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Monday, May 6, 2013

Sahdow of Time (part one)

Chapter One -my crit...


     Come on, car. Just a few more miles.”
     Hannah Darson sighed so hard she blew the strands of dark-blonde hair from her face that had slipped out of her ponytail. She tightly (I think gripped implies tightly) gripped the steering wheel of the old, gray Datsun, trying to relax her tense shoulders. Not to mention the rest of her body – she could almost feel the frown on her lightly tanned face settle in on her forehead permanently. For some reason this jarred me a little.
     Hmm. She was probably just too tired to unwind, having been on the road since early morning, driving from Las Cruces to her mother’s log cabin close to Lake Powell. All this driving was beginning to get the better of her – she was completely drained. And hungry. Even more importantly, she was anxious – she was practically out of fuel. And out of options. She hadn’t passed any gas stations for a while.
     Hannah shot a nervous glance at the fuel gauge on her dashboard. It had been in the red for some time now. The route through Navajo Nation hadn’t exactly taken her through densely populated areas. And still the empty road stretched out ahead. Come on. Local people had to get gas somewhere too, right? Had she missed something? It sounds like Hannah didn't plan her trip well. Is this true? Just asking...
     The road curved to the left, and suddenly Hannah spotted a small gas station next to the exit to Glen Canyon Dam. Hallelujah! Danger of getting stranded without fuel averted.
     “Whoohoo!” she shouted at the top of her voice, gunning her Datsun to the entrance of the station. Nothing would rain on her parade now. Summer had started, her first year of teaching – which she’d survived without lethal damage – was over, and she was going to spend July and August here, in Arizona. Ben, her younger brother, was already waiting for her at the log cabin in St. Mary’s Port. She’d missed the place. The last time she’d stayed in their cozy little cabin was four years ago, when she’d still been together with Greg.
     Her ex-boyfriend liked the buzz of the big city, and he had never really warmed up to this place. (I might switch the two previous phrases like this: Her ex-boyfriend had never really warmed up to the place; he liked the buzz of the big city.) Well, in the end, she hadn’t liked him enough to stay with him either. She was a girl with a feel for village life, about to enjoy the peace and quiet of St. Mary’s Port once more. Endless days on the beach and sipping drinks in the shade of umbrellas lined up on the deck of the local restaurant were awaiting her. Plus, there would be countless trips to the Navajo reservation. Lake Powell was bordering on Navajo Nation, so it was a given to explore the reservation again. (This makes me curious. Why is she so eager to explore? Is there something drawing her back?) She and Ben even had childhood friends there.
     Humming happily to herself, Hannah parked her car next to gas pump number two. "It’s raining men!" she sang-shouted, blaring along to the song on her car stereo.
     The guy standing next to pump number three was just done getting gas for his motorbike. (Do you mean motorcycle? I think of a motorbike as something different, smaller/slower. Hopefully our readers will chime in on this.) He looked sideways and his mouth curled up in a smile. The Datsun’s roof was down, so he’d caught her shouting her lungs out.
     Hannah bit her lip. Damn. Her neighbor turned out to be a total hottie. She shot him a look that lasted a tad too long, then blushed, rummaging through her bag to find her money and pretend she’d already forgotten about him. As if. 
      Furtively, she looked him over again as he was strolling off to pay, helmet in one hand and sunglasses on. Yup, this was typically her – scaring off the local hunk by being a total retard. She rolled her eyes at herself. I can totally relate to this girl - lol. 


So, nothing too exciting happening except we're getting a glimpse at our mc, Hannah. She's caught a glimpse of the local color and likes it and is looking forward to spending time on the reservation for reasons that aren't clear yet. I am curious about this so I hope my interest pans out. I also like Hannah who's a little flirty, but not overly confident, which I can relate to. I like her. For me, this means I'll read on a little further. 

What do you think?

7 comments:

Patchi said...

I like her too. No red flags, although I like Marcy's phrasing suggestions. I'll be back for the next part.

Huntress said...

Loads of personality and Voice in this submission.

I can immediately bond this MC. We've been in similar situations. It is *so* important to give the reader an anchor like that.

I agree with editing out words like 'tightly'. Cut all extra words especially at the beginning when all you want is to snag the attention of the reader. Give me a smell, a sight, a color that nails me to the scene then (like mixing up pancakes) leave it alone to cook.

L.G. Smith said...

I agree, lots of personality. If I were critiquing I might suggest trimming and tightening the sentences, but it's off to a fun start. Definitely a summer love vibe happening here already. :)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I agree with the above comments. Tighten! For some reason I found myself getting stuck on the "and's" in this. There seemed to be quite a few of them. Just mho. Overall Decent voice!

Liza said...

I like Hannah too. Just a thought. There are a lot of "was" words showing up here...which equates to "telling." See if you can eliminate them by using more action words. It will keep your reader more invested in the story.

Donna Hole said...

Hannah is quirky, and seems to be starting her journey with high spirits. I liked the hint of disaster (lack of gas) and the sense that the setting is isolated. Adds a bit of ominousness to the upbeat atmosphere without drawing attention to the - tension.

I agree with DG about the trimming and tightening. I would not have been as lenient in my critique in regards to the redundancy of concepts.

And Marcy; I pictured a moped or scooter instead of a motorcycle too. Not that a "hot guy" wouldn't ride a motorbike, but the imagery is completely different, and bears some internalization from Hannah as to what makes him appealing - to her - with his geeky choice of transportation. Or, Hannah should be checking him out, and then realize what he is riding. That would assist in character building for both, and add some intrigue for the reader.

Still a good opening overall.

......dhole

Charity Bradford said...

I'm getting a late start, sorry! There is some interesting character building here that I like but there isn't much conflict yet.

My other concern is this says it's YA paranormal but if she just finished her first year teaching she's not a teenager. I was always told that the MC has to be a teen in order to be considered YA these days. Maybe I'm confused about how old she is?