Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
User avatar
Posts: 22
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:37 pm
Location: Bay Area

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by gdelao » July 19th, 2010, 1:05 pm

Title: Wilson Mooney
Genre: young adult

I wish I could remember my childhood. The vivid memories and revealing words just don’t work for me. I remembered small pieces, chunks of events that took up residence in my head, but details of who took whom to the fifth grade dance or how it felt when Christian Sibley, one of the most popular boys in middle school, broke up with me. Well you can just forget it. My mind’s blank- it’s like Swiss cheese; cheese that left a puky, pungent flavor in my mouth after I swallowed.

My name is Wilson Mooney. I’m a senior at Wesley Academy for girls and I knew from an early age, my life was going to be different, starting with my name. Really think about it, how many girls do you know named Wilson? Then saddled with the last name Mooney? Odds were stacked from birth that I was going to be the butt of someone’s joke. If I had money for every time someone called me Looney, Mooney- I wouldn’t need to work another day of my life. But life as I knew it wasn’t fair so I had to work. Unlike most of the girls at my school, I wasn’t born into privilege. I was the product of a one night stand between two under aged, pimple faced ninth graders. My father was a no show and my mother had made it her life’s work to live off of the state of California. Oh yeah, Wesley Academy is a boarding school for girls.

Posts: 2
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by gskenney » July 19th, 2010, 1:08 pm

TITLE: Mikel (working title)
GENRE: Science Fiction
252 words

He was my brother. I was sure of it the instant I set eyes on him.

I was running a set of routine diagnostics on the ground-rover, which we had unloaded from the ship earlier that day. With the sun warm on my back, I had taken off the jacket of my uniform and was making adjustments on the rover's instrument panel when I felt as if someone were watching me. Maybe it was a movement I detected out of the corner of my eye. I looked up.

He sat on the second step of the ship's ladderway as if he had always been there, humor tilting the corners of his mouth into a smile, and mischief glinting from his eyes like a child who had just stolen a candy from the jar. Lighten his hair and eyes a little, and he looked exactly like the holos of my father I’ve studied since I was a child. I caught my breath as his mouth spread into my father's famous grin.

It was more than I’d dared hope.

Then I found my voice. “Efrim! We have company.”

With close-cropped steel-filing hair and a stiffness to his jaw that suggested lack of the muscles necessary for smiling, our captain Efrim had the self-control of a career military man. A slight raising of one eyebrow betrayed his surprise, but he surpressed it quickly. He stared at the stranger, and then his eyes moved systematically from one perimeter-alarm station to the next, all intact and undisturbed.

Posts: 1
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 1:02 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by adsimons » July 19th, 2010, 1:15 pm

Title: Only Time Will Tell
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Words: 246

I looked down into the violet eyes of the babe, and I knew it would be so easy. The baby girl was only days old after all, and utterly defenseless. All I would have to do is give her neck one sharp jerk and the horror would stop here and now.
It saddened me a little, that her parents had trusted me so completely. True, I was their best friend and they would never have believed that I, sweet and gentle Joshua Donalds, would be capable of killing their new born child. I would be able to do it and be far gone long before they discovered her body. I even had time to set it up to make it appear as if I had come to harm as well.
Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and moved my hand to the back of her neck.
Her warm hand wrapped around one of my fingers just seconds before I had worked up the nerve and my eyes sprang open in shock. Her smiling face greeted me, and in response, my heart swelled with an emotion I had not felt in decades.
The overwhelming desire to protect her consumed me and my stomach clenched at the mere thought of hurting her.
That was a complication I wasn’t prepared for.
As I struggled to banish the love I suddenly felt for her, unwelcome thoughts flooded my mind.

Posts: 5
Joined: June 19th, 2010, 12:51 am

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by carolm » July 19th, 2010, 2:13 pm

Title: Unbreak Her Heart
Genre: Inspirational Romance

"No, I'm not going."

"Please," Liz pleaded with me. "It's twenty minutes. That's it. It's not like you'll hit traffic coming home from the airport that time of day."

I glared at my twin sister. "Total time will be an hour from the time I leave the house, drive to the airport, pick him up, then it's twenty minutes with the one person I never want to see again as long as I live."

"You see Joe all the time," she pointed out. "It's practically the same thing."

"It's not the same, and you know it, even if they are identical twins." I should have just dropped her off after our trip to the gym but no, I had to come inside and hang out for a while. I'd moved back home a few weeks earlier in an effort to save some money. But Liz had lured me in, even waiting until we had dinner in the oven before broaching the subject.

"Please, Mandie?" Her earnest blue eyes locked on mine. "Can't you just do this for me?"

"You want me to go to the airport and pick up your boyfriend's brother, even though you know I despise him?" I crossed my arms in front of me. "You want me to take time out of my day, drive all the way to the airport, wait for him, drive him all the way back to Republic - spending at least twenty minutes alone with him all because you're getting a pedicure?"

Posts: 7
Joined: December 17th, 2009, 8:27 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by SuzieQ » July 19th, 2010, 4:43 pm

Title: Love: Film at Eleven
Genre: steamy contemporary romance
(249 words)

"So that's her. The great Cleo Caswell." Alec had to admit she was a looker. Her long brown hair tumbled down her back in a soft waves. The bottom of the skirt of her red power suit hit her at mid-thigh, displaying long tanned legs that seemed to stretch nearly up to her neck. As if that wasn't enough, her full lower lip made him and every other man in the bullpen want to suck it into his mouth as they rolled her back on her heels. Yeah, no doubt the half a dozen guys who'd come out of their cubicles for coffee or to shoot the shit all had hard ons the second Tom Delaney, The Inside Word's managing editor, led Cleo Caswell into view as they made the introductory lap around the tabloid's office.
"The Old Man's lost his mind for sure," his buddy Jackson said. Not loud enough to draw any one's attention, of course, since he presumably liked his job. They stood in the open area at the end of the bullpen that resembled the wall of a kitchen with a fridge, coffeemaker, and microwave. "So she can write good copy," Jackson said, "and she can get down and dirty doing investigative journalism. Doesn't mean she can write an Elvis story worth crap. But I heard the boss is paying her a small fortune. She even got a signing bonus like she's some sort of first round draft pick."
"And where did you hear that?"

Posts: 1
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 4:48 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by sugarwhiting » July 19th, 2010, 4:59 pm

Here goes..
No title yet
Erotic Fantasy

The day begins lazily as I sit quietly in my warm, sunny window seat, watching the trees sway in the warm April breeze. My legs luxuriously stretch out on the dark blue, velvety padding. My silky night shirt clings to my body. Taking in the scenery of the neighborhood so alive outside, my eyes wander, as usual, down to the driveway of the new neighbor. The sight of him causes my breath to catch and my pulse quickens slightly. The flash of the sun glinting off the just waxed hood of my neighbor’s obvious pride and joy, a black Charger, almost blinds me. I blink several times and upon recovering my wits, find my eyes on a pair of rock hard calves, following them up to a perfectly chiseled ass in a low cut pair of red gym shorts. His overworked abs flex and pull as he reaches over the hood to grab a towel.
Not noticing I was holding my breath until I became slightly dizzy, I lean back slightly so I can catch his movements without being seen. He only moved in a week ago and I’d had several graphic fantasies and even considered casting a spell to draw him over. I begin to imagine what he would be like in bed. I feel myself blush. Yet can’t stop thinking about it. What would his cock feel like in my mouth? I lick my dry lips. I can almost feel his strong hard hands on my body as they move languidly over me.

Posts: 18
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 12:45 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by tchann » July 19th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Title: Around the Source
Genre: YA/fantasy
Word Count: 249

The door swung shut behind Charley with a final crash, an audible point of no return come a moment too late. There was no escape now, only this dreaded confrontation with the store manager himself.

Jeff's purposeful closing of the door had been for a very obvious, very scary reason. Whatever she had done to warrant this little meeting, it was significant enough that he didn't want others to know. The door barred her escape and prevented any other employee from stepping in on her behalf. For a single paralyzing moment, Charley realized that she liked her boring retail job enough to want to keep it. She felt the icy tendrils of fear begin to creep into her chest.

“Charles,” Jeff began, ignoring her wince at the use of her given name. “I want to talk to you about your performance on the floor.”

Charley's mind whirled through each customer interaction and register checkout from the last month, struggling for an obvious failure on her part. Nothing surfaced and she clutched at her wrists to keep from flailing about helplessly. Giving up, she slumped forward, and only then noticed that Jeff had been sitting comfortably at his desk the entire time. A moment went by before she realized that her manager was waiting for a reaction from her before continuing, and she managed a meager nod from her stiff pose.

“Miss Kuten, you've been with us here at Big Box for a year now, as I'm sure you're aware.”

Posts: 1
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 5:41 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by KTarvin » July 19th, 2010, 5:59 pm

Title: A Cold C Note
Genre: Mystery

The phone rings. I give it a wary look from my armchair. The mantel clock reads eleven twenty-three p.m. Only desperate people call after ten. The second ring fills me with dread, and I can almost feel the bad news screaming down the line shattering my solitude. Someone’s in trouble, they’ve been dumped or lost their job or drank too much. Or worse, someone’s died. Those are the only phone calls I get after ten and I am loath to answer.

I stare across the short distance at the built-in alcove that holds the phone, a 1946 Black Lucy, my pride & joy.
I stretch my legs, still debating whether I’ll go to the trouble of actually standing and taking the five painful steps to the phone. The brass bells ring a third time as if cursing my inaction. I put my book down and walk awkwardly over and wait for another ring. I can still pick up after I hear who is calling through the answering machine but my anxiety is mounting. It’s probably best to get it over with.

I pick up on the fourth ring.

“Casey? Casey, is that you?” a woman’s voice demands.

I debate slamming the phone back down.

“Who is this?” I say, pretending I don’t know who this particularly needy voice belongs to.

“Casey, it’s Skye,” my sister says. “I’m so glad you’re home.”

Posts: 2
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by koba2802 » July 19th, 2010, 6:05 pm

Title: Queen of Fly Island
Genre - Literary Fiction
Word Count - 250 words

In the twilight of my years, I search, with wrinkled fingers, through the numerous memories of my quiet mind. I pass the births of my children and other common, yet significant events, and arrive, much to the delight of my imagination, to the earliest recollection I have of my time on the island:

I slowly gained consciousness on the wet forest floor to the distant sound of crackling wood growing louder and louder in the deep cavities of my ears. It was a gentle sound of wood, reminding me of the warm hearth fireplace we had at home, yet harsh and fierce as iron shards over a fiery steel furnace. My blue eyes opened softly as if awakening from a listless sleep, like two lily pads in a shallow marsh, and I stared straight up to the rich, green canopy above, a collage of leaves with such overwhelming power by the sheer volume of various hues of color. I sat up slowly, pushing my thin 13-year old body from the moist jungle floor. The curves and shapes of my hips and developing chest must have blended in nicely with the jungle surroundings. I checked my legs and arms for any wounds, but only managed to flick off a few patches of mud and dirt that clung to my elbows and hands. The cool air was heavy, a thick humid blanket. I sniffed in the fresh air, clearing my lungs, and gazed around for any signs of human life beyond myself.

Posts: 2
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 6:34 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by gipsygrrl » July 19th, 2010, 6:41 pm

Title: Something Stinks at the Zoo
Genre: MG mystery
Word Count: 220

Saline Dijon glided elegantly through the pink, rose-scented water of her custom built tank, flipping gracefully from front to back as only the zoo’s most elegant animal could. Saline’s moves were legendary – second only to her voice, which was known throughout aquariums everywhere for its über-high C. Saline had preformed to sold-out crowds at Sea World, put her name on the longest-running mammal show in Vegas and had sung every night to adoring fans… until they’d stopped coming.

Her audience was getting older, and the kids these days – well, they were wasting their time listening to animals shrieking beastly music in silly outfits. “PFFFFT!” Saline puffed out her blowhole in annoyance. “All of that will change tonight,” she thought. Saline would be singing the opening number that very evening for the 37th Annual Golden Gopher Awards – the zoo’s biggest celebrity event of the year. It was Saline’s comeback performance; animals in every cage, pen and pond would be tuning in to hear her new song “Love Floats”.

She hummed a few notes to herself and slowly flipped again. Why WAS she feeling so sluggish all of a sudden? She’d have someone bring her a double-herring Flappucino. But even as Saline glided towards her call button to summon her fleet of assistants, her drowsy eyes fluttered closed.

Posts: 1
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 8:35 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by BD-girl » July 19th, 2010, 8:46 pm

Title: Invitation to Scandal
Genre: Regency Historical
(243 words)

The scent of sex and cheap perfume hung in the air, and a woman’s contented sighs filled the Tavern’s moonlit bedchamber. However, the mewing sounds were not loud enough to blanket the soft thud of clumsy tiptoeing feet.
“Lord Strathmore, you were wonderful…” If her moans of pleasure had been anything to go by he’d performed more than adequately for the inebriated gentleman he was portraying.
Perhaps too well.
Thankfully, the thieves were overly bold.
Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, had been aware of the two men the instant they’d entered his room, even though he had been otherwise pleasantly engaged. Normally he preferred to take his pleasure without an audience but tonight he welcomed the intrusion.
The windows of the bedchamber, upstairs in the seethe pit called the Boson’s Inn, were wide open on this humid night and the sound of ships groaning against their moorings provided a soft background symphony. Located next to the Deal docks the tavern was always full of undesirable’s –- cutthroats, roughens and drunkards.
Just the sort of men he sought.
Rufus stilled his rapid breathing. The adrenalin surging to every extremity of his body kept his post-climatic heart pounding. His plan was working. He was ready. He had laid his trap and the worms had taken the bait.
One of these brigands, currently rifling through Rufus’s belongings, was going to provide him with the intelligence he sought. In his line of work it paid to find leverage.
Last edited by BD-girl on July 20th, 2010, 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 4
Joined: January 16th, 2010, 5:23 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by artrosch » July 19th, 2010, 9:50 pm

Title: Confessions Of An Honest Man
Word Count: 250

July, 1967. Detroit, Michigan
Three musicians were standing beside the club’s back door, under a canvas awning with scalloped trim. They wore black tuxedoes, replete with cummerbunds, bow ties and shoes polished to mirror perfection. The tallest of the three, a man in his early sixties, wore a red poppy in his lapel. The others had white carnations. A few people stopped to shake their hands and offer words of praise. Someone laughed a boozy laugh. When the people had drifted away, the older musician butted his cheroot in the sand of an ashtray. He stepped off the concrete pad and walked towards his car.

The other two followed casually, about fifteen seconds apart. They got into the vehicle and quietly closed the door
Soon they were engrossed in the ritual of the pipe: lighting, inhaling, holding their breath, exhaling. It was cozy in the Continental’s plush interior. Air came through the upholstery’s leather seams, as if the vehicle sighed. The men were settling down, recharging their nerves for the next set, the last set. It was one o’clock in the morning.
BANG! A sound like a bomb shocked the trio with sudden terror. Their bodies reacted before their brains registered the sound. They ducked, and their hands flew to cover their heads.
The car lurched as a man dove across the hood, holding a pistol in his right hand. His legs swam wildly as he fought to stop his momentum. Whatever tactic he had in mind, it wasn’t working.

Art Rosch

Posts: 1
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:20 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by stacey2070 » July 19th, 2010, 10:05 pm

Title: Glitter Girls
Genre: Scifi
Word count: 250

Van Gogh’s Red Poppies swayed in a computer generated breeze on the wall screen. The swaying flowers calmed her irritation. The red filled her with happiness.
The man causing her irritation started to whine. Danni cut him off.
“I. Don’t. Do. Wipes, Mr. Smith,” Danni repeated, enunciating every word. Perhaps if she spoke slowly, the words would make their way in to his brain. She doubted it.
He was the third “Mr. Smith” she’d spoken to today and it wasn’t even noon yet. He was the three-hundredth “Mr. Smith”, give or take, she’d spoken to in the two years since AT&T had introduced the implants.
“But if my wife finds out, if her lawyer subpoenas me, I’m dead! She’ll get everything!” the fat man blubbered at her, big greasy looking tears began oozing out of his eyes. Danni grimaced. She plucked a tissue from a box on her desk and handed it across to the man. He took it, but only crumpled it in to his pudgy hand, swiping at the tears with his coat sleeve.
“Perhaps you should have thought about that before sleeping with your secretary, Mr. Smith. Technology’s a bitch. Just say no.”
She was going to have to put a “No wipes and no I don’t know anyone who does” sign on her door.
“But--” Still ignoring the Kleenex, Mr. Smith used the back of his hand on his sweaty upper lip.
“I’m a Private Investigator. Not, as I’ve mentioned several times, a wipe artist.

Posts: 8
Joined: December 19th, 2009, 1:55 am

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by CabSav » July 20th, 2010, 6:03 am

Title: Mathi's Story
Genre: Fantasy

Mathi loved doing crosswords. He wasn't good at it, but he still liked them. He'd pore over the words and slowly spell them out to himself.

"Br-oh-when-ed br-ee-add."

We'd all lean over the paper with him and try to work out what he was reading now.

"Browned bread," four-year-old Gretel said. "Five letters. It's toast, Mathi. Toast." Which started an argument among the rest of us kids as to whether bread had to be browned to be toast, or cooked.

"T-o-s-t," Mathi wrote. "It doesn't fit."

"It needs an ‘a'," Jacqui said. "T-o-a-s-t." Jacqui had just turned five, and thought she was really smart.

I was six. I knew I was the smartest - except for Julian, of course, who was six too. I didn't say anything.

"T-o-a-s-t." Mathi wrote it in. "Are you kids ready for school yet?"

He wrapped each of us in a big hug - Mathi was a big man and back in those days we thought he was enormous. He did good hugs.

It wasn't really school, of course. It was work.

Mathi let us play with other kids in the street, so we knew what school was. The two kids Jacqui's age went to kindergarten, where they got to play all day. Imagine that, just play. Freda and Simon, who lived next door, went to a real school, where they learned how to read, and draw pictures and play music. We knew all that already - except the music, which would have been nice.

Posts: 1
Joined: July 20th, 2010, 8:41 am

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by wisp » July 20th, 2010, 8:46 am

Title: Murder Takes Time
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Brooklyn, New York, February, 2010

He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill, and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult for him to learn. The killing came naturally, and he cursed himself for that, prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage perhaps a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?”

He waved a hand—Nino was getting ready to leave. “Just the check, please.”

From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book that had been peeking above the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed—spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too.

He waited for her to leave, then scanned the table and booth, plucking a few strands of hair from the torn cushion, and what looked to be a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin, folded it and put it in the bag with the other items.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests