Several weeks ago, I posted an offer for a free first page critique. Life got extremely busy (see my post on Priorities from last Friday), but I hope to make May the month for critiques. So far I have only gotten one submission, from Ruth, but I understand at least one other person tried to post and I didn't get it. We'll start with Ruth. Anyone else who wants to participate, please paste your submission in the comments below or e-mail me through my website.
Here are the rules again:
- To participate, become a follower of the blog, if you aren't already. (If for some reason you find it impossible to "follow" or subscribe to blogs, include a note to that effect with your submission.)
- Post the opening of your novel, short story or picture book in the comments -- up to 300 words.
- Everyone who posts will get a brief critique. That's right, everyone!
- One out of every 5 submissions will get a more thorough critique. That means the more people who play, the more critiques you'll see. So bring your friends and spread the word!
- By posting your excerpt here, you agree to a public online critique. (Don't worry, I'll be nice as well as helpful.)
- Please post only one excerpt.
So you can play along, here's our first submission, from a 55,000-word middle-grade paranormal:
Eleanor shivered. It was spooky in the woods, and Lola seemed to have vanished without a trace. She whistled, then paused to listen. If she didn’t get back to the car soon, her mother would be furious.
She was in trouble already, but it hadn’t been her fault. How could she have known that putting liquid soap in the dishwasher would cause a lemon-scented flood? As for Lola’s crime, if the neighbors didn’t want teeth marks on their umbrellas, they shouldn’t leave them lying about the foyer.
Eleanor had apologized. She’d mopped up the suds, and she was saving her allowance to pay for the umbrellas. Still, Mom saw the incidents as proof that she needed more supervision. More structure. That was why they’d come to visit Looking Glass Falls Wilderness Adventure Camp.
Eleanor sighed. Somehow she had to convince Mom that, at eleven, she was old enough to keep herself and her dog out of trouble, and that camp was a terrible idea. But first she had to find Lola. She scanned the woods for a gray-white plume of a tail. She strained her ears for the jingle of dog tags. But all she heard was a roar, like rushing water--then, suddenly, a scream and a splash.
Eleanor ran toward the sound. Soon she burst from the shadow of the trees into a little hollow and saw a wonderful sight: a waterfall, spilling from the top of a cliff into a pool--and Lola, vigorously shaking water from her fur.
“There you are, you rascal! Did you fall in the water?” As she threw her arms around her dog and fumbled for the leash, a sudden movement caught her eye. She looked up, squinting in the sunlight.
A girl was walking slowly toward the edge of the woods.
That's the opening 300 words! Take a few minutes to see what you think, and I'll weigh in with my comments tomorrow. You can post your comments in the comment section here, but remember to focus on constructive criticism.