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First Page: m/m historical romance:

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Jonah was late.

Three minutes late, by the somber reckoning of the Trinity Church clock. Two, by his reliable old Waltham, which had kept him apace for twelve years while the rest of New York hurried to keep up. It was only on this morning, twisted into disorder by weeks of expectation and anxiety, that he had failed the Waltham and himself.

Braced for the wind, he jumped from the streetcar the instant it stopped, and navigated a path through the muddy slush to the sidewalk. There he stepped into the crowd and, with a tip of his bowler as he passed the churchyard, proceeded down Wall Street fueled by stomach-churning anticipation-’twelve years’ worth.

He had been barely nineteen when Bennet Grandborough had first entrusted him with drafts for collection. It seemed a lifetime ago. From runner to clerk to teller, he had lived up to Mr. Grandborough’s faith in him. Even so, a promotion to ranking bank official had seemed as unattainable as the stars. Though he had performed many of the duties of said position during the years of Mr. Crowe’s increasing fragility-’and taken on all the rest upon Mr. Crowe’s passing-’the formal announcement was yet to be made.

Grandborough naturally wanted a respectful interval in which to honor Crowe’s twenty-seven years of service. But in the four weeks since, the impending announcement had hung as weighty and ripe as an apple in autumn, tormenting Jonah increasingly as each day passed without that bounty dropping into his lap. Then, with Christmas past, the directors met-’which pointed to one thing. Today, with the first business of the new year, was the day.

And he was late. Not an auspicious start, but it couldn’t be helped. He’d awakened earlier than usual, but the well-wishes of his fellow boarders at Mrs. Muncy’s had slowed his progress out of the house. He had missed both the usual omnibus to Broadway and the usual streetcar down. Rather than wait, he’d braved the muck and congestion of that thoroughfare until a car could spare him standing room the rest of the way.

Making up for lost time on foot along Wall Street was not to be thought of. The tide of humanity had grown from the customary seven o’clock tempest to a depth and breadth sufficient to drown a fellow. By the time he rounded William Street and covered the short distance to the bank, no amount of reproach in the Waltham’s minute hand could tip the scales against his own. Still, it would not do for Grandborough Bank’s new cashier to be seen dashing madly into lobby. He took the fourteen steps with barely contained haste and arrived at the landing just as the porter opened the door.

"Good morning, sir."

Jonah nodded. "Good morning, Mr. Satterfield."

The clerks and tellers huddled at the far curve of the long counter. Jonah suspected they had stationed themselves there ever since Mr. Grandborough had gathered his vice president and one of the more vocal directors into Crowe’s office, to meet with someone Jonah couldn’t recognize through the glass partition.

Mr. Satterfield coughed gently. "Out late, celebrating, sir?"

"No-’" Jonah tried to pull his thoughts together. The tableau in the office bewildered him. "I was waylaid this morning and had no means to reach Broadway except by my own locomotion-’" He hesitated, aware that Mr. Satterfield, troubled by a war wound which had left him with a limp, might not sympathize with such a complaint.

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

43 Comments

  1. Katie
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 04:12:46

    This author can write, no doubt about that, but some of it was a bit heavy. It could be thinned down a bit so it flowed more and we get to know the hero a bit more.

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  2. joanne
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 04:39:02

    All the references to the name of his watch are distracting but I think it’s nicely written with a good pace and I would definitely want to read more.

    I loved the reference to the bowler hat so that I didn’t have to guess the time period.

    Thank you and much good luck with your writing!

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  3. Sparky
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 05:45:43

    Agreed with Katie – there’s talent there and an interesting start that would keep me reading but it’s also a bit overdone. Too much unnecessary description that doesn’t add too much (the odd reference to establish setting, sure. But it’s laid on a little thick) and a good deal of tell not show.

    A good start and good promise, I think. But could use a little paring down

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  4. Melissa
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 06:16:39

    I greatly enjoyed the author’s voice & style –I didn’t notice in the header was a historical, but picked right up on it in a natural way while reading.

    For a first page though, the author should avoid the type of info dump that begins with “he had been barely nineteen…”

    Instead, show us a little more about the character. It’s clear he’s late and that’s unusual for him. How does he feel about being late? Is he anxious about it and the impression it will give? Angry? Out of breath for rushing? The author can help us feel the haste and emotion by using sentences with less description and shorter, punchier sentences. For example, would he really notice details if you were rushing? In a hurry, would he think to tip his hat to anyone/thing except as a long-term habit? Or strict sense of courtesy?

    Build a little tension for the reader from the get-go and you will have us hooked. Right now, I’m still sitting back and watching this from a distance.

    Best wishes!

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  5. Fae Sutherland
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 06:50:22

    I like this very much, the author clearly knows what they’re doing. However, I agree with the other commenters that it’s a bit heavy. Historicals tend to be heavy because the setting and world is such a big part of the story, so I expect a bit of weight to descriptions and such at the beginning. I didn’t think this was bogged down enough to be bothersome.

    I don’t read many historicals for exactly that reason, the world takes on a great deal of importance and I’m much more interested in the characters and their stories. So, I’d keep reading, but if it didn’t get me engaged in the main character within the next page or two, I’d stop. So far I don’t have a reason to care about him at all, and that’s a must for me, right off.

    But I like the writing enough to give it another page or two. Good job, author, and good luck!

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  6. DS
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 07:00:25

    I had to look up “drafts on collection” to find out what he entrusted with, but I liked the writing. It has a solidly late Victorian/early 20th century feel. I would buy this one.

    Also the cityscape had a very authentic feel.

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  7. Anonymous
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 07:09:09

    I love historical fiction. I enjoyed this very much. The author’s voice contains the opulence and depth convincing to the Late Victorian/Early Edwardian period. Experiencing the prose is like eating a gourmet chocolate bar.

    From a technical standpoint, there’s a bit too much passive voice slowing down the prose. I think too much backstory is being presented too early, and it’s being told instead of shown.

    The opening line, “Jonah was late.” isn’t a great “hook.” One of the reasons I really like the prose is it reads convincingly like popular fiction of the actual period (think authors like Henry James.) Modern audience is more demanding and less patient, characters and events must be introduced as early as possible to capture reader interest.

    “Jonah was late.” doesn’t communicate anything to readers except: 1) the character’s name, and 2) the character’s tardiness. It doesn’t convey character emotion (urgency, concern, embarassment) or really “draw the reader in.” If the opening line read in Jonah’s internal monologue (“Two minutes late. Damn.” or something like that) the reader would “learn” things about Jonah (that he’s conscientious about punctuality, and that he’s on his way to an important appointment.”)

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  8. Stephanie
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 07:10:30

    Good period “voice” and a sense of place, both of which are definitely assets in the historical romance genre. A bit heavy on the info-dump in the early paragraphs but it could be worse. I’d probably read on for at least a few more pages to see if the story engaged me further.

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  9. ellen
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 08:06:52

    I like how the author reveled the time period and that the story is set in New York is refreshing. I feel that we are not shown enough of the hero and are instead bogged down with some unnecessary details that slow the flow of the story. The author obviously is talented and I look forward to reading more!

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  10. AnotherLori
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 08:30:40

    I don’t read m/m but I’d keep reading this. Well written and love the history of it.

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  11. Jess Granger
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 08:36:03

    Well, I’ll disagree with the others. This is the type of voice I look for in a historical author. I’m a little jealous to be honest.

    I enjoyed the deep texture of the descriptions. I particularly liked the references to the watch, and the apple was awesome. I felt like the character of this narrative suited the time of the setting.

    I also liked the character himself. I can see him as an uptight banker, everything perfectly in order, all the time. I also liked the very last paragraph.

    I don’t like m/m as a general rule, but I’d probably read this for the historical voice alone.

    That said, it isn’t easy to read because it is so rich and heavy, like a thick bread pudding instead of a cupcake. I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. Sometimes I crave thick bread pudding.

    I love it. I was completely hooked. Also, given the m/m designation at the beginning, I can already see the conflict of a man who will have to hide his desires to have what he’s worked so long and hard for, and that already has me feeling anxious for him.

    Great work.

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  12. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 08:49:59

    I like it, especially the last paragraph. Great insight into the character. We’ve all been late and flustered and said the wrong thing, so he’s very easy to sympathize with.

    One thing I enjoy about these first pages is trying to figure out if an author has submitted before. A couple of times, I’ve thought I recognized the style.

    Good luck!

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  13. Anon76
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 09:59:44

    I love historicals and really loved the “voice” of this author. In honesty though, I might not have continued on for more than a few pages if something substantial didn’t occur soon to jump out and tweak my interest. Such rich detail can often bog the pacing down in my eyes.

    But, lo and behold, the hook for me is the genre itself. All the intricate details make perfect sense when considering this is a m/m title, and that this character is about to have his staid world rocked. Yes, I know that is a standard in romance fiction, but the m/m element made it all so much more intriguing. IMHO

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  14. Erastes
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 10:08:11

    Very nice – like the scene setting, like the description, just enough but not too much to bog the reader down – plenty of time to do more – it told just enough for us to immediately identify with the protag and what his world is like. Perhaps I don’t need to know how many steps there were – unless he’s OCD, he’d likely to be taking them 2 at a time anyway, and too much detail goes Dan Brown on us.

    Well done, look forward to reviewing this on Speak its Name when it gets published.

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  15. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 10:13:52

    This isn’t my period, but it reads “in period” to me. But there’s too much detail, and it’s “told.” What does a Waltham look like? I have no idea, and what I’m imagining could be totally wrong. Instead of trying to cram in all the detail possible, pick a few and get in deep, it gives a better impression of the period without overkill.
    Nice voice, no grammatical errors, but I’m not engaged.
    I think it’s because this isn’t where the story starts. Dump the swathes of information, from “He had been barely nineteen” to “was the day” can all go. You have to be a bit more clever with weaving in the details, and concentrating on the story.
    Start with the story, not the description. However well written, this is the “driving in a car” start to a book that so many editors dislike. The woman, driving in her car to the new house she’s just inherited, ruminating on how she got there. Don’t do it.
    I’d suggest cutting all this, maybe incorporating it later when you’ve given us something to dig into, something to care about. Start with the inciting incident, not how he got there.
    Also, the style is old fashioned, unlikely to appeal to a modern romance editor. No ‘deep third’ pov, no sense of how things felt and sounded to him, as if the narrator is describing it all from somewhere in the sky. While it’s a perfectly valid technique to use, it’s not a current one, and even in an historical, editors and agents will want some indication that you can engage a modern reader.

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  16. hapax
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 10:38:58

    Wow, real diversity of opinion on this one.

    I loved it, not only would read more of it, but am very sad that I can’t immediately dive into the rest of it. I agree that the densely detailed lush style here isn’t what is currently “fashionable” among current romances, but that’s exactly what I liked about it. I’m so tired of a Victorian romance having the exact same tone as a contemporary chicklit and a paranormal pseudo-medieval UF.

    I say, go for it and start a new fashion!

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  17. Laura Kinsale
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 11:52:07

    I haven’t read this, except the first couple of paragraphs and the comments, which are very insightful and thoughtful, nice job!

    I have a question, as a writer, about one of the comments. This isn’t a loaded question, or any sort of commentary on this excerpt itself, it’s input for me.

    DS said

    I had to look up “drafts on collection” to find out what he entrusted with,

    As a reader–and I think I mean a romance reader here, vs say an SF/fantasy reader where world-building is more common in the genre–when you come across a term you don’t understand, do you tend to feel uncomfortable until you look it up? Are you willing to trust the author to define it for you in context?

    I tend to do the latter as a writer, try to define the term in context without spelling it out in a dictionary sort of way. But having lost my ability to read as a non-writer many moons ago, I was intrigued by DS’s comment.

    Which would you prefer, for an unfamiliar technical term like “drafts on collection?”

    To try to figure out the meaning from the context? To stop and look it up? To avoid the term entirely? For the author to describe it in more detail, even if that is info-dump? To just go on, not being quite sure?

    I’m sure there are many different attitudes about this but I’d like to hear some of them.

    Thanks!

    LK

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  18. Jane
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 11:58:14

    @Laura Kinsale Do you mind if I put this up as its own post? We might get more responses.

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  19. Laura Kinsale
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 12:11:21

    Sure, if you like. :)

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  20. Jo Bourne
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 13:37:27

    @LK

    I figure there’s two kinds of exotic terms.

    There’s the quick ‘bill of lading’ or ‘champurrado‘ or ‘femme de chambre’ where only the shell of the word is needed.
    The word becomes the generic, ‘piece of paper’ or ‘tastes good and comes in a cup or bowl’ or ‘chambermaid’ and that meaning is clear in context.

    I don’t think the reader stops in her tracks to look up these toss-away words. (I hope not.) And it seems to me one can lay on a lot of this inexpensive toss-away stuff without annoying anybody.

    But there’s exotics where we need the whole meaning.

    If I use ‘night glasses’ in the entire sense of ‘period naval binoculars of the optical variety’ or I use ‘fichu‘ and the stage business calls for the entire ‘linen cloth, generally folded triangular, that wraps the shoulders and tucks down in the front of the bodice,’
    then I have to pay for those words by stuffing description into the action or dropping out of the dramatic line and explaining.

    There’s no reader confusion, I think. Probably no annoyance.
    But these are expensive words to use.

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  21. Erastes
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 13:45:00

    I don’t dumb down to readers. I do try and explain as subtly as I can within the context e.g.

    In Frost Fair:

    “You are a bloody cheeky cub, a veritable Corinthian,” Simeon laughed. “I have always said as much. You may not take after your father in a lot of ways but you have a brass neck. Fair enough. I’ll deal round with you, lad.”

    I don’t think the reader deserves to be spoken down to. Granted, they don’t want to be rushing off to look things up immediately either (although many many readers said that afterwards they have looked up my historical eras afterwards because the books made them interested) so the key to it is to try and make it as clear as you can within the the text itself, but don’t compromise and use an anachronism.

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  22. Laura Kinsale
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:05:01

    Heh, yeah but you guys are writers, I’m looking for what readers say about it. ;)

    Good points in any case! Thanks.

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  23. Jess Granger
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:08:30

    Huh, that’s funny. I’m coming from an SF/F exotic worldbuilding is fun background as well.

    I don’t know what a Waltham is, but I’m pretty sure it is some type of pocket watch, so I’ll wait until I get more details, I’m good enough with that.

    I didn’t know what those collection debts were, but grouped it into the banking jargon and so translated them into “important accounts” in my understanding and went on from there, trusting the author again to fill me in if more details are important.

    And that’s why I like this type of worldbuilding. The context was perfect to explain that a Waltham was some sort of time device, and he was working on the accounts as a banker.

    And I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it.

    I’m not stopping to look up anything. I just take it all in like the smell of an old pipe shop and don’t worry about what scent is what. Sure it can be overwhelming to the senses, but it is also strangely wonderful.

    And I also absolutely wouldn’t punch this up to make it more modern. This stands out and feels authentic. That is RARE, don’t touch that. Also, please, write more romance and get it published now please, because I would eat this stuff up.

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  24. Jo Bourne
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:18:01

    @ the author

    I like the rich, vivid writing. Utterly suited to the subject and period. Good control of your words. Cool.

    Can I tentatively suggest throttling back about 20% on the density of expression. On this first page we aren’t committed to your story yet. Invite us into your world with simper sentence structure.

    Second suggestion — a couple of folks above said this — would be to move the backstory off page one.

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  25. Readers Opinions Wanted: Unfamiliar Terms | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:19:21

    [...] romance_genreFiled under: Letters of Opinion In today’s First Page, Laura Kinsale brought up a question in the comments regarding unfamiliar terms in a story. I have a question, as a writer, about one of the comments. [...]

  26. DS
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:43:42

    @Laura Kinsale: I looked it up because I was reading in a place where I easily could. I knew from the context that it was some type of negotiable or secured paper so I could have read on without any loss of momentum.

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  27. Laura Kinsale
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 14:55:37

    Thanks DS, it’s helpful to know your context in this case! ;)

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  28. sarah mayberry
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 15:28:21

    Great stuff. Well done. Have a terrible feeling your hero is about to be very disappointed and have an itch at the back of my brain which means I want to find out more. So you’ve succeeded in hooking me and creating a world I want to explore more. Good luck with the rest of the book and with finding a publisher.

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  29. Alisa
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 15:37:42

    This is gorgeous.

    I’m not going to say one way or another on whether it’s too passive/dense. Or that it’s not a good introduction to Jonah. The style and language definitely draw me in, and Jonah’s there peeking through, if he’s meant to be a passive, very quiet and hiding proper mannerly behavior, then this is fantastic.

    The feel of the time and place is excellent, that it might take another page or two to draw a little more of Jonah out on the page isn’t necessarily a deterrent, not with the language/feel of time period and not if that suits Jonah’s character.

    Yeah, it’s not the immediate hook/shove the pairing in your face of standard contemporary, not the *BOOM* MINE! Sex Now & we’re never going three feet apart forever&ever of most paranormals. That this is slower and–”quieter” rather than the immediate attention grab might put off some, but I love it. It suits the period and it seems to suit what we see of Jonah so far, the trick is drawing Jonah far enough “out” and “living” in the next page or two. This is a first page that really needs 2-3 pages to get enough across to say.

    Honestly, I really wanna beg for the rest of this to read right now.

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  30. anonymous
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 16:43:21

    I’m in the minority here, apparently. I’m still waiting for the story to start. This seemed like an awfully wordy way to convey that he was late to his first day after his promotion.

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  31. mistry89
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 18:10:21

    @Laura Kinsale on “drafts on collection” – if I don’t know or can’t pick up from context (and sometimes when I can), I look up the unfamiliar word/term (if I am unable to do so at the time of reading, I make a mental note to follow it up and use my best guess as a sort of placeholder. If the word or phrase carries more import than a single use, the meaning generally becomes clearer later on in the story). One of the special delights of reading anything (including cereal packets) is the discovery of new-to-me words and phrases, because not only does the use of such words often help cement the place/time, they also help colour in the world and educate me at the same time. *g*

    On the except – I would like to read the rest of the story. :)
    Cheers!

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  32. fshk
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 20:52:57

    I don’t have a lot to add, although I’ll disagree and say that I like the details. You had me at m/m and historical New York, though; I would love to see the rest of this.

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  33. author
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 23:10:38

    I’d like to thank every one of you for reading my first page and generously offering your opinions. I always have trouble with the opening page.

    I submitted the page to Dear Author primarily because I was worrying that I had too much backstory in it. I thought readers would need to have an idea of Jonah’s history with the bank in order to appreciate what he was going through when the story opens. I’d really been going back and forth with myself over how much of it was necessary. It seems about half of you commented that it needed to be cut, and half of you thought it didn’t (or didn’t mention it). I’m not sure what to do with that (g), except to take a hard look at the page and try again to figure out what really needs to be there.

    I do understand that “Jonah was late” is not a good hook. I picked it as a first line because Jonah’s never been late in his life, but in the larger scheme of things, he has some catching up to do. Being late is the first loosening of his chokehold control over his carefully regulated life and I thought it was relevant to begin there. I was hoping the reader would take from it that being late was a strikingly unusual circumstance for this character (and some of you did), but I can see how it would not work as well as a hook, since you don’t know the character yet. So I’m a little conflicted there, too. Have a lot to learn.

    To Melissa- yes, tipping his hat is a long-term habit (he’s been going this route every work day for twelve years) and a courtesy that I hope come across as character details. Melissa, Jess, Jill, Anon76, Sarah, and Alisa let me know they saw the character as I saw him, and that was really reassuring. Thank you.

    In regard to 19th century terms, where I do use banking terms, if it is relevant to understanding the plot, I do try to make it very clear for the reader. Other terms I use just for the feeling of authenticity. “Drafts for collection” is one of those. I’m also aware of how old-fashioned my voice comes across and have been working on learning to create more intimacy.

    Thank you to all those who said they’d like to read it when it’s finished. That sort of thing is so encouraging, I can’t tell you.

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  34. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 01:28:37

    Start with “Jonah had never been late in his life.” That tells much. Hope this suggestion helps and good luck!

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  35. Theresa
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 02:25:54

    Just a reader comment on the first line. I liked it, it hooked me, and I thought it set up what was coming next very well. It’s short and immediate, which adds to the sense of urgency. Also, it raises the question right away: late for what?

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  36. JenD
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 03:03:50

    I really enjoyed the feel of this. Love the way you have with words and their flow.

    I agree that perhaps taking the description down from eleven and letting it ride at a nice seven or eight would really open up the writing and let the air catch it a bit.

    I’d love to get inside of his head and know how he’s feeling. Is he cold, does he sweat but try to hide it?

    Keep working at this- there is much to love here!

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  37. blabla
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 04:23:18

    All I can say is, just keep it simple! There was way too much info dumping and I had a hard time connecting with the main character! I’m not gonna buy a book that does this!

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  38. Jess Granger
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 09:10:25

    I liked the first line, because it was a nice contrast to the paragraph that followed it.

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  39. Julia Sullivan
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 09:11:46

    primarily because I was worrying that I had too much backstory in it

    It has too much backstory in it.

    It’s beautifully done backstory (mostly, see quibbles below). It’s incredibly evocative. Kudos to you.

    BUT it’s not right for a first page. Start later in the scene, with Jonah rushing into the office late for the first time. We don’t need the horsecars and the mud and the church clock right then. We don’t need the names of all of his superiors at the bank.

    Just a very conscientious man who is horrified to be late to this 19th-century New York bank.

    Okay, here are my quibbles:

    a) “I was waylaid” — Waylaid by what? You didn’t show him being waylaid in any way, you just showed him being late. Is he lying? Or did something happen that you’re not showing us but are going to reveal later? Because if it’s the latter, it feels a bit like authorial cheating, and if it’s the former, you need to give it more oomph because it reads as confusing rather than illustrative.

    b) I don’t like “which had kept him apace for twelve years while the rest of New York hurried to keep up” for a number of reasons, but the main one is that “apace” doesn’t mean “ahead of the group,” it means “abreast of the group.”

    c) “bowler hat” — That hat was generally called a “derby” in the US in the 19th century. The word “bowler” was, at that time, a British term.

    Here’s a larger question: you put a ton of information in that, but you never put the date. When is this? You can do more specific incluing: for instance, if Mr. Satterfield’s “war wound” is one he received during the Civil War, then you can describe it as “the bullet he took at Gettysburg” or whatever, which gives us a much more specific window.

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  40. Ciar Cullen
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 10:10:48

    Late to the party. “Ciar was late.” I loved this! Love the setting, already have sympathy for the fellow. Fresh, different. Can’t wait to read the whole thing. Passive schmassive. It’s great.

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  41. author
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 17:22:29

    You can be late anytime, Ciar. =) Thank you for your comments.

    Thanks also to Gennita for the suggestion. And @ Julia Sullivan – Thank you for all your specific comments and suggestions. I’d initially used “apace” with its main definition in mind, but you’re correct that in the context it isn’t the right word. “Bowler” I did change a few months ago, after I’d done more fashion research, but thanks for pointing it out. I like your suggestion about being more specific regarding the war wound. As for waylaid, I said a few paragraphs earlier that he was waylaid by his fellow boarders at home (maybe I wasn’t clear enough). No cheating meant–I don’t like authorial cheating, either, and I always do my best to avoid it.

    Thanks again, to all of you! You guys are great.
    And thanks, Dear Author, for providing an opportunity to get some feedback.

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  42. DS
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 18:03:05

    I’ve rarely liked a First Page submission as well as I like this one. I sincerely hope that you let the readers at Dear Author know when this is to be published. I for one would like a shot at reading the entire work.

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  43. Julia Sullivan
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:44:04

    As for waylaid, I said a few paragraphs earlier that he was waylaid by his fellow boarders at home (maybe I wasn't clear enough)

    Ah! I see it now–”the well-wishes of his fellow boarders” bit. “Waylaid” seems like not the exact right word for that, somehow, hence my not associating the two.

    These really are minor quibbles, though. You’ve gotten the hardest bit right: Jonah seems very real, and so does his world, and add me to the list of people who are looking forward to reading this book when it is published!

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