Monday, September 26, 2011

3 1st 5 Pages Workshop - Final Sept Round & MY NOT SO STILL LIFE Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone! Do I sound as manic as Effie Trinket, or what? So sorry. But it is the start of a new week and we may as well make it a good one, right? I've had an amazing writing retreat weekend with my fabulous critique partners Cici and Carol, who flew out to stay with me on Friday and are heading back to Texas tomorrow. Friday night we got to spend time with Marissa, too, who then promptly ditched us for a weekend in her sick bed. Meanwhile, the three of us plotted and polished and sound-boarded, watched movies, and drank a LOT of wine, but did I mention that we also made serious writing progress? Having those extra eyes and ears and hearts to help you wrap your head around something is just incredible, and the extra hands cracking the whip don't hurt either.

All of that being the case, here's the final round of edits for the September First Five Pages workshop. We are down to three manuscripts due to illness and a new job that started last week. But I hope you will give these three entries the extra attention. Help us out. Tell us what you think about each one. Does it hook you? What makes you stop reading? What would make it even stronger?

Comment on all three and you'll be eligible for a copy of Liz Gallagher's MY NOT SO STILL LIFE.

Here's what Goodreads has to say:

Vanessa is wise beyond her years. She's never really fit in at school, where all the kids act and dress the same. She's an artist who expresses her talent in the wacky colors she dyes her hair, her makeup and clothes. She's working on her biggest art project, and counting the days until she's grown up and can really start living. That adult world seems closer when Vanessa gets her dream job at the art supply store, Palette, where she worships the couple who runs it, Oscar and Maye. And she's drawn to a mysterious guy named James, who leads her into new, sometimes risky situations. Is she ready for this world, or not?


  1. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    You have the sweetest giveaways; thank you so much for the opportunity to read/learn and even sometimes win ;D


    Entry #5: Woon of Bink

    Story begins with a chunk of backstory. To make sure your reader connects emotionally with story, begin with dramatic scene and fill in backstory later. Actual story seems to begin with strange little fellow hurrying down the road. That line makes me curious to read more. The backstory makes me want to lay it down. Then you lose me again with a huge paragraph of description. I'm still a little curious, but the scene is all the protagonist thinking and talking to himself. There would be a lot more impact from a dramatic presentation of this information.

  3. Ran out of time to finish before critique meeting. Here are comments on the other two. Hope it helps! : ) Beth

    Entry #3: Dog Days of Summer

    Had to hang with it for quite a bit of doggy stuff before the actual story started. Although it's not usually suggested that you begin with dialogue, it would be better to begin with her conversation with her friend than where it is right now. I didn't feel any conflict until way down in the piece, and you might not have that much time to hook your reader.

    Entry #4: Black Cats Under a Ladder

    Liked the opening for this because it had my attention almost right away and I wanted to keep reading to find out what they were talking about. Why would her brother want her to spill the salt? As I went on, two things stood out to me: She kept bringing up the curse thing. I think it would be better to keep your readers in the dark until the very end of the chapter, because it begins to feel like you're hammering it too often. Also, I felt there were tiny disconnects as I went through that might be the result of the author's trying to move it along and keep it fast paced. I think it needs to be smoother in this respect.


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