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First Page: Contemporary Paranormal

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***

Gillie stood in the never-ending line at Starbucks. Shouts of "Half caf, Shot of Cinnamon, Whipped, No Froth, Ginseng sprinkles," burst forth from the yuppie caffeine junkies around her. The noise almost deafened her as each person shouted his or her order louder than the next.

"Why did Joe have to take a vacation?" she grumbled to herself.

A good cup of coffee, that was all she wanted and she usually went to a small shop around the corner from her new apartment to buy it. After moving to California from a quiet New England town, Joe’s had been the only place that she could find a piece of home in the middle of the L.A. scramble. Coffee, with two options-’cream or sugar. Styrofoam cups were stacked in the back for those on the move; help yourself.

She didn’t move here with a burning desire to become an actress or anything remotely glamorous.

She could have picked anywhere else but here. But she’d heard enough about how great it was. How many opportunities she would have. She’d been hearing about it for years. So, L.A. it was, and a new life, she’d hoped.

Several months and many unopened packing boxes later, she wanted to run back to New England.

L.A. scared her, the people scared her, she treaded water in this city knowing she would soon tire and sink. Not an auspicious beginning for a gal on her own, and neither would missing the appointment with the landlord be whose small office she wanted to rent for the start of her massage business.

At last a frenzied employee set his wild eyes on her, "WhatcanIgetchoo?"

"A large regular, black."

She swore the place hushed. The employee grabbed a tall cup out of the dispenser, filling it with the steaming dark brew. For a second he stared at the cup as if he didn’t quite understand the concept of not altering the coffee in any way. Finally he slapped a lid on her order and placed it before her. Grabbing her coffee, Gillie tossed a few bills on the counter. Eyes down, lips to the opening on the lid of her cup, she hurried out to the sidewalk.

And because of this, she didn’t see the guy on his cell phone, but heard him yelling just before they crashed.

"No, she isn’t right. I don’t care. Find another-’"

That’s when she collided with him, knocking them both to the sidewalk.

Several large men she assumed were his buddies assisted him to his feet, while a tightly wound, wiry little fellow buzzed around, exclaiming, "Was he burned? Is he okay?"

Almost crying over her spilt coffee, she pulled herself up. Chivalry is dead she thought, brushing her clothing off. She realized no one paid any attention to her except him. Good grief! I know I must be wearing half my coffee but still-. Shoulders sagging, she looked at the guy she knocked over and possibly scalded, and mustered up the courage to apologize.

Before she could utter a word, something in his expression made her freeze. He stared at her and whispered, "You."

***

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

33 Comments

  1. Ann Somerville
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 05:13:19

    This has a lot of problems with it. The opening is flat. There’s too much overwriting and infodumping, and unnecessary speech tags.

    The best writing is in this paragraph:

    The employee grabbed a tall cup out of the dispenser, filling it with the steaming dark brew. For a second he stared at the cup as if he didn't quite understand the concept of not altering the coffee in any way. Finally he slapped a lid on her order and placed it before her. Grabbing her coffee, Gillie tossed a few bills on the counter. Eyes down, lips to the opening on the lid of her cup, she hurried out to the sidewalk.

    The worst is exemplified in this one:

    Almost crying over her spilt coffee, she pulled herself up. Chivalry is dead she thought, brushing her clothing off. She realized no one paid any attention to her except him. Good grief! I know I must be wearing half my coffee but still…. Shoulders sagging, she looked at the guy she knocked over and possibly scalded, and mustered up the courage to apologize.

    If it was me, I’d rewrite the second one something like this:

    “Damn it!” She clambered up, dashing hurriedly at her clothes. Ruined. No one paid her any attention. Chivalry is dead. But he was looking, and with her covered in coffee in everything. Flushed with embarrassment, she faced her victim and mustered the courage to apologize.

    The first para I quote has energy, action, good description. You need to spread that through the entire work. As it stands, it’s not grabbing me, sorry. But clearly you have the ability – that first quoted paragraph didn’t come from nowhere!

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  2. Andrea Jackson
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 05:52:43

    A witty description of Starbucks but it’s too long for the opening hook. You need to get to the plot conflict closer to the beginning. If this is the first page all we know so far is that the protagonist doesn’t like living in LA. Also her personality comes across as kind of bland.

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  3. Anne Douglas
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 07:19:45

    I liked it, I’d read more.

    The only thing that I did a huh? over was:
    “L.A. scared her, the people scared her, she treaded water in this city knowing she would soon tire and sink.”

    Personally, I’d change the sentence around some to change treaded to treading.

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  4. Tracey
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 07:22:23

    I’m puzzled. If she doesn’t have any particular reason for coming to L.A. and if she doesn’t want to remain there, then why is she there? She could just toss her possessions in the back of her car and live out of that for a while, if she’s desperate enough. And why is she going to a quasi-Starbucks if all she wants is plain coffee? There are places you can get plain, cheap coffee in L.A.–I found 329 of them.

    So far, her problems are self-inflicted. She doesn’t actually HAVE to be in this store or in this city…but she doesn’t seem to realize it. And as problems go, living in a particular city and having trouble at Starbucks aren’t really that overwhelming. They aren’t problems that we want to see her fight to overcome. There may be more major problems down the road, but what I am seeing is a person who can’t even fix or cope with a minor difficulty on her own. She seems more like a secondary character than the female lead.

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  5. Leah
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 08:02:51

    I liked it. I didn’t think the info-dump was too much at all. I do think that the Starbucks thing has been done to death (although I had never heard of ginseng sprinkles!), but it’s not off-putting.

    Like the others, though, it did bother me a bit that she doesn’t just pick up and get out of LA–it has to be cheaper than staying there. First of all, I don’t know who would tell her it was a good place to go–everyone knows it’s all spread out and unbelievably expensive, that it chews people up and spits them out. Second, if she was bold and financed enough to move out there and start a business, she obviously has some means and gumption–so, if she hates it enough that it scares her, then she should have enough wherewithal to say “screw you guys, I’m going home”–or wherever. Maybe she’s just feeling temporarily helpless. Maybe she’s just a little depressed or lonely. Maybe she worries about facing some family reaction. Maybe she has some almost pathological need to finish what she starts, even when it’s a crummy idea. I don’t know. But I do think you need to explain her thoughts a little further.

    Did the coffee hit her, as well? And if it were me, I wouldn’t be upset about losing my coffee as much as I would be scared that this guy and his buddies would come after me.

    I liked it, though. I liked your style, and I found your heroine interesting. I’d keep reading.

    ReplyReply

  6. Kristen
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 08:10:44

    Does anyone use the word yuppie anymore? Makes the book sound like it’s set in the ’80′s.

    ReplyReply

  7. joanne
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 08:18:56

    I’m sure that, like me, many of us have read this type of ‘first meeting crash’ before and I think maybe that’s going to hurt your chances of people (editors) reading further.

    She knocked them both to the sidewalk. So he’s a small man? She’s a strong woman? His bodyguards/friends are too weak to keep them both upright?

    I also always re-read these entries starting at different points and when I started at your

    Several months and many unopened packing boxes later, she wanted to run back to New England.

    the whole thing worked better for me.

    Thank you and much good luck!

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  8. Lynne Connolly
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 08:49:42

    On the whole, I liked it. However, the heroine comes across as a bit whiney, so you’ve probably overdone the I-hate-this thing.
    Dump the dump. You slow down the action considerably with her backstory and it’s not needed. Cut the beginning to the “real coffee” nub of the reason and the queue, it currently reads as a tad self-indulgent.
    The collision thing is a bit of a cliche, but not so much that it wouldn’t make me want to read on. However, I’d add a foreshadowing. Maybe she glimpses him before she goes into the shop, maybe he’s waiting for her when she gets out, or she does collide with him. And I’d want him concerned about burning herself, brushing off his attendants to make sure she was okay.
    Also, I would hope you’d go into world-building quite soon, to make sure the readers know something about the world. It’s really hard to set down all the “rules” without it becoming a huge infodump but without confusing your readers by explaining nothing, but it’s a good idea to plunge the reader into the world, get them excited, and then tell them.
    Also, if this is a ‘fated mates’ story, I’m done. Frankly, I don’t want to read any more. They were fun at first, but unless it has a twist, I’m not interested. It’s a shortcut through the falling in love stage to get the couple straight to the bedroom, and while it was a nice way of doing it when Feehan first did her Carpathians in 1999, (I don’t know if this was the first, but it was my first) it’s a bit old now.

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  9. Shiloh Walker
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 09:20:22

    I liked it. I’d read more.

    There’s some things that need smoothing out, though. The long drawn out deal with the coffee was almost a little too much.

    Gillie stood in the never-ending line at Starbucks. Shouts of “Half caf, Shot of Cinnamon, Whipped, No Froth, Ginseng sprinkles,” burst forth from the yuppie caffeine junkies around her. The noise almost deafened her as each person shouted his or her order louder than the next.

    “Why did Joe have to take a vacation?” she grumbled to herself.

    A good cup of coffee, that was all she wanted and she usually went to a small shop around the corner from her new apartment to buy it. After moving to California from a quiet New England town, Joe's had been the only place that she could find a piece of home in the middle of the L.A. scramble. Coffee, with two options-’cream or sugar. Styrofoam cups were stacked in the back for those on the move; help yourself.

    She didn't move here with a burning desire to become an actress or anything remotely glamorous.

    She could have picked anywhere else but here. But she'd heard enough about how great it was. How many opportunities she would have. She'd been hearing about it for years. So, L.A. it was, and a new life, she'd hoped.

    Several months and many unopened packing boxes later, she wanted to run back to New England.

    L.A. scared her, the people scared her, she treaded water in this city knowing she would soon tire and sink. Not an auspicious beginning for a gal on her own, and neither would missing the appointment with the landlord be whose small office she wanted to rent for the start of her massage business.

    At last a frenzied employee set his wild eyes on her, “WhatcanIgetchoo?”

    “A large regular, black.”

    It’s too much.

    If you find a way to pay it down… maybe

    Gillie stood in the never-ending line at Starbucks. Shouts of “Half caf, Shot of Cinnamon, Whipped, No Froth, Ginseng sprinkles,” burst forth from the yuppie caffeine junkies around her. The noise almost deafened her as each person shouted his or her order louder than the next.

    A good cup of coffee, that was all she wanted and she usually went to a small shop around the corner from her new apartment to buy it. But the owner was on vacation.

    Several months after moving to LA from New England, she wanted to run back home. L.A. scared her, the people scared her, she treaded water in this city knowing she would soon tire and sink. Not an auspicious beginning for a gal on her own, and neither would missing the appointment with the landlord be whose small office she wanted to rent for the start of her massage business.

    At last a frenzied employee set his wild eyes on her, “WhatcanIgetchoo?”

    “A large regular, black.”

    You could go into detail about how she wasn’t wanting to act, model, whatever, later on. There’s just a little too much in that first bit. But after she gives her order and people look at her like she’s a Klingon, I really enjoyed it.

    ReplyReply

  10. DS
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 09:28:50

    Maybe I’ve been in the wrong coffee places, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the orders shouted in a Starbucks. Not even in Los Angeles.

    ReplyReply

  11. DS
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 09:35:33

    Is it just me or does she seem to be wearing size 14 shoes?

    ReplyReply

  12. DS
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:06:03

    Oh, heavens, do not keep multiple windows open on SB and Dear Author. The shoes have nothing to do with this post.

    ReplyReply

  13. Jill Myles
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:18:07

    You know, I wasn’t super hooked at the beginning – it’s clever but like Shiloh said, it went on a little too long.

    BUT! I was hooked by the end and I’d definitely keep reading.

    A couple of things that pinged me – the use of ‘yuppies’, the moving to LA to run a massage parlor (I choked on MY coffee here because in Dallas, well, the majority of ‘massage parlors’ are uh, of questionable nature and I’d assume the same for LA), and that she thought the guy at the coffee bar spoke too fast. I was like…she’s from NY! Doesn’t she talk fast as a default?

    But that’s minor, minor nitpicking. I’m entertained. I’d read on. :)

    ReplyReply

  14. Darlynne
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:34:08

    I was intrigued enough to want to keep reading. Good luck!

    ReplyReply

  15. LindaR
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:36:58

    I think this could be lots of fun.

    Just a comment on technique (and I have to watch for this in my own writing) — if you could avoid equivocal writing, it will tighten things up. “something” “almost” “usually” “never” “always” — those are weak words that don’t help.

    Are you the author? By that I mean: Are you telling this story or just suggesting it? Take command! Close the distance between you and your reader:

    She realized no one paid any attention to her except him. Good grief! I know I must be wearing half my coffee but still…. Shoulders sagging,

    you don’t have say “she realized” — you’ve already put us in her head; don’t keep reminding us we’re there.

    “good grief!” clashes with “shoulders sagging”

    Frankly, there is a lot wrong with this technically. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad story. I’d rather be both an excellent writer and an excellent storyteller — but if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick storyteller.

    I see a fun story here: woman in LA who doesn’t like LA-ness meets cute with guy who wants to make her a star!

    Use the Starbucks scene to summarize and foreshadow your whole story: people can’t see the coffee for the cream frothed milk. Everyone is fixated on the meaningless details of things they think they want — gensing sprinkles! you for my movie! — and can’t see what’s really valuable.

    make sure your heroine has the same fault

    Sorry if I went too far here — I guess I got engaged with the story!

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  16. Jane O
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:37:37

    Now, I didn’t find the opening too slow, and I found the heroine sympathetic (perhaps because I also like my coffee plain and black). It seems to me reasonable, not whiny, to be feeling a bit overwhelmed after moving across country to a totally strange environment. Actually, I was surprised at how much I liked it, since I don’t generally like paranormals, but she seemed positively, well, human.

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  17. Anion
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 10:41:48

    I’m sorry, Joe went on vacation and has shut his shop down while he’s gone? Do you know what rents are like in LA? Joe must be doing *extremely* well if he can afford to shut down and skip town. It just doesn’t ring true to me. Unless Joe figures in the story later, I’d have him go out of business instead.

    I know it seems like a nitpick and an unimportant one at that, but things like this make readers distrust the author. It feels contrived, and makes me think the rest of the story will also be contrived–a story where characters do things because tha author needs them to, rather than because it’s what they would logically do. Especially when we then get to the fall-down-meet, and a man whose bodyguards are so incompetent they can’t keep a girl with coffee in her hand from knocking him over and giving him first-degree burns (hot coffee HURTS; it’s not like spilling soda on someone. You could seriously injure them and yourself. Why are your characters not even indicating they’ve just had hot coffee spilled all over them? I know you say “and possibly scalded” but really there’s very little “possibly” about it. He would be scalded, and so would she, and it would hurt like a bitch.)

    So those issues, plus the infodump and the stilted voice, make this a pass for me. It’s almost there–obviously the writer is competent–but not quite. Author, you have a talent for clever lines like the ones Ann pointed out in her first comment–I particularly liked the “She swore the place hushed” but agree I’ve never heard of people shouting out orders in a Starbucks–but it feels like you’re pushing your setup too hard and trying to give us too much info right upfront.

    Don’t give up though. Like I said…nearly there. I hope this has been helpful and that you keep on with it.

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  18. California girl
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 11:34:45

    I love your voice. Like others have said, the coffee bit started slow for me, but at the end I’m hooked and would read on.

    I’m a little worried, though, that this opening scene may not be your best bet for catching an agent/editor/reader’s attention. I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts with opening scenes in coffee shops lately. It almost feels like it’s the new “The alarm clock rang.” or “Betty adjusted the car stereo.” It feels natural to start stories in beds, cars, coffee shops because that’s where our day begins. But then yours becomes one of a million stories that start out in a coffee shop, and you’ve already set yourself a hurdle you don’t need if the goal is to stand out.

    If you want to show your character’s disconnect with LA, show me a setting that is uniquely LA (Starbucks and frou-frou coffee are everywhere). But wait – not sitting in traffic. Please, not traffic. :) That’s more overdone than the coffee shop.

    (Also, I have to say, I live in the LA area and have no problem finding a plain old cuppa joe for a buck at any corner donut shop.)

    I really hope this doesn’t sound like discouragement – it’s not meant to be. Like I said, I like your writing, and I think you should have the best chance of selling it. Good luck!

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  19. Randi
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 15:23:28

    From someone who grew up in the Midwest, lived on West Coast, and settled in the NorthEast, no one talks as fast the the Northeast. I think it slows down when you get down to the Carolinas, and up to around VT, but in between, fast fast talkers. West Coasters, OTOH, speak much slower.

    There were some good hooks in here, which others have already mentioned. But…I didn’t notice any paranormal in it. Just from reading what was posted, I thought it was a contemporary. If it IS a paranormal, you probably want to set that up right away.

    Good luck!!

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  20. theo
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 17:14:27

    I am the author and I wanted to thank everyone for their comments and critiques.

    Unfortunately, I submitted this in September/October and have totally revamped it since then.

    To some of the comments; no, this is not a ‘fated love’, yes, the Starbucks here is quite noisy in the morning with people vying for their orders and sometimes it’s three and four deep at the counter and you’re shouting your order over others, no, she’s not from New York, she’s from a ‘small New England town’, yes, having spent my summers in NYC for years, they do talk much faster than my Midwest upbringing would have me speaking however, not all of the east coast speaks in a hurry :) The “WhatcanIgetchoo?” was meant more to show frustration than someone who is speaking in a constant hurry. Evidently, that didn’t come across well.

    The coffee problem is addressed in the rewrite and had I the space to put the next two pages, you would have found that the heroine has moved to LA because her mother, father and only sister (who did move to LA to become an actress and constantly encouraged the heroine to move there with her) were killed in an automobile accident and the small town, where nearly everyone knows her, was driving her insane with their sympathies. After hearing how ‘wonderful’ LA is, she wanted to get as far from home as possible and decided to try it.

    The paranormal aspect is also is addressed in the second and third pages as well as a few opening lines; she’s been seeing her dead sister in her dreams and the man she plowed down is standing beside the sister in all of them. The sister eventually moves from dreams to visible during the heroine’s waking hours.

    If anyone is interested in the newer version, please email me. For brevity’s sake, I won’t repost it here.

    Thank you again, everyone! The comments and critiques are invaluable. And again, I apologize for the version you’re seeing. It is older and seems to be a definite drawback with the amount of time between submissions and posting, though poor Jane, I have no idea how else she could do it to make the posting more current. Unless she offered one a day? ;)

    And thank you, Jane, for posting it as well. I appreciate the opportunity. :)

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  21. Antonella
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 18:29:40

    Just a thought, and I don’t know how it currently works when a First Page is coming up to bat, but maybe Jane could email the author a couple days ahead of time and A) let them know they’re page is the next in line and B) maybe give them the opportunity to submit a fresher copy if it has been revised since it’s first submission?

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  22. Jinni
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 18:31:54

    Theo,

    I really like this piece. I think you have something good here. I’d certainly read on. I live in LA and I think you’re spot on. I disagree with the current belief in in medias res.

    I wish you good luck with your publishing endeavors and only offer this advice – don’t get critiqued out of your voice – it’s good.

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  23. Ann Somerville
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 18:48:15

    @Antonella:

    I do think the real solution would be for authors to wait until they have polished and polished and are at the point of submission to agents or publishers before they ask DA to put up the page. It might cut down the number of submissions too, which would reduce the time lag.

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  24. Jane
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 19:00:09

    @Antonella Actually I tried to do that but my emails kept getting rejected. But I’ll try to do that in the future.

    ReplyReply

  25. theo
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 20:21:53

    In all fairness to Jane, at the time I subbed this, I thought I had it polished. But then I sent it to an author friend of mine who went through it with me for the first few pages and helped me clean it even more. And the result is, I’m much happier with the new.

    Jane, did you email me? I didn’t get any and I usually have no trouble with the email I used to sub under. In fact, you and I talked about this a month or two ago. Maybe it just didn’t come through this time. If not, I’ll have to talk to my email host…

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  26. theo
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 20:25:47

    And Jinni, thanks :) In all honesty, I’d much rather break a few ‘rules’ and keep my own voice to the story than to follow all the rules to a T and lose who I am in favor of being technically perfect.

    Some of my favorite authors break rules now and then, and they still sell like hotcakes because their voices are so good.

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  27. K. Z. Snow
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 21:34:25

    I do think the real solution would be for authors to wait until they have polished and polished and are at the point of submission to agents or publishers before they ask DA to put up the page.

    Yes, in an ideal world. But one person’s polished work could be another’s rough cut. The judgment is highly subjective.

    It can be difficult for authors to clearly see the strengths and weaknesses in their own fiction — hence, the existence of crit groups and partners. I know I start losing perspective after toiling away at something for a while. Smooth edges or disruptive chips and cracks? Beats me.

    Besides, I think we all can learn from the comments made here. I’m continually impressed by how helpful so many posters are. Some critiques are more meticulous than, I suspect, the feedback we get from our own editors. So, I don’t particularly mind first pages that aren’t submission-ready. Valuable lessons lurk in imperfection.

    Thanks again to DA for providing this service.

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  28. Seressia
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 11:35:17

    Hey Theo,

    I don’t know how much you changed in the first page, but perhaps have the dead sister standing in the Starbucks with her, or at the entrance, and that vision of the sister causes Gillie to chase after her and fumble her coffee on the guy’s shoes. Cause yeah, if she got black coffee and no adds–like cold half and half–it’s way too hot to sip and it would burn like heck if she spilled it on someone. Besides, if she’s got the lid on, she’d actually have to drop the cup or pop the lid from squeezign too hard to spill most of her coffee. (been there, got burned by that…)

    And I’ve collided with a bunch of people in my time, including slam dancing that occured at a Nickelback outdoor concert, and didn’t end on my butt. The guy who slammed into me though, I took him out with my lawn chair. That felt good.

    ReplyReply

  29. Julia Sullivan
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 16:45:38

    I grew up in a quiet New England town, and people definitely talked a lot faster than people on the West Coast. The “slow talkers” of New England are the Vermonters and Down East Mainers: your average Masshole or New Hampshire-ite talks almost as fast as the stereotypical New Yorker.

    And please, everyone on planet Earth: Once McDonald’s has targeted a cultural phenomenon in its TV commercials, it’s officially jumped the shark. The whole “Starbucks is unnecessarily complicated coffee for posers” meme is dead.

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  30. Ann Somerville
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 17:14:08

    @Julia Sullivan:

    The whole “Starbucks is unnecessarily complicated coffee for posers” meme is dead.

    It might be but whenever my husband ordered a plain black coffee in a UK starbucks or one of the clones, we had to go through the whole

    ‘do you mean an expresso?’
    ‘No, a filter coffee.’
    ‘Oh, an Americano.’
    ‘What’s an Americano?’

    Routine. Not so much of a problem in Australia though.

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  31. theo
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 17:19:39

    @Julia Sullivan:

    And that would explain why I no longer drink McDonald’s coffee either! Personally, I can’t stand having to go through a litany when I want a cup of coffee and really don’t like Starbucks coffee anyway and wouldn’t drink it if it was free.

    But that’s me.

    @Seressia:

    I did change quite a bit of it, so we’ll see what happens. I haven’t met an author yet though, in print or otherwise, who doesn’t wish they could go back and change something :D But thanks! :D

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  32. Sarah
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 13:45:42

    Ok, so I almost feel bad and nitpicky posting this but…

    I go to Starbucks on my way to work and get a venti coffee, thats it, sometimes I ask for room, otherwise I just pour some out. No one has ever said anything to me, and oftentimes I’m not the only one getting just a coffee. And as a regular Starbucks customer, I would have put this book down as soon as I saw this.

    I’m not a yuppie, or atleast I don’t think I am, and the only Starbucks where I ever had to be louder with my order was because it was in a hospital and I seemed to always come in when it was shift change.

    I go to Starbucks because its convenient and is typically open when I need it to be. If there were reliable local places open at 6am on my commute, I would go to them, in fact, when I worked in DC I did go to a local coffee place.

    I guess I’m with the others that commented how overused making fun of Starbucks is, except since I’m a regular – I’m also mildly offended. I’m sorry if I’m taking this too personally, it just feels a bit condescending when people make fun of Starbucks, and I feel awkward that I then feel I have to justify my morning routine.

    …But otherwise I actually thought it kind of worked, especially if you polished it more.

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  33. Jeannine
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 20:26:38

    This is my first post here, but I’ve been enjoying the discussions and reviews very much.

    I liked this first page and would definitely read further.

    I thought it was very telling of the heroine’s personality that though she says she feels like going back to New England, still she has an appointment with a landlord and is going ahead with setting up her new business — implies that she’s the type who doesn’t give up when the going gets tough.

    As for the fast talking, I can’t speak for anyone on the West Coast, but I’ve lived in Massachusetts all my life so I think I can safely state that for the most part, we really don’t talk all that fast. I vacation in Maine almost every year and I’ve not run into many people with that Stephen King type of “ayuh” speech pattern, either, but that’s just my own experience (and may be more prevalent further north).

    (By the way, do people really refer to us as “Massholes”?? I have to say I find that to be a shockingly unkind generalization…)

    In terms of this First Page, the only one who seemed to be talking fast was the
    employee, and since he’s described as “frenzied” and “wild eyed”, I attributed the fast talk to the stress of dealing with the crowd, rather than a regional thing.

    Regarding the Starbucks reference, theo, you could always just say that since she prefers plain old coffee, she’s a bit intimidated by the variety offered or something, that it’s just another aspect of her new life that seems “foreign” to her, maybe.

    Overall, I enjoyed it and think it’s a great start! :)

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