Welcome to After the Madness Workshop! Shelley Watters, Erica Chapman, the writers at YAtopia, and myself will critique the first 250 words of two brave writers’ manuscripts per day for the next seven to eight days. There are four blogs joining in to offer up suggestions. Click on my partners’ sites in my sidebar to view the other critiques.
And my first critique is …
#B-1 Laura Toeniskoetter
The last few remains of sunlight reflected off of the building across the street, glistening in pink light and mixing with the dark colors of the building to create a rainbow. B’s notes: This is a lackluster first sentence. I’d start it off with a better hook. Something that will grab an agent’s interest. In one room, a light burned inside. It added a flame to the rays of color. If I held my hand up, I could put the fire out, and the whole rainbow would be ruined. B’s notes: How does this move the story?
As the last sliver of light disappeared into the night, I took my spot in the kitchen, in between the refrigerator and the wall. The tight spot would be easily missed.
The metal of the refrigerator was cold on my arm. Cold and sleek like the rest of the apartment. It lacked a homey feeling and screamed of a bachelor pad. B’s notes: This is good.
The couch was an off-green color with modern wood framing and stiff cushioning. A glass table sat in front of the couch. Another table sat on the side. It was inside its single drawer that I’d found gun number one. The other was stuffed in his bedroom dresser.
B’s notes: Here’s what piqued my interest. The guns. Why are they there? And what is she going to do with them? Why did you put this in past perfect tense? Why not start out with her entering the apartment and recovering the guns, and then showing us the apartment with the actions going on around it?
Throughout the entire apartment, there’d only been one item that made it seem like a home, and not just a place to live: the picture of his fiancée. Deceased now, she had been pretty, to say the least. Looking at that picture while covering the apartment, I’d wondered if her death had anything to do with the way JonathanWalker had turned out. A man with a successful life ahead of him, and he threw it all away to try and help some budding terrorist group in the Middle East.
B’s notes: The writing and description is done well here, but I’m not hooked. All the rainbow and furniture descriptions aren’t pulling me in. You only have 250 words to hook an agent. Use it and start with the dramatic action. You can always bring in all this description throughout the first chapter. Just don’t do it in the opening.