Saturday, October 29, 2011

CT First Page #6

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Mysty didn’t notice the black knight at the bottom of the stairs until she tripped over its mace. She slammed into a tapestry and scratched her face on the rough surface as she crumpled to the floor.

Mom rushed out of the kitchen.  “Are you okay?”

“Who moved the stupid knight?” Mysty asked.

“He’s wishing you a happy birthday.” 

“It’s an old pile of tin, Mom.” Mysty dreaded this day all year. Last year’s present was probably still scurrying around the sewer hissing and terrorizing the smaller natives. She couldn’t imagine what horrors awaited her this year. “Now I have a rug burn.”

“Tapestry burn,” Mom corrected. “You should put some peroxide on that.”

“The entry is a bad place for the knight. We should move it.” While she still had skin on her face.

Mom piled the armor on its pedestal.  “Where would we put it?”

“The basement, out of sight, eBay . . .”

“We aren’t selling the black knight.”

Mysty opened the kitchen door.  “Most people keep potted plants in their entry.” She saw something move outside and hurried to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever lurked in the woods.  Morning mist clung to barren trees and caressed the icy branches, but nothing was there.

Mom grabbed a bundle of herbs hanging from the ceiling and dropped them in a bubbling cauldron on the stove.  Smoke poured out and filled the kitchen with the stench of burning gym socks.  “Breakfast is ready.”


  1. I really get a sense of the character in this section and I love her sarcastic sense of humor. You let us know it's her birthday, so I'd read on just to see if anything happens to her on her big day. Something big always happens on holidays.:) I also like the sneaky way towards the end that you add in there that the mom is possibly a witch.

    My only critique would in regards to the sentence about where to place the knight.

    “The basement, out of sight, eBay . . .” Maybe I'm not versed in ellipses very well, but shouldn't there be punctuation at the end. Maybe a question mark or a comma? That's the only thing that tripped me up. Otherwise this sounds like a fabulous and fun read. Great job!

  2. This sounds like a very interesting story. I want to hear a little more detail about the "smaller natives". I absolutely love your last paragraph! Good luck!

  3. I really liked this, and the title was great! I think I remember it from WriteOnCon :). Love the MC's voice.

    One suggestion:

    "She saw something move outside and hurried to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever lurked in the woods."

    The latter half of the sentence was telling in a way that pulled me out of the story, and I feel like this might be something important. Maybe indicate what she's afraid of in the woods and remove the "hoping to catch a glimpse of". Instead, show us her anxiety/fear/hope of whatever might be out there.

    Good luck!

  4. The humor you've put into your main character really works. I would definitely read more. My only issue is when she spots something outside the window. Amp up what she may have seen or what she was feeling. Is this normal for her to be seeing things outside or does this worry her? If you're going to leave it in, make sure it flows. Good job on this one and good luck!

  5. I laughed aloud a few times while reading this (I rarely laugh aloud when I read). You are on to something fantastic with this!

    First of all, great first line!

    Now, to get super nit-picky:

    I'd change to (but of course don't cap): "She slammed into THE tapestry, SCRATCHING her face on the rough surface as she crumpled to the floor." The way you have it worded, it sounds like she slammed, THEN she scratched her face, when it should be simultaneous, right? "The tapestry" sounds stronger, and since it's the only tapestry in this scene, "the" is better.

    The beginning reads a little confusing for me. You make it sound like the knight is her birthday present with your immediate references to her b-day presents from last year after your mention of the knight. Yet she's already familiar with the knight, so he can't be a new gift.

    I'd go throughout this whole 250 and change any "it" pronoun for the knight to "his." I think "his" is funnier and makes this crazy heirloom/furniture/what-have-you more personable for the family.

    The "smaller natives" line was sufficient for me. I thought it was funny and perfect.

    The ellipses didn't bother me. It made sense why she used it: she's naming things, then trailing off.

    I'm wondering if a witch mom would tell her daughter to put something more herb-ish or strange on her face than peroxide. It's a good place for more set-up/world building.

    I totally agree with the others that I want to know more about the glimpse of whatever Mysty sees outside. It could have been a newspaper thrown at the door or a bird flying by. Why is Mysty so startled and interested by this "something" flash by? What's different about it?

    With the knight wishing Mysty a happy birthday, you could easily add her age. "He was wishing you a happy seventeenth birthday" or whatever.

    All in all, I loved this and found it very funny. I would definitely read more!

  6. -I like this, it made me chuckle. I think the first time you mention Mom you should say "her mom", though. I mean, she's not my mom.
    -I assume this is urban fantasy (because of references to Ebay, gym socks, etc). If Mysty and her mom are not in modern day, then don't have modern references. (my understanding is that if the story has fantastical elements and occurs in a modern or "real" place, then it is "urban" or "contemporary" fantasy. "Fantasy" is fantastical elements in a different world)
    -I liked the dialogue and attitude, but in the super crucial first 250 I think you could limit the sarky remarks to one or two. Use the first page to flesh out a general feeling of the book that is to follow. I feel like we get a taste of it when she looks outside.
    -good luck!