First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

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bforlenza
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First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 6th, 2011, 4:39 pm

Looking for any and all comments. One agent said "Good writing, but not great" So in short I'm looking to make it great....thanks for any help you can offer....

Paradise Lounge

Chapter 1

After a few erratic twists of the steering wheel, Cheryl got the Jaguar close enough to the curb. The no-parking sign on the sidewalk didn’t bother her. Let the damn thing get towed. A visit to the Brooklyn Impound Lot would serve PJ right.
She checked her makeup job in the rearview mirror. Not great, but it covered the bruises. If no one looked too closely, they might think she was wearing one of those new smoky eyeshadows.
The muggy night air enveloped her while the light mist clung to her face. Crossing the street, she ignored the ridiculous line that wound around the building and went straight to the entrance of the club.
The beefy doorman stepped forward and blocked her way. She smiled at him with more confidence than she felt, and wished she was wearing something more revealing. The tailored silk dress and low heels that had worked so well at the country club weren’t cutting it here. Normally, she hated the way guys always zoomed in on her body and blond hair, but tonight it would have worked.
“I’m on the list. I know the owner.” His smirk told her he had heard that line a million times. “Cheryl Benson. Just check it out.”
Her heart pounded hard against her chest. What if Eddie forgot to add her? What if she couldn’t get in? Where would she go?
He finally looked up, his quick nod like a facial tick. “Are you going in or not, sweetheart?”
He unhooked the velvet rope with one hand and held back the swarm of people with the other. Cheryl moved past him without looking up, afraid that any eye contact would make him change his mind.
It was good to be out of the rain, but it was even better to be lost and invisible in the throbbing club scene. She felt protected amongst the throng of strangers. When her eyes adjusted to the flashing strobe lights. she began her search for Eddie.
The massive dance floor was packed with bodies gyrating to music provided by a DJ, who was suspended in his overhead cage. The air crackled with the sweet mixed scents of perfume and exotic cocktails. People were flowing into each other, meshing together, and making for one out-of-control party. It would’ve been nice to be one of them. To be free and untroubled. Enjoying the slight buzz after having that one extra drink that made the world look bright and shiny.

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GingerWrite
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by GingerWrite » September 6th, 2011, 5:41 pm

I definitely like your hook. It makes me think this lady is angry with a bit of a devil-may-care attitude. But I was wondering, what is your genre? Is it meant to be a thriller, romance, what? And a short summary would help before making a critique :) So far I'm liking it!
"The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the more you grow." - Dr. Suess
Worlds can grow and crumble beneath a writer's pen. We just need to find the right one.
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bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 7th, 2011, 8:58 am

Thanks Ginger for the positive feedback, and sorry for the omission of genre......It is a romantic suspense, completed at 88,000 words. Cheryl is fleeing her abusive husband who blackmailed her into marriage. While hiding out at the Paradise Lounge, she finds love and intrigue.

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GingerWrite
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by GingerWrite » September 7th, 2011, 1:23 pm

Good to know! Then for a romantic suspense you've definitely got a good hook. Then the feedback I would give is that you might want to include some indication of whether or not she's looking for a place to hide out, or meeting someone there for an interlude. Of course, this is just the first page, and I don't know if the next line of the next page is an explanation of that. Just a thought :)
"The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the more you grow." - Dr. Suess
Worlds can grow and crumble beneath a writer's pen. We just need to find the right one.
http://startingonthewritepage.blogspot.com/ :)

MZ Pike
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by MZ Pike » September 8th, 2011, 5:38 pm

The first few sentences were so minimalist and fast-paced that it took me a second to catch up and get a feel for what was going on. But once she was out of the car, and talking to the bouncer, I enjoyed it. Just sort of feels like it could use a few tiny details added here and there at the start. Of course, this isn't really the sort of genre I frequent in both reading and writing, so I may be totally off base saying that.

But I really like how you tell us things without saying it. Like the car isn't hers. That she had an altercation at some point. That something was after her, even if we don't know if it's something or someone (and we darn well better NOT know on page 1 anyway) at that point. You do all this without actually pausing in the story at all. That's good writing.

But again, it's sort of missing something at the first part. Of course, this is just a tiny sliver, so I can't say much more than that.

bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 8th, 2011, 11:07 pm

MZ....Thanks so much for the helpful feedback. Interesting what you said abt the beginning, but was happy you got a feel for it as it went on. Just interested....Since you said you don't read my genre, what do you usually read?

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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by MZ Pike » September 9th, 2011, 3:45 pm

bforlenza wrote:MZ....Thanks so much for the helpful feedback. Interesting what you said abt the beginning, but was happy you got a feel for it as it went on. Just interested....Since you said you don't read my genre, what do you usually read?
I'm usually a Science Fiction/Fantasy kind of guy. Although I do branch out into almost everything else, I don't typically feel expert enough on some other genres. And since you classified this as a romance/suspense, that's a combo I haven't exactly read much of.

To elaborate on what I meant though, on the off chance that it is actually helpful, is that I think something like a different opening sentence might be helpful. Something like "parking a car at night was a lot harder after getting punched in the face" was what I kind of wanted to mentally put in there. That's just a sentence I thought up in a few seconds, so obviously it doesn't match your style or voice. That's just the gist of what my reader's mind wanted. Just a simple declarative sentence to set up the action or setting. But then, I am an unpublished author thus far, so my word's not exactly gospel. I just felt like I should have been more specific as to what I meant in my previous post. :)

bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 9th, 2011, 8:36 pm

MZ......Its all good and I appreciate your input...As far as I'm concerned the query, and first pages are 50% luck and 50% talent. Have read many queries that go against all the rules and yet make the grade and others that follow the rules and get rejected. So it is always abt talent and that is objective because writing is art and art is subjective to the public. All we can do is hope we find an agent that fits with our work....

MZ Pike
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by MZ Pike » September 9th, 2011, 8:50 pm

bforlenza wrote:MZ......Its all good and I appreciate your input...As far as I'm concerned the query, and first pages are 50% luck and 50% talent. Have read many queries that go against all the rules and yet make the grade and others that follow the rules and get rejected. So it is always abt talent and that is objective because writing is art and art is subjective to the public. All we can do is hope we find an agent that fits with our work....
Agreed. You have a good base, though. It's all about persistence. I went to a Terry Brooks panel, and his advice for writers there was "Quit... if you can. Because if you can, you won't make it."

Those words are kind of sticking with me. That's the mindset we all need.

bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 12th, 2011, 7:38 pm

MZ Pike wrote:
bforlenza wrote:MZ......Its all good and I appreciate your input...As far as I'm concerned the query, and first pages are 50% luck and 50% talent. Have read many queries that go against all the rules and yet make the grade and others that follow the rules and get rejected. So it is always abt talent and that is objective because writing is art and art is subjective to the public. All we can do is hope we find an agent that fits with our work....
Agreed. You have a good base, though. It's all about persistence. I went to a Terry Brooks panel, and his advice for writers there was "Quit... if you can. Because if you can, you won't make it."

Those words are kind of sticking with me. That's the mindset we all need.
Great quote....It speaks volumes....no pun intended....lol

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AnimaDictio
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by AnimaDictio » September 20th, 2011, 10:25 pm

Paradise Lounge

Chapter 1

After a few erratic twists of the steering wheel, Cheryl got the Jaguar close enough to the curb. The no-parking sign on the sidewalk didn’t bother her. Let the damn thing get towed. A visit to the Brooklyn Impound Lot would serve PJ right. (I love it so far. I understand what kind of person Cheryl is, her mood and I already have conflict, which makes me want to read more.)

She checked her makeup job in the rearview mirror. Not great, but it covered the bruises. If no one looked too closely, they might think she was wearing one of those new smoky eyeshadows.

The muggy night air enveloped her while the light mist clung to her face. Crossing the street, she ignored the ridiculous line that wound around the building and went straight (Is it straight or is it winding around? I would say it "went up to the entrance" or it "reached the entrance.") to the entrance of the club.

The beefy doorman stepped forward and blocked her way. She smiled at him with more confidence than she felt, and wished she was wearing something more revealing. The tailored silk dress and low heels that had worked so well at the country club weren’t cutting it here. Normally, she hated the way guys always zoomed in on her body and blond hair, but tonight it would have worked. (Tonight, what would have worked? The zooming in would have worked? Zooming in would work to accomplish what?)

“I’m on the list. I know the owner.” His smirk told her he had heard that line a million times. “Cheryl Benson. Just check it out.”

Her heart pounded hard against her chest. What if Eddie forgot to add her? What if she couldn’t get in? Where would she go? (Good. Now, I'm scared for her.)

He finally looked up, his quick nod is like a facial tick. “Are you going in or not, sweetheart?”

He unhooked the velvet rope with one hand and held back the swarm of people with the other. Cheryl moved past him without looking up, afraid that any eye contact would make him change his mind. (Nice!)

It was good to be out of the rain, (It wasn't clear before that it was raining.) but it was even better to be lost and invisible in the throbbing club scene. She felt protected amongst the throng of strangers. ("amongst the throng" is too cutesy) When her eyes adjusted to the flashing strobe lights. she began her search for Eddie.

The massive dance floor was packed with bodies gyrating to music provided by a DJ, (Name the DJ, preferably something a little funny) who was suspended in his overhead cage. The air crackled with the sweet mixed scents of perfume and exotic cocktails. People were flowing into each other, meshing together, and making for one out-of-control party. It would’ve been nice to be one of them. To be free and untroubled. Enjoying the slight buzz from after having that one extra drink that made the world look bright and shiny.

Overall, it's great. I would definitely read this story.

bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » September 27th, 2011, 9:38 pm

Thanks so much Animia....Have been away due to a family emergency and just signed on and saw your post....Very helpful and useful critique...Will def make the changes you suggested....Again much thanks....

Chantelle.S.
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by Chantelle.S. » September 30th, 2011, 7:55 am

I agree with the agent about it being good writing. You set the right ambience for the story with the short sentences, and the whole piece reads well. The only question that popped into my mind is why was she afraid that the bouncer would change his mind? If she's on the list, he has no reason to deny her access, does he?
I like the mystery around this Eddie character, I really want to know who he is and why she is looking for him specifically, and why at a club of all places? So I can say I'm definitely hooked and would be keen to read more, even though this genre isn't my forte.
I think what the agent might have meant with 'it's not great writing' is because it's lacking something. It's a good hook for the story, but how can you make it more than just a good hook? If somebody else wrote a similar story, how would you change yours to stand out? What will make yours more memorable? The setting, or the character, maybe?
This is just my thoughts. I have no actual idea if I'm right or not, the agent could have meant that your story is good but not exactly what they are looking for, for all we know.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

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bforlenza
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by bforlenza » October 1st, 2011, 11:43 am

Thanks Chantelle....Have been working on and using all the helpful hints that you and others have supplied. Am attending a writer's conference in November and am hoping to have this piece in shape to read aloud. Thanks again....

Belle_91
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Re: First Page of "Beyond the Paradise"

Post by Belle_91 » October 15th, 2011, 12:36 pm

Hey, this is my first critique here on this fourm. I really like your opening. My comments are in various colors...a certain color doesn't mean anything either, just wanted you to see them. :D
Looking for any and all comments. One agent said "Good writing, but not great" So in short I'm looking to make it great....thanks for any help you can offer....

Paradise Lounge

Chapter 1

After a few erratic twists of the steering wheel, Cheryl got the Jaguar close enough to the curb. The no-parking sign on the sidewalk didn’t bother her. Let the damn thing get towed. A visit to the Brooklyn Impound Lot would serve PJ right. I like this a lot
She checked her makeup job in the rearview (I think this should be two words) mirror. Not great, but it covered the bruises. If no one looked too closely, they might think she was wearing one of those new smoky eyeshadows (Again, this might be two words, it says it’s misspelled on my Microsoft word).
The muggy night air enveloped her while the light mist clung to her face. Crossing the street, she ignored the ridiculous line that wound around the building and went straight to the entrance of the club. At first I didn’t know what you were talking about, so maybe add “line of people”.
The beefy doorman stepped forward and blocked her way. She smiled at him with more confidence than she felt, and wished she was wearing something more revealing. The tailored silk dress and low heels that had worked so well at the country club weren’t cutting it here. Normally, she hated the way guys always zoomed in on her body and blond hair, but tonight it would have worked.
“I’m on the list. I know the owner.” His smirk told her he had heard that line a million times. “Cheryl Benson. Just check it out.”
Her heart pounded hard against her chest. What if Eddie forgot to add her? What if she couldn’t get in? Where would she go?
He finally looked up, his quick nod like a facial tick. “Are you going in or not, sweetheart?”
He unhooked the velvet rope with one hand and held back the swarm of people with the other. Cheryl moved past him without looking up, afraid that any eye contact would make him change his mind.
It was good to be out of the rain, (it was raining? Mention that earlier perhaps) but it was even better to be lost and invisible in the throbbing club scene. She felt protected amongst the throng of strangers. When her eyes adjusted to the flashing strobe lights, (you need a comma here, not a period) she began her search for Eddie.
The massive dance floor was packed with bodies gyrating to music provided by a DJ, who was suspended in his overhead cage. The air crackled with the sweet mixed scents of perfume and exotic cocktails. People were flowing into each other, meshing together, and making for one out-of-control party. It would’ve been nice to be one of them. To be free and untroubled. Enjoying the slight buzz after having that one extra drink that made the world look bright and shiny. I really like this too 

Overall, I think you did a really good job. For me, at least, you have a great hook. I would read more. :)

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