Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post excerpts from your works in progress and give feedback to your fellow writers.
Post Reply
L.M. Pruitt
Posts: 9
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Contact:

Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by L.M. Pruitt » June 7th, 2010, 5:43 pm

This is (roughly) the first page of my finished work, Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel. I've already sent it through a test run of sorts via WeBook's Page to Fame, and now I'm looking for a broader audience. Thoughts and (helpful) criticism are much appreciated.

The moment I sat at the head of the table and took a good, long look at the three people making up this private party, I knew that taking this particular job had been a mistake. They all looked like nice, normal, sane people. I’d learned many years ago that when people look that normal, they usually aren’t, not by a long shot.

My employer for the evening, Mrs. “Just Call Me Bee” Talanger, clapped her hands together like a little girl, if one could imagine a little girl in the overly surgically enhanced body of a fifty some odd year old woman, and twittered excitedly. Maybe it was the twitter, or the overly perfumed room, or the look of hungry anticipation, but the feeling that I really shouldn’t be here at this exact moment only got stronger. I started to stand up, and the woman on my right raised one impossibly groomed eyebrow.

“Sister Henries, don’t tell us you plan to leave already? Bee had assured us that you’d be able to have a vision, answer some questions for us.” She shivered, as if the thought was both frightening and delicious. The look in her eyes, though--that was the look that I’d learned at a ridiculously tender age that meant they would find it delicious if you were frightened.

In answer, I arched my left eyebrow, making the tiny pinprick mole on the outside corner wink up. A handy, and often impressive, trick. It was like a tiny exclamation point at the top of my face, an easier and less time consuming accent for my pale gray eyes than makeup. “Mrs. Talanger perhaps misunderstood my area of expertise. I read the cards, I do not have visions. I haven’t been…gifted in such a manner.”

Thank God. It was difficult enough acting like a disgraced nun with a talent for tarot. Pretending to have visions would have been too difficult a con to pull off. Even for me.

User avatar
JayceeEA
Posts: 26
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by JayceeEA » June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm

I think it is a great excerpt. My only problem is this, "and twittered excitedly. Maybe it was the twitter..." I felt like the word "twitter" did not need to be repeated.

User avatar
Gina Frost
Posts: 32
Joined: June 4th, 2010, 1:33 pm
Location: Missouri
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by Gina Frost » June 8th, 2010, 6:05 pm

I love the story line, would be interested to read more. However, I would watch out for the over-abundance of words with that dreaded -ly ending. It would read better without them, or at least so many of them.

k10wnsta
Posts: 25
Joined: June 15th, 2010, 3:36 pm
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by k10wnsta » June 17th, 2010, 6:14 pm

Keep an eye on the tense of the narration - it was definitely the hardest aspect of first person storytelling for me to pin down. Beyond that, the opening passage is really solid. The exception: 'this private party' might work better as 'the private party',especially with 'this particular job' being detailed 5 words later (which is itself a tense issue). Beyond that, in a matter of 3 sentences, you've established a bit of setting, mood, and with a witty observation, provided insight into the narrator's personality, hinted at exciting past encounters, and foreshadowed something extraordinary to come (as long as you pay off on this tidbit, the story itself is in good shape).

I read through the second passage and was like 'something's not quite right here', but I couldn't put my finger on it. Gina's reply made it clear as day and with that in mind (along with the tense issue), a cursory redline might look something like this:
L.M. Pruitt wrote:...if one could imagine a little girl in the overly surgically enhanced body of a fifty some odd year old woman, and twittered excitedly. Maybe it was the twitter, or the overly perfumed room, or the look of hungry anticipation, but the feeling that I really shouldn’t be there at this that exact moment only got stronger. I started to stand up, and the woman on my right raised one impossibly (?imacculately?) groomed eyebrow...
I suggested removing the dependant clause because it was simply a bit of environment detail sandwiched between character traits and the small amount of description it adds to the setting doesn't seem to justify delaying the point of the narrator's concern (that they shouldn't be there, etc)...if that makes any sense.

Hope this helps.
How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.
--Henry David Thoreau

Emily J
Posts: 250
Joined: March 31st, 2010, 2:20 pm
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by Emily J » June 18th, 2010, 3:23 pm

L.M. Pruitt wrote:This is (roughly) the first page of my finished work, Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel. I've already sent it through a test run of sorts via WeBook's Page to Fame, and now I'm looking for a broader audience. Thoughts and (helpful) criticism are much appreciated.

The moment I sat at the head of the table and took a good, long look at the three people making up this private party, I knew that taking this particular job had been a mistake. They all looked like nice, normal, sane people. I’d learned many years ago that when people look that normal, they usually aren’t, not by a long shot. i like this opening makes me curious about the job, and the hidden eccentricities of the people in this party

My employer for the evening, Mrs. “Just Call Me Bee” Talanger, clapped her hands together like a little girl, if one could imagine a little girl in the overly surgically enhanced body of a fifty some odd year old woman, this could be streamlined a bit, doesn't flow well and twittered excitedly. Maybe it was the twitter, or the overly perfumed room, or the look of hungry anticipation, but the feeling that I really shouldn’t be here at this exact moment only got stronger. a bit unclear, is the feeling occurring at that exact moment or is it a feeling the MC shouldn't be there are that exact moment I started to stand up, and the woman on my right raised one impossibly groomed eyebrow. hmm, overly groomed? I am trying to imagine an impossibly groomed eyebrow and I am failing

“Sister Henries, don’t tell us you plan to leave already? Bee had assured us that you’d be able to have a vision, answer some questions for us.” She shivered, as if the thought was both frightening and delicious. The look in her eyes, though--that was the look that I’d learned at a ridiculously tender age that meant they would find it delicious if you were frightened. language feels a bit too similar to that in paragraph 2 and is less clear, less immediate

In answer, I arched my left eyebrow, making the tiny pinprick mole on the outside corner wink up. A handy, and often impressive, trick. these commas feel superfluous to me It was like a tiny exclamation point at the top of my face, an easier and less time consuming accent for my pale gray eyes than makeup. nice imagery, I can picture this perfectly “Mrs. Talanger perhaps misunderstood my area of expertise. I read the cards, I do not have visions. I haven’t been…gifted in such a manner.”

Thank God. It was difficult enough acting like a disgraced nun with a talent for tarot. Pretending to have visions would have been too difficult a con to pull off. Even for me.
Pretty solid opening. It made me want to learn more especially given the revelation at the end. Nice work.

Jessica Peter
Posts: 57
Joined: May 15th, 2010, 2:01 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by Jessica Peter » June 22nd, 2010, 9:26 pm

Hi LM. I find myself very drawn to your voice, and I like your description. I think this would be something I would like to read, even just after seeing the first page -strong voice, sounds unique. Unfortunately, the title is not very unique- abook called Shades of Gray released today (http://www.amazon.com/Shades-Gray-Icaru ... 587&sr=8-4), which is part of the reason I came to check out your thread. Overall, I think this piece is really solid. I find that you use the "-ly" adverbs a bit much, and I coloured them blue: most can be removed without affecting the description. A few of my comments in pink.


The moment I sat at the head of the table and took a good, long look at the three people making up this private party, I knew that taking this particular job had been a mistake. Great line.They all looked like nice, normal, sane people. I’d learned many years ago that when people look that normal, they usually aren’t, not by a long shot.Ha, again, I'm loving it.

My employer for the evening, Mrs. “Just Call Me Bee” Talanger,Great! clapped her hands together like a little girl, if one could imagine a little girl in the overly surgically enhanced body of a fifty some odd year old womanYou need some dashes here, but I'm not sure exactly where. "fifty-some-odd-year-old woman"? , and twittered excitedly. Maybe it was the twitterI'm thinking of the website when you use it like this, or the overly perfumed room, or the look of hungry anticipation, but the feeling that I really shouldn’t be here at this exact moment only got stronger. I started to stand up, and the woman on my right raised one impossibly groomed eyebrow.

“Sister Henries, don’t tell us you plan to leave already? Bee had assured us that you’d be able to have a vision, answer some questions for us.” She shivered, as if the thought was both frightening and delicious. The look in her eyes, though--that was the look that I’d learned at a ridiculously tender age that meant they would find it delicious if you were frightened.

In answer, I arched my left eyebrow, making the tiny pinprick mole on the outside corner wink up. A handy, and often impressive, trick. It was like a tiny exclamation point at the top of my faceInteresting description of the protagonist., an easier and less time consuming accent for my pale gray eyes than makeup. “Mrs. Talanger perhaps misunderstood my area of expertise. I read the cards, I do not have visions. I haven’t been…gifted in such a manner.”

Thank God. It was difficult enough acting like a disgraced nun with a talent for tarot. Heh.Pretending to have visions would have been too difficult a con to pull off. Even for me.
http://jessdoesstuff.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/JessicaPeter1
Currently querying HUNT, YA Urban Fantasy & writing a post-apocalyptic romance

User avatar
midenianscholar
Posts: 38
Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 11:04 am
Location: far up in the hills of Georgia
Contact:

Re: Excerpt--Shades of Gray: A Jude Magdalyn Novel

Post by midenianscholar » June 23rd, 2010, 11:30 am

Really intriguing! I would just echo what Gina Frost mentioned - there are a lot of adjectives being thrown around. I would try trimming them down, particularly in phrases like this:

"...if one could imagine a little girl in the overly surgically enhanced body of a fifty some odd year old woman..."

Perhaps change to something like:

"...if one could imagine a girl in the surgically enhanced body of an middle-aged woman..."

Jessica Peter mentioned that the title's on a new release. It was also used in a YA book about the Civil War, which originally is what made me curious.

But really good excerpt! Quite interesting.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests