Saturday, October 29, 2011

CT First Page #7

Title: Graceful Death
Genre: YA Paranormal

The instant my knees hit the ground I know. My insomnia is killing me from the inside out. I struggle to pick myself up, but the sweat in my palms turns cold, tacking my hand to the faded mauve linoleum. The faint odor of disinfectant and dirty sneakers wafts up, stinging my nostrils while the entire student body walks around me.
My heart thrums erratically in my ears. My vision spots with white film.
Not in the damn hallway, anywhere but here.
But I can’t control it anymore. Sleep is such a cruel and distant idea by now that when my energy seeps out, threatening to pull me into unconsciousness, the only thing I can do is rebound and rally. So, as the Santa Cruz High School crowd thins, I fall against a set of coral half-lockers and wait it out.
Only one more period, then I can go home, deal with this in private. Other than a few “whoa,” and “doing okay, there, Grace,” the other students ignore me. Except for the guy standing by the window. His tall frame casts a shadow across the floor, draping over me like a psychopath in a movie.
I ready a sharp nasty comment, but the sight of him stops me. I grow colder still. At first I think he’s dressed in all black, some emo kid hoping to get off on witnessing my meltdown, but the chill that pricks my spine warns of something different. Something dangerous.


  1. I would start with Not in the hallway. That pulls me in. The lines before it don't. (It would be sweat ON your palms and your heart isn't in your ears. It's your pulse.)

    I'm not sure if a teen would say they readied a sharp nasty comment.

    Your conflict is really good. She's tired and there's a dangerous creepy guy. It's like he's waiting for her to drop. Good luck with this!

  2. I loved this! I was hooked by the end of the first paragraph. This looks clean & polished and ready to go. I would definitely read on and wish I could!

  3. I love your beginning - it really makes me want to read on to find out why she can't sleep. I agree with what Janice said regarding the "ready a sharp nasty comment" phrasing. Good luck!

  4. Wow, I really, really love this! Great premise and interiority with your MC.

    Only a few nit-picks...

    I would say "the other students" vs. "the entire student body." The latter isn't plausible and therefore reads melodramatic.

    Going along with Janice's suggestion, I would start your story with:
    "Not in the damn hallway, anywhere but here. My knees hit the ground, and I know my insomnia is killing me from the inside out."
    Then your hook is the first sentence, and the next sentence is much clearer than how you have it currently worded in your draft.

    You could say, "I open my mouth to spit out a nasty comment..." That's more true to a teen's voice. I don't know that you need both sharp and nasty. If you do put in both, separate them with a comma.

    Other than a few “whoa,” and “doing okay, there, Grace,” the other students ignore me.
    This reads funny to me because you say "few" but then the phrases you state sound singular, if that makes sense. You could say: Other than a "whoa" from one kid, and a "doing okay, there, Grace" from another...

    Instead of "I grew colder still" I'd say "I grew even colder."

    You definitely have a great hook here and a lot of sensory detail/interiority that draws me in as a reader. Very, very nice work!

  5. I really liked this but would change what the others suggested. It's hard to find anything Kathryn didn't. Just use "whoas" and your cases will match.

    Can't control "it", meaning what? Falling? Fainting? Heart arrhythmia?

    I love the smells in the first paragraph.

    I love the shadow psychopath sentence. I get the idea he is death and your MC is about to die or have a very hard time evading him.

    I know goths dress in black but don't know what an emo kid is. Goths is here to stay, but emo may be a fad, therefore a word to avoid.

    I would read on for sure.