Tuesday, June 29, 2010

7 #48 Jillian Audrey

I was in the kitchen flipping blueberry pancakes on the griddle when I saw her for the first time. Well, it wasn’t quite that I saw her at first, but I felt her. The hairs on my arms prickled up, the air pressure in the room dropped like it does just before an electrical storm, and I got that warm, tingly “being observed” feeling that happens when you know someone is standing just a few behind you. Mom was upstairs and Dad had already left for work, so besides my cat Muffin there was no logical reason that I shouldn’t be in the kitchen alone. I turned my head slightly to the side and it was then that I could just barely see her out of the corner of my eye –- my grandmother’s Blue Angel.


  1. I have to say, this entry was a nice surprise, and I'm really glad we got a chance to see the other 4 lines. From just the first sentence, I think the reader's assumption is that the main character was doing something mundane (making pancakes) when she saw a girl, a human person. This would be a rather ho-hum opening (and perhaps why it got axed). Having it be a ghost or angel thing, however, makes it SO much more interesting. I think if this were a book and someone picked this up, he/she wouldn't be snagged by the first line, but the second one would draw them in, and the rest of the sentences would explain and draw even more. It kinda depends on how many lines people tend to read initially. Luckily your first line isn't excessively long so the reader might reach the second line.

    If you wanted your FIRST line to have punch, you could bring up the "Blue Angel" part from the end of the paragraph, and say, "...when I saw the Blue Angel for the first time." That would snag people immediately. Still, as it's written, there's a nice progression where you build up to that final line of revelation and finally proclaim it as an angel. The angel being blue and why it belongs to the main character's grandmother is cryptic, but that would probably make the reader read on to find out.

    For other comments, your third sentence is very very long, and probably would benefit from a shortening or a breaking into 2 sentences. Also, in sentence 5 you have 'slightly' and 'barely'; I'd choose one or the other of these modifiers, or omit both by some rewording. I do like the sensory images you have here, by the way, with the air-pressure-before-a-storm prickles and the tingly feeling.

  2. I like the idea of starting with the knowledge it was the first time she saw the Blue Angel. Again (I've mentioned this in other critiques) cut any superfluous information. If she's flipping pancakes for instance, we know she's in the kitchen and that she's probably using a griddle.

    The line "no logical reason I shouldn't be in the kitchen alone" is tripping me up. You can easily fix that by simplifying. Saying Mom was X and Dad was Y, so other than my cat, Muffin, I should've been alone.

    Also, Carol is right. Limit the LY words. There's usually (but not always) a better way to show what's happening.

  3. I would agree with Lisa's comments completely (using my own ly word!) Once it's trimmed down a bit, I think this is an intriguing beginning of a story. I liked the pressure drops in the room line, as that really made me feel what was happening.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Lisa brought up some great points and I agree with them all. I love the idea of a blue angel - so fabulous job there! I have to say, though, that I feel a little detached from this scene only because we've been given nothing scensory (aside from the feeling of being watched). We don't know what anything looks, sounds, tastes, or smells like. To do them all would be overkill, but if you picked gave us a couple details (the vanilla smell of pancakes or maybe the cat is missing half an ear) the scene would really come to life. :)

  6. I agree with Lisa and Julie. This is a nice start, but I think it could be stronger without some of the unnecessary information. I think that especially in the first page, the reader can get bogged down in description. But once it’s trimmed down a bit, I think that this is a compelling start!

  7. Everyone,

    Thanks so much for the feedback on this, it's incredibly helpful! I will go ahead and apply it to the opening (and make sure I make the same sort of edits to the rest of the manuscript.)

    Thanks again :)


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)