First Page

Post excerpts from your works in progress and give feedback to your fellow writers.
Post Reply
User avatar
Robert Meacham
Posts: 4
Joined: June 14th, 2010, 7:11 pm
Contact:

First Page

Post by Robert Meacham » June 28th, 2010, 10:11 pm

Title: Ponzi Scheme
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 175


Cole traveled at 120mph , belly to earth, and anxiously waited for the altimeter to sound off in his helmet announcing the deployment of the main chute. His blood rushed hot and fast to his head when the chute failed...and the emergency chute failed.

Zachary positioned his body over Cole's and latched on to the safety harness just before his own chute jetted out, jerking both men upwards like rag dolls.
Both men hit the island sand going 35mph, Cole bruising his right shoulder, and Zachary holding himself where the cup was supposed to be doing its job.

Zachary frowned with his eyes fixed to Cole's. " Do you trust me now you son of a bitch?"
Cole spoke intermittently as he spit sand from his mouth. He clutched his shoulder and grimaced. " Sure I trust you, the man hired independently by the SEC to destroy my money management company, murdering my CFO, and seducing my wife!" Cole paused , rolling his shoulder as if trying to shake off the injury. “ What’s not to trust ,” he quipped.

User avatar
wilderness
Posts: 541
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:25 pm
Contact:

Re: First Page

Post by wilderness » June 30th, 2010, 1:33 pm

Robert Meacham wrote:Title: Ponzi Scheme
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 175


Cole traveled at 120mph , belly to earth, and anxiously waited for the altimeter to sound off in his helmet announcing the deployment of the main chute. His blood rushed hot and fast to his head when the chute failed...and the emergency chute failed.

Zachary positioned his body over Cole's and latched on to the safety harness just before his own chute jetted out, jerking both men upwards like rag dolls.
Both men hit the island sand going 35mph, Cole bruising his right shoulder, and Zachary holding himself where the cup was supposed to be doing its job. We go abruptly from Cole to Zachary. It feels a bit disorienting, especially since you don't give us any of Cole's thoughts. There's no emotion here. When Cole's parachute fails, I expect some panic before Zachary saves him.

Zachary frowned with his eyes fixed to Cole's. " Do you trust me now you son of a bitch?" Frowned doesn't have as much punch as son of a bitch. Maybe just go with "Zachary fixed his eyes to Cole's"

Cole spoke intermittently as he spit sand from his mouth. I would omit the previous sentence because it is not chronological. He's not speaking yet, and again, the dialogue is stronger. He clutched his shoulder and grimaced. " Sure I trust you, the man hired independently by the SEC to destroy my money management company, murdering my CFO, and seducing my wife!" Cole paused , rolling his shoulder as if trying to shake off the injury. This is good conflict but I don't believe the dialogue. It doesn't sound natural to me. There are too many details. Simplify the sentence. The grammar is not right either. It should be "murder" and "seduce" to match with "to destroy". I would go with something like "Sure, I trust you. Just because you destroyed my company, murdered my CFO, and seduced my wife...What's not to trust?"

“What’s not to trust ,” he quipped. I would use "said" not quipped. Dialogue tags besides "said" are often unnecessary. The dialogue stands on its own.
Hi,

This is my first time critiquing a first page, so take what I say with a grain of salt :) I'm better at queries. My main advice is to add some of Cole's thoughts and emotions. I do think you've got an exciting beginning...I'm definitely intrigued about why the two are parachuting together if Zachary really did all that stuff! Strong start, but you can make it much stronger simply by having more confidence in your dialogue.

Matt_X
Posts: 14
Joined: June 24th, 2010, 3:13 am
Contact:

Re: First Page

Post by Matt_X » June 30th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Hi Robert,

An action-packed scene with lots of hooks to make the reader interested and curious to read more. My comments are mostly about painting a clear picture in the reader's head of what exactly is going on. When I read "belly to earth" I thought of someone's belly actually against the earth, which made it confusing to then read about a chute... And while I was wondering whether they were in the air or maybe trying to set a kind of land speed record I read that they jerked upward like rag dolls, which again made me think of them being lower down and then moving upwards, which isn't exactly what happens when a parachute opens. Consider describing the jerky change in their rate of descent in another way. As a final suggestion, think about deleting the exact speed at which the men were travelling before and after the chutes opened. Words like plummeted, drifted, etc. can give an idea of the speed of descent in a more evocative way.

Hope this was helpful and thanks for putting your work out there!

User avatar
CharleeVale
Posts: 553
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:16 am
Contact:

Re: First Page

Post by CharleeVale » July 1st, 2010, 11:36 am

Robert Meacham wrote:Title: Ponzi Scheme
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 175


Cole traveled at 120mph , belly to earth, and anxiously waited for the altimeter to sound off in his helmet announcing the deployment of the main chute. His blood rushed hot and fast to his head when the chute failed...and the emergency chute failed. Although the action her is sweet, it very abrupt. Could you go through the process? Sometimes it's more intense when you see the character resort to every option before he realizes he's going to die. Pull each parachute.

Zachary positioned his body over Cole's and latched on to the safety harness just before his own chute jetted out, jerking both men upwards like rag dolls.
Both men hit the island sand going 35mph, Cole bruising his right shoulder, and Zachary holding himself where the cup was supposed to be doing its job.
Like Matt-x said, I was a little unclear which extreme sport was being used until this paragraph. Were they really that close to the ground that they hit immediately after they attached to each other? If so, I doubt it would such a slight injury as a bruised shoulder. Probably broken bones and concussions at 35 MPH. (I broke a bone falling to the ground going 10 MPH)

Zachary frowned with his eyes fixed to Cole's. " Do you trust me now you son of a bitch?"
Cole spoke intermittently as he spit sand from his mouth. He clutched his shoulder and grimaced. " Sure I trust you, the man hired independently by the SEC to destroy my money management company, murdering my CFO, and seducing my wife!" Cole paused , rolling his shoulder as if trying to shake off the injury. “ What’s not to trust ,” he quipped. Other than the too minor injuries, I really like this paragraph! Be careful of random spaces.
CV

User avatar
Robert Meacham
Posts: 4
Joined: June 14th, 2010, 7:11 pm
Contact:

Re: First Page

Post by Robert Meacham » July 3rd, 2010, 12:19 am

Thank you all for the spot on critique. I needed to be more clear about the skydiving. All readers do not know belly to earth is skydiving lingo. I was too exact on the speed while free falling however accurate.
Blood rushing hot and fast to the head is probably the least one would feel when anticipating death. I believe I skipped over Cole trying everything possible to open the chute because deployment is automatic, or should have been.

After rereading the dialogue, the suggestions are spot on. I need to relax to the point of being believable.


Thank you Charlee Vale, Matt_X, and Wilderness for the excellent critiques.

Robert Meacham

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests