Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by DianaHunter » June 9th, 2010, 4:12 pm

Title: The Companion (opening chapter)
Genre: fantasy
Author: Diana Hunter

Stars glimmered through the trees, their brightness pulling her attention. Kiera closed her eyes to them, shutting out their powerful draw to better concentrate on her task. Tonight’s business lay with the Earth. The Heavens had no magic for her.

Pulling in a cleansing breath, Kiera lifted her arms, reaching out to find Oneness. The spread arms weren’t necessary, but made a good show. She might be a brand-new Earth Mother, but it hadn’t taken her long to realize people felt cheated if they didn’t get a bit of spectacle along with their Healing.

Power flowed from the earth and her bare toes curled to dig deep and root her as she pulled the tendril she needed from the mess. She didn’t require much for this quick fix. Mentally wrapping the thin thread around her open palm, she opened her eyes and looked down at the farmer who half-sat, half-lay on the ground before her.

Although about in his middle years and older than her by at least a decade and a half, the man’s wide eyes stared up at her with a mixture of wonder, awe and fear. She understood the first two, even if she didn’t feel she deserved either. The last Kiera didn’t understand at all. She was an Earth Mother, a Healer. Why would anyone be afraid of her or what she did?

Putting on her softest, least intimidating face, she bent down to the farmer and placed her hand on his broken leg. With a small nudge of her thoughts, she unfurled the tendril of Power, sending it to wrap around the break.

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

Post by Christian Savage » June 9th, 2010, 4:17 pm

Working Title: The Powder Keg
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 236

As these things tend to happen, it all started with someone famous getting murdered in the prime of life.

It was late October on the streets of Chicago, 1914. Jackson Belmont, an orphan raised by the city, dashed on foot through the red shadows of that twilight realm, cigarette perched companionably in the corner of his mouth. He was almost to the glittering house on South Michigan Avenue, where he would pull the curtains shut and still a trembling heart.

The sidewalks that night brimmed with overdressed theatergoers, haunted mill workers, slim-hipped jugglers, and tastefully unhinged magicians. Every day, without fail, these citizens stirred up the clangor of industry, of money exchanging hands. Jackson could hear the pounding from every corner of Chicago since the day he was born, the thundering clockwork of a new age.

But as he moved among the distracted crowds, the tang of destiny clinging to him like lemon-sharp sunlight, people seemed aware of his power and turned their faces to him. The alabaster skin; the dark, romantic curls styled close to the face; the sexually implicit smile; the loose and confident posture – the whole thuggish allure, in fact – caused people to take notice and part before him like sea tides. Jackson wondered if any of them would awake the next morning and suspect him, when they read in the papers about a freewheeling socialite whose brazen good fortune ended in bloodshed.

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Location: Overlooking tumbleweeds, while defending my home against the invading scorporions and roaches.

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

Post by Calliopenjo » June 9th, 2010, 4:21 pm

Title: Archipelago
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Calliopenjo

Thank you, Nathan.
Alabaster Tower, home of Empress Belphoebe, sat on the western shores of Medaya. It was one of the northern islands of Titalayo.

She made her way to council chambers hoping for an update on the slave rebellion and the dwindling supplies.

All of the men looked up as the door opened. “Gentlemen,” said the empress. “Tell me something I am not already aware of, and close you mouths. I am not interested in peering at your tonsils.”

“Uuh… Excuse me, my empress. Beautiful as always.” A council member said. “The issue about the lack of supplies has not been resolved. We rely on the gold and the food. We fear that it may become impossible for even us to afford.”

“Where are our supplies coming from?” Belphoebe strolled around the room behind the councilmen.

“The ships bring them in,” another council member said. “We do not ask where they come from, though many of our informants have suggested them come from Aburod.”

The empress stopped behind the council member and leaned on his shoulders. “Do not be stupid, council member.”
The council members put their hand over the mouths. The edges of their lips could be seen from behind their hand.

“It is simply impossible for something to come from Aburod. It was given that name because it is uninhabited.” A council member crossed their arms and smiled.

“Is there anything else? Or are you going to continue to bore me?” The empress settled down on the throne at the front of the room.
Last edited by Calliopenjo on June 12th, 2010, 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Vinyl and Mono » June 9th, 2010, 4:31 pm

Last edited by Vinyl and Mono on February 6th, 2011, 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 4:39 pm

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

Post by ShellyW » June 9th, 2010, 4:46 pm

Title: And back again
Genre: Women's Fiction

The thing with being this angry was, you really do have to go and take it out on something.

Punching someone random? Not really an option for a 39-year-old mother of 3. Once she hit the person, she'd be diving for the box of bandaids or an ice pack, therefore taking away the satisfaction almost immediately and replacing it with mother's guilt.

Kicking the wall? Tempting, but it might scuff her new shoes or possibly break her toe. How could she carpool with broken toes?

Looking down at her iPhone, scorn passed over her face. There was a text notification flashing. No thanks, she thought, I’d leave that one right where it is, waving its frantic little arms in cyber space. If she doesn’t read it, it doesn’t exist.

Perhaps if I wasn’t listening to music right now, she thought as she buried the ear buds more deeply into her ears, she’d chuck the phone across the room and watch with satisfaction as it smashed to bits, glass flying as the screen fractured like a broken window. She lost her computer screen one time from slamming it shut really hard, a symptom of her inability to ‘control her anger’, and she was paying the repair off on her credit card for months.

I don’t give a shit about money anymore, she thought. The feeling was one of complete liberation. From the ungodly amount she plunked down for her shoes to the massive online order she just placed at Toys R Us, money was no longer an object.

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

Post by Holly » June 9th, 2010, 5:05 pm

Last edited by Holly on November 5th, 2010, 5:16 pm, edited 44 times in total.

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

Post by rifferaff » June 9th, 2010, 5:12 pm

Title: The Mermaid's Daughter
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
(233 words)

Sadie took compliments in the same way she took $350 worth of foundation from the shelves of Makeup or Breakup every other month, with a smile. And so when Mrs. Sharon, the stooped grey-haired woman who sold pickles at the farmer’s market, complimented Sadie’s necklace as she placed two over-sized jars of spicy zucchinis in a paper bag, Sadie accepted the compliment graciously, grinned, and handed over a $20 bill.
Mrs. Sharon didn’t need to know that Sadie was on her way to Mattison’s Pawn Shop to sell the necklace, just like she didn’t need to know that the crisp new bill came from the joint bank account that Sadie shared with her friend, Carolina. The bank account whose $2,317.84 balance came from their eBay store. The one where they sold stolen makeup.
Sadie folded over the top of the brown bag and tucked it into her oversized tote, next to her other market purchases: eggs, vegetables, and a whole chicken that she would use to make the broth that was the only thing her father could keep down these days. Every time Sadie stopped by the market, she picked up a jar or two of pickled zuchinni, Vance’s favorite, in the hopes that one day he’d be well enough to eat them. Thirty-seven jars later, she was running out of kitchen cabinet space, and running out of hope.

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

Post by JohnstonMR » June 9th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Title: Pathfinder (Working title)
Genre: Science Fiction

When you’re traveling at 75% of the speed of light, you have to make decisions quickly.

I was on my way to the bazaar in the Jahn system, cruising at a nice and steady .75 of C, when I got a signal on the Distress band. For a few seconds I debated pretending I hadn't received it, but my tactical implant told me the signal was less than one AU out, and hell, I hadn't had a good fight in a few weeks anyway. I certainly wasn't doing it out of the goodness of my heart. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I adjusted course on the fly. The Second Chance is a pretty large ship, for a single-seater, but she turns on a dime when I need her to. I bumped it up to .99 C so I'd get there a little faster. It only took a few minutes before the scene came up on my scopes. My tac implant showed me a nice yellow box around the ship sending the signal, and a whole shitload of red boxes around the ships attacking her.

Damn. Maybe I didn't need the fight that much after all.

Too late, though; if they were on my scopes, I was probably on theirs. I dropped out of chain drive and went to thrusters, accelerating at full burn toward the closest marauder vessel. A flick of my left thumb locked the target in while my right hand tightened on the stick
Last edited by JohnstonMR on July 20th, 2010, 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Gina Frost » June 9th, 2010, 5:24 pm

Title: Dream Walker (working title)
Genre: Fantasy

I opened my eyes, disoriented at first, unsure of where I was or how I had gotten here. The golden brown eyes of my tormentor haunted me again through the night, gazing into my soul, breaking through the blackness of my dreamless sleep, waking me. He had to be a dream. How could a man so hauntingly beautiful be real? He seemed real. I could still feel his presence, his scent still lingered faintly in the air. Was that all just imagined too?

I looked around slowly, realizing that it was my home I was in. The forest green curtains hanging over my bedroom window billowed slightly in the morning breeze. Odd, I didn't usually keep my windows open at night. Before the sun went down, I always went through the house meticulously making sure everything was locked up. Was I too preoccupied with that phone call I had received last night to remember to do that before I left? How had I gotten home anyway?

The phone call had been from Allen, the FBI agent I had called in to with an anonymous tip about a missing child months ago. He had said only that he needed my help again and that he would pick me up at six. It all seemed so secretive, so exciting, the perfect distraction to get my mind off of the golden eyed man that had been haunting me since, well, since after I had used my unique abilities to locate a missing child.

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

Post by iwillwhisperno » June 9th, 2010, 5:48 pm

Title: I'm Here to Save Your Day: The Awesome Adventures of Bo Wolf
Genre: Middle Grade- Adventure/Humorous
Words: 247

My name’s Bo Wolf. I’m eleven years old and I never lie. Never. I’m all about telling the truth. There once was a man named George Washington who told his dad that he could never lie and then became the President of the United States. I’m exactly the same way. If I lived way back then, George and I would be BFF’s. I’m sure of it.
That’s why when I tell you about my totally crazy story– I’m going to tell you everything, the good and the bad. I’ll admit it, I’ve been bullied. I’m sure George had been too.
So there I was, standing in the boys' bathroom at school. The last bell of the day had rung and I knew they were out there.
They– Rufus Durfus and Brutus Strunks– were the meanest bullies in Los Angeles. I think if you tallied the wedgie count they inflicted on other kids, by the end of the day it would have at least reached thirty-nine, and that's an average.
Trust me, I've had the underwear go up the butt crack plenty of times, but these boys... they were professionals at what they did. They ripped plenty of pairs of my coolest Batman underwear, and it never felt good.
The noise of screaming kids and banging lockers filled the hallway outside the bathroom. No one ever came in here when school got out. It’d be a good time to check out my incredible physique before attempting my escape.
Some people have told me that my arms look like flexi-straws. I didn’t think so.
Last edited by iwillwhisperno on August 16th, 2010, 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Jordyn Meryl » June 9th, 2010, 6:27 pm

Title: Silent Running
Genre: Futuristic Paranormal

As the warm summer wind whipped around the woman on horseback, she watched down from the bluff. Rayn shifted slightly in the saddle. Hearing the sounds of motorcycles radiated up from the City, she shaded her eyes from the sun with her hand. Immediately she could tell their direction. Turning her horse to the south, her heels dug into his sides, giving him full rein. Galloping ahead of the noise of the troops, the horse flew down the hills and over the fields to a lone farmhouse hidden behind a row of tall popular trees.
When she reached the front of the house, she slid off the horse and threw the leads to the man that stood waiting for her return. Bounding up the deck two steps at a time, her boots hitting the wood, she burst into the house.
“Get the children below!” She commanded.
The adults moved swiftly, grabbing up the children, steering them toward a wall that opened to reveal steps going down into a tunnel. Down the steps, the children moved rapidly. Running silently, they followed the adults through the darkness. When they reached a large open room, each took their place on the benches.
Without a sound, they sat holding hands with their heads bent in quiet prayer. As the last adult entered the room, they looked up with fear in their eyes. The adults move to sit next to a smaller child, hugging them, speaking with soft, reassuring, trusting voices.

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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:25 pm

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

Post by Shellie » June 9th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Title: Driven
Genre: YA Fiction

A dark cloud filled the field, though no human noticed. Sebastian recoiled; if he had skin it would crawl.
"Sebastian." A voice bellowed.
"Sir?" He whined.
"Your host waits."
"But, sir, I'd rather not. I despise working among teenagers. They. . ."
"Go." Snow tumbled from shaking tree branches. Sebastian shivered in terror. The master destroyed for lesser reasons. But, this was beneath him.
"But, sir, I don't want to. Please, your wretchedness, can't I. . ."
"Now!" The ground vibrated.
Sebastian's form flexed and shuddered. He spun around and sped towards the high school. The further he flew from his master's field, the blacker his form became.
"Stupid school. I hate school. Always have, always will." He grumbled. A glance over his shoulder proved he flew alone. Sebastian slowed.
"Go to the High School, Sebastian. Your host is waiting, Sebastian." He mocked. Smaller black forms flew across the city streets. He snarled, baring yellowed fangs at the smaller demons.
"Hmpf, I cannot believe after all these years, I am forced to dwell in such an insignificant town." He raised his head a bit higher. The others paused and bowed as Sebastian passed, hissing amongst themselves. The sound buzzed in Sebastian's ears. Their jealousy fueled his journey.
The snow covered lawn of the school was empty as it came into view. Sebastian stopped and swooped closer. It would be a few minutes before his host arrived.

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

Post by sooper » June 9th, 2010, 7:10 pm

Title: The Rose
genre: contemporary YA
(248 words)

Somewhere between the second and third stories of the brownstone, as he held on Spiderman-style to the building’s brick façade, Jonathan Kienholz decided he was either the most romantic guy on the planet or the stupidest.

All he had was one more flight to go before he reached the top. He tightened his grip on the window ledge and tried to find new footing for his right leg. A furtive glance down revealed that Sophie and Lalo were silently watching him, their necks craned back, mouths hanging open. Even in the darkness of night he could see the apprehensive, grimacing expressions on their faces.

“Get down!” Sophie hissed.

“You’re gonna fall!” Lalo said, in not so much a warning as an amusing promise.

Jonathan wasn’t exactly sure how any of it had happened. A moment ago he was just walking down the street, escorting Sophie home from a late movie at The Pavilion, and the next thing he knew he was scaling a building. Of his own accord. With no sense of danger or stupidity. As he jammed the toe of his right, not-suitable-for-rock-climbing-much-less-any-kind-of-climbing shoe in one of the architecturally designed creases beside a window, he liked to think it was chivalry that had gotten him up there. Though, he was 85% sure it was mainly boredom.

Whatever the case, it was just a moment ago, as the trio of friends were across the street, strolling beside the perimeter of Prospect Park, that the inciting conversation was struck:

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

Post by Petronella » June 9th, 2010, 7:15 pm

Thistledown: Genesis
Genre: Science Fiction

Chapter 1: Jay’s Story: Birth

I became aware when the first of my six brains activated. At the same time, the Library, a vast fount of knowledge, linked to my newly activated brain. One of the many librarians allowed me access to but a tiny part of the vast database. Inspite of the small size of the area, I delighted in all the knowledge I found there. Into my dark, silent world came light in a rainbow of colours, and sounds in a range of tones. I learned of other things I needed to know about when the day came for me to leave the gestation tank in which my body took form. It would be a long time before that would happen. In the meanwhile, I played in my part of the library.

Moments before my birth, the second of my brains activated. This one governed movement, both automatic and volitional. Others of my kind would guide my automatic motions, and later teach me to undertake the volitional movements, which would be with me for the rest of my existence.

I waited, impatient to be born. After an indeterminate period of time, the top of the tank slid aside and a blurry red-lit world revealed itself. Two pairs of hands helped me to a standing position. The owners of the hands wiped the clear birth fluids from my body, making certain most the the jelly-like substance fell back into the tank.

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

Post by Ce3 » June 9th, 2010, 7:35 pm

I remember well the night Nicholas Doucette spotted her in Puff’s Place, that wild Rocky Mountain bar with a curious name. We’d been fishing just over the pass, in a spot once ranked the top gold medal trout stream in the lower 48. We practiced ‘catch and release’ but also tucked a few rainbows in the freezer back at the cabin before we popped over to Puff’s to have a few.
The bar door opened and there she was, straddling a stool in skin tight jeans, drinking whiskey straight up and puffing furiously on a Marlboro Light. Her long dark hair seemed to glisten in the foggy light and bounced freely when she laughed, but it may have been her eyes, those bright shinning beacons, that led him out of the smoke and into her world.
Nick was dialed in, oblivious to his surroundings and my small talk. His only interest was in this hot, loose-limbed beauty, who not only looked mighty good holding a pool cue, but seemed to know how to use one as well. While I paid no attention and turned to the bartender for some local conversation, Nick zeroed in on her sculpted stern. He was pacing across the beaten pine wood floors when he found the nerve to face her eye to eye, employing his usual MO. Her look of surprise and hint of agitation promptly turned to a smile.
Nick nodded in my direction with his trademark smirk and turned to focus on his prey.
Here we go.


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