NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

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Rainbow Girl
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Joined: July 13th, 2020, 5:54 pm
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First Page of "The Inner City"

Post by Rainbow Girl » July 13th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Title: The Inner City
Genre: YA Dystopian


Prologue

“They promised us success. They promised us peace. They promised us happiness.”
The Pegasus smiled. She sat back in her chair as she watched the words roll off her keyboard and onto Eudora Master’s lips as she addressed the crowd. The Pegasus, of course, was watching from a security camera she’d installed herself.
“And what are we living in? A trash hole!” She giggled at this one. The “trash hole” comment was a running gag between the Pegasus and her associates, the White Rabbit Gang. They were all like her-skilled on the keyboard, and with people.
“They told us this was utopia! Well, we’re fed up with their excuses!” The Pegasus was, if anything, known for her way with words. It’s why she was accepted into the Gang in the first place. She was the voice of the people. Or, rather, Eudora Masters was, for the time being.
The Pegasus was who people cared about. But when it came down to Violet Pierce, no one even knew her name. And that was good. When it hit the fan-and it would hit the fan-no one would be after Violet Pierce. She would just be another name, another face in the crowd.
“Isn’t it high time we did something about it?”
The crowd roared, and she smirked as she terminated the connection. Eudora Masters would be dead in a few hours because of this, but no one cared. Because Eudora Masters was just another girl. A drop of water in the ocean.
Just like the girl behind the Pegasus.
***
“You’re supposed to appreciate what I do for this family, River.”
Alessa poked her vegan burger as she glanced at her father, then at her sister. The burger, like their glares at each other, was getting colder by the minute.
“Well, I guess I just don’t appreciate the actions of an oppressor.” River said, with all the confidence in the world.
Her mother grabbed her hand. “Choose your next words very carefully, honey. I don’t want you to get stuck in the Inner City. Take it back, we’ve already lost Jamison-”
“Mom, this is wrong. All of this is wrong.”
“Please, River.”

BrendaHaas
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Joined: July 11th, 2020, 5:40 pm
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by BrendaHaas » July 15th, 2020, 5:02 pm

Title: Sutton's Choice
Genre: Women's Fiction

The cramped window seat offered Charlotte Sutton a partial view of Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente Bridge, its girded, straw-colored arches a staple of the city of black and gold. If she pressed her cheek against the glass, she could even glimpse a corner of the baseball stadium.

Ironic, really. She hated baseball. She’d always hated baseball—something she was certain her athletic father would never acknowledge about his only daughter.

Charlotte’s cellphone buzzed.

419 area code. Lakeside, Ohio.

Had she wished it upon herself? With precision, she placed the phone face-down on the windowsill, set aside her laptop, grabbed her coffee cup, and drained the last bitter mouthfuls of lukewarm liquid as she hurried to the kitchen. Plunking the ceramic mug into the sink, she scowled down at the sailboat etched onto its side. Her small-town, Lake Erie roots never failed to haunt her.

It’s nothing.

Just a telemarketer.


Charlotte shrugged at the thought, knowing it to be otherwise. She’d ignored several random calls from her hometown in recent weeks—hang-ups from what she assumed to be her father’s cell number, an unlikely occurrence on any day of any week of any month.

Either Chuck wanted to talk to her or he didn’t.

The previous evening, some kid—some teenager, Charlotte assumed—had also left a cryptic message asking her to call about Chuck. Sounding nervous, he’d hung up without giving his name. Charlotte hadn’t responded. If some star-struck, wannabe baseball player was looking for her esteemed father’s advice, address, autograph, or approval, he was looking in the wrong dugout.

kathryn
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Joined: July 18th, 2020, 6:38 pm
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First Page Critique

Post by kathryn » July 18th, 2020, 6:46 pm

One Dress, One Day
Novel set in Barcelona, 1990

MADRUGADA

Francisco stepped back from the car window and nodded toward his partner-in-crime posted nearby. With surgical precision, he forced a leather gloved fist through the jagged glass, then reached down to pull up the backdoor handle.

The compact Renault sat parked on a gritty Barcelona street which appeared as empty as possible at 3:30 in the morning. At that hour, decent citizens slept in their beds while others kept the bars and discos open, throbbing to the beat of one of last summer’s hits. His timing was perfect since some street noise was needed to cover the sound of shattering glass. Of course, anyone frequenting that particular strip of sidewalk at that time was either drunk, drugged, or selling. Except Francisco, who wasn’t simply broke but in debt to his Latino lookout. He had to pay up to protect his reputation on the street among dealers, prostitutes, and pickpockets.

Francisco bore the name of the patron saint of his mother’s village but related more to the West Coast city which explained his alias, Calif for California. The flashy nickname never stuck. A few people called him Paco, though. His parents, a Moroccan mechanic and a pure-blood Spanish cleaning lady from L’Hospitalet, teased him as a toddler calling him feo, or ugly. He never truly outgrew that one. Skinny with acne-pocked skin, Francisco possessed wit, charm and street smarts. His overly gummy smile somehow endeared him to policemen and older women. They all saw something salvageable in him, perhaps even a hint of honor. In fact, by snitching on lowlife acquaintances and pleasantly providing knockoff luxe items, he had earned the trust of undercover cops and other players in the barrio. His universe was the core of Barcelona, a labyrinth of old neighborhoods proud of their original parish names and mentalities. He rarely smelled the salt air or gazed out onto the murky Mediterranean. Any experience of a beach, like la Barceloneta, was limited and likely illicit.

Francisco slipped in sideways onto the backseat and yanked on the flimsy plastic panel dividing the bench seat from the storage compartment of a silver-gray Renault 5 parked half up on the curb. This model was like a gift begging to be opened. Grimacing, breathing hard, he began grabbing any objects worth stealing.

Bruised apples and mushy black plums, duty-free premium whiskey as well as fluorescent green rain ponchos were rapidly rejected. In the glove compartment, a pair of sunglasses brought a grin to his chapped lips. This inventory wasn’t great but equaled his debt. Unlocked canvas luggage made for quick work. Within three minutes it was already clear: no cash, no cameras, no electronics, no jewelry. Only well-folded men’s casual shirts, vivid cotton-knit sweaters and gently scuffed loafers tucked into shoe bags. Cursing, Francisco stopped short when he spied the white plastic suit carrier marked CASA di MODA. It shone at that sepia-toned hour.

Italian! Armani? Francisco exhaled the name. Although the thief looked like a sewer rat, with stringy chin-length hair and cruddy fingernails, he changed shirts regularly and never used supermarket colonia, only designer copy stuff with names like Calvin Klien, Acua de Parna, Maximo Duti, Eau Savage. Francisco implicitly grasped the street value of the finer things in life, found in airport duty-free shops, frequently bought as last-minute gifts. He had a few real specimens, or so he claimed. Armani he knew best from a round-faced Salvadoreño vendor who sold tasteful copycat Versace scarves or LV anything at a lot where cruise excursion coaches parked.

kcamp300
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Joined: December 8th, 2009, 7:56 am
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by kcamp300 » July 26th, 2020, 11:04 am

Title: Power Failure
Genre: Memoir
First 250 words

Gathering at the base of the power pole on Fillmore Street, the evening rush-hour crowd looked up. The lineman dangled by a leather belt, head thrown back, arms splayed. Above him a canister-shaped electric transformer hung askew. His double-parked truck blocked the street. With power knocked out, electric trolleys stalled from the corner of Fillmore and Haight all the way back to San Francisco’s Marina District.

Vehicles took turns inching by the truck, honking, shooting around to avoid crashing into oncoming cars. A man brandishing a silver lunchbox toward the body, shouted, “He’s electrocuted!” A powdery faced woman shrieked, “He’s dead!” Sounds of sirens grew louder; the milling crowd went silent, listened.

The fire department’s hook-and-ladder truck got there first, followed by an ambulance and police squad car. The cops got out, directed traffic, cleared the way for a brown and tan boom truck. Linemen jingling pole-climbing gear jumped out of the back, pushed through the crowd, climbed pell-mell to the cross arm. A thumbs up told supervisors on the ground the lineman was alive. Using ropes and a sling, they lowered him to the sidewalk.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company supervisors rushed forward; a stretcher lay on the ground, ambulance doors yawned wide open waiting to receive the victim. The lineman stood up, swayed, looked around at the crowd, batted away helping hands, refused to lie down. The men supporting him smelled liquor, rushed him to the backseat of a waiting company car. They took my father back to the PG&E yard and fired him.

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