to thought about scanning the room for potential friendsbefore choosing a seat, but as soon as I opened the door I was overwhelmed by fluorescent lights and a heating vent blowing into my face. I looked up to see and a classroom full of older students, seated grouped around plastic tables, staring at me. I collapsed into the chair closest to the door [are there any students at this table?], dropping my backpack with a loud whump.

As I waited for the blood to drain out of my face and return to the rest of my body, I casuallyglanced around. I noticed sSome of the students already had cameras with them. Great. I didn’t evendon't know anything about photography. The teacher, a tall bald man with glasses named Mr. Mildy [this makes it sound like the glasses are named Mr. Mildy], started talking to the class about art and what was expected of us in this class, with a lot of photography jargon mixed in. I kept my eyes on the black and gray flecks on the plastic tabletop.

I clearly remembered signing up for this class at the beginning of the summer. My best friend Jem and I were sitting on my bedroom floor, our school forms scattered over the carpet. We were excited about our brilliant decision to go to the “artsy” school, Chimakum High, the one where we wouldn’t know anyone. We could get a fresh start. It had seemed like the best idea at the time, Jem busily signed up for theater and choir, while I randomly selected classes from the list.like Drawing, painting, photography.

Sitting in Mr. Mildy’s class, listening to the monotonous hum of his voice, with and the rain dripping quietlyinto the mud puddles outside the door, I realized that I was not an artsy person. I didn’t know how to draw, or paint, or take pictures. I kind of had this idea that when I started high school I would just become someone else; a colorful and lively person with artistic abilities. In that classroom, under the blinking fluorescent lights, I felt very out of place, and very much the same person. At that moment, I felt like I would always be Ronnie Gold, no more, no less.

Suddenly, I noticed the hum had gotten louder. Apparently, Mr. Mildy had instructed the class to discuss something. Chairs scraped against the floor as the other students leaned across the tables to talk to each other. I looked up at my tablemates sheepishly, but none of them seemed to notice me.

The girl across from me wasleaneding back in her chair, twirling a lock of hair in one hand, while the other hand waved lazily in the air, emphasizing something she was saying about driving to the city to take pictures of homeless people. I examined her as she talked. Her hair was straight, long, and the perfect light shade of brown. Much lighter than mine. I absently started tugging my curls, which barely grazed my collarbone, as I turned to the girl on my left. She was pretty, with black almond-shaped eyes, freckles, and stick-straight hair. She smiled a lot. I wondered what we were supposed to be talking about. [puzzling; she can't hear what they are saying?]

I was distracted by someone laughing behind me. I bit my lip to keep from smiling; it was infectious, a real belly laugh, and the low tones of the person’s voice were unexpectedly pleasant. Resting my chin in my hand, I slowly glanced over my shoulder. The laughing boy was leaning forward on the table, his face obscured by a black hood. Under the table, I noticed hHe was also wearing black pants, tucked into big black boots. Raising my eyebrows, I turned back to face my table. [Lots of "leaning" and "resting" and "raising" here but to what end?]
An interesting start that certainly conveys the anxieties associated with starting at a new school and, on top of that, being thrown into a classroom full of older, intimidating students. Good job describing setting and characters. Best of luck with it!

otherside89girl
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by otherside89girl » April 16th, 2010, 4:21 pm

Thanks so much for the helpful feedback!

wildheart - You pointed out something other people have noticed too... I'll have to work on explaining why she's the only freshman in that class. And I was a little worried about my first sentence too, so I'll try to make it catchier. Thanks!!!

bigheadx - Your corrections were very helpful, I will definitely make some of those changes. Thank you!!

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bigheadx
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Re: Be the first to read my first page? :)

Post by bigheadx » April 16th, 2010, 4:43 pm

You are most welcome and if my comments have been of any help then that's terrific! Good luck!
JohnN
otherside89girl wrote:Thanks so much for the helpful feedback!

wildheart - You pointed out something other people have noticed too... I'll have to work on explaining why she's the only freshman in that class. And I was a little worried about my first sentence too, so I'll try to make it catchier. Thanks!!!

bigheadx - Your corrections were very helpful, I will definitely make some of those changes. Thank you!!

otherside89girl
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Re: Updated YA first page (Ronnie Gold) :)

Post by otherside89girl » June 8th, 2010, 9:47 pm

Just updated my first page using lots of these helpful suggestions! Take a look. Thank you!

wildheart
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Re: Updated YA first page (Ronnie Gold) :)

Post by wildheart » June 10th, 2010, 6:31 am

I still really like it, that's for sure! And I noticed that you explained why she was in that class that obviously wasn't really meant for freshman. Which is good. Really I can't find anything that I dislike about it right now, at least, nothing that I didn't already say.

Good luck with your revision! Just curious--are you a teen writing for teens...or are you just really talented at making your character sound like a kid? Because I am still really impressed with your voice, and the emotion you put into your character.
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