Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
Posts: 2
Joined: January 14th, 2010, 8:54 pm

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

Post by kscollier_mehl » February 24th, 2011, 8:22 pm

First page
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
248 words
"The Veil"

After having just placed Adam’s breakfast on the patio table, Kanakanue stood there staring out over the Pacific. For a brief moment he thought he heard shouting. He brushed it off as a usual sound in the mornings of a seagull’s shrill cry coming from the beach. “Will there be anything else for you, Adam?” he asked with a strong Hawaiian accent.

“No Kanakanui that’s all. Thank you,” Adam said, never lifting his eyes from his laptop. Buried deep in his work, he rarely paid attention to his surroundings--even in beautiful Maui.

“Sir,” Kanakanui said, “I think there is someone struggling in the water.” Holding one hand over his eyes like a shield he squinted, pointed toward the beach, and thought for sure he saw a person thrashing between the waves. The whitecaps rolled ashore with a roar.

Adam glanced up briefly from his work, and scanned the waves. He stood to get a better view. Then a chilling sound echoed across the water to the spot they both stood.

“Help, someone help, please!” The agonized cry of desperation sounded louder this time.

Adam and Kanakanue looked at one another then darted down the trail to the ocean’s edge. Adam glanced downward at the red water swirling around his ankles. They rushed past several waves to help the man who had been wrestling to swim to shore. As soon as they reached the swimmer, Adam spotted the shark’s dorsal fin as it headed out to sea.

Posts: 1
Joined: February 24th, 2011, 11:05 pm

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

Post by guerillapanda » February 24th, 2011, 11:17 pm

Title: The Scroll of Chaos
Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
Word count: 235

Riding through Chinatown always reminded Iron of a video game. Avoid the trucks. Pedal fast, pass the cable car. Don’t run over the jaywalkers. Most importantly: keep moving. Even so, he couldn’t help slowing down when approaching the restaurant row: bakeries, sandwich shops, seafood joints, buffets, dim sum houses, all smelled like heaven and calling out to him with bright neon lights. He glanced at the take out boxes in the bike’s basket and died a little inside. There was no worse torture than delivering food on an empty stomach.

The take out boxes contained dinner for Aunt Shao Ching, who worked at Jinshan Bank on Washington Street. Normally Iron’s father’d have the delivery guys do the take outs. But Iron volunteered to go because (a) it was only a short distance from the restaurant, (b) Aunt Ching gave generous tips, and (c) he didn’t want to deal with the cranky dinner crowd.

The best part about riding a bike was coasting downhill. Cool winds from the Bay streamed past his face. Daoist temples and souvenir shops on both sides of the streets blurred like a scene on fast forward. The sun dipped close to the waters—a blazing fireball between the two tall red towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. Ahh, life was good.

The high didn’t last long. Suddenly, an imposing gray figure loomed in ahead. Jaywalker!

Iron swerved madly, gripping the hand brakes hard.

Posts: 2
Joined: February 25th, 2011, 10:39 am

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

Post by PatG » February 25th, 2011, 10:46 am


“These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?” Revelations7:13

Limbo 2010
My name’s Dan Pierce; whether or not that’s my birth name, I don’t really know. You’re asking; why don’t I know my true identity? Good question. But there’s also a good answer; I’m Dea....d, and my earthbound memories have been totally wiped out. I’m finding the ‘D’ word kind of hard to say, so excuse me. That revelation shocked you, didn’t it? Well it came as quite a blow to me. In fact it’s a bit of a bummer, when you wake up and realise you’re now a spiritual being.
I’ve discovered that entry into heaven is no mean feat. It’s like starting a new university, or, college. The powers at be want to make sure you’re ready and qualified for the tasks ahead. They don’t say, “Hey you’re dead, so come on in.” No way.
Let me explain where I’m at in my celestial career. I’m just learning the ropes and haven’t proven that I’m worthy of a heavenly place as yet, I’m labelled as a ‘Traingel’. How long the internship will last? Well how long is a piece of string? .
Guys, I’m about to embark on an important journey and I could do with good friends like you around. What I’m saying is I’d like you to tag along. So please come for the ride, on my journey of discovery.

Title: No Kissing Required
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 244

PR Griffin
Posts: 12
Joined: February 26th, 2011, 9:07 am

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

Post by PR Griffin » February 26th, 2011, 9:15 am

Title: Pianos and Swallows
Genre: Literary

The coffee was served lukewarm, each sip stole what little heat remained until halfway down I decided enough. I set it beside the crumbs of a forgettable breakfast. The paper was stale, the news cold. Two Britons dead and underneath- in insultingly small typeface- over three hundred natives. I no longer understood this colonial attitude to disaster.

Walls held self-congratulatory pictures, ‘Waitress of the month is’- next to ‘Manager of the month is’- next to ‘Believe, Serve and Smile’. A neon strip ran the length of the counter and beneath: jaundiced cream buns and Danish pastries: half neon purple, half shadow. One light over the till flickered in time to the ching of the cash register.

The cafe held memories much in the same way my cup held its coffee: Half there, half forgotten and all unwanted. We had met here in the summer and the three years had started kind. But like nature our winter was ahead of us. And winters, I discovered, are hard to survive on your own.

The waitress approached me. In her eyes I could see pity, for the lonely carry a mark easy to spot. But it’s also a vulnerability that the comfortable despise. This mark separates, it’s the reason I don’t tend to take my coat off when entering these places. I can’t stand their looks, when I rise and shuffle out, struggling with sleeves. She spoke, angling her words to cause the minimum damage.
“Can I get you anything else, or are you all done?”

Posts: 11
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 7:32 pm

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

Post by Ce3 » February 27th, 2011, 2:41 pm

Title: Blood Money
Genre: Popular fiction
Word count: 254

Jonathan Byrd loves a challenge but appeared to be on the verge of a nervous collapse, not because he can’t seem to remove the hard plastic protective covering on the ten dollar ‘made in china’ flashlight he just purchased, but because his past choices always seem to catch up with him. These ‘choices’ have kept him up numerous nights over the years and left him yearning for a few simple ‘do-over’s’, but Jonathan is well aware life doesn’t work that way, so he keeps moving forward, running from trouble, chasing the dream, and perhaps secretly longing for some sort of redemption.
Jonathan’s friends know him as ‘Fuzzy’, or at least they did when he had friends. Since his great escape several years ago he’s never been in one place long enough to make new friends and even though he loathes the name Fuzzy, he now sometimes misses it, especially in moments of weakness when thoughts of certain people come to mind.
Then again, Fuzzy is tired . . . tired of running, tired of looking over his shoulder, and tired of guessing what evil lurks around the next corner. But he knows that such is the ‘choice’ he made, and one he must live with . . . if he wants to keep on living.
So he keeps moving. An amusing thing about Fuzzy is he’s actually a clear headed good looking man without a mean bone in his body. He simply has a problem with authority and a distinctive dislike for the ‘haves’.

Posts: 1
Joined: March 10th, 2011, 10:19 am

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

Post by sophie » March 10th, 2011, 10:45 am

Title: How To Make Headcheese
Genre: Mystery'
The facade was shattered on an otherwise completely ordinary day. When she found out, catching them in flagrante actually, Kitty was shocked. Floored.
She had run back to the condo to get a change of shoes, not wanting to show up at Margaret Friedrich’s daughter’s Sip & See wearing the practical flats she wore for work. She pulled into the handicapped spot to save time, there wasn’t anyone handicapped in the building anyway for God’s sake, and took the stairs two at a time. The door to the condo was unlocked, and the argument she would be having with Richard about his carelessness was already playing out in her head.
She barged through the front door and headed straight for the master bedroom to retrieve the Chloe sandals she bought last week. As she passed through the living room on her way to the bedroom, Kitty noticed the deflated and flattened throw pillows on the sofa, even stopped to fluff them, but somehow didn’t notice the Seersucker jacket strewn across Richard’s reading chair. Nor did she notice his keys on the front table, perhaps because she was in such a hurry that she hadn’t even put her own set down. But when she walked into her bedroom, Kitty couldn’t help but notice the two naked bodies on her bed. Both men, one her husband. She saw their rhythmic thrusting motion, and for a moment the synapses didn’t connect and she couldn’t put two plus two together. But when realization hit, Kitty stopped in her tracks and let out a soft yelp that was so involuntary, she wasn’t sure that it actually came from her own throat.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 10:27 am

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

Post by CarlaKempert » April 14th, 2011, 10:31 am

Title: All or Nothing
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sara Wells sat in the front row of the high school auditorium, heart pounding up to her throat as she waited for the school board president to call her name. Her damp palms crushed the index cards with her speech on it. After waiting an hour for her turn, she didn’t need them anymore. She was ready to argue against the board’s proposal with her eyes closed.

The president looked out over the auditorium. “Sara Wells?”

Sara shot up from her seat and walked to the microphone at the end of the aisle. Her eyes locked on the U-shaped table on the stage before her. She assured herself that it was the nine Board Members on display, not her.

Sara drew a deep breath, but it did nothing to settle her rattling pulse.

“Thank you for allowing me this time. I’m here to discuss the proposal to relocate the autism support program from Wallis Hills School District to the Spring Valley School District,” she said. She reminded herself to stand up straight and throw her shoulders back. It helped her feel just a little taller as she recited her talking points. By the time she was done, she was out of words and out of breath, but there it was. She’d said it all.

She looked up at the stage, waiting for their rebuttal.

Under the unforgiving glare of the stage lights, most of the board members appeared washed out, old. All except the thirty-something man on the far side

A.M Hudson
Posts: 1
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 5:08 am

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

Post by A.M Hudson » April 14th, 2011, 10:39 am

Title: The Blood Knight Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Sudden fear rushed a shot of ice through my limbs, pinning my hands to my jaw; round eyes stared at me from a place beyond the glass, strangely familiar, yet empty. She carries her beauty well; a face like a heart, and hair like warm cocoa. I knew her once, but now she's only a mask of deception in the form of innocence.

Everything I truly was has been left behind in a place I can never return. The girl I see in the mirror now has no heart, and when she smiles, it’s never for real. When I leave this house today--my dad's house-—still not really mine, I will be wearing the carefully created persona of this young, happy girl.

The scars on the surface of my face have long since faded and reduced to nothing more than a silvery reminder of a tragic past. If I hide my face from the sun, they’re barely visible at all. It’s the ones on the inside that never healed—-and probably never will.

But it’s okay, really. Because I'm totally happy now. A picture of joy. As far as they're concerned anyway—-and really, that’s all that matters; keeping the parental units satisfied with my teen-like behaviour. That's why I'm leaving the house today. That’s why I'm letting them do this to me.

“Ara-Rose, hurry up, you're going to be late.” That’s Vicki—she’s my stepmother. Not necessarily evil, but I still can’t think of her as a mum.

by A.M Hudson.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 10:32 am

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

Post by Cornerstonia » April 14th, 2011, 11:01 am

Title: Cornerstonia: The Rose River Journey
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

...the rope bridge started breaking apart, as soon as the mengrul lunged out of the river and snapped his powerful jaws at him. His strong jaws and sharp teeth had dismantled a chunk of the bridge. The beast was determined to chew past the hard distasteful wooden planks and ropes of the bridge—if another meal could be obtained. The Prince knew the side of the bridge he stood on was unraveling quickly and that it would not hold up much longer. His initial reflexes led him to look back first, but his mind responded equally as fast—retreating back was not an option. So, as a gazelle whose explosive pounce launches a flight path like an arrow, he sprinted forward as fast as his legs would allow.
The crackling and snapping sounds of the ropes, breaking and unwinding, meant—snap! He dove forward as gravity forced the bridge downward and his feet were now suspended in air. The only thing going for him now—the rope bridge was still attached to the other side of the cliff. He grabbed whatever was in reach of his hands, as the now flexible bridge, swung across and collided violently with the other side. His exposed left side, especially his ribs, screamed with pain as a plume of dust exploded from under him upon impact, not once, but twice as he bounced off the rocky surface.
The mengrul watched his prey, his five eyes locked on his target, slithering effortlessly towards the prince through the dark murky water.
“Just another day in Cornerstonia—” he mumbled sarcastically.
Last edited by Cornerstonia on April 15th, 2011, 8:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 11
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 11:06 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

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

Post by eriksetterlind » April 14th, 2011, 11:10 am

Title: A Conclusion for Fonso
Genre: Literary

Fonso, a tall and 95% lean fifteen year-old boy with brown hair thick as well-hydrated Bermuda grass, felt his feet shift on the Neapolitan mountain of trash underneath him. He has learned to fall forward in these situations, as a gravity-friendly backwards fall down the side of a fifty-foot-high pile of Italian refuse resulting in a sprained wrist, contused cranium, and most horrifically, a near-sodomitic experience with a French wine bottle will quickly teach. Fonso also learned to look where to place his hands when his feet no longer provided the kind of support God and thousands of years of evolution intended. His right hand found a piece of blown out tire—rubber is always a safe place to brace a fall. His left hand fell on a sheet of newspaper—risky, but we’re talking tenths of seconds here. Fonso quickly felt what the cover of Il Napoli was (sorry) covering. Fonso’s palm slid across a jagged edge of rusty steel shrapnel.

There was the initial surge of pain and instinct to curse loudly and manly from the mountain-of-trash-top, but he sucked it all in while digging his teeth into his bottom lip, but careful not to break skin because that might actually hurt more than what he was trying to divert.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 10:54 am

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

Post by tonyab » April 14th, 2011, 11:12 am

Title: Envy
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 249

Alex Brennan stopped his car for what appeared to be the only traffic light in the tiny town of—wherever the hell he was. He squinted through the windshield at the ornate blue and white sign posted at the edge of the road.
Welcome to Three Churches, Maine.
Huh. So there was something out here in the middle of BFE, Maine after all. Not much, but something. He’d started to wonder if he’d driven to the ends of the earth as the coastal highway twisted around insane curves and hugged the edges of wild cliffs that plunged into oceanic oblivion. Apparently, he hadn’t gone that far yet.
He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel in tune to The Rolling Stones and studied the epitome of Main Street, U.S.A with its iron lampposts and flower baskets that probably rioted with color in the spring. Laughing cardboard skeletons decorated the mom-n-pop storefronts. Town workers strung an orange and black banner across the intersection that promoted a haunted hayride attraction on Milbridge Road opening Friday.
The song on the radio segued into Bob Segar, and the traffic light remained red.
Alex leaned forward, looked both ways. The only visible vehicles sat in parking slots in front of the cinder-block diner to his immediate right. Jack-o-lanterns grinned at passersby from the diner’s front window and an orange, hand-painted sign proclaimed they had the best pumpkin pie in the county.
His stomach grumbled. The light at the intersection continued to glow red.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 2:37 pm
Location: Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

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

Post by rluckett » April 14th, 2011, 2:46 pm

A Special Someone
YA Mystery/Coming-of-Age
244 Words

It was my freshman year in high school when I stumbled upon a secret, which started to unravel like a snagged thread on the hem of a sequined wedding dress.

“Are you sure your mother wore mini skirts?” I asked Malorie.

We were on a mission to find disco outfits for Spirit Week. The 70’s were weird, and I couldn’t picture my mother wearing a short skirt. It was too revolting given her current uniform of black sweatpants and baggy men’s shirts.

We ran up the creaky staircase into Malorie’s attic, a dark, traditional jumble of junk.

“Becky, I’ll take this side,” she pointed her finger across the room, “while you look over there.” We started moving boxes off of boxes.

Hidden behind some luggage, I found a bin filled with old sporting equipment. “Cheerleading tryouts are next week,” I said, smiling at Kyle’s miniature football helmet.

“Are you nervous?” Malorie stopped for a second to look at me, then tucked her curls behind her ears.

“What if I don’t make it?” The unknown frightened me.

“You’ll make it.” Malorie nodded. More than anything I wanted to believe her. More than anything I wanted Kyle to ask me to homecoming.

I worked my way over to the back corner and noticed a wedding dress hanging from one of the rafters. The dress had gorgeous details that shimmered even in the dim light. As I reached for the dress, the bottom was caught on something.
Last edited by rluckett on May 11th, 2011, 1:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 10:36 am

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

Post by ms0006 » April 14th, 2011, 4:07 pm

Goodnight, Gracie
By Margie Reins Smith

Genre: Women's fiction

“I’m not crazy about turkey,” Gracie confessed to her youngest daughter, Wendy, who was tearing lettuce into small pieces and dropping them into a wooden bowl. “But Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey. And I love the smell of roasting turkey.”

“Me too,” Wendy said. She began chopping slivers of green pepper into smaller bits and adding them to a huge wooden salad bowl, the one Gracie hauled out for family gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. The bowl was worn and scratched. Lopsided. It had once belonged to her paternal grandmother and she considered it a prized family heirlooms.

Twenty-four pounds. The turkey was one of the largest birds she had ever roasted. Gracie cracked the oven door and peeked. It was browning nicely. She slipped a quilted mitt onto her left hand, slid the oven rack halfway out and siphoned rich brown drippings from the bottom of the pan with a turkey baster. She squirted the juices over the bird’s breast and thighs. She checked its thermometer. Another hour or so.
“Do you have some dried cherries?” Wendy said.

As Gracie rummaged through a cupboard searching for cherries, her son, Benjamin, swept into the kitchen and attacked the refrigerator. “We need olives,” he said. He planted himself in front of the side-by-side refrigerator/freezer and spread both doors as wide as they would go. He studied the food. He scratched the unattractive stubble on his chin, probably two or three days growth of beard. “Mom, you need a bigger refrigerator.”

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Posts: 40
Joined: August 7th, 2010, 9:35 am
Location: Charleston, S.C. now, I was a Jersey Girl.

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

Post by SSB » April 14th, 2011, 7:15 pm

Genre: YA/Commercial
Word count 250

Spiraling red and blue lights were blinded me—confusing me. If things weren’t bad enough, a second cop car pulled up. My heart to pounded so hard I thought I would bust a rib. I never realized how difficult it was to grow up. Sure, I had dreams about how my life would turn out, but my reality had different plans. My reality was unnecessarily harsh, at least from my perspective. Surely it wasn't it unreasonable to resort to desperate measures to protect someone if you loved them with all your heart. Was it against the law to seek freedom to be with the ones I loved, even if it meant hurting someone else who loved me? Anger burned inside me; I hated my bespectacled captor. I had to. I’d convinced myself I was tough, you see.

“Can’t you turn those lights off? I haven’t done anything.” I spat, squirming to break free from the iron grip that was cutting off the circulation to my right arm.

“Quit struggling,” Four-eyes ordered. “Why would a pretty girl like you want to cause all this trouble? You have to come with us Mary.” He cuffed my hands behind my back.

A car full of gape-mouthed men crept by. I hung my head, fearing they mistook me for a hooker. I don’t know why I cared what a bunch of losers in a titty bar parking lot thought of me, but I did.

“Come on we’re going to the station. We need to talk.”
Last edited by SSB on April 16th, 2011, 7:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 8:24 pm

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

Post by bhoule » April 14th, 2011, 8:32 pm

Title: The Story of Crabby Abby
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Word Count: 249

This is Abby. Abby is six years old and almost always crabby. She is so crabby her mouth is always turned down into a frown that spoils her pretty face. No one even notices that her dark hair shines and she has beautiful brown eyes. All anyone sees is that she is always crabby. Her favorite crabby answer is, “Who cares!” no matter what anyone says to her. She’s just a grumpy little girl.

“Come on, Abby. Smile. Don’t you know? Crabby makes your smile turn down, crabby makes your forehead frown, and crabby makes your lip stick out giving your mouth an awful pout.” Mommy had tried to get her to smile with a silly rhyme, but even that didn’t help.

One day Abby stuck her head into her brother’s bedroom to see what was going on, and Joey said, “You can’t come into my room. It’s boys only.” As usual, she scowled at him, answered, “Who cares!” and clomped away to her own room.

Later that day, Mommy said, “Abby, go clean up your room. It’s a mess and we have company coming tonight.” Abby answered, “Who cares! I didn’t invite any old company!” and went on doing what she had been doing when Mommy spoke to her.

“Abigail Jean! That is no way to behave.” Mommy said sharply. “Now go clean up your room. And while you’re at it, think about how you just spoke to me. We’ll talk about it when your room is clean."


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