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First Page: Untitled

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The house looked like something from Superman’s birth cave, all ice and angles and unrelenting glare. Hester hated it with an unnatural passion. She stared up at the monstrosity that was now her closest neighbor and frowned deeply. Six months ago they had come in and torn down Mrs. Panetti’s perfectly good little red brick bungalow and planted this monster not ten feet from her house. It sat to the South of her and blocked all the sun with its angles and glass and modern metal crap. Her garden was ruined, her beloved vegetables would never grow in this shade. Her kitchen was dark, the hulking house blocked all the sun that used to stream in her windows. And she had spent the last six months fighting construction workers and their trucks blocking the shared driveway between the two houses.

She lived in downtown Chicago because she liked the combination of the old homes and the big leafy trees and still being walking distance to the little urban village at the end of her street. The houses, all built in the 1920s, were close to each other. They were a throwback to a time when families lived in each other’s back pockets- kids shared rooms with their siblings, women would exchange gossip while they hung their laundry out to dry. It used to be a working class neighbourhood, humble, well-built, meant to last. But recently too many people had started buying the beautiful old homes only to tear them down and build a McMansion instead. Her new neighbors, whoever they were, were a classic example of this new mentality- too much money and not enough sense.

The rain splattering around her didn’t help to her melancholy mood. She knew she looked odd standing at the front of the house, head craned upward, scowling. But she couldn’t help it, this was awful. And now it appeared it was about to get worse. The idiots that built this were moving in, the first truck had arrived this morning as she’d been leaving for work. They’d delivered a flat screen television that took four workers to carry in the house. The TV had been as big as her bed.

Hester didn’t own a television.

A hushed growl pulled up behind her and she spun to see what made the surprisingly seductive sound. A sleek, steel grey Mercedes had parked in front of the entrance to the driveway. The engine was cut and the driver’s side door flung open. Before Hester could formulate a reasonable opinion her brain fired off a series of unwanted impressions- long muscular legs, thick reddish brown hair, faded denim eyes and a big smile directed right at her.

Her new neighbor. The asshole.

***

The house was perfect. Big. Modern. Walking distance to the rink.

Mike had finally made the decision to move out of the condo right in the heart of the financial district. He’d bought the damn thing when he was 20 and just newly drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. Now 35 he was team captain and established enough that he should’ve bought something bigger years ago. He would have actually, but nothing had ever compelled him to move. Until a year ago when his nieces and nephews started asking why there wasn’t a bedroom at his place that they could sleep in.

How did you explain “bachelor pad extraordinaire” to a seven year old?

To say that his sister and her kids would be thrilled with this new place was an understatement; there’d be enough room for all of them to stay with him now. They’d probably visit more often. Good.

This was going to be his first night in the new place and he was hoping the bare amount of furniture that he’d had in the other place had arrived and been set up like the real estate said it would. And it even seemed as if the neighbours had come out to meet him. Well, one neighbor actually.

One scowly, hardcore granola-type neighbour. Who was looking at him like he was a disease on legs.

She was dressed in red rain boots that went up to her knees, jeans and a big grey turtleneck sweater that obscured any impression of what her shape might have been. Her almost black hair was long and wild and there was a small leaf tangled in it close to her ear. Her eyes were angry and colored to match; dark grey with flecks of green.

“Do you own this house?” She demanded pacing closer to him.

He wasn’t about to step back. Hell, he outweighed her by 75 pounds.

“This is your house, right?” She had stopped about six feet from him and was looking at him with a mixture of anger and hurt? What the hell had he done?

“Yeah, it’s my house.” His smile had long vanished and this prickly woman was starting to piss him off. “Is there a problem?”

Her eyebrows shot up and it looked like she might just launch herself at him. Then she huffed out a breath and…appeared to lose steam. The wild look died down a bit and she was left looking somewhat defeated.

“No. No problem,” she grimace-smiled at him, turned on her heel and marched down the narrow single driveway between the two houses. He watched her with trepidation and interest. Weird little thing.

She stopped at the bottom of the slightly inclined laneway and turned back to him.

“This is my driveway too,” she called out. “You can’t leave your car at the top like that. It’s a shared drive.” The you asshole was left unsaid but he still heard it loud and clear.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

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

32 Comments

  1. Kate Hewitt
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 05:00:38

    This is an interesting premise and I like your writing style, but I do find it rather repetitive. We get the modern monstrosity of the house in about five different ways in the first paragraph, and only one–the first sentence–is needed.

    The info dump about why she likes her neighbourhood takes away from the story. Better to get this later through dialogue, in my opinion. Cut to the action–the confrontation with the owner of the house.

    Congratulations on putting your work out there. It’s not easy, I know.

  2. Sarina
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 06:08:54

    I agree with Kate. Promising and great style, but when I read “angles” for the second time in five lines, I was jolted from the reading experience by my inner editor.

  3. Shelly
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 08:41:41

    I agree with the previous comments. I thought the opening page conveyed setting and the feelings of the characters very well. I instantly know that I’m in a contemporary romance, and you’ve managed to get the guy and gal together on the first page. (Which isn’t always easy to do.) I do think it could stand a little more critical editing to make the text cleaner. In addition to the repitition that was previously mentioned “blocked all the sun with its angles” and “blocked all the sun that used to stream in her windows”, there’s some weird placement of periods instead of commas and some passive voice issues, but overall… it was good! If I was an agent or editor, I’d definitely keep reading.

  4. Patricia
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 09:00:56

    I think in the first line you might be referring to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude rather than his “birth cave.” Superman was born on the planet Krypton, an advanced civilization, presumably in a building of some sort rather than a cave. I spent so long trying to figure out what his birth cave might look like that I had to reread half the paragraph. Once I figured out the Fortress of Solitude reference the image in my mind became much clearer.

    Other than that, I really like his piece. I’m going to disagree with the first comment. I liked hearing why Hester loves the old houses and hates the new one so much. The conflict is largely internal to Hester–she is in in conflict with Mike before he even arrives, although he doesn’t know it–so demonstrating her mindset is important. Otherwise, she would just come across as bitchy and irrational. Also, since I live in an older neighborhood with smallish houses that sometimes get knocked down to build big, new, modern ones I can relate to where she’s coming from.

    Good luck with this. It has a lot of promise.

  5. Lucy Woodhull
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 11:21:11

    I would read on, although I agree with the comments above. It is the Fortress of Solitude – very important detail – unless you want her to get it wrong on purpose. If so, perhaps make that more obvious. I almost stopped reading at “she didn’t own a television” because my eye roll almost caused my sockets to combust, but the hero’s enormous one makes up for it. I hope he watches terrible shows that irritate the crap outta her! And that’s what I’m supposed to want out of an immediately combative setup like this, so I dig it. Clean up the repetition, keep your pace up, and I think you’ve got something fun here. Good luck!

    PS: One question — how the heck close were they that they could see eye color? That seemed odd to me. She’s on her porch and he’s in the street but he can see the flecks in her peepers? I think that’s a detail you can get to later. We don’t need everything now unless they both have fighter pilot vision. Unless he IS Superman?!

  6. Avery Shy
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 11:26:03

    I’m with Patricia. Cutting to the action is nice, but not always necessary. I enjoyed listening to Hester rant about the new house; it’s good characterization, and a sign you don’t take your heroine (if she is your heroine) too seriously. Well done.

    Your premise caught my attention, and I’d definitely keep reading.

    That being said: you could trim the beginning a little. The description is well-written and entertaining, but there needn’t be quite so much of it, and you may lose a few readers in that fourth or so paragraph about the neighborhood.

    The first sentence didn’t make sense to me. Birth cave? Is that some obscure piece of Superman mythology? Even if it is, I think the sentence should read “The house looked something like Superman’s birth cave”, not “The house looked like something from Superman’s birth cave”.

  7. Just a thought
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 11:39:41

    I really like your writing and especially enjoyed the part from Mike’s POV.

    However, between the name “Hester” and all the frowning and scowling and neighborhood nostalgia she engages in, on first read I had her pictured as an old woman in “you kids get off my lawn” mode. When it became clear she was the heroine, I was forced to do a big mental shift. Maybe it’s just me?

    My suggestion would be to somehow weave in clues to her age and life status (you do this very well with Mike), and instead of making her disapproval so general and thorough, open the scene with a “last-straw” moment. Here’s the tree she planted when she bought the house after finishing grad school, carefully guarded from three harsh Chicago winters, and now it’s flattened. Or something.

    Good luck with it! There’s a lot of good stuff here.

  8. Wahoo Suze
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 11:49:32

    I was disappointed that it ended. I wanted to keep reading. Good stuff.

  9. Danielle D
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 12:36:28

    I want more!!!!

  10. Sunita
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 14:03:46

    I’m usually a first-page lurker, but the combination of Chicago, hockey, and teardowns is too much for me not to comment.

    As someone else who has seen way too many McMansions stuck onto bungalow lots, the heroine’s feelings resonated for me. I liked the writing and the quick sketches I got of the characters and the conflict you set up. I would definitely read more.

    A couple of minor points: I would not call the area around the United Center “downtown Chicago.” Unless neighborhood designations have changed, west of the Dan Ryan/Kennedy is not considered downtown. I get what you mean, and I don’t know what the better word would be, but downtown was jarring to me, especially since you stipulate that Mike can walk to the rink (the practice facility is even further west than the United Center).

    I agree with the commenters above that the opening paragraphs could be consolidated. I like the house info, but you repeat yourself and the ideas. And, of course, it is Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

    Finally, maybe I’m an outlier here, but the modern house sounds kind of cool. It certainly beats the kinds of McMansions that usually replace bungalows and cottages (Contractor Specials at 3500 sq. ft. & above, fake Tudor or Hacienda upon request). Maybe she could just hate it for the size and the way it doesn’t fit in, rather than for the style per se.

    Overall, though, I liked this and would like to read more. Thanks for putting it out here!

  11. Julia
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 14:13:08

    Hello! Thanks for sharing this first page. Overall I really enjoyed it, and as someone who doesn’t read contemporaries, I would read on.

    I agree with the comments above with the tightening of the beginning. The house background worked for me, but less repetition would be great. The birth cave thing made me think of the Fortress of Solitude, but the “all ice and angles and unrelenting glare” made me think it was literally ice. It took a minute for me to place it as “glass” and we were not up in Alaska somewhere.

    Another thing that stuck out to me was “It sat to the South of her” where south should not be capital. I don’t think we are talking about the southern states of America here :) I mention it because it threw me out of the story for a minute.

    The last thing was this part (and it is completely nitpicky):
    Hester didn’t own a television.

    A hushed growl pulled up behind her and she spun to see what made the surprisingly seductive sound.A sleek, steel grey Mercedes had parked in front of the entrance to the driveway.

    Reading that she didn’t own a television made me classify her as unmoved by modern toys. Then she described the car as seductive. This just bothered me. I guess it was surprisingly seductive though. Also the use of the verb “growl” made me think a dog or something was behind her. That one is probably just me though.

    Like I said, I enjoy where this story is going and I would read on. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Des Livres
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 14:43:42

    I wanted to keep reading as well.

    I’m with Patricia and her comments generally. The birth cave thing pulled me out of the text, but I got sucked in again.

    The other aspect that really did pull me out of the narrative – and this might be to do with different countries’ building/residential zone practices – is that where I come from, in the cities you have to get council (or equivalent) approval when erecting new structures, the process includes approval from neighbours (or to put it another way, neighbours can lodge objections within a certain time period) and a significant issue is how much the new structure fits in with the current surrounding architecture. How much 1 structure overlooks and blocks the sun of another is considered a significant issue for which neighbour approval would be required – if it were not prohibited. Rotten dodgy things do happen with rich developers and corrupt councils (and State Governments our case). Maybe the US is different from Australia/the UK but this issue repeatedly pulled me out of the narrative.

    Maybe a little sentence or two in there about this might help assuage the reader. CAN one build any old thing any old where in chicago? maybe you can and no-one cares.

    I thought the not having a television was a bit over the top. How about an ancient one she got from her parents that’s about 30 years old and has a coat hanger antenna, and catches only 1 channel?

    Other than those issues, I enjoyed the read, like both characters and would be delighted to read more.

  13. Ridley
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 14:58:47

    @Julia:

    Reading that she didn’t own a television made me classify her as unmoved by modern toys.

    I only just got a TV last October after 8-9 years, but have kept current with phones and computers. Lots of people just don’t watch TV so don’t make space for one. In fact, I only got the TV to watch hockey. I’d been watching movies on the computer for years.

    Other than that, I got nothing. First Page isn’t really my jam.

  14. Gillyweed
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 15:05:50

    @Just a thought: It’s not just you. Although the Superman reference clued me in that she was a younger person, her name combined with her crotchety attitude made me think of Hester as a grumpy old lady–no offense to old ladies ;). (Incidentally, the Superman reference brings up a question for me… would a granola-type who doesn’t even own a TV have enough pop culture knowledge that Superman’s ice cave thingy would be the first comparison that leapt into her mind?)

    Author, you’re a good writer. I agree with some of the other commenters that there’s some fat to be trimmed, but it flowed really well for me. It’s a very promising start.

    I do have some big picture stuff to mention. For one, the conflict doesn’t really draw me in. I know this is only the first page, but I would love at least a hint that there is something bigger at work here than a difference in architectural preferences, something that will make me excited and interested to read your characters’ story. A personality conflict just isn’t enough to carry a full-length novel. Besides their obvious lifestyle differences, what’s going to keep Mike and Hester from hooking up and falling in love? I mean, what kind of deep, internal stuff? What are they struggling with in their lives right now?

    Also, I gotta mention… I didn’t love your heroine. She’s already judged someone she hasn’t even met–in part because he owns a big screen TV. She even calls him an asshole, someone she’s never met and knows nothing about. Her internal griping about the house seemed self-absorbed. And I really, really didn’t like how she backed off the confrontation with her neighbor. It felt like a contrived way to extend the conflict, when a five minute getting-to-know-you type conversation would have made it clear to her that Mike is a nice guy.

    I like your hero and your writing is good (I love the “faded denim eyes”), so I think this is a promising start. I would be interested to see what you do with it.

  15. Hell Cat
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 16:05:19

    Oh, man. A hockey story. *peels off sucker from her forehead* I liked the idea and I liked the name Hester. I don’t need another Heather, Maggie, Jennifer… To me, Hester sounds like she has a backstory with the name because it is so uncommon and that maybe it helped shape her into the woman who wanted the neighborhood, idyllic setting, to live her life. As for the Superman thing, I would probably make the same mistake and if Hester isn’t a big fan of TV/movies/etc, it’s an easy thing to imply that she wasn’t a fan but had seen the place at some point growing up.

    Mike sounds lot like the hockey players I follow on Twitter, though most seem to be non single, but miss their families. All the sleek lines and contemporary appeal seems to be a good way of summing up who he is as a person. I liked that. It contrasted nicely but also implies that he’ll crack somewhere.

  16. pharmer
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 16:05:49

    Long time lurker – first time comment.

    I liked it a lot and would keep reading.

    I have no issue with the Superman birth cave. I don’t have much interest in Comic book heroes so it went over my head.

    I, too, thought Hester was a little ol’ lady. Due to:
    The name Hester.
    Her beloved vegetables, dark kitchen, Mrs. Panetti’s perfectly good little red brick bungalow, her scowling, and reference to the 1920s neighbourhood – my mental picture was that of a crotchety cardigan-wearing Nana. ‘The hard core granola neighbor’.

    But you made me feel her character in those first few paragraphs and I liked her a lot.

    So I did feel a little confused when I read her long hair was black and wild. You might want to make her age clearer at the beginning.

    I had no issue with her not having a TV. I have’t watched TV for 10 years, preferring the internet. In fact, I thought it was a nice contrast to his big screen TV.
    Personally, if I can accept a 35 year old uber successful sports star with, no doubt, hordes of women ready to jump in his bed, wants to dump his inner city ‘bachelor pad extraordinaire’ for a leafy tree suburb so that seven year old kids can stay over – I can certainly accept a woman with no TV.

    Lastly, I *love* that the confrontation ran out of steam. You made Hester all the more real for me, when- in her own mind – she would give him a piece of her mind, but when face to face, with him, couldn’t and felt deflated. Probably not explaining myself well, but I felt you averted an all too common brassy guns-out first confrontation.

    Thanks for putting it up there.

  17. reader
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 16:33:00

    I like the heroine’s name. It fits her personality and also makes me think she was raised by old fashioned parents with old fashioned values. Her name has character. I hope you keep it.

    I also like the heroine, herself. I’m partial to any character who values old houses over the bland modern stuff. You’re going to have to put in a lot of work to make me like your hero, though. I already don’t like him, for the same reasons your heroine is not inclined to like him. And good looks aren’t enough to win me over, even if they win her over. :)

    I was hoping she’d give him hell, so when she backed off, I was a little disappointed. I’m not saying you’re wrong to have her do that, though, if you feel it’s in character or is showing the start of her attraction to him. I just saw her with a little more spunk at the start of the story, so it surprised me she didn’t express herself frankly when she had the chance.

    I enjoyed your descriptions; very visual. I think I’d be very likely to read this when it’s published. Good luck!

  18. Kate
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 17:06:47

    I’m with @pharmer, I really, really like the fact that Hester backed down from the confrontation. Obviously, I wouldn’t like it to become a theme of Hester is a Doormat but this particular scenario made me relate to her. There have been numerous times when I’ve stormed somewhere filled with righteous anger and ended up saying something like “Hey, um, I’m sorry, I was just wondering if you kids might possibly consider getting off my lawn? I’d really appreciate it! Thank you so, so much!” and then I’ve felt like an idiot. I’m usually able to regroup and stand up for myself in later interactions, but I’m seriously terrible at first contact/first confrontations.

  19. Wendy
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 17:27:31

    I also want more. Please.

  20. Des Livres
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 17:36:26

    I like the bit where Hester backed down from the confrontation, lost steam and felt defeated – it made me connect more with her. Unless she had moved into the house the day before, any dispute about the construction of the building would have occurred months earlier.

    The TV thing – I don’t watch mine either, and have had it since 2002 – and before that inherited various old family ones. TVs are the sort of thing that are passed around between family members as they never seem to die. It’s a detail which says a lot about who the author wants Hester to be, obviously.

    Hopefully there will be a scene later in the book surrounding leaf blowers – a truly satanic invention.

    I do look forward to reading this book.

  21. Carmen
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 18:05:30

    I’m from Chicago and I’m going to nitpick that as everything else has been covered.

    First, as Sunita said, the United Center and it’s surrounding neighborhoods are not located downtown. They are located in an area called the Near West Side.

    Downtown Chicago is the Loop. In brief, in the Loop – downtown, outside the Loop – not downtown.

    Also, while technically Chicago has a financial district (it’s located downtown), no one who lived there would say or think that they lived in the financial district because it’s not that distinct from the rest of downtown and it’s small. If asked where they live, they would say “Downtown”, “the Loop” or “One block from the Board of Trade”. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have a heart because the district is like 3 blocks by 2 blocks, if you are generous, so it doesn’t really have a lot of space to separate the heart from the rest of it.

  22. Cervenka
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 20:50:10

    If the first couple of paragraphs were consolidated and the comma splices fixed, I might keep reading this. As it was, I would have given up after the fourth paragraph–too much info dump for me.

  23. henofthewoods
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 22:43:17

    he was hoping the bare amount of furniture that he’d had in the other place had arrived and been set up like the real estate said it would.

    real estate agent?

    I like the story, I don’t have a TV but I certainly knew what you meant by Superman’s birth cave. I like setting the conflict up before they meet. There were word choices that brought me out of the story and the one above completely derailed me.
    But I would keep reading this book based on this page.

  24. SAO
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 02:03:31

    My personal take is that the conflict was a little contrived. If a construction worker had run over her garden or she’d tried to stop the house from being too tall and suspected a bribe to a city councillor had overruled her, I’d get the anger, but if everything was legit, then she’s just being cranky, which is how she struck me. The TV was the last straw, because it has zero impact on her.

    People have different taste and my experience of neighborhoods with small look-alike houses is that there will be someone who paints their house purple (my brother did that to his cookie-cutter house) or has a hideous plastic lawn menagerie. You live with it. Happiness does not lie is getting all steamed up over stuff you can’t change.

    My take was cranky, difficult Hester and nice Mike. If I were giving him advice, I’d tell him to stay the hell away.

  25. Hell Cat
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 02:29:05

    @SAO: I actually can understand the construction issues. I used to live in Buckhead, part of Atlanta, in an old neighborhood. You would find the 1920s-1930s bungalows all over the place, and then look up to find a “copy” that was out of place by based on too modern construction and gaudiness. When some houses were torn down, some owners would build a house to resemble the neighborhood’s period, even while new. To put a too modern house erased the identity of the neighborhood, which in the era of cement and steel, that can be very unnerving. If you live in a historical neighborhood with different looks and feels in the houses of the same era, it can be quite annoying to have a contemporary home included. Especially if you moved there for the appeal of the neighborhood. All the modern elements become ostentatious.

  26. sao
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 06:01:08

    @Hell Cat:

    My sister tore down her 60s house. Her old house looked good and well-kept, but it had some serious structural issues and fixing them would have cost 70-80% of the cost of tearing it down and replacing it with her dream house. Her comment was that tear-downs often happen because the house isn’t worth saving.

    But, as I said, the final straw was the TV. If Hester doesn’t want a TV, I get that. I might not have one if I didn’t have a husband. But Mike’s TV has zero to do with Hester, shade, the character of the neighborhood and everything to do with being judgmental and despising a guy before she’s met him. I’ve met people like her. Yuck.

  27. Emily
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 07:24:39

    I like your writing. I don’t really like your characters, based on how they present themselves in this page.

    In general, Hester seems rude and judgemental, ready to condemn this one guy for everything wrong with planning permissions in her area, but too wussy or passive-aggressive to actually let him know why she’s pissed off and let him respond. I don’t mind the conflict petering out, but because we see it while the pov is tight with Mike, we don’t see Hester’s thoughts and she just appears to be doing that stereotype of women refusing to say what’s really wrong; her final comment sounds angry, not weary, so she seems passive-aggressive and combative, not tired or scared and giving up.

    She seems like a character I -could- have liked, from what description there is. She could be campaigning to save her neighbourhood. She could be some kind of eco-warrior granola-munching butt-kicker who chains herself to things. She could be a valiant public defender who spurned high-paying firms for a chance to look after the little guy. But I don’t know. I don’t know anything about her except that she gets passive aggressive when faced with neighbourhood conflict and is really, really passionate about her shared driveway rights.

    Like others, I thought she was an elderly woman. A pop culture reference does little to give your character an age if you use an ip that’s been active and popular across various media for more than 70 years (and the Fortress of Solitude itself appears on-panel as early as the fifties). It does even less if you get the reference wrong. Telling us what she does would do more to give her an age, as well as let us see her as a pro-active member of society who does more than chase people off her driveway.

    Mike seems inconsiderate of anyone outside his own family circle, either too stupid to figure out that people were obviously going to hate that house in that neighbourhood, or too selfish to care. He starts the book as the stupid asshole who built the crappy house, so that’s the assumption about him I already have when he appears. If you want to make me think he’s not an asshole, when you’ve already set me up to start thinking he IS, you need something better than ‘loves his family, good team-mate and friend’. Anybody can be caring about the people close to their heart (except sociopaths or narcissists, I guess). What makes someone a caring person is how they consider all the other people they don’t know or like.

    I’d read further than this page, but I’d put the book down if I didn’t find a reason to like someone soon. I don’t need to like them both straight away, but I do need to like one of them or why do I care about their personal conflict?

  28. Chez
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 06:17:09

    I don’t usually comment on these, but wanted to add my congratulations. This is one of the few first page posts that I actually read through to the end and would like to keep reading.

  29. Karen
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 08:20:45

    Trying to change my opinion by saying architecture with angles, and metals and glasses is bad is just making me dislike the character when I love the opposite. Also, makes me think she is racist by nature as if she can form an opinion that quickly by the look of something.

    Clearly our girl is going to be quiet feisty. I just hope that she remembers that her soon husband to be paid Mrs Panetti some pretty penny to be able to build this mansion which her children will soon inherit.

  30. cleo
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 10:43:55

    I agree with a lot of the comments – I like the writing and I’d keep reading if it wasn’t set in Chicago.

    As a Chicagoan, I agree with Sunita’s and Carmen’s comments. I was completely confused by the location descriptions and that took me out of the story – I can’t picture where this is supposed to take place. If it is near the United Center, it’s probably in the West Loop neighborhood, or maybe Little Italy or Greektown. Neighborhood names are quite specific – they’re also tricky because there are the official designations and then there are a lot of local variations, and those change over time.

    The downtown designation is kind of expanding out from the loop. I’ve heard people refer to the shopping area north of the loop as downtown – although if they do it front of my uncle, he tells them off because it is definitely NOT downtown, it’s the Magnificent Mile. But I’ve never heard anything west of the loop referred to as downtown. That’s the near west side (the general term for neighborhoods just west of the loop).

    Another thing, I don’t usually go to the United Center, but it’s always struck me as being in the middle of no-man’s land – not sure I’d want to walk there (this may have changed in the last 10 years). I don’t know about the other practice place.

    The bungalow reference really took me out the story – there are no bungalows downtown, and while I suppose there could be some in the near west side, I don’t think of that as a big bungalow area. Bungalows tend to be in the bungalow belt, which starts 3 or 4 miles out from the loop. You may be better off just calling it a house.

    There are certainly a lot of neighborhoods in Chicago impacted by tear-downs and McMansions – although not so much now, with the construction bust – so that rang true to me. But, honestly, my recommendation is to set it in a city you know better, even if you have to make up a hockey team (it worked for Rachel Gibson).

  31. lloreen
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 12:27:41

    You are losing too many readers with the superman reference (me included…I haven’t seen those movies since I was a small kid). I would keep reading so long as there is a conflict other than the house style.
    I think you might wait a little longer before changing POV. Let the conflict simmer a little longer before dumping all that backstory about the guy. The tension gets deflated when we find out what a nice, kid-loving guy he is.
    It looks promising, though! I’d read on.

  32. Ciar Cullen
    Jun 13, 2012 @ 10:15:25

    I really like your voice very much. Clever, fast. Aside from “stuff” that could be edited easily, I think this is neato.

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