Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Page Critique: A Middle-Grade Fantasy

Here's this week's submission for the first page critique, a middle grade fantasy called Finding Evekitas. Practice your critiquing skills today, and come back tomorrow to see my comments.

Melissa was walking to school, reading, holding the book out in front so she could keep one eye on the street.  Liam Cranton's rusty old bike lay stretched across the sidewalk in front of her.  She saw it coming in plenty of time to step over, but a pedal still snagged her foot.  She tried to twist around and scramble over it, but it tripped her again, and she fell on the concrete.  The book flew out of her hands. As it did, a scrap of paper escaped from between the pages and fluttered away.

Melissa picked herself up and looked around.  Beyond the Crantons' worn-out picket fence, the paper had landed in a rose bush.  She tried to reach over the fence, but it was too far.

The scrap might only be someone's bookmark that got left behind.  But it had looked old and yellowed, and Melissa thought she had seen writing on it.  She wanted to see what it said.

She stood for a moment with her hand on the gate.  She didn't know the Crantons very well, but Liam was in the lower school, and they started fifteen minutes earlier. He'd have gone to school by now.  Probably there was no one home.

She opened the gate.  At that moment, a little, fuzzy, yellow dog came flying around the corner of the house, wagging its tail and yammering at her. 

The rosebush was only a few steps away.  Melissa dashed over to it.  The puppy saw what she was doing, and ran to get there first.  She snatched at the paper, but the dog was faster.  He nabbed it and frolicked away.

She should just go on to school, before someone saw her.  She didn't want to have to explain this to anyone!  But most of the paper was sticking comically out of the little dog's mouth, and there were definitely words on it. 


  1. Interesting start. I look forward to your comments.

  2. I like this--it has a good middle grade feel. I didn't quite buy Melissa's motivation, though. It could be someone's grocery list, for all she knows. Maybe if she glimpsed a few of the words, her interest would seem more plausible. I wonder how she's going to get the paper away from that dog!