Monday, May 30, 2011

Let's try this again...

Made of Awesome Contest

I appreciate everyone’s comments and I wanted to get your opinions on a big debate with this first chapter. I originally had a different first chapter but I later changed it trying to have more character development.  Well, I am starting to think my first one was better, based on your wonderful and helpful comments.  Let me know what you think? Thanks!

My Made of Awesome Contest Entry:
“In Irons” YA Fantasy 55,000 words

       Liz Kavanagh sat on her living room sofa as her younger sister Anne dozed beside her. Liz lifted her 

snoozing younger sister Anne’s head and placed it gently on her lap. It was nearly ten o’clock, and she was wiped out from the festivities. As she ran her fingers through Anne’s hair, she thought to herself that her birthday had been fun, but that it was nice to have some peace and quiet to end the day. 

       Liz Kavanagh wasn’t quite sure when she had decided that today was going to be life-changing for her . . . but she had. No more being the shy bookworm, she resolved.  She was a teenager now, and she wanted to enjoy it. Liz fidgeted with the chain of her new necklace while she thought about her interaction with Christian at the party, blushing as she remembered their awkward hug goodbye.

       Liz twisted her hair and secured it with a clip, letting a few of her long orange tendrils hang free.  Much better, she thought as she felt the cool air hit the back of her damp neck.  Even though she was more comfortable, she still had an uneasy feeling in her stomach that made it almost impossible for her to either drift off to sleep or focus on the buzzing of the television. It wasn’t just what happened with Christian earlier, she realized. Liz glanced at the ornate harp, the heavy old blank book, and the necklace box on the coffee table, all presents from her family. 

Thank you all for your comments. This is all so helpful. Don't forget to go to Shelley Watters Blog and help the other writers.


  1. Not entirely sure if I'm hooked by this beginning. I feel like this scene is reflecting on the exciting things that have already happened earlier at the party that the reader hasn't seen. I do like the tenderness of showing the MC with her sister and I can tell that family is going to be a part of this story. Aside from that, I'm not sure where this is going. Also be careful, as the first two sentences are a bit repetitive, and you shouldn't need to introduce her full name twice.

    Good luck with the contest!

  2. Also, you have many "as" and "was" on this first page. "thought to herself" is redundant. Instead of having her tell of the awkward hug goodbye at the end of the party, I would have liked to see her when it was happening.

    Good luck on the contest!

  3. I think I like the one that is starting with them getting up in the morning better. It doesn't seem as ironed out, though. This sentence seems awkward to me, " Eleven year old Anne tried to ignore both the sunlight that had made its way into the sisters’ room and her abnormally bubbly sister being normally bossy." Also, how can the younger sister be snoring in bed next to her if she's up looking at herself in the mirror and stuff.
    At any rate, I like the idea of anticipation of the day better than reflection on the day.

  4. Hey Lady Jessica,

    You are a star in the making. With each critique and change, you shine a little brighter. Take words of wisdom, for what they are and not for what, they are not. I am so proud of you. You are on the way, to shining so stinking bright...I might just have to put on shades just to stand next to you. Love from the Dark side....Charley

  5. A bit of a slow start as not much happened... The pacing is fine, it's just missing the hook to grab me make me want to keep reading. Perhaps something happened to her today that embarrassed her on her first day or teenage-hood? Has a lot of potential, just give the reader something to sink their teeth into.

  6. This has lots of great potential! One thing I've heard from a lot of agents and publishers is to start the book where the conflict starts. That one thing that is the catalyst that basically begins the story, when things change. Since this is fantasy, I'd love to find out when this normal teenage girl gets propelled into something magical.

    Great start! Good luck!

  7. I read both of the versions and I'm not sure which is better. I like the first sentence "Liz Kavanagh wasn't sure when she decided ..." but then the concept is lost. Tell us what, exactly, she decided. And then tell us why? and then tell us how it's going to change her life or why she wants her life changed.

    Pick up the pace by adding only the important emotions. That life changing ones so the reader knows whats at stake. Or action. That's another good way to start off a story.