Saturday, October 29, 2011

CT First Page #12

TITLE:  Revealed
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

As long as I didn’t go behind the bleachers tonight, I’d be fine—I hoped. 

“Come with me, Elena…” 

It was homecoming, and I refused to let one scary vision ruin my night. 
As I pushed the sound of the stranger’s voice away, the butterflies beating my insides calmed and my heart rate slowed.  My parents wanted to take pictures on the front lawn while our neighbors watched, embarrassing me, so I had to be able to smile, and I couldn’t do that thinking about what could happen at the dance if my vision held true.
It was a typical beautiful evening in West Palm Beach at dusk; the clouds unique shades of pink and lavender.  The air was unseasonably dry and the light ocean breeze felt great.

“Hey, Elena.”  Devon Lowry said as I approached him on the lawn. 

My pulse quickened at the sight of him, butterflies of a different kind starting in my stomach, making it impossible not to think about our kiss.  I did a double take, noticing how attractive he looked in his black suit and red tie.  He stood as tall as a basketball player, lanky, but muscular, the suit showing off his athletic physique.   

“Hey.”  I tried to sound casual. 

“You look…beautiful.”  His crooked grin made my stomach leap into my throat.

I flushed.  “Thanks, I like your—”

Tessa Stabler bumped into me then, tripping in her high heels.  Devon caught me by my elbow as I stumbled.  A shock ran up my arm and I gasped, meeting his light green eyes. 


  1. Loevly build up and a very relatable range of emotions portrayed here. The last line really makes me want to read on and I think if you had one more sentence to give an inkling of what happens (because it's clearly going to be something big and paranormal and intriguing), you would have me utterly hooked. Maybe you could take out some descriptive stuff because I did tune out with the thing about clouds etc. Just saying it was a perfect evening would be enough, because everyone knows what that feels like.
    And a minor thing... obviously I already have the hots for Devon but here in Australia devon is a really disgusting processed meat so just be aware that the name might be a little nauseating for some people! :)

  2. Overall, this had enough hint that something paranormal was going to happen to hook me. I liked the first few sentences. I'm assuming that bit of dialogue is in italics in your MS so we know it's from the past.

    A few suggestions:

    "My parents wanted to take pictures on the front lawn while our neighbors watched, embarrassing me, so I had to be able to smile, and I couldn’t do that thinking about what could happen at the dance if my vision held true."

    This was a bit wordy and telly right in the very beginning. Telly because you could just show her being embarrassed on the lawn later, struggling to smile despite the vision holding on. Also, it was repetitive. She already said she wasn't going to let the vision ruin her night. I would think about cutting it entirely.

    Another instance of telling:

    "the light ocean breeze felt great" (show her enjoying the breeze)

    Also, I'd work through and remove all those -ing verbs. It forces the reader to be a step removed from the action and makes the whole thing more passive.

    This sounds like an interesting premise!

  3. I was a little confused about the "Come with me, Elena..." line. Maybe that is what you want, but I stumbled over it a little, wondering who was saying it. I think your story is very intriguing and I can already think of several YAs I know who would love to read it. Good luck!

  4. Your first line has so many different connotations that I was worried until I remembered this was paranormal! You've done a great job of setting the scene, showing us how her younger thoughts push away the thoughts of trouble, and the introducing us immediately to the characters.

  5. I liked the writing. You might change how attractive he looked, to he looked hot. I'm not sure I would keep the parents want to take pictures in the lawn, because that's where I thought Devon met Elena - she approached him on the lawn. This was confusing, especially when Tessa bumped into Elena - I was thinking why would she do that in front of Elena's parents. I know you said it's evening, but it slowed me down. The vision, the strange voice, unable to smile - at first I had thought she had been raped behind the bleachers. But then I considered the story is YA Paranormal and realized it could be something else. I would read more to find what happens at homecoming. Good luck.

  6. - I'd reorder your first sentences for more clarity to support that the premise is paranormal and not just a sexual assault (which is what "behind the bleachers" alludes to). Maybe this:

    It was homecoming, and I refused to let one scary vision ruin my night.

    As long as I didn’t go behind the bleachers, I’d be fine—I hoped.

    “Come with me, Elena…”

    - You need to clarify that the stranger's voice is coming from the vision and is not in the present moment.

    - “You look…beautiful.” His crooked grin made my stomach leap into my throat.

    I flushed. “Thanks, I like your—”

    With the above, you don't need both reactions from the MC. They both say the same thing, so I'd omit one. I'd keep her reaction next to her bit of dialogue and leave his crooked smile alone next to his. ("He smiled crookedly" or whatever.)

    - I'd cut out Tessa for the purposes of the 250, and think of a way for your MC to stumble on her own. It's confusing to add a third character right at the end, and I'm wondering why Tessa is there on the lawn when it's about to be picture time for the MC and her date.

    - I do like the embarrassment of having to take pictures on the lawn in front of the neighbors, but I'd rather live that with the MC than be told it's going to happen later. Perhaps you could cut a lot of the weather description, have her bump into Devon sooner, then do the picture taking at the end, with some reinforcement of the vision and her worry over it.

    - The second time you mention butterflies, I'd try to use a more interesting verb than "starting." Maybe "fluttering" or something.

    - All in all, I really enjoyed this read! I feel connected to what your character is feeling, especially when it comes to Devon (yum). It would be nice to feel once more at the end of the 250 her worry over her vision and the outcome of the night.

    Good luck!

  7. I would begin with the sentence, "It was..."

    As it stands, the beginning is backstory. We don't know or care about the mc yet.

    Then perhaps, you could make her have a vision in real time, or remember it if that's not possible.

  8. I would read further but the first part is confusing. Kathryn said most of what I would have and then some, except I agree with Heather on the vision. Give it in real time. Your first line is whatever the vision person says, hopefully something more threatening than "Come with me, Elena." Follow that with a scary description of the person who said it and the menacing voice.

    Lose her stomach leaping into her throat for Kathryn's reason plus it's the third time you referred to her stomach already.

    I agree 100% with moving the picture taking down until it happens. And break up that long sentence "...embarrassing me. I had to be able to smile..."

    Relate the weather to the characters. Lavender clouds filtered the last sunlight into a rosy blush. I hoped it hid the one on my face as I tripped, walking towards Devon...(they greet) ... For once the air didn't feel like a wet towel smothering me, but I still couldn't breathe and my palms felt clammy from the remembered thrill of his kiss.

    The end is the best part and those fixes should get more of the important stuff into the first page. Tessa might arrive with a date after the pictures but in time to interrupt Elena telling Devon about that vision so he doesn't find out she's in danger.

  9. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

    Just an FYI, the line "Come with me, Elena…” is suppose to be in italics. :)