Wednesday, April 06, 2011

First Impressions: April

Well, it's time for another First Impressions review.  For those of you who are new to this, every month we post the first page of a submission and I offer a critique.  Everyone is invited to offer their constructive comments as well.  My notes/edits are in red. 

Novel Title:  MAN-SHY
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Author: Zara Penney

I couldn’t keep my eyes off him.  It became almost embarrassing.  There was something addictive about his face.  Could’ve been the laugh lines at the side of beautiful green eyes.  Could’ve been the cleft in his chin.  A classic Cary Grant chin.
His neck was long with an Adam’s apple which bobbed up and down like the cork on a fishing line (um, not such an attractive image) as he swallowed. He seemed bored, or absorbed in deep thought.  Long slim fingers were absently twirling a crystal wine goblet. He stared into it – mesmerized. (Now, if he's mesmerized then how does he seem bored?)The golden liquid swiveled and glistened like a multi faceted diamond as it caught the light from the wide window beside him. (This sentence seems overdone, is it even needed?  I'd cut.  What type of wine is golden? One usually thinks white or red, yes?)  The nails were groomed to perfection. (Okay, guy with groomed nails drinking "golden" wine out of a crystal goblet...?  I'd wonder.) If not groomed then he was just one of God’s most perfect creatures. God does do it from time to time. (Cut this last sentence, more train of thought.)
Mmmmm he could be about forty.  Maybe older.  Yes definitely older.  Let’s (Who is your protagonist speaking to? This breaks the third wall.) bump him up to 45 (Spell out the number).  Salt and pepper hair was short and practical.   He was the quintessential Polo Ralph Lauren man... (no need for ellipses)
Hunk. (This is a bit much.)

Score:  Perfect Ten. (Keep this, it's enough.)

I looked around the restaurant.  Mine were not the only eyes drawn like lustful greedy butterflies to the eighth wonder of the world currently sitting alone there at a white-clothed table. Maybe he’d been stood up?  He didn’t seem too concerned about it if he had been. 

What sort of man could he be was he?  The mouth was generous.  Given that my Mmother (Mother is a proper name, do not capitalize it when used as a noun.) considered herself a great judge of character - I’d lived a lifetime of warnings.(Very confused by this.)  Never go for a shortie with a mean mouth.  This mantra had seeped into my life.  No matter how much I tried, (Tried what?)short men with mean mouths were off my agenda.  This man was the pinnacle of Mother’s eligible (eligibilty is perhaps the word you're looking for) criteria.

But  that’s why I’m man-shy.  Mother is hungry for grandchildren.

Overall, this was a fun first page.  I was engaged by the writer's voice and I honestly liked her protagonist.  Just be careful not to "speak" to the audience. 

The last sentence was great.  But I'm not sure why, if she's man-shy, she's checking out the guy.

I have questions, but I'd read on.

To enter First Impressions, email your first page (300 words or less) to Contests(AT) with “First Impressions” in the subject line. Include the title and genre in the email, as well as the name you wish us to use when referring to you publicly. All genres are welcome. Do not send your entry as an attachment; it must be within the body of the email. Winners are randomly selected using

**Disclaimers, Rules, Stipulations, What Not, and All That Jazz: By emailing your entry to Contests(AT), you agree to have your first page posted on our blog for critique. Entrants will remain in the selection queue indefinitely, so your number could come up tomorrow or two years from now. Such is life. We will drop you a line if your email is pulled out of the hat. Maybe. It’s best to just swing by our blog often and check things out, no? Winning a first page critique does not in any way indicate an interest or offer of representation by The Knight Agency, and we reserve the right to delete any material that we find improper or offensive. Though we encourage blog readers to offer positive, thoughtful feedback, we cannot control their opinions with Imperius Curses. However, we will promptly banish nasty, mean-spirited comments to the outer limits of cyberspace. Dontcha wish you could do that with people in real life? Addendum (11/03/2010): In order to give everyone a fair chance, only one entry is allowed per person. If you've submitted more than one first page, your initial email will be added to the queue; however, subsequent emails have been deleted


Blogger Keriann Greaney Martin said...

I thought this was an intriguing introduction. I wanted to keep reading to find out who this man was, why the main character is staring at him, and why she was MAN-SHY.

The way the writer described this man made me think he was pompous, and a bit feminine. I didn't really get what was so great about him. But that could just be me.

Thanks for sharing this critique!

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:40:00 PM EDT  

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