Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

First Page: Contemporary Romance

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously.

***

Finley stepped out of the terminal and caught the smell of the Atlantic even before the glass doors had fully closed behind her.  She looked down the line of cars parked in the arrivals pick-up zone and spotted her father’s long-time driver, standing on the curb beside an enormous black government-issue SUV.

“Welcome home, Miss Throop.”  He started walking toward her, a little slower than she remembered, but already spreading his arms and giving her that grin that had been as reliable as his insistence on calling her “Miss Throop”, even back when she’d only come up to his kneecaps.

“Hi Dewey.“  Finley laughed and hugged the old driver before allowing him to take her wheeled carry-on and hanging bag.

“You sure don’t have much luggage.  The governor said to pick you up in the Death Star here, because you’d probably bring half of California with you.”

“Nope– not staying that long, no matter what my father might have said.”

Finley opened her own door and slid into the front passenger seat, causing the driver to do a stutter-step before he shrugged and walked around to load the bags into the back.  Moments later, he was behind the wheel and steering toward the highway on-ramp.

“Don’t get too much company up here in front these days.  It’s good to see you again.  Been a long time, Miss Throop.”

“I know it.  It’s good to see you, too, Dewey.  How’s your family?”

“Oh, my girls are grown and gone now.  Joanne’s still puttin’ up with me.  She’s your biggest fan.  Every Friday night she makes sure we’re right in front of the television at ten o’clock.”  Finley saw a furrowed brow replace his beaming smile, as he remembered the reason for this joyful reunion.  “Guess you won’t be on this week, huh?  I sure am sorry about your mamma.”

“Thank you.  What’s the latest?  I was in the air for last five hours, and I haven’t heard anything since my layover.”

“As far as I know, it’s still the same– critical but stable.  Still unconscious.”

“How are the boys handling it?”

“Oh, the usual.  You’ll just have to see for yourself.  I’ll take you home first to freshen up, then drive you and your brothers up to the hospital to see her.  Your dad’ll probably meet you there.”

“Where is he?”

Dewey hesitated, keeping his eyes trained on the road and flexing his wide, leathery fingers on the steering wheel.  “He took his own car this evening… some kind of fundraiser, I think.”

“Of course.  Wouldn’t want to let down those loyal supporters.  Or their checkbooks.  Well, I can’t wait to see the boys.  This whole thing is godawful, but at least I get to sneak in another visit with them a lot sooner than I expected.  I’ll bet they’re a foot taller than they were last summer.”

“Yep.  Monsters.  Wicked huge monsters, those two guys.”

“Lord help us.”  Finley paused and bit her lip, but couldn’t stop herself from asking.  “How‘s… everyone else?”

“Well, Tabitha’s still going strong, keeping the place running, taking care of everybody as usual.  And… if you’re wondering, Nolan–”

“No– I’m not. Wondering.  I didn’t ask about him.”  Her fingers curled tightly around the leather armrest, and she stared through the windshield at the peeling URI Rams bumper sticker on the minivan ahead of them.

“I know you didn’t.”  Dewey chuckled softly.  “Okay then, let‘s get you home Miss Finley.  You might enjoy the view on the way.  Little Rhody‘s changed a lot in thirteen years.”

 

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

35 Comments

  1. Eggs
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 04:41:02

    This is excellent. In fact, I think it’s the best first page I’ve read here. You should change “… Causing the driver …” to ” … Causing Dewey …” as you’ve already named him by that point.

    ReplyReply

  2. SAO
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 05:17:53

    I thought there was a little too much dialogue about people I didn’t know and had to guess who were. The “boys” are her half or step brothers? A hint that she hasn’t been home in 13 years, but has been getting regular visits in?

    The writing was good, a nice touch of tension before the end of the page, but over all, I spent too much time wondering if (or why)I should care about the large cast of chars mentioned (Dad, boys, Joanne, Tabitha). I did figure out Nolan’s important.

    I will note I’ve seen Dewey as a girl before, but never Finley, so when you said, “Finley opened . . . causing the driver to . . .” my first reaction was that Finley was the driver. This mention was only the 3rd time you mentioned her first name and I may be a careless reader, but I think that maybe you should re-think the Miss Throops until you get Finley nailed in the reader’s mind.

    All in all, you have 10 different references to people (I’m counting both Finley and Miss Throop, because I have to keep track of the fact that they are the same person, as I do that Dad is the Governor and Dewey the driver). That’s way too many.

    I think you’d have a nice start if you got the names and characters down to a few. My experience is that until I meet a char, I don’t pay much attention to them, so even though I know Joanne is Dewey’s wife, I won’t have a clue next time she is mentioned, unless it is in a para or two.

    The other thing is that in introducing all these people and giving us clues as to who they are (as in Dad’s the Gov’nor) you are missing an opportunity to give us a view of her emotions. We get it when Nolan is mentioned, but I didn’t see any emotion about Mom in a coma or home for the first time in 13 years.

    It may be that you want to start in a different place, so we can see her reacting to things one at a time, because if she welled up with joy at the old driver, wept at the mention of Mom and then clenched her fists at the mention of Nolan, you’d have her see-sawing emotions all over the page.

    ReplyReply

  3. SHZ
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 05:32:34

    It is a good start, but there’re a couple of things that pulled me out of the story.

    It might be just me, but when you first introduce a character you should probably give their full name. It is probably one of few – or perhaps even the only – times in the entire book you give their surname as well as their first name, but in the first sentence, saying only “Finley” reads wrong.

    If you have a scene with a man and a woman, there’s no need to give their name every time they’re mentioned. They can become “he” and “she” after they’re introduced.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jennie
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 05:34:43

    A small niggle but… I live near an airport which is quite close to the Atlantic where I occasionally get pick up / drop off duty for various out-of-towners, and to have Finley smell anything besides diesel fuel just as she’s stepping outside almost stopped me before I began. Maybe you can have her anticipating the smell of the ocean?

    ReplyReply

  5. Renda
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 07:06:17

    I liked it and would probably keep reading. But seeing “Finley” made me read “finely,” and I did that each time, even knowing it was wrong. Maybe if you put that “d” in there. And the last name made me think typo every time.
    Also if my mother is in intensive care, I am not thinking anything But getting to see her and getting totally apprised of the situation. I wouldn’t be trying to multitask, squeezing in a visit with the much younger boys, snarking on dad’s priorities (when I have already stated I won’t be hanging around long myself, presumably because of the alluded to TV presence) or running into an ex. And if she is tall, blonde and gorgeous I would probably stop reading (no offense to any tall, blonde and gorgeous TV personalities who may be out there). And I agree with the smell thing. Having only been to large airports on the water, I expect not to smell the ocean until getting away from the airport. If it were a small airport, that may be different.

    ReplyReply

  6. ang
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 07:10:50

    This was a good beginning. However, for someone just getting off a plane, she seems a little non-plussed that her mother is in the hospital. If it were me, I’d be going to see her before I even went home to “freshen up”. Hence, I would change the “How’s your family” to “How’s my mother”. And then head straight to the hospital.

    I thought the chit-chat in the car was fine, but I would like a little more clarification on who the “boys” were. Right after the line “How’re the boys handling it?” I would say something like, Finley wondered if her two half-brothers would even know what was going on, or if her father was keeping them as sheltered as he had kept her. or something like that.

    From Dewey’s speech pattern “I sure am sorry about your mamma.” he sounds like an aging southern African-American. Which is fine, however, I think you may want to put in a little description other than he’s old. And if he is an aging southern African-American, he would NOT say the boys are “wicked” monsters. That is a RI colloquialism. And why would he refer to them as monsters anyway.

    Also concerning the chauffer, the govenor of RI has a state trooper as his driver, and another that rides “shotgun” so if Dewey is the “family” chauffer, you would have to say that. “Dewey had been with the family since she could remember, when her father worked at “blank” all those many years ago.”

    Also, I do not think he would say “Little Rhody”. That to me sounds like cheap schtick used by the tourist board. And the above commentor was right, you can’t smell the ocean when you step out of the airport terminal. Pick-ups are below stairs, and with the line of cars, you can only smell exhaust fumes.

    And if Finley is famous, as it appears she is by being on tv at 10 every Friday night, AND she is the govenor’s daughter, she would not be met in the regular pick-up line. The govenor gets picked up at a special entrance on the other side of the gates closer to the tarmac.

    And as for the view she will encounter on the drive home from the airport, if she’s heading north, the only thing that has changed is the new 95/195 super I-way system of highway. If she’s heading south, the new 138 interchange at Route 4 is what she will see.

    I lived in RI all my life until 5 years ago, and have been home every summer since. Nothing has changed all that much. I do like the fact you’re using RI as your setting, but if you don’t live there, please do some more research.

    ReplyReply

  7. Melissa
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 07:55:42

    I’m not a big reader of contemporaries, but if the back cover blurb and the reviews had gotten me to pick this up, nothing in the “first page” would have put me off. I would keep reading, but I’m not really “hooked” yet.

    ReplyReply

  8. JB Hunt
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 08:38:51

    I agree with a lot of the praise and the revision suggestions already mentioned. This could be a really compelling opener.

    I began to lose interest during some of the dialogue. I did not feel connected to the characters, I didn’t know what Finley was feeling/thinking, and I couldn’t really “sense” the moment.

    Perhaps spend a little more time in her head and less time introducing the cast of characters?

    ReplyReply

  9. Renda
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 08:38:55

    I just wanted to add that I love that this is a contemporary. I am not of the UF, paranormal, let’s see who can destroy the world the bestest the fastest crowd.

    I love “knowing” the world and not having to keep track of all the different weres/vamps/angels/demons/fae/vampiric fae and their various enemies/friends/frenemies. Every time I see or hear of an apocalypse plot line I wonder if I will see a back-from-the-dead Carmen Miranda dancing around with fruit on her head as the heroine in a book about Apocalypso.

    I am also so tired of trying to remember if the vampire in this book or that can or can’t deal with sunlight, if they can or can’t ingest blood not of the human body and live, or if they can or can’t look in a mirror or whatever other characteristics the author needs to make their story. I really wish there would be an index in some of these books just so I could keep up, much like the Cynster lineages in some of the Cynster books. Why, yes, I am old and cranky.

    And I know that I can read whatever I want but it seems that contemporary/historical writers are being “turned” just as easily as some of the heroines in these paranormal books.

    \rant over\

    ReplyReply

  10. dick
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 09:04:51

    A very smooth opening, IMO, incorporating a lot of suggestion about back story which arouses curiosity. I’d continue reading.

    ReplyReply

  11. Lynne Connolly
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 09:33:04

    What we have here is a well written “reaction” scene as a novel opener that needs a little revision.
    There’s no hook. Nothing to make me turn the page, except for the writing. I’d suggest starting the book earlier or later and using this as a second chapter, or cutting it (ouch!)
    Of course, if this is part of a series and we’ve met the heroine before, or if you’re a well established writer, then you get some leeway, but if you want to snag the interest of an editor if you’re cold-querying, then make something happen on your first page.
    I’d agree with the others, there needs to be more focus in this scene. Forget about doing the backstory as we go, and remember to tell the reader only what he or she needs to know when they need to know it. Decide what is important in this scene and junk the rest, or save it for later.
    Definitely very interesting and worth pursuing. Despite what I said, I’d read on, just because the quality of writing is there.

    ReplyReply

  12. Cara Ellison
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 09:53:54

    It felt a little cluttered to me and I couldn’t find the hook. I didn’t feel very urgent about the mother because the character didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal. Additionally there is a misplaced comma in the second sentence.

    ReplyReply

  13. Elyssa
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 10:30:19

    This is going to come across as really harsh and I’m sorry for that.

    I hate to be the voice of dissent but I guess I’m going to be. I really did not like this opening and would not have reached the “end of sample page” on Kindle to even think about buying it. I think the opening is just way too much of an info dump and a “as you know, Bob, here’s what’s been going on.” I’m not feeling the stakes whatsoever and I think you need to start the book at a moment of change for the heroine. Maybe we see her rushing into the hospital for her mother or something where someone/something happens to change her life as she knows it. Having a conversation with the driver about things? That doesn’t do anything for me.

    And I didn’t mind her first name but hated her last name.

    Sorry!

    ReplyReply

  14. Kate
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 12:17:27

    Well done for putting your work out there. And I second the commenter who was happy to see a contemporary first page.

    This was very well written but read a bit like how not to do an opening (I know the rules are made to be broken, but it has to be an awesome start to be worthy of the rule break). In other words, you have the heroine going to a place where something more important will happen that kick starts the story. Going on the information you’ve dropped in, the inciting incident is either (a) seeing her mom at the hospital or (b) seeing the ex/man-from-the-past again. Both of those could be killed with one stone by starting at the hospital. You dripped in your back story well: tension with father who’s very important, younger brothers all grown up, she’s got her own TV show, is beloved by old family retainers, mom’s in a coma. Wait, mom’s in a coma? She definitely should be more concerned about this unless she doesn’t like her mother, and the assumption is that she does bc she’s here after a long time away. All this backstory and one-line character sketching could come later – at the hospital – when a bunch of these characters will no doubt meet and family/ex dynamics will become clearer.

    The writing flows very well, I imagine you’d have no problem making the fixes to get it to hook-me level.

    ReplyReply

  15. Wahoo Suze
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 12:23:42

    to have Finley smell anything besides diesel fuel just as she’s stepping outside almost stopped me before I began.

    I disagree with you here. When I got off the plane at home after being in Europe for a month, I really noticed the underlying smell of the place (in the summer). I’d been smelling airports, fuel, stale air, what have you for the several hours of travelling, and I didn’t really notice that stuff anymore, but I sure smelled home as soon as I stepped out of the terminal.

    ReplyReply

  16. Emily
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 13:37:20

    I agree with Melissa about this passage.

    I am not sure everything has to be clear on the first page. I have read plenty of books where I was unsure things on page 1, but cleared by the end of the first chapter. I also didn’t mind the lack of first and last names. I was surprised to realise little Rhody was the state. With that nickname which I have never heard before, I thought at first it was another person which was confusing. I would call Rhode Island Rhode Island. Over than that its pretty good.

    ReplyReply

  17. Loreen
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 14:30:34

    The writing is pretty solid, but nothing really hooks me yet. I think you need to start at a different point – one with more internal tension for the character. Starting with an arrival is a little like starting with a character waking up from a dream…it feels natural to the author, but it is static and uninteresting for the reader.
    Why has she been away for so long? 13 years is a really long time to never return for Christmas! Is she estranged from her family? What are her feelings about returning? Try to build up more of the internal conflict…I assume at some point bad-guy political shenanagans will take over but for now I want to know more about the inner conflict.
    Best of luck!

    ReplyReply

  18. Sofia Harper
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 14:48:58

    I’m with Elyssa on this one. She says, “I’m not feeling the stakes whatsoever and I think you need to start the book at a moment of change for the heroine.”

    I’ll go further and say the reason I feel there is nothing at stake here is because there isn’t any emotion on the page.

    You wrote: ““Hi Dewey.“ Finley laughed and hugged the old driver before allowing him to take her wheeled carry-on and hanging bag.”

    She’s had a very long flight. That in itself is stressful. She’s had a very long flight with no word on how her mother is doing. She hasn’t been back home in what sounds like a long time. This is the first person she sees. From what’s on the page there is loads of affection and comfort between them.

    Yet, when she laughs for the first in hours and hugs this person for the first time in eons there’s nada emotion. How does it feel to hug someone you care about, and vice versa, after hearing your mother is probably going to die?

    There are other examples in this first page where you could have punched up the emotion. It doesn’t need to be dramatic. I, as a reader, just need to be invested emotionally. Give me something that makes me want to turn the page.

    Second, I think you can have a lot of dialogue on the first page, but it needs to tell me something about who the character is. This page is infodump disguised as dialogue. Even in dialogue form infodumping on the first page is bad.

    It’s just my opinion, but I think this scene might work better if you cut straight to the hospital. You could have the opportunity to show rather than tell that she’s been gone for a while. The relationship with her family is estranged. Her allies, etc. Lastly, her relationship with the Person Who Shall Not Be Wondered About aka Nolan.

    So, keep what resonates. Leave the rest. Best of luck.

    ReplyReply

  19. Sofia Harper
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 14:50:20

    I wrote a mini-novel. So sorry.

    ReplyReply

  20. Sunita
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 15:00:37

    @Wahoo Suze: I agree with you. I flew into Bombay after 13 years away and even before the plane had stopped I was hit with a smell that was instantly familiar. It’s a mix of sea, slums, humidity, and something I can’t place. But nowhere else I’ve been smells like that, and I didn’t even know I remembered it until it hit me.

    Maybe make the smell more of a mix of things and not just the Atlantic?

    I found this very easy to read. I agree that a little more emotion layered into the dialogue (or through a judicious amount of internal reflection) would make this more compelling.

    Since “governor” wasn’t capitalized, I wasn’t sure if her father is the Governor of Rhode Island or just a poobah the driver calls “governor” as in guv’nor.

    ReplyReply

  21. Dani Alexander
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 17:12:08

    And I’m going to be the “other” voice of dissent. I loved it. I loved the mystery of who everyone was and that was the hook for me. Because I already liked Finley. I knew she was a girl because you said “her” in the first sentence.

    The only thing I’d agree with in the previous comments is asking about her mother. I think that would have been first thing, then I think the conversation could have taken place because she knew things were unchanged since her flight.

    Otherwise, I loved the smell of the Atlantic first thing. For me, that one sentence just literally created an image of the ocean in my head. And the other hook, the one that would keep me reading is the sentences about Nolan.

    So I loved it. (And I don’t read/write much m/f romance anymore)

    ReplyReply

  22. Liz Talley
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 17:31:06

    First, a big nod for putting yourself out there :)

    I think you are a very competent writer and with attention to a few of the things mentioned above, you have a nice beginning. I agree with the name. Finley is a great name, but I read it as Finally right off the bat. I reread the first sentence twice before I realized it was her name. I think if you do as SHZ suggests and intro with a first and last name, you’ll be better off if you want to keep Finley.Also, she’s right about dialogue tags. You don’t have to use the name every time.

    In my opinion you need some more internals – go a little deeper. For example, when the driver says, “He’s at a fundraiser, I think.” Then you have a great opportunity for a visceral reaction that will allow your reader to invest in Finley. A little deep POV “Of course he is. Why would he have changed?” would give me really good insight into why she’s stayed away. If you give more internal reactions from Finley, then it won’t seem so much like a volley of “How’s your momma?” which can be boring for readers when they don’t know to the characters yet.

    I also agree that she’d say something like “I’d rather go to the hospital” when the driver says he’s taking her home. Because if I were getting off the plane because my mom was in critical care, I’d be going to her.

    Otherwise, good job. I’m not sure if I fully agree about the hook because I think your hooks are “Why has she been away fro 13 years?” and “Why didn’t she ask about Nolan?” so I’d keep reading to find those answers.

    ReplyReply

  23. eggs
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 17:52:00

    Reading through the other comments, it occurred to me that it might be good for commenters if we knew the intended length of the entire work. When I read this, I immediately assumed it was a category novel, because as a reader I expect those books to introduce the cast and condense the entire back story into the first three pages and then we’re off to the races with the romance. I have different expectations about how a nice thick novel will begin. If this is a full length work, then I’ll ditto every thing that Lynne Connolly said!

    I am very interested in the linguistic comments that Ang made at comment #6.

    Ang said:
    “From Dewey’s speech pattern “I sure am sorry about your mamma.” he sounds like an aging southern African-American. Which is fine, however, I think you may want to put in a little description other than he’s old. And if he is an aging southern African-American, he would NOT say the boys are “wicked” monsters. That is a RI colloquialism. And why would he refer to them as monsters anyway.”

    How on earth can you tell the colour of a character’s skin from the one line “I sure am sorry about your mamma.” ?! And why would you tell the author that it’s “fine” for a character to be African-American, but only if she makes sure to specifically describe him that way!?! My mind is a little boggled by all of that.

    Also, I’m in my early 40′s and grew up in Aussie surf culture where the the word “wicked” was in heavy usage at least as far back as when I was a kid, as in “wicked set of waves” , “wicked awesome”, “wicked skills”, etc. So I don’t think it’s a RI colloquialism at all. And even if it were a RI specific colloquialism, considering Dewey apparently *lives in RI*, why on earth would you so strongly emphasize the fact that “he would NOT” use the word? And finally, I love my kids but they are indeed little monsters and I frequently refer to them as such!

    ReplyReply

  24. Cara Ellison
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 20:28:48

    Eggs said:

    “How on earth can you tell the colour of a character’s skin from the one line “I sure am sorry about your mamma.” ?! And why would you tell the author that it’s “fine” for a character to be African-American, but only if she makes sure to specifically describe him that way!?! My mind is a little boggled by all of that.”

    Well I didn’t make the original comment but when I heard that phrase “I sure am sorry about your mamma,” I also thought aging black man. You say you grew up in Australia so your culture may be different, but as someone who grew up in Texas, it sounded to my ear exactly like an aging Southern black man. The “I sure am” and “mamma” scream SOUTH to me. And I guess the words sound a lot like something I’ve heard Morgan Freeman say in, oh, just about every movie he’s ever been in except Shawshank Redemption.

    Would an aging Caucasian man say that phrase exactly as it is written? Would a young Black man or a young Caucasian man? To my Southern ear, nope. If the writer wanted us to think Driving Miss Daisy, she nailed it. At least to the southerners among us. I have lived in New York and Arlington, VA, and have never heard anyone – especially a man – say “I sure am” or “mamma”.

    Which brings me to my next point. I’m a little confused why this (possibly) aging (possibly) African-American man might be anywhere near the Atlantic Ocean if he sounds southern. [Edited to add: unless this takes place in the Carolinas maybe? Southern and Atlantic is hard to pull off is all I'm saying.]

    I think the “fine” comment was just a throwaway line; I could be wrong, I don’t know her, but it sounded to me like one of those filler lines, sort of like saying “like” all the time. And why he should be described that way, I think because this piece of writing is very shallow. It needs more depth.

    The very first editor I had (at Bantam) would point to spots in my manuscript that were shallow and inevitably she’d point out that I was missing a reaction. Action, reaction. For everything you write, you need a reaction. If Finley feels warmth for this driver – and she seems to – she might say she’d missed his grin or whatever (I don’t think the skin color is necessary to clarify. I think he sounds southern African American, but I could be wrong; in any case, she needs something there to give us more depth to the characters – give us some way to see him.)

    ReplyReply

  25. Patricia
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 20:41:47

    After reading this page, I couldn’t figure out why the main character doesn’t care about her mother. She seems to have no emotional reaction at all to the fact that her mother is lying in a coma in critical condition. She would rather chat about the driver’s kids and wife and grump about her father going to a fund raiser than get any details on her mother’s medical state. And why isn’t she planning on staying very long (as her father expects)? If my mother were in a coma barely hanging on to life, you can bet I’d stay as long as it took for her condition to resolve one way or the other. Finley laughs when the driver greets her and shows irritation when her father and Nolan are mentioned, but she doesn’t display any emotion at all where her mother is concerned. It just struck me as very odd.

    I do think the piece flows well and I like the sense of place that is established very quickly. However, the mom’s precarious state would ordinarily be the center of attention in such a situation, and if there is some reason why Finley feels less towards her mother than she ought, that should at least be alluded to early on.

    ReplyReply

  26. Sunita
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 20:54:17

    @Cara Ellison:

    I’m a little confused why this (possibly) aging (possibly) African-American man might be anywhere near the Atlantic Ocean if he sounds southern. [Edited to add: unless this takes place in the Carolinas maybe? Southern and Atlantic is hard to pull off is all I'm saying.]

    There are five states of the Confederacy which border the Atlantic Ocean: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. So unless we’ve redefined “southern,” it goes very nicely with “Atlantic.”

    As for why a southern, older, African-American man might be working in Rhode Island: he would have been one of the many many blacks who migrated out of southern states in the 20th century. Black migration out of the south did not reverse course until the 1990s.

    ReplyReply

  27. Cara Ellison
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 21:58:24

    That’s what I like about you, Sunita. Your knowledge of history is comprehensive.

    ReplyReply

  28. Sunita
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 00:11:13

    @Cara Ellison: I do try to limit myself to my areas of expertise. You could school me with one hand tied behind your back when it comes to Texas history. My ignorance on that topic contains multitudes.

    FWIW, my immediate take on Dewey was also that he was an older African-American man. I cued off the same things you did. It doesn’t mean we’re right, but the name, the interaction (combining familiarity with hierarchical distance), etc. suggested it.

    Now the author can come in and tell us he’s a 30-something Italian-American Finley grew up with. :)

    ReplyReply

  29. galwiththehoe
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 04:32:04

    Reading through the page, I wanted to say exactly what Patricia said in comment #25 about the situation with the mother and Finley’s lack of focus on it. It seems odd and not in an intriguing way. A loved one in critical condition alters my entire behaviour, my reactions to other loved ones, how I feel about mundane things such as the smell of my hometown or the speed at which the car is driving which will take me home/to the hospital etc. etc. It is something that holds me in a death grip and influences everything I say or do or feel.

    Other than that, I really, really like this and would definitely turn the page. I giggled at the Death Star comment, and I like both, Miss Throop and Dewey. That’s two out of two characters so far.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyReply

  30. Kate Sherwood
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 08:39:23

    I agree that it was technically strong, but needs more emotion to be compelling.

    I’m wondering if you’re trying to create a character who’s initially unsympathetic. Challenging, but could be interesting. But I still think you still need to give us a little more, if you’re going in that direction. A hint of self-loathing, or awareness of her own hypocrisy in judging her father for being at a political event rather than with his wife, even though the MC is behaving just as distantly… something to let me know that I’m allowed to not like the MC at this point. If I’m supposed to like her, though… it needs work. As others have said, she seems WAY too detached and casual for a situation as serious as this one.

    ReplyReply

  31. impossible6
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 16:03:40

    I thought this flowed nicely and would be intrigued enough to read more. I agree with the other comments that her reaction to her mother being in the hospital is unexpected. If that was intentional and is explained further in, then no worries. Best of luck with this!

    ReplyReply

  32. eggs
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 21:53:46

    @Cara Ellison: TBH, every time I see a sentence with a southern US cadence, I picture Forrest Gump, hence my disconnect with the assumption the character must be black. I guess we can conclude from this that my viewing habits skew to the cheesy side!

    ReplyReply

  33. the author of this page
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 21:13:31

    I just want to thank all the commenters for your reactions and helpful insights. You are absolutely right in your perception that there’s a major estrangement between Finley and her mother, but I realize that we need to see some more emotion on the page from her to make it more clear. All the other comments were also interesting and thought-provoking. I’m definitely taking them seriously, and I’m very thankful for this community and your willingness to take time out to read this page and post your thoughts. And now I guess it’s back to work!

    ReplyReply

  34. Karen
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 08:21:36

    A Governors daughter, raised in politics and still does not understand the importance of supporters or their checkbooks? I’m sorry but with all the preparations that are being made for the upcoming elections, I found that bit really hard to swallow.

    Also, I’m assuming Nolan is our hero? Just another story of a big city girl coming home to reunite with an old lover, and giving up her career to raise 2.5 children.

    ReplyReply

  35. the author of this page
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 19:30:35

    Karen, you’ll be happy to know that the ending is nothing like the one you’ve described and so obviously are tired of reading. And as the daughter of a politician, I can tell you it’s very possible to understand the life and still feel resentment at times over some of the sacrifices that are required of the families. Thank you for taking time to read the page and comment.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: