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First Page: Untitled Time Travel

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She turned around, saw him, and her world suddenly went still.

Iain was back!

Her heart began beating in triple time as she moved toward him through the crowd of six-year-olds. She met him in the middle of the room, supremely conscious of many things, not the least of which was the eighteen pairs of young eyes that surrounded them.

The chatter and play of the children melted away, and for just a moment, nothing existed except the two of them.

"I didn’t know you were back!" she heard herself say.

"I just got back today," he replied with the same wonderful smile that had made her heart skip beats since the first time she saw it, so long ago.

She nodded and willed her heart to return to normal and her voice to remain steady. Now was not the time to go off into dreamland over Iain’s smile. She had eighteen kids waiting for a birthday cake that was still too frozen to cut, and the party was far too close to being out-of-control, thanks to the nonexistent nature of the help offered by Iain’s missing brothers.

Dared she ask for Iain’s help?

She thought it over for a split second and decided. No, she couldn’t. Asking would give him a chance to refuse.

She took him by the arm, tried to ignore the feel of his muscles under her fingers, and pulled him through kids begging for birthday cake. He accepted the knife, and she kept moving; kept talking; forcing herself to tackle the next duty that presented itself and just act normal.

He asked about the party.

She told him that it was for her young cousin.

He asked how she had ended up in charge, and she explained how circumstances had conspired against her.

He stood around looking lost and out of his element, and she pressed plates of cake and cups of punch into his hands to give him something to do.

Seventeen of the children eventually left with their parents, leaving only her cousin. He sat at a table, playing with a few toy figures in the quiet world that was his. He glanced up, and his hands moved, signing his request for the last cup of fruit punch.

She nodded and turned to face the scattered remains of the party. Plates covered tables. Crumbs covered the floor. She squared her shoulders and tackled the mess, beginning with the table nearest her.

Iain joined her without a word, and gratitude surged through her poor tired heart.

Only when his brothers arrived and joined in stacking chairs and tables, did she allow herself a few stolen glances.

He was still the same Iain that he’d been when he left for college, two long years ago. Yet he wasn’t.

He still carried himself with confidence, still smiled that same beautiful smile, and still handled everything he touched with a dexterity that was both gentle and powerful. He still ran his fingers through his heavy dark hair in the way that had always delighted her, and his dark eyes still flashed when something roused his emotions.

But those eyes had lost their boyish uncertainty. He’d left as a nineteen-year-old, steady and serious beyond his years, yet still intimidated by the responsibilities he’d been born to.

He had come back a man.


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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Emmy
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 04:51:41

    As a reader…this is stilted. The phrasing is awkward and difficult to read. The near smexing moment in front of the kids gave me a horrified moment of ‘surely they won’t…?’

    How-to manuals irritate me.

    He asked about the party.

    She told him that it was for her young cousin.

    He asked how she had ended up in charge, and she explained how circumstances had conspired against her.

    I went to the door. I opened it. Someone was there. What a surprise. I said hi. He said hello. Wow.

    I do like the idea of sending guys a few years into the future (or past)to grow the frick up before coming back and resuming life, but I think I’d pass on this one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. joanne
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:10:57

    Who the hell is SHE? (the heroine, not the author)

    As a reader it has little to offer me in exchange for my time and money.

    It’s over the top gushing about a young(?) man by a very young(?) woman and they are not a couple I would want to know more about, at least not in this 1st page’s present form.

    Thank you for putting it out here for opinions, I wish mine were more helpful.

  3. Jessica Barksdale Inclan
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:29:46

    I got a nice jolt (at the end) of The Time Traveler’s Wife kind of vibe. I do love that story, and here, at the party, Iain is back with her and he’s a man.

    But the memory of a loved book is not enough for me to want to read more unless the details grip me. I want to be gripped because I do love this kind of story. But the writing is relatively staid and uninspired (Emmy above does a good job with the subject/verb/object sentences above) and the details lacking (supremely conscious of many things? Such as what besides the kids?).

    Liven this up, and I know we could all do with something along these lines. So a good idea that could use better execution.

    Good luck.

  4. theo
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:42:28

    Joanne said the same thing I will. I want to know who the Hn is. Maybe if you started it with Mary/Shirley/Annette or whatever her name is, I might have felt more connected.

    And you only have two lines of dialog in an opening that could be such a great hook if most of the telling was done between the two characters rather than just being described by one of them.

    I don’t know if these are contradictions or you cover it later but you mention the chatter of all the children and when they’ve all left, the fact that her little cousin is in a ‘silent world’ which makes me think he’s deaf. It’s just unclear.

    I suppose my other question is, if Iain’s brothers are coming to help your Hn with the party, wouldn’t one of them mentioned he was back? I kept wondering why she didn’t know. Or did she and he surprised her by showing up there?

    I think the idea is good, but the telling, the repetitive words and lack of dialog would not keep me reading.

    Kudos for putting it out there, and good luck.

  5. Jessica
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:09:03

    I’m a romance reader, and I have to admit this did not grab me. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop (was he a husband who had gone off to war? A boyfriend whom she had has a one night stand with years ago and dumped?) and to find out he had only been off at college…well, not enough to keep me reading.

    And, I don’t know, but does someone “becomes a man” after two years at college? After 2 years at war, maybe. Or two years recovering painfully form a car accident.

    Also why is her heart “poor and tired”? Is it from the party? I am not too sympathetic to the heroine that score.

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. cecilia
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:21:31

    I kind of like the lack of dialogue – it reminds me of that effect in film/TV when a character has had a shock and all the sound gets muffled. The way it was set up seemed to reflect the breathless way a person would describe an event like that, and coming from her (apparently extremely young) perspective, it seems appropriate.

    Every detail not being explained on the first page – heroine’s name, why Iain’s brothers aren’t there, the nephew being overtly labelled deaf (which I thought the “signing” pretty much gave away), etc. – also doesn’t bother me. I think if the author did nail down all the details that all the readers might want to know, on the first page, it would be a terrible clunker. I’d be willing to read on to find out.

    Except for the hero (and maybe heroine) being extremely young. Unless there was something on the back of the book that led me to believe that most of the book was set when they were considerably more grown up, I’d pass on this.

  7. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:39:58

    Count me in as one wanting to know the heroine’s name.

    The writing does seem a little stilted, too many tags, overly wordy details.

    “I didn't know you were back!” she heard herself say.

    “I just got back today,” he replied with the same wonderful smile that had made her heart skip beats since the first time she saw it, so long ago.

    Maybe try changing to…

    “I didn't know you were back.”

    “I just got back today.” He gave her same wonderful smile that had always been able to make her skip a beat.

    These aren’t big changes, but getting rid of the extra words could smooth it out.

    Seems to me that the author definitely has a talent for writing. It just needs some polishing.

  8. Sarabeth
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:43:41

    This didn’t interest me because it reminded me too much of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Plus, I was off put by some of the passive voice and by the play by play feel of the writing. The idea of a man growing up from time traveling is interesting, but this beginning lacked a hook for me.

  9. JulieLeto
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:01:27

    Agree particularly with Shiloh. The writing reminds me of my first drafts. Very stilted and overwritten and needs fleshing out. The trick is to do the editing work, so I hope the comments here help the writer.

    I also think this may be a case of a book that starts in the wrong place. Why at a kid’s birthday party? Is that child important to the plot? Is there a reason? Because it sounds more like backstory than THE MOMENT WHERE IT ALL CHANGES. Yes, he’s back, but their conversation doesn’t indicate that anything interesting/exciting/emotional is about to happen.

    So many new authors make the mistake of starting in the wrong place…heck, I restarted my last WIP five times before I finally found precisely the right place, right point of view, right voice, etc. that worked for me (and I’m not a new writer! Starting in the right place can be difficult.) I hope you find the right place for you and your readers, too!

  10. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:08:48

    There is too much passive activity going on for a hook. I would cut out a lot of the beginning and just start your story from here:

    He was still the same Iain that he'd been when he left for college, two long years ago. Yet he wasn't.

    He still carried himself with confidence, still smiled that same beautiful smile, and still handled everything he touched with a dexterity that was both gentle and powerful. He still ran his fingers through his heavy dark hair in the way that had always delighted her, and his dark eyes still flashed when something roused his emotions.

    But those eyes had lost their boyish uncertainty. He'd left as a nineteen-year-old, steady and serious beyond his years, yet still intimidated by the responsibilities he'd been born to.

    He had come back a man.

    It brings attention to the time traveler and make him the object of interest. I’m thinking “she” knows that he went time-traveling, right? You need to perhaps insert a stronger hint that she knows this somewhere in these paragraphs. This then brings attention to the storyteller–because she’s in on the secret and knows more about this young man, which would tempt me, the reader, to continue.

    Thanks for sharing your first page. I hope my suggestion was of help.

  11. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:01:09

    I must need more coffee, because I thought Iain was one of the 6-year-olds until about halfway down the page. With the tag “time travel romance” and the smoldering looks they were giving each other, I found this opening very strange!

    But no one else seems to have had that reaction, so I think it was just me being weird.

    A few quibbles:

    She’s “supremely aware” of the goings-on at the party and then everything melts away but him. Maybe a transition between these two extremes? Seems contradictory.

    Someone else mentioned a “muffled vibe” and I like that, but you I think you should replace some of the “telling” with dialog.

    Ditto the person who said going to college for a few years isn’t much of a manly trial. The descriptions of Iain (powerful, gentle) don’t suggest a 21-year-old boy.

    This reminds me of a sweet category romance, not a time travel, but I like the voice.

    Kudos for submitting and good luck to you!

  12. Maya
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:25:06

    Seeing someone again after a long period apart can be a great moment, and I can understand the choice to structure the first page around such a moment.

    But I was a little confused, as a reader and as the veteran of many a child’s party, about several details. She’s not the birthday child’s parent,but somehow has become responsible for the whole thing (and believe me: eightteen six-year-old boys hopped up on sugar is a whole lot of responsibility) due to abandonment by the newcomer’s ‘brothers’ (still don’t know if one of them is the father, location of mother totally unhinted at). The birthday boy, apparently, is hearing-impaired – does that mean the guests were also? She seems focussed mainly on Iain, and handing out cake – how is the child communicating with everyone?

    If the reason she’s the adult in charge is because of her great bond with the nephew – this would make me like her, and the feeling she seems to have of being in a little over her head would be understandable. But that bond somehow doesn’t shine through on this page. She’s not spoken with or looked at the child once, totally consumed with Iain.

    And the first reaction on seeing him again – wondering if she can put him straight to work – somehow, for me, lessens her affection for him due to seeing him as a way out of her own predicament. In her thoughts she decides against it (asking for his help) yet a few sentences on she’s nevertheless pressing plates into his hand for distribution. I would have believed in her maturity and the strength of her emotion more if she had waited for his offer of help, and I would have believed in his having grown ‘into a man’ more if he had taken a look around, figured out what was needed, and offered help on his own. Right now, the lasting impression I have of both of them is that neither is ready for the situation they’re in, and what the heck were the brothers thinking to leave all those kids in her care.

    That said, it would take very little to tweak these negative impressions. Good luck to you and props for being brave to submit your work.

  13. Laura Vivanco
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:31:46

    I was beginning to worry about the heroine’s heart:

    “Her heart began beating in triple time”

    “the same wonderful smile that had made her heart skip beats since the first time she saw it”

    “She nodded and willed her heart to return to normal”

    “gratitude surged through her poor tired heart”

  14. DS
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:47:24

    Wasn’t grabbed by it at all.

    My mind did flash back to a line I saw in a recent Harriet Klausner review*: “The story line starts off purposely boring….” My thought in response to this was that starting off deliberately boring is never a good idea for a author because their audience may not stay around to see if it gets any less boring.

    *Harriet finally wrote something memorable but it wss memorable for the wrong reason.

  15. Tori
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:32:33

    I love Genita Low’s revision. It has a hook and the flow is better. This passage was a little slow, but it seemed more like this might have been a first effort. I don’t mind reading passages that have little to no dialogue, but the descriptions need beefing up. Maybe include a physical description of the two characters, or at least Iain. I tend to favor dialogue over description, but if it’s done right, should be readable either way. With some editing, I think it’s fixible. Kudos to you for putting it out there!

  16. Julia Sullivan
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:34:00

    I’m with Laura Vivanco on the “heart” thing–heavenly days, it’s a romance, not a cardiology textbook!

    And, yes, there is too much cliche and passive voice and indirect statement and general shoe-leather. Also, either use direct thought (Iain was back!) or paraphrased thought (Dared she ask for Iain’s help?) but not both.

    This seems to be a contemporary (with the frozen cake), but the heroine is very quivery and Gothicky, with the “dared she ask for Iain’s help” and “after two years of college, he’d become a man” and what-not.

    The setup of a children’s party is a really good one, and I want more about that. More sensory detail. More interaction with the children. Not all depicted at arm’s length in the “she told him it was for her young cousin” and “he lived in a silent world,” but like I was there watching it:

    “Iain, this is my cousin Jamie. It’s his birthday!” She signed as she spoke, and noticed Iain quickly hiding his surprise with a smile for the little boy.
    “Hi, Jamie.” Iain bent down to give him a very formal handshake. “Happy Birthday, dude.”

    or whatever. You can show us so much in this setting–you don’t need to tell us very much at all.

  17. JoB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:36:38

    The author does a fine job of putting us in the POV character’s head. That’s good. We get a sense of character voice, which is also good.
    Now the author needs to put us into the ongoing scene.

    Why am I not ‘in the scene’ in this draft?

    — lack of concrete detail.

    Are we in the linoleum and panelling of the vast rec room in an American suburban house? A quaint brownstone with Persian rugs and chic black-and-white photos on the wall? In the back yard of the church with swings and jungle gym?

    — lack of dialog.


    He asked about the party.
    She told him that it was for her young cousin


    “So …” He used the cake knife like a conductor’s baton, pointing his way along the howling mob. “Fourteen … fifteen …. sixteen. Why the festivities?”

    “Peyton’s birthday. You remember Peyton? Reba’s youngest.”

    “I remember your little sister always had amazing skill at avoiding . . .” he studied the blond who’d clamped herself, limpet-like, to his thigh, “unpleasantness. Where is she, by the way?”

    “There was a meeting at the agency–”

    “And good old Marcia steps in to do the dirty work. Of course.” The point of the knife penetrated half an inch into the butter-cream frosting and stopped. “We have a problem here.”

    — lack of immersion in the natural passage of time.

    Assuming the reader needs to know about this three-hour set of action — which I doubt — it is probably better to skip from one ‘real time’ moment to the next, rather than staying in narrative and listing all the events.


    She led him into the lion’s den and handed him a cake knife. The waist-high mob closed in behind.


    Three hours later, Iain folded his arm over his chest. Barbie Pink frosting smeared the leather suede of his jacket, greasily and thoroughly.

    “This wasn’t how I expected to spend our first hours together,” he said.

    — I was thrown out of the story by some niggling little weird questions. This is just me, probably.

    Why aren’t any of the seventeen moms helping with a party of six-year-olds? Doesn’t this woman have any friends?

    Who invites seventeen six-year-olds to a birthday party, anyway?

    Why don’t we see her slice a new one on the helpers who failed to show up? What happened to them? Abducted by aliens? This part of the drama actually caught my attention more than the love interest?

    How did the cake suddenly thaw?

    Who has tables and chairs for seventeen kids sitting around the house?

    — and finally, I got tossed out of the story by some tired, Romance-y language.

    The muscles of his arm. Him combing back his long wavy hair. That wonderful smile of his. Going off into dreamland. His dark eyes ‘flashing’ when he’s ‘roused’ by emotion. Him ‘coming back a man’.

    One problem with cliche is it gets repeated, and these repeats are also jarring.

    Her heart began beating in triple time
    her heart skip beats
    She nodded and willed her heart to return to normal
    gratitude surged through her poor tired heart.

    the same wonderful smile
    go off into dreamland over Iain's smile
    He still . . . smiled that same beautiful smile

    This language stuff may well clean itself up in the next draft when the author gives us more detail about the scene. Nothing like solid, realistic detail to sweep away cliche.

  18. Ciar Cullen
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:33:34

    I would read more of this. I would like to know her name, and maybe the dialog tags got a little tiresome. But I like the “stilted” nature of the voice and would read on. I had no problem figuring out he wasn’t one of the 6 year olds.

  19. Karen Kennedy
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:10:37

    I confess, that like a couple of others I got caught up in the details of the birthday party, rather than Iain’s return. Why was she the only adult? Where was his mother/father? How did the cake thaw so quickly? And if she’s 21 (as he is?) or younger, why did someone leave her soley in charge of so many kids?

    Also, I completely forgot that it was a time-travel (I did read the mention at the top) and didn’t buy at the end that 2 years of college would change a boy into a man. And if he’s been away at college, but his family is still around, why hasn’t she seen him at all? Most people go home from college, especially their first couple of years, at least on occasion.

    But, I also agree with the others that this can be made better without ditching everything. I liked the idea of him interrupting a party and throwing her off balance. But I wanted to see it–more details of the type JoB mentioned. More dialog, more details of surroundings, fewer uses of “back” and “heart.”

    Also, and this is a pet peeve of mine, ever since I heard an editor mention it. She said that a manuscript gets one use of “suddenly.” When she gets to the second time it’s used, she puts the ms. down. Your use of “suddenly” in the first line had me looking for the word to appear again.

    Good luck with it! Despite my comments, I do think it’s an intriguing idea.

  20. Kathleen MacIver
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:54:07

    I’m going to go ahead and not make this reply anonymous. This is mine, and the main reason I’m offering this is because I am ROTTEN at knowing where to start a story, (JulieLeto, you NAILED it.) I also struggle with knowing how to start. Gennita… thanks for pointing out that possibility. I will play with that.

    You guys are outstanding, though… this is sooo much help.

    Some of the questions you all asked are actually answered in another scene… but now I'm wondering if I need more of it here… or if I'm still starting this all wrong.

    This is the third beginning I've tried with this story… I'm not sure it's going to work. It's lead some of you to think it's similar to The Time Traveler's Wife, which is interesting, seeing as I've never read it. I’ve heard of it, but I haven’t even read the back cover. LOL!

    Some of you remarked that “only” going off to college isn't enough, while others assumed that he went back in time during those two years. Neither is right, which leaves me wondering if readers get upset when a book doesn't lead where they think it will.

    This is the changing point… where the story that readers will want to read begins. Yet their story has very strong roots in their past… roots that have lain dormant for years. This is their past I'm talking about. There's also the time-traveling-to-and-from-several-hundred-years-ago past that is woven with it all.

    I know I'll lose readers if I spent the first third of the book starting their story when they're teenagers, which is when their relationship begins. So I think I need to start it here, when it starts to change to something more than friendship. But then, I'm not sure how to weave their past together with their present.

    I had thought that I could offer this to start the book off, then flash back to some of when they were teenagers (hoping that readers would want to know what their history already is at this point), then reach this point again and continue the story. By the time the second version of this scene comes around, almost all of the questions you all raised are answered.

    – Yes, the boy is deaf. He's her cousin, and he's briefly in her care for the afternoon. He's a secondary character throughout the whole book.
    – Iain's brothers didn't mention he was back, because they didn't know either. It was a total surprise for all of them.
    – Yes, it's something else to be stuck with that many kids at a party. It happens courtesy of plans gone awry last minute. In the second version (which is more complete and tells this scene from Iain's POV), Iain wants to know how it happened, and she explains. She hasn't had to do the whole party herself. Just about fifteen minutes of it. I'm a mom of three, and I've managed large groups of this age before. I think I've kept the whole scenario realistic. Anyway, I wanted the set-up of him showing up after a two year absence, right when she's exhausted and already at her wits' end.
    – Yes, she does chew out the missing brothers, as they deserve.
    – The cake doesn't thaw, but Iain is a master with swords and knives, as she well knows… so cutting a frozen cake isn't a big deal to him.
    – It's not a house, it's a meeting room… which you'd know if I described the room better, like JoB so accurately suggested.

    Maya mentioned that it seemed odd for her to put him straight to work. Would it make a difference when you found out that, before this two year absence, they had been good friends who had worked together quite often? That they'd developed a rather remarkable friendship and come to each other's assistance many times? Iain doesn't offer it right away, because he's completely stunned at how she's grown up and changed since he left. In essence, I've got two stunned people here.

    There's no dialogue here because I'm not good at knowing where and how to start a book! Once I get going, the dialogue flows, but sometimes I have a rough time getting into it. This is obviously one of those times. Cecilia was right about the state of her mind. That's what I was trying to portray, which is why I didn't offer relaxed dialogue like some of you mentioned… although I should be capable of including dialogue that still reflects the muddled senses. Anyway, your comments show that I haven't done my job here well enough, either.

    So I guess I’m back to the drawing board on whether this is the best place to start telling this story.

    Anyway, thank you all, so much. This has really been more encouraging than I dared hope. I wish I had one of you for a regular crit partner!

    (Oh… and thank you for diagnosing the poor woman's heart problem! That's one of those things that make me groan when I realize I didn't notice it on my own!)

    Anyone want to give me feedback on the beginning of a short story I posted on my author blog the other day? :-) (I think I’m a sucker for punishment.)

  21. Kristin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 15:01:06

    Just very quickly. You could improve your first line so much if you gave the reader more of a sense of time and place.

    Is she in a subway station? At the beach? In her house? At work?

    Any one of these answers would give a little more weight to your opening. But when I read that first line, even the first several lines, your characters are just floating in space in my head.

    Hope that helps. :-)

  22. Hanne
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 16:54:37

    First reaction – I hate not knowing her name. Would you consider using it in the first line? It makes her sound so cold, or else I worry she’s going to turn out to be a ghost, or a washing machine, or some other surreal twist. His mother?

    Someone invited *18* six-year-olds to a birthday party! Would anyone ever do such a thing? Could you dial back?

    The writing is confident, shows good grasp of rhythm and pacing.

    I’m really disappointed that Iain is so passive. It’s hard to know what’s going to be interesting about him beyond good looks. I long for more dialogue on this first page.

    I wouldn’t read on. Too much in her head; I prefer more action.

    P.S. Hi Kathleen, now I’ve read your comments, I’m wondering if you couldn’t start with some time travelling happening. Did he disappear in front of her? Flick the machine’s switch as they kissed? I think you could make it engaging by starting at a point when they aren’t so shocked and stunned into inaction. Do wish you best!

  23. JulieLeto
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 18:08:47

    Hanne, I laughed at your comment. My daughter’s birthday parties…held in my backyard every year…never have less than 25 kids of both genders. (That’s pretty much all the kids in the neighborhood, all her cousins and a few select kids from school.) When she was 1, when she was 2, when she was 3 up until now. It’s amazing how easy it is to keep 25 6 year olds busy with a big, multi-purpose inflatable, crafts and Cheetos.

    BUT I always have lots of adults around to supervise. That didn’t really faze me at all, though I definitely felt for the heroine, that’s for sure!

  24. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:18:09

    My daughter's birthday parties…held in my backyard every year…never have less than 25 kids of both genders.

    Totally off topic…but is anybody else here thinking…Man, Julie Leto is either really brave…or nuts.


    25. Wow. I am in AWE.

  25. JulieLeto
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:45:04

    Nuts? Oh, yeah. But remember, I come from a BIG Italian family. We’re sort of accustomed to really big parties!

  26. Ciar Cullen
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:14:01

    Kathleen, based on comments I received during a first page Saturday, I switched my first and second chapters. I started at the beginning, in other words. I was trying to cover too much backstory too quickly, rather than just letting the backstory happen and then moving on. Maybe that will help? Good luck, and I really enjoyed your voice.

  27. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 17:58:17

    Before reading the comments-
    Too many repetitions of the word “back” in the first part.
    And most of it is telling. I get no feel for the party, no sense of the children, and then it’s over. I couldn’t see the point of setting it there at all. There’s no immediacy to this, and no reason for me to want to read on.

    After reading the comments-
    Kathleen, having read your comments, I can totally sympathise. I suck at beginnings. I used to write and rewrite them, but now I leave it, and then when I’ve done the whole book, I go back and I sometimes end up cutting the first two or three chapters. I find that often does the trick and I’ve concluded that I have to “write myself in” to a story.
    Start at the inciting incident. This isn’t necessarily the start of the whole of the story, but it may be the first significant turning point.

  28. Kathleen MacIver
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 14:17:29

    Thanks, Ciar and Lynne. Those are good suggestions. I really appreciate them!

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