Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4 #5 Natalie Aguirre (MG Fantasy)

“You don’t know what it’s like not knowing if you’re like your real mom or dad,” Jasmine said. She knew she shouldn’t have called her birthparents that—her Mom and Dad—the moment it came out of her mouth. She didn’t even know them. But although she was twelve now, she still couldn’t stop thinking about them and wondering who they were.

“I just wish I knew who’s tall like me or who likes swimming,” Jasmine said, clutching the small photo album of herself in the orphanage in China that her mom had made for her.


  1. Natalie--I'm a bit confused by the first sentence. It took me a couple reads to get it. I think the you're and the your was messing with me. Who is Jasmine talking to?

  2. I agree with Sharon in that it would be helpful to know who Jasmine is talking to. I've heard it is very difficult and hence advised against to begin novels with dialogue, before the reader has a chance to get to know the characters. It sets up an immediate possible disconnect or Huh?--a feeling of being dumped into the middle of scene. I do really like the name Jasmine; lovely. And multi-cultural stories are really sought after by some agents/editors, so that's a good thing with Jasmine's conflict and adoption issue.

    The last sentence feels a bit like an info dump, partly because it's a little long, but it a lot of info is crammed into one little (albeit long) sentence. I think you have the right stuff here in your opening; it just needs to be shuffled a little. Maybe have her looking at the photo album to begin with, and show who she's talking to (it SEEMs she's talking to her adoptive parents, but it's not ultra clear). She also says two lines of dialogue w/o anyone responding...is ANYone there talking to her? The last sentence in the first paragraph is Telling--I'd rather SEE Jasmine thinking about her real parents and wondering who they were, rather than being told about it. Finally, saying "now that she was 12" seems a little like a forced info tidbit. There are some good details and ideas here already, just shape 'em up a little!

  3. I agree with both commenters that it's a little off-putting to not know who Jasmine is talking to. I mean, she's really lashing out here and we don't even get a reaction from the other party.

    I think (and this is just my opinion) that you're starting in the wrong place. Let's build some character, and a great place to do that is to start with that photo she's holding. How does she feel when she looks at it? My Dad took off when I was a toddler but I still have photos of him. It's such a weird feeling to see yourself in a photo, in a place that you have no memory of - almost like it's not really you in that photo. It almost feels like the picture is a lie. Maybe your MC can relate?

    Consider starting with some character building before jumping into dialogue. Just a thought :)

  4. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try swapping things around like you suggested.


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