Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Page Contest and Critique

Jamie Ayres is having a contest. From her blog:

If you’d like to participate, then please email me atinfo@jamieayres.com by 5pm tomorrow & post the first page of your manuscript on YOUR blog. I will compile a list of the participating blogs and post them here tomorrow. That way, everyone can hop around and post constructive feedback on each others first page. I will randomly draw five names to receive a personal critique from Heather (Burch)I’ll announce those winners tomorrow on my blog and then contact you with instructions. Also, I  will personally visit everyone’s blog to comment and will keep a tally on who is leaving the most helpful comments for others:) That person’s reward will be a mailed copy of Heather’s book (Halflings) *can I get a woot, woot* I’ll announce that winner on my regular blog next Wednesday. 



Here's my first page of Kala's Curse:



Kala’s Curse
The lion is strong
  The elephant wise
The gazelle graceful
The cheetah swift


So shall be King Fon’s heir
A great warrior 
and uniter of kingdoms
High and low


Chapter 1
A cheetah crouched in the long, yellow grass only a few paces away, ears flattened, a growl rumbling in its throat. My feet felt as if they were baked into hardened clay. As always, I, Princess Kala, heir to the High Kongo throne, had dug myself into deep dung. 
Steady now, I thought, drawing back my bowstring and aiming at the cheetah’s chest. My palms felt sticky under the sweltering sun that sapped the moisture from the cracked, red earth. Though my hands trembled with trepidation, I hesitated to shoot the imposing creature I’d accidentally run into while hunting savannah rats. I could make out flecks of white in the animal’s tan coat, see its ribs expand and contract, and sense the life force radiating from its sleek body.  
I stared into the glowing red eyes and saw myself standing before the cheetah the way I could see my reflection in water. My coal-colored skin glistened, and the strong odor of salty sweat mixed with perfume from oils rubbed on my body hit me. I felt the cheetah’s powerful legs tense to spring, and yet, I knew it didn’t want to kill me anymore than I wanted to kill it. This creature of the wild feared my arrow as much as I did its bite, though it feared not for its own life. Overriding the impulse to run, a stronger protective instinct trapped the animal. 

20 comments:

  1. This was as great now as the first time I read it (although I can't remember which blog related thing it was for now, lol). I really have no helpful suggestions, except that you help me;) Really wonderful!!!

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  2. Favorite line - "...had dug myself into deep dung." (been there!)

    Beautiful!

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  3. Thanks everyone. I appreciate your comments.

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  4. This is great! Your descriptions are beautiful. :)

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  5. I love your descriptive language and the setting.

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  6. Incredible description and word painting! Nice job!

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  7. The texturing and descriptive writing really draw you in. Beautiful writing.

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  8. Interesting premise! Is this fantasy or about a real royal family? Either way, I think agents will eat it up.

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  9. Thanks. Description is my strength. I have to work hard on characterization.

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  10. I love the tone of this and it sounds like an exciting read. Anything set in Africa is awesome. Have you ever red Mara ad Dann by Doris Lessing? One of my faves. Anyway, this has some great voice and is very strong.

    The only thing you might want to consider changing is the length of your sentences in a couple places. This is such an action-filled scene, very high tension, and some of the lovely descriptions tend to bog down the pace here. For example: "Though my hands trembled with trepidation, I hesitated to shoot the imposing creature I’d accidentally run into while hunting savannah rats." I would cut everything after 'shoot' here just to keep us focused on the moment.

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    1. Thanks for you comments and helpful suggestions.

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  11. There are some lovely descriptions in this first page! I have to wonder though, would the MC really be thinking all this as she's staring down a cheetah? Shouldn't she be feeling panic or the skip of her own heart? And how does the MC know the cheetah doesn't want to kill her? If it's ears are flattened, it's growling, and it's about ready to pounce, I'd say it does want to kill her.

    You might consider starting the story with her actually hunting the savannah rats so you can work in your excellent description that way, and then she could spot the cougar, who spots her.

    But that's just my take on it! I wish you the best of luck!

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    1. That makes sense. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  12. This is amazing. You really capture the fear of a hunter, and its sadness to kill. you capture the freeness and ferousousness of a savannah animal.

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  13. Loved it, sorry I don't have any suggestions, though!

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  14. This was really captivating! Your descriptions are beautiful and touch on so many sense, nicely done :) I did notice the word red twice, possibly switch the second usage in "glowing red eyes" to "glowing amber eyes" or something similar. Great job and good luck :)

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