Saturday, October 29, 2011

CT First Page #9

Title: Here Comes the Sun
Genre: YA Contemporary

I squirm in my seat as I wait impatiently for the giant, red X above the lavatory to disappear. The captain turned off the seat belt light minutes ago, which I assume is an open invitation to roam the plane. I mean, if passengers aren't meant to walk around, then why bother announcing that you're turning off the seat belt light to begin with? That's my justification, anyway. But the giant red X never seems to go away, and my situation is becoming a tad more urgent.

With goosebumps spreading up my arms, I perform some weird hip shimmy as I make my way to the front of the plane, determined to wait my turn. I'm surprised when I'm turned away by a stewardess that's sporting braces and whacked out bangs.

“Ma'am, you're going to have to find your seat until the light above the lavatory door is green with availability.”

Ma'am? Huh. I can't even vote yet.

My feet are heavy, as if they magically turned into cement blocks. How can I turn back now when I'm so close to the promise land? Hurry up and pee, is what I want to shout to whoever is monopolizing the bathroom. But the stewardess isn't stupid, and she's not giving in to my loitering. And so with pressed lips and a well-manicured hand, she points to my seat rows behind me, demanding my dismissal.

I nearly cry as I shuffle back, walking near sideways so as not to shove my butt in anyone's face.


  1. I was thrown by the use of lavatory. I'd use bathroom instead.

    I wasn't sure why she got goosebumps.

    Your can't vote yet line is great. It shows her voice and establishes age.

    The sideways walking confused me. Wouldn't she be more likely to put her butt in someone's face if she was going sideways? Is she really over weight?

    Your opening conflict is good. It's a problem many people can identify with.

    Is it promise land or promised land? I think it's promised.

    I hope this helps!

  2. You brought the scene to life and I could relate with the character, but she doesn't have a name yet. Also, is there a bigger problem than going to the bathroom/lavatory? I would hope you would reveal more of the conflict. This scene is written well, but it doesn't make me want to turn to page. Where is this story going? Good luck.

  3. I like this girl. She uses the word lavatory, does weird hip shimmying when waiting for said lavatory, and dislikes the use of ma'am. I'm assuming there's more conflict (unless this is a very interesting contemporary novel about bathroom usage), but it's interesting. Not the more common opening, and I'm unsure as to what should hook me in (other than voice).

    *promised land


  4. I didn't understand the goosebumps either. Doesn't seem to fit her problem. And I agree that it's a well written scene, but not interesting enough for an opener. It doesn't make me want to turn the page. Would be good second scene to get a feel for her. I did chuckle at her reaction to ma'am. I would guess she's not in the south because here we use sir and ma'am for everyone.

  5. I completely agree with everyone's suggestions above regarding the goosebumps, the sideways walk, and wishing there was more of a hook.

    Having read your fabulous logline, I really wish you could add music to this first page. This page should be a promise of what's to come in your book. If your character is obsessed with music, then I think you could find some funny similes/metaphors having to do with music and peeing. Even some song titles or lyrics with double-meanings to them. I'm already giggling thinking about the possibilities.

    Though your verb usage is correct in your first paragraph, I was thrown off shifting between tenses before I was really grounded into the present-tense verb usage in your story. I'd suggest keeping all the verbs in present tense for at least the first paragraph.

    I love the "weird hip shimmy" and I personally liked "lavatory"--that word and the red X immediately told me she was on plane.

    While I super love your description of the stewardess, I know more about what she looks like than the MC. Maybe you can add a bit of what your MC's hair is like or what she's wearing as it's snagging on passengers she's shimmying by.

    It should be "Promised Land" (capitalized) as it refers to a specific destination the Children of Israel were trying to arrive at. I love this reference in your story! Super funny!

    I don't know if "stupid" is the best word to describe what the stewardess ISN'T. Maybe she IS "relentless." Or you could just mince words and say, "But the stewardess isn't giving in to my loitering."

    Another place you could mince words is the opening paragraph. A lot of that is redundant, though it's awesome voice. But if you cut it down, there's more room for a hook (does she meet someone important on this plane? or why is she traveling?), and more room for music talk/puns.

    I'd read! Good luck!!

  6. I agree with all the above except not reading more. Like Kathryn, I would read on at least a while to see if you do have a hook coming soon. The agents I've heard at 4 years of conferences would too. They don't have a page bottom to decide whether to turn if you send by email. So concentrate on Kathryn's advice to give us more on your MC and increase the humor. If you don't have a hook coming soon, invent one.

    Another detail, stewardesses do not send you back to your seat if the seatbelt light isn't on. I know it's not done because I fly frequently and loiter often due to leg cramps. They may ask you to move aside and not block the isle. Easy fix: let the plane hit rough air so the seatbelt light comes back on. The rough air could lead to an accident that makes your hook.

    Delete "impatiently". Agents/editors don't like adverbs, especially the "ly" ones. Squirming in the seat shows impatience better.

    Again, I ditto the other suggestions but won't repeat, except to emphasize you can cut some excess verbiage to make room for a hook without endangering the humorous voice. Never cut to the point of cutting the humor.