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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

crit this - please

Specifically, are you interested in this character? Would you read more? Does this work as an opening? And lastly, what genre do you think it is? Thank you in advance for you comments :)


Chapter One – Jack

Jack was twelve when his father died. He was sitting at the top of the stairs when the news came, and he heard the words “I’m sorry.” He didn’t need to hear any more. He knew what those words meant. His best friend Tommy Sheehan had told him all about it. And he knew their lives would soon change. Tommy Sheehan had told him that, too. Tommy used to live in a nice house with nice things his mother always fussed over. After his dad had died things had changed – for the worse. But Jack figured things really couldn’t get any worse for them. They didn’t live in a nice house and they hadn’t had much in the way of anything new in a long time. The pants he wore were already too short, the sneakers too small, and he couldn’t remember the last time he or his brothers had gotten something other than hand-me-downs to go back to school with. No, the way Jack figured, things could only get better.

7 comments:

Halli Gomez said...

I believe this is the beginning of a middle grade novel. I do like this beginning. I feel for Jack, losing his father and already having a tough time of things. I am interested in why he thinks things might get better for his family and I suspect his father was not nice? Might be something we learn later on.

Tara Tyler said...

strong emotional opening. i'm guessing ya drama since Jack is reflecting.
did Tommy's dad die too? (i would say Jack's dad to clarify)

have to say i might start with a scene or at least a trigger for this memory. the first page/paragraph can set the tone for the book. and this tone is sad, and that's why i said drama...

but this is just my humble opinion!
great writing, the descriptions show the direness of their situation!

Huntress said...

Interested: Yes, I am very interested. There is truth in this passage.

Read more: Yes, I would.

Work as an opening: Yes. It is a bit wordy but I bonded with the character almost in the first couple of sentences.

Genre: I don’t feel this is MG and can’t even say whether it is YA. Some of this seems rather more adult, the subject matter and fatalistic outlook. I'll say literary adult just to be contrary.

1000th.monkey said...

I'm guessing younger YA 'cause he's 12.

I got caught on how lines 2-6 start with He, He, He, His, And he. Some more variety would make it read smoother.

There feels like it might be too much introspection for a 12 year old boy. I think this beginning could be condensed, and if so, it would be more effective. I wouldn't stop reading based on that, but it's a bit of a warning sign to me that the voice may not be quite right.

Angela Brown said...

I find that I am interested in Jack. I'd have to read more. He's found out that his dad's dead and rationalizes that as bad as things already was for him and his family, things could only get better. That's deep on so many levels.
I agree with Tara that this feels reflective, but I hesitate to assign YA to this. Unless things take a different direction, this feels like a contemporary novel.

Brooke R. Busse said...

I agree with Tara that a little scene in front of this might be good. However, if that is not something you want to do, I agree with 1000th.monkey that you might want to cut back just a bit. Again I am agreeing with other commenters when I say that it also feels reflective to me. If that is the case, you should make this more apparent, perhaps with what he thinks of that particular scene now.

mshatch said...

Ah, interesting comments! This is actually not a middle grade or YA book at all. It's a paranormal historical romance in which two characters from the near future go back to 1881. Jack is one of them.

Tara, and Huntress thanks for you thoughts.

1000th monkey, good catch!

Angela, thanks.

I think the good news you've all given me is that you like Jack. That's what I was hoping for. Thank you all for your comments. Tomorrow Huntress will be here. Maybe I'll show you my query for this novel on Thursday and you can help me with that - unless someone wants to send me something?