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First Page: Unnamed Contemporary

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Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava’s temper was as volatile as the approaching storm. After a disastrous date all she wanted was a friend, a margarita and her p.j.’s.
Looking across the hood of her late model Ford Escort, Ava could still see the image of her grandparents sitting on the front porch and welcoming her into their home and hearts with openness and love. The death of her beloved grandmother had caused the end of her freshmen year of college to be stressed and emotional. The fact that she had inherited their run down tan house with the newly painted red door had been an unexpected surprise.

When she and Roxi (her best friend since grade school) had agreed to live in the house and commute to school it sounded perfect to their parents. They split the utilities and since there was no rent they both worked part time jobs so that they wouldn’t have to ask their parents for money. Life was almost perfect, except for the whole no boyfriend thing. That’s how she’d ended up with the idiot that had taken her out tonight.

Stepping into the foyer of her home always made Ava feel so much better, the muted hues of yellow on the walls seemed welcoming and comfortable and the anxiety of her date dissipated.

Stopping only long enough to drop her keys on the credenza and kick off her shoes, Ava called out, "Roxi where are you? You will never believe this loser that I went out with tonight."

This was the luxury of sharing a house with your best friend you could enter the house venting and she would have the margaritas blending by the time you changed your clothes. As Ava strode through the hallway toward her bedroom, she began to unzip the form fitting dress that she had decided to wear tonight.

Shedding the dress that she had hoped would get her a second date and slipping on a fluffy terrycloth robe and feeling the delicate fibers brush against her heated flesh immediately relaxed her.

***

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33 Comments

  1. Ann Somerville
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 04:51:16

    Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava's temper was as volatile as the approaching storm.

    Ava’s temper was pulling into the driveway? :)

    You’d be better off starting with the second sentence anyway.

    This is not grabbing, I’m afraid. It’s almost entirely an info dump with quite unnecessary detail like “Looking across the hood of her late model Ford Escort”, and repetitions of Ava’s name.

    I’d start this page with this para:

    Stopping only long enough to drop her keys on the credenza and kick off her shoes, Ava called out, “Roxi where are you? You will never believe this loser that I went out with tonight.”

    Drop things like the ‘form-fitting dress’ and the magical terry cloth fibres, and get straight onto some dialogue. A leetle info dumping is okay. A whole page is a turn off. Remember whose POV you are in, and don’t tell us more than Ava would tell herself – so the information about her living arrangements and Roxi will have to come gradually and more naturally.

    You have a good vocab, but your prose needs to be livened up and made pacier. There’s no excuse for this:

    Shedding the dress that she had hoped would get her a second date and slipping on a fluffy terrycloth robe and feeling the delicate fibers brush against her heated flesh immediately relaxed her.

    To be one whole sentence, or lacking in any commas. Let your readers have a break just as you would, if you were reading this aloud.

    I can’t really tell where you’re going with this, and there’s no plot hints to hook the reader. However, if you make the narrative voice more lively and direct, then you’ll entic the reader onto those crucial next pages. Good luck!

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  2. Lynne Connolly
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 05:04:16

    The first sentence is an infodump, and obviously so. Do you pull up to your house and think “this is a ranch-style house?”
    Then you start the second para with another “ing” word. “Ing” words are a bit weak anyway, so you might want to rephrase. Of the 6 paragraphs, 4 of them start with “ing” words.
    The whole thing is one big infodump, and doesn’t make me want to read on. The style is nice, but you need something to happen, or at least move the story on a bit faster. In a first chapter, always ask yourself, “Why should I care?” A horrid question to ask, but better you do it than someone else later.
    So if you take all the info out, and smooth the joins a tad you get this:

    “Ava's temper was as volatile as the approaching storm as she pulled in to her driveway. After a disastrous date all she wanted was a friend, a margarita and her p.j.'s.

    She felt better once she’d stepped into the foyer of her home. The muted hues of yellow on the walls welcomed her and the anxiety of her date dissipated. (I’d rephrase this whole part and make it one sentence).

    She dropped her keys on the credenza and kicked off her shoes, calling out, “Roxi where are you? You will never believe the loser I went out with tonight.”

    That was the luxury of sharing a house with your best friend; you could enter the house venting and she would have the margaritas blending by the time you changed your clothes. Ava strode through the hallway toward her bedroom. already unzipping the form-fitting dress that she had hoped would get her a second date. She slipped on a fluffy terrycloth robe. The delicate fibers brushed against her heated flesh and immediately relaxed her.”

    I inserted as little as possible, just used what was there, so some of the sentences are awkward and need revising. You still have problems of telling-not-showing (too many “was” words, look at that last sentence).

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  3. Mistress
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 05:39:20

    Sorry to say, as first pages go this really didn’t grab me. It felt like too much back story was forced into the first few paragraphs before I’d been teased into the tale. But then I’m one of those readers, that likes small bits of character description and background threaded organically, so maybe it’s just me.

    This was the luxury of sharing a house with your best friend you could enter the house venting and she would have the margaritas blending by the time you changed your clothes.

    This line was the standout for me. Maybe starting with this, then having Ava go into her rant, would work better as a lead in.

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  4. pm
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 05:42:24

    80% of the first three paragraphs is backstory. The rest of the page is someone driving, walking into a house and getting ready for a bath. You’ve lost my interest.

    An opener needs to deliver conflict and character. Protagonist does something unique and fascinating (or at least in a unique and fascinating way), onscreen, for some kind of stakes, in an active ongoing scene. No backstory dumps – the reader has no reason to climb over a wall of information unless they’re (1) emotionally invested in the protagonist or (2) captivated by the opening premise (if high concept).

    You might want to polish up your grammar. It’s pretty shaky in places – wrong punctuation, subjects of sentences totally buried at the end, dialogue punctuation broken, lack of contractions in dialogue leading to a stilted feel, etc.

    At the moment, I’m not turning the page to read on.

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  5. Moth
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 05:56:52

    Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava's temper was as volatile as the approaching storm. After a disastrous date all she wanted was a friend, a margarita and her p.j.'s.

    I might cut the first sentence and lead with the friend, magarita and PJs sentence instead.

    As the others pointed out, the second and third paragraphs are all unnecessary infodump. Perhaps there’s somewhere else, later in the story where you can work this in more organically?

    Roxi (her best friend since grade school)

    It’s interesting because I’ve been doing a lot of critting for other people lately and in women’s fic as soon as the BFF shows up we always have to find out right away how long they’ve been best friends. And it’s usually their best friend since grade school, high school at the latest. At this point, we don’t need this information.

    “Roxi where are you?

    You need a comma after Roxi: “Roxi, where are you?”

    So far my interest is not really piqued. I might give you a page or two more but if the backstory dumps didn’t stop and the writing didn’t get more exciting I wouldn’t read on.

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  6. Anion
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 06:38:14

    How did Ava’s temper manage to pull into the driveway? How is it that Ava inherited the house when her grandmother died, but she’s picturing both her grandparents–what happened to her grandfather? Did she kill him off to get the house?

    As others have said, this is dull and cliche. Why the heck do I want to sit through explanations of how MC and Roxi split the bills? What do I care that the red door is newly painted? For that matter, why do you need to tell me in the first sentence that the house is inherited? I don’t care.

    Here’s the problem. You have an MC coming home from a stressful event. She is about to put on her robe and sit down to do nothing. That’s not exciting reading. Show us the characters DOING things. What if her horrible date made her late to meet Roxi at a bachelorette party? Or a soup kitchen? Neither of those are great but at least they don’t alert the readers that the characters are just going to sit around and do nothing for a while.

    In addition there are numerous problems with the actual writing. Spelling errors, punctuation errors, sentence structure errors (like Ava’s temper driving the car)…

    In addition, the “form-fitting dress she hoped would get her a second date” makes Ava seem really shallow and unlikeable. Maybe I’m old-fashioned or weird, but when I went on dates I dressed up to look pretty/sexy/etc., yes, but I hoped we would click and that would get me a second date. Not just that he’d decide I looked so good he had to ask me out again. I could be reading too much into this, but speculating on people’s motives is really the only way to make this piece interesting.

    You might have a great story, but the opening feels like same-old-same-old. Find the action in your book, and start it there!

    I wish you the best of luck; as always my comments are not meant to be hurtful but to show you what people are actually thinking when they read your work and help you find the places it needs work.

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  7. joanne
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 07:08:06

    Thank you for putting your first page entry up for critique.

    I have to agree with others that there is too much info-dumping and descriptions of things that don’t matter. As an example: if your mc is wearing an uncomfortable robe it would be something different to a reader, but since she’s not, the ‘fluffy’ is unnecessary.

    It also had me wondering if you had read this story. I know that sounds odd but I often wonder if new authors read their own material. Is it that they so clearly see the story in their own heads that the words and paragraphs just look ‘right’ when in reality, they aren’t?

    If your goal is to entice a reader to fall in love with your work then it’s necessary for you as a writer not to fall in love with every word that you put on paper. Be selective, be critical and be sure your story is visible among all the words.

    If this isn’t as clear as it could be it’s because I’m not a writer. That’s my story *g*

    Much good luck & thank you.

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  8. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 07:54:55

    The way the scene ended with nothing much having happened except for Ava slipping out of her clothes and calling to her housemate (who doesn’t answer) made me think that perhaps this was really a reconstruction of Ava’s final moments (hence the details about the “inherited ranch style house,” “late model Ford Escort,” “newly painted red door” etc.). I began to think that instants after she put on the fluffy robe, a serial killer leaped out of her wardrobe and murdered her.

    I know it may not seem like I’m being very helpful by posting that, but I’m not doing so to be snarky. Rather, I think it perhaps demonstrates a possible consequence of including lots of backstory and not a lot of action: it can make a reader start to invent action and reasons for the mass of details she’s being given. So perhaps, as an author, you need to be more active in directing the reader towards what’s really important in this story. Unless this is a murder mystery, and Ava’s the murder victim, in which case this excerpt worked well for me.

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  9. Jane O
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 07:59:17

    I agree with what’s already been said.
    Writing advice from Mark Twain: “As for the adjective, strike it out.”

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  10. shenan
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 08:47:43

    Count me in on the info dump vote. So far you’ve dressed the stage instead of introducing us to the story and character. At this point, I have no idea what the story is. And I know almost nothing about Ava herself.

    I’m not a fan of starting off a story well into the action and leaving the reader to figure things out for themselves. (I just dumped a book after 20 pages when I still had absolutely no idea what was going on or who the characters were.) I prefer to have characters and their story set up first. Or at least set up in conjunction with the opening action. (See The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne for an example of how to do that and do it well.) But an author has to actually set up the story and characters, not their car, their house, their best friend, their robe, or any other trivial detail of their lives. In fact, I don’t care what car a character drives, what color their front door is, or how fluffy their robe is.

    —–Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava’s temper was as volatile as the approaching storm.

    This story beginning reads more like an author’s notes on setting and character. Something she would use as a framework for her story and characterization. That first line is a nice start (but for the bit about the storm), but it doesn’t go anywhere. We don’t see Ava’s temper at work. Does the car screech to a stop? Does she slam the gear into park? Slam the car door? Kick the cat on her way to her front door? Does she work out a curse she’ll pay a Gypsy to put on her disappointing date? Does she vow to go out and buy a dog instead of trying again to find a guy?

    And really, if I just got home mad from a bad date, I’m not going to stand in my driveway and muse on my grandparents, their deaths, the color of the house and its condition, or the color of the front door. And after I slam my way inside the house, I’m not going to muse on the soothing color of the walls. (If I AM soothed by the color of the walls, I must not have been all that mad. Now, maybe once I’ve had a few margaritas I’ll wax poetical on the walls — and the idiocy of the male half of the population — but not before.) Nor will I muse on my best friend. Instead I’ll track her right down so I can rant and rail and drown my sorrows in the Margarita I make myself.

    As for the descriptions, less is often more. I’m not a big fan of adjectives, but if they have to be there, I prefer one to a noun. Otherwise I start counting adjectives instead of paying attention to the story.

    Also, the punctuation, grammar, and sentence flow needs work.

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  11. Grasping for the Wind
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 08:52:32

    A Book Reviewers Linkup Meme…

    My list of fantasy and sf book reviewers is woefully out of date. I need your help to fix that. But rather than go through the hassle of having you send me recommendations or sticking them in comments, what you can do is take the following list and sti…

  12. shenan
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 08:55:14

    Laura Vivanco wrote:

    —-The way the scene ended with nothing much having happened except for Ava slipping out of her clothes and calling to her housemate (who doesn't answer) made me think that perhaps this was really a reconstruction of Ava's final moments

    I thought she was going to walk in to the house and stumble on Roxi’s bloody corpse. I don’t know why, since this is a Contemporary and not a Romantic Suspense. Maybe it’s like you said, and the opening reads like a trick to lull the reader into a false sense of security. All is normal and boring and then blam!

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  13. Leah
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 09:27:32

    I also was wondering whether or not something bad had happened to Roxi.

    I agree with what the others have said about the info-dumping. Some of it, like the make and model car, may never be necessary to tell the reader about (unless it’s a key to understanding your character, like a junky chevette, or a red lamborghini). It’s easy to slip in info about Roxi in one sentence, perhaps while she’s pouring the margaritas. The stuff about the house, and how Ava feels about her grandparents can come in a few pages, such as when she’s lying in bed, feeling a little maudlin about her life. And if you want to talk about the paint in the foyer, you might want to do so in way that just exacerbates Ava’s crummy mood, as in “the soft yellow foyer, usually so cheery, did nothing to calm her tonight” (not that great, but you get the idea).

    The other thing that got me was that you kept trying to make Ava feel better. I’m not sure that’s what you want to do. I’m assuming that she’s not just bummed by one bad date, but by yet another bad date in a long series of dates apparently sent to her directly from Hell. She’s angry, discouraged, and even a little scared that, for some unfathomable reason, she will never get her own HEA. If you set up her emotional situation in the first pages, rather than her physical one, I think you’ll hook your readers.

    Just thinking…instead of having her describe her last date to Roxi, you could do a small flashback as she’s pulling in the drive, or getting undressed. Nothing too detailed, just the most outrageous part.

    Good luck, and keep writing!

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  14. vanessa jaye
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 09:43:44

    Have to agree with everyone else. The first part is info dump, some of it not needed at all, some of it can be incorporated in the story later at more organic moments.

    As others said, a better start to the story would be:

    Stopping only long enough to drop her keys on the credenza and kick off her shoes, Ava called out, “Roxi where are you? You will never believe this loser that I went out with tonight.”

    From there you could have Roxie come to greet her and a conversation starts up between them right there that should establish/hint at the possible Goal/Motivation/(and story) Conflict of the main character.

    Your voice is good, the writing just needs a bit more tweaking.

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  15. vanessa jaye
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 09:45:53

    Hi Jane, looks like my comment got caught in moderation. :-/

    ReplyReply

  16. Gennita Low
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 09:53:57

    Like the others said, there are too many modifying phrases in many of your sentences. A modifier is a word or a phrase that gives information of “where,” “when,” and “how” something is done. A misused modifier becomes a dangling modifier.

    Your first sentence is one:

    Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava's temper was as volatile as the approaching storm.

    I do a lot of modifying phrases too and to avoid overuse, I always read each scene aloud to see how it sounds. A modifying phrase puts distance in an action scene and also makes the reader analyze too much. This is especially comical in a sex scene where limbs are getting tangled. I think I once did a “Kissing her lips hard, his body was on fire” which gave me a not-very-sexy visual when I reread the chapter.

    I would just drop all the info-dumping and start the narrative with Ava’s first words:

    “Roxi! Where are you? You’ll never believe this loser that I went out with tonight.”

    Ava grumpily threw her silk purse onto the counter. The luxury of sharing house with your best friend meant you could come home venting, and she would have the margaritas blending by the time you changed your clothes.

    Of course, then you have to decide whether to change the “you” pronoun to “one.” ;-)

    It isn’t easy putting up one’s work up for critique. Thank you for sharing yours. Good luck!

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  17. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 10:05:05

    The thing that I’m noticing is all the descriptives…

    inherited ranch style house
    late model Ford Escort
    fluffy terrycloth robe
    delicate fibers brush
    heated flesh

    Description is good… but this seems like over-description.

    The writing style itself works okay, but there’s just nothing that would keep me reading.

    Good luck~

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  18. DS
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 10:07:04

    Nitpick– ranch style homes rarely have porches. They usually have a few steps up to a small concrete slab or the entrance is level with the ground, again with a small concrete pad. This was an era when the family was turning inward away from the street and the entertaining area was in the back yard.

    If the author wants to show comfort and warmth better to go with some other architectural style or just call it an aging bungolow and let the reader mentally fill in the details.

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  19. JulieLeto
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 11:09:51

    I think this is simply a case of a writer starting in the wrong place. Yes, I agree that the writing needs a lot of work, but I’ve seen clunky writing praised to the rafters here at DA because the story/characters intrigued, which isn’t happening here.

    Remember, editors and agents don’t have time to wait for something to grab them. This, as is, doesn’t grab. Try starting right at the moment where this woman’s life changes…and then, if you need to set the scene, add backstory, etc, you can do that afterward.

    Start with the big change and see how it works.

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  20. Jia
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 11:56:18

    @vanessa jaye: No worries, fished it out!

    ReplyReply

  21. Jill Sorenson
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 12:20:34

    I don’t think the problem is info-dumping. A little background info is fine, and not every romance starts with action, dialogue, or murder!

    The way the information is presented, with clunky sentence structure and jarring details, slows down the reader. The newly painted door, for example, is like a stop sign. If this detail is important, have the heroine notice it in a more natural way, as she’s walking through.

    The soft fabric on heated skin also seems misplaced. I don’t want a fluffy robe when I’m hot/angry.

    Good luck to you and kudos for submitting.

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  22. jmc
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 12:31:12

    Agree about all the info dumping.

    Nitpick: “freshmen” year of college? Plural? Or should it be freshman, singular? Unless she had more than one?

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  23. LindaR
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 13:24:21

    Thanks for being brave and putting up your first page.

    I agree with the comments on the info dump, but I’d also add something about character. So far, I don’t like Ava very much. And actually, I think it’s because of the info dump.

    I think she’s too identified with “stuff” — her house, her car, her roommate, her margaritas, her robe, her dress, her date.

    From this point of view, she’s kind of boring. Maybe you could get to the reasons we’re interested in her and fill in the details later?

    I don’t mean this to be harsh — I think the hardest thing is to get the info out without the info dump. I mean, we’re not writing haiku here, right?

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  24. JulieLeto
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 14:45:17

    I think sometimes, people confuse action with explosions. One of the quietest books I’ve read this year is an upcoming women’s fiction book where on the first page, we learn that the heroine is moving away from everything she’s ever loved. The first sentence is, “The day I decided to change my life, I was wearing sweatpants and an old oxford of Peter’s with a coffee stain down the front. I hadn’t showered because the whole family had slept in one motel room the night before, and it was all we could do to get back on the road without someone dropping the remote on the toilet or pooping on the floor.” Then the author backs up a bit and sets the scene a bit…but I think what LindaR says above about character is key. Personally, I can identify with a woman wearing sweats, a stained shirt and worrying about what destruction her kids will wreak if she takes five minutes to shower. (That’s from Katherine Center’s EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL.)

    In Karen Hawkin’s recent contemp, her first sentence is, “On Monday, Roxanne Lynn Treymayne Parker bleached her hair blonde, had her navel pierced, and got a tattoo on her right ass cheek. And that was before noon.”

    That opening sentence makes the reader want to know what has happened to this woman to make her go to such extremes. Or, it did for me.

    I think Linda’s on to something.

    I suggest the author of this piece read the openings of her favorite contemporary books and see what hooked her in. That might give her an idea how best to shape her story, I think, so that Ava connects with the reader…we don’t have to like her, but we do have to be interested in what happens to her.

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  25. K. Z. Snow
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 14:50:58

    The writing isn’t egregious (I’ve seen a lot worse in books that have been published!) But it does need more critical examination on your, the author’s, part.

    For example, mixing up sentence structure is a good thing, except when the departure from subject-verb-object becomes repetitive.

    * Pulling into the driveway . . .
    * Looking across the hood . . .
    * Stepping into the foyer . . . (Although this sentence begins with a gerund and not a dependent clause, it nevertheless opens with an -ing verb. The last example is the same.)
    * Stopping only long enough . . .
    * Shedding the dress . . .

    Repetition — unless intentional, to achieve a certain impact — can grate on a reader’s nerves. Too many of these paragraphs open in the same way. And, as another poster noted, be careful about the subject being modified by a descriptive clause; it was Ava, not her temper, that was pulling into the driveway.

    Aside from that, I concur with nearly everything said by everybody else. The page isn’t horribly written; it just doesn’t pack any kind of dramatic wallop. Unless you can hook an editor’s or reader’s interest from the jump, s/he won’t bother reading on.

    Best of luck!

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  26. Ciar Cullen
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 15:57:31

    Dear Author,
    One thing that helped me with a WIP I posted here (and I’ll add subsequently got an editor’s interest)… Folks were telling me about the infodump, etc., nothing happening. I cut to the second chapter and started there, where the action was. Then I was able to pepper in this kind of backstory and description when appropriate. I found that a lot of it could just go away. I think maybe Julie said this already, but try starting in a different place. Don’t give up! Get rid of those -ing words and keep at it. You have a nice style and with some work, you can get this polished! I’d love to see this again.

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  27. Anion
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 17:20:51

    Like the others said, there are too many modifying phrases in many of your sentences. A modifier is a word or a phrase that gives information of “where,” “when,” and “how” something is done. A misused modifier becomes a dangling modifier.

    Your first sentence is one:

    Pulling into the driveway of her inherited ranch style house, Ava's temper was as volatile as the approaching storm.

    I do a lot of modifying phrases too and to avoid overuse, I always read each scene aloud to see how it sounds. A modifying phrase puts distance in an action scene and also makes the reader analyze too much. This is especially comical in a sex scene where limbs are getting tangled. I think I once did a “Kissing her lips hard, his body was on fire” which gave me a not-very-sexy visual when I reread the chapter.

    To be more specific, the problem here is the participial phrases, which are a type of modifying phrase.

    “Pulling into the driveway…” is a participial phrase; it begins with a participle. In your example, “Kissing her lips hard” is a participial phrase.

    The problem isn’t so much with the phrases themselves, as with their position in the sentence and the fact that the subject and participle/verb/participial phrase/modifying phrase do not agree. (And yes, that they’re overused in this piece.)

    Participial phrases in the beginning of a sentence must refer to their subject. This is why the first sentence sounds like Ava’s temper is driving the car; the writer has, by placing “Ava’s temper” immediately after the participial phrase, made her temper the subject of the sentence. This is grammatically incorrect and turns the sentence into nonsense (Strunk & White call such sentences “ludicrous”.)

    Personally I dislike the use of participial phrases to begin sentences; I think they sound amateurish and clunky–especially since, again as in this piece, they are overused (as you pointed out); for some reason it seems as if beginning writers are totally enamored of participial phrases.

    Sometimes they can’t be avoided, but when they can be, they should be. They have a singsongy rhythm that creeps right up my spine. They tell action without showing it; they are often responsible for sentences which make not only no logical sense (subject-modifier disagreement) but no physical sense, i.e “Opening the door, she crossed the room,”; you can’t do both at once, but the participial structure makes it sound as though the character is in fact doing so. They’re a way of racing through the action, it seems, or at least I see them used that way a lot.

    All I know is, I hardly ever see them in published work of high quality, but I see them all the time on free sites and in the work of unpublished writers. So you make your own judgment there. :)

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  28. Masha
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 19:35:25

    Other people have talked about grammar and info-dumping issues, so I’m going to ignore those.

    How old is your MC? Is she still in college? Because I have never met a college student who wears a “form fitting” dress on a first date. A sundress, maybe. Jean skirt and cute top, maybe. But usually girls that age are wearing pants and a cute top. I know it’s minor, but it’s details like these that keep me from reading contemporaries as often as I’d like.

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  29. Lynn Raye Harris
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 21:56:18

    Dear Writer, if you’ve made it this far, don’t give up. We all started like this at one time or another, I do believe (I sure did). You’ve gotten some good advice here, so I won’t repeat it.

    I certainly committed all the mistakes in the book when I first started, including having my heroine driving and thinking about her life — a contest judge once told me that if my heroine was driving in the first scene, she was probably driving to the beginning of the story (same thing with your heroine pulling up to the house). Once I reread it, I realized she was right.

    OTOH, when I mentioned this to my editor recently, she had no idea what I was talking about. :) My advice in a nutshell: get your character in trouble immediately, and then start trying to dig her out. You can do it. :) Keep writing, keep learning, keep growing. Good luck, and don’t give up. :)

    ReplyReply

  30. Embarassed Author
    Jan 04, 2009 @ 16:33:42

    Thank you everyone for commenting.

    I’ve reworked my first page since submitting and have taken out most of the offending “info dump”. I don’t know what the rules are about posting the fixed product but if anyone would like to see it let me know at [email protected].

    BTW Ava does not find Roxi’s bloody corpse, but her older brother stretched out on the couch. Jace is 6′ 3″ of prime quarterback perfection and during the prologue (which is where the first page orginates) is escaping the pressure of being slated as the number one draft pick only two weeks before the NFL draft.

    This is my first book ever written and can see that I have a long way to go. LOL

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  31. Ann Somerville
    Jan 04, 2009 @ 16:58:36

    @Embarassed Author:

    This is my first book ever written and can see that I have a long way to go.

    First book, twentieth book, it’s true for all of us. At least you know there’s work to be done, and are prepared to do it. Good luck!

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  32. Julia Sullivan
    Jan 04, 2009 @ 22:14:41

    Don’t be embarrassed, E. Author! You’ve got a cute, fun idea (fancy-free young women sharing the house one of them inherited) and you’ll find the right words to express it. First pages are hard, yo.

    ReplyReply

  33. Brenna Christoffer
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 10:56:16

    I was more than happy to find this internet-site.I needed to thanks to your time for this wonderful read!! I undoubtedly enjoying each little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.

    ReplyReply

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