1st Page YA Fantasy

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SteveYodaScott
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1st Page YA Fantasy

Post by SteveYodaScott » July 28th, 2010, 1:17 pm

Howdy all. This is a first page. I'd love any feedback you'd like to offer.

Thanks much,

Steve

GENRE: YA Fantasy
UNTITLED


The day it happened began just like the one before, Theron awoke to the squawking of a crow that seemed to have a liking for his windowsill and the sound of its own voice.

The boy knew it was the same bird as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that one too, because of the strange marks on its beak. Not marks like the ones you’d see on a bird that’s been in a few squabbles, though Theron supposed it had seen its share, unnatural marks; grooves that spiraled and twirled in some sort of design, the pattern on one side curving along the ridge, and matching the other, till they disappeared under black feathers. The little fellow was strange indeed, but no stranger than yesterday. Repetition can make anything familiar.

“Has no one yet told you you’re quite obnoxious?” greeted the boy.

“Squaaawwk.”

Theron rolled off his cot and onto his feet. “I take that as a no. Well consider yourself warned.”

Before the bird could reply Theron’s nose twitched, catching a sweet smell in the air. He breathed in slow and deep.
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll quit messing about my ‘sill and go pester the Old Miser for some of his bread.”
Theron grinned. Well on second thought… The Miser wouldn’t give a starving child a single crumb let alone show kindness to some pesky bird. It was more likely to get a brooms swat then a bite of that old man’s bread.

Theron did his best to ignore the enticing aroma by trying not to breathe through his nose. He laced up his boots, made up his cot and headed toward the kitchen. “See you ‘morrow morning crowbird,” Theron said as the door shut behind him.

“Squaaawk.” The bird held the door in the gaze of its beady eyes for a moment, cocking it’s head to one side, then hopped across the windowsill and flew away.

Emily J
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Re: 1st Page YA Fantasy

Post by Emily J » July 28th, 2010, 3:09 pm

SteveYodaScott wrote:Howdy all. This is a first page. I'd love any feedback you'd like to offer.

Thanks much,

Steve

GENRE: YA Fantasy
UNTITLED


The day it happened began just like the one before, this comma should be a semi-colon or a period, also "it" here is an indefinite pronoun, I understand we are going to learn what "it" is, but perhaps we could use a bit more here Theron awoke to the squawking of a crow that seemed to have a liking for his windowsill and the sound of its own voice.

The boy knew it was the same bird as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that one too, because of the strange marks on its beak. Not marks like the ones you’d see on a bird that’s been in a few squabbles, though Theron supposed it had seen its share, they were? you are missing a subject in this sentence unnatural marks; i think this semi-colon should be a colon grooves that spiraled and twirled in some sort of design, the pattern on one side curving along the ridge, and matching the other, till they disappeared under black feathers. The little fellow was strange indeed, but no stranger than yesterday. Repetition can make anything familiar. i like this part

“Has no one yet would suggest dropping "yet" to alleviate some wordiness told you you’re quite obnoxious?” greeted the boy.

“Squaaawwk.”

Theron rolled off his cot and onto his feet. “I take that as a no. Well consider yourself warned.”

Before the bird could reply comma Theron’s nose twitched, catching a sweet smell in the air. He breathed in slow and deep.
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll quit messing about my ‘sill and go pester the Old Miser why is this capitalized? assuming this character isn't actually named Mr. Old Miser for some of his bread.”
Theron grinned. Well on second thought… The Miser wouldn’t give a starving child a single crumb let alone show kindness to some pesky bird. It was more likely to get a brooms swat broom's swat? this is a bit awkwardly worded then than not then a bite of that old man’s bread.

Theron did his best to ignore the enticing aroma by trying not to breathe through his nose. He laced up his boots, made up his cot and headed toward the kitchen. “See you ‘morrow morning crowbird,” Theron said as the door shut behind him.

“Squaaawk.” The bird held the door in the gaze of its beady eyes for a moment, cocking it’s head to one side, then hopped across the windowsill and flew away.
This is pretty good, the bird is certainly interesting and leaves me wondering why he is pestering Theron and what the marks on his beak mean. I am assuming this is high fantasy, be careful not to let your dialogue feel too stilted. It's not bad, but I think "See you 'morrow morning crowbird," to me would be better as "See you tomorrow, crowbird."
But it piqued my interest immediately! (granted I am a sucker for fantasy)

Krista G.
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Re: 1st Page YA Fantasy

Post by Krista G. » July 28th, 2010, 4:16 pm

Good comments from Emily J. Here are a few more.
SteveYodaScott wrote:The day it happened began just like the one before, Theron awoke to the squawking of a crow that seemed to have a liking for his windowsill and the sound of its own voice. I agree with Emily - you need stronger punctuation than a comma to join these two independent clauses.

The boy knew it was the same bird as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that one too, because of the strange marks on its beak. Not marks like the ones you’d see on a bird that’s been in a few squabbles, though Theron supposed it had seen its share, unnatural marks; grooves that spiraled and twirled in some sort of design, the pattern on one side curving along the ridge, and matching the other, till they disappeared under black feathers. Phew. I don't mind fragments, but this fragment feels like a run-on sentence at the same time. One revision idea: "Not marks like the ones you'd see on a bird that's been in a few squabbles, though Theron supposed it had seen its share. These were unnatural marks, [<-- or you could go with a colon here, if you'd rather] grooves that spiraled and twirled, curving along both ridges until they disappeared under black feathers." I omitted a few details, but I don't think we need to know the markings are symmetrical. And you could definitely streamline this a little more, since "spiraled and twirled" and "curving" are redundant. The little fellow was strange indeed, but no stranger than yesterday. Repetition can make anything familiar.

“Has no one yet told you you’re quite obnoxious?” greeted the boy. I like the old-fashioned feel of the dialogue, but that tone is going to be hard to sustain over a whole book. Also, it flows a little better (at least to my ears) without the "yet."

“Squaaawwk.”

Theron rolled off his cot and onto his feet. “I take that as a no. Well consider yourself warned.” I'd add a comma after "Well."

Before the bird could reply Theron’s nose twitched, catching a sweet smell in the air. He breathed in slow and deep.
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll quit messing about my ‘sill and go pester the Old Miser for some of his bread.”
Theron grinned. Well on second thought… I'd add a comma after this "Well," too. The Miser wouldn’t give a starving child a single crumb let alone show kindness to some pesky bird. It was more likely to get a brooms broom's swat then than a bite of that old man’s bread.

Theron did his best to ignore the enticing aroma by trying not to breathe through his nose. He laced up his boots, made up his cot and headed toward the kitchen. “See you ‘morrow morning crowbird,” Theron said as the door shut behind him. Again, I agree with Emily on this line of dialogue. And you might consider changing "as the door shut behind him" to "as he shut the door behind him," just to improve the rhythm of this passage (and because I assume it's Theron closing the door and not the door itself).

“Squaaawk.” The bird held the door in the gaze of its beady eyes for a moment, cocking it’s its head to one side, then hopped across the windowsill and flew away. The rest of this has been in Theron's POV, so I'm wondering how he can see the bird now that the door's closed.
The bird is interesting, but I think you can do better than this. I once heard an agent say that something like half of the first pages she read featured a character waking up, so this isn't as original as it could be. Is there a more interesting scene in which we could meet the bird (and Theron)?

Well, my baby's screaming, so I've got to split. Good luck with this!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

SteveYodaScott
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Re: 1st Page YA Fantasy

Post by SteveYodaScott » July 28th, 2010, 11:44 pm

Thank you Emily and Krista for feedback. Very helpful thoughts. Much appreciated. I'm going to work on this a bit and re-post.

Steve

adamg73
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Re: 1st Page YA Fantasy

Post by adamg73 » July 29th, 2010, 12:52 pm

I like it and, despite some good comments from other users, wouldn't change a thing, with one exception. I'm a wildlife biologist by trade and therefore a geek when it comes to bird calls. Crows don't squawk, they caw. You know...CAW, CAAAW! That's a crow. Chicken's squawk.

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