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Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Katherine

Fortunately you are all spared my review of Skyfall – for now. Patricia has graciously allowed me to crit the first page of her current WIP, Dear Katherine, a prequel to Legacy of the Eye. My comments will be in purple and I hope you will add yours in the comments.

William opened the door to his office and asked the pregnant woman to come in and take a seat. She seemed no different than the many others he had met throughout the years. She told her story succinctly and he was impressed at how far she had traveled. She was probably one of the very few who had managed to visit every single inhabited planet in their galaxy. (What? Galaxy? Cool.) She gave him no name and presented herself as a nomad. It was clear from her story that she had the misfortune of realizing the Tetracoil Galaxy wasn’t the open-minded place it was expected to be. (This might be more effective if you showed it through dialogue or expression. Then again, this might slow the story down…depends on how important these two people are, I think. If we aren’t going to see this woman again then I’d tell rather than show.) Throughout his years as head of the Academy, William had seen many women arrive in Demia looking for acceptance and a home for the children in their womb. It was part of his job to hear their story and accommodate their requests.
“So what do you expect from Demia?” William asked when she finished her tale.
“Wisdom,” she said emphatically.
This answer took him by surprise.
Her tears started to flow--probably hormonally driven--and William could see she was struggling to keep control. “I have traveled the galaxy and I found many things. I found appetite; I found thirst. I found many beliefs, most of which contradict each other. What I haven’t found was a reason for existence--mine, yours, everyone’s. I’ve been trying to find my true self and everywhere I look I only find who I’m not...” 
But, um, wait. That was it? Darn. Maybe I should’ve said 500 words! I was just starting to get interested. I wanted to hear what else she was going to say.

Excellent beginning. Now, what do you guys think? What could Patricia do to improve this first page?


Charity Bradford said...

I agree with Huntress that it started getting interesting when the dialogue started. It's hard to make suggestions not knowing who the MC is and if both are going to be present for more than a chapter. Assuming both will be around for a while this is what I'd do:

Show us the woman walking in. You say she looks just like all the others, but if you show us what she looks like you can take the opportunity to build your world without telling us. Even with the clues you've given, I don't know much about your world yet. Show me with images, textures, colors, and smells.

I would keep reading though to see where this is going because the woman's character intrigues me.

Lauren said...

Show rather than tell. The first half of the page is just the author meanering through an explanation of what is going to happen once the dialogue starts. Most of the information should be disbursed through the dialogue or even tucked in after this page is over. We don't need it right now, and the important stuff is in the dialogue anyway.

Start with something like "I consider myself a nomad" or actually show her walking into the office--heavy tread, her dress, her attitude, etc.


DEZMOND said...

I like the title of her work

lbdiamond said...


Patchi said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. I was a bit reluctant to share from the first draft, but you guys are great. This is the start of a 500 word prologue and my main goal is to establish a link to the other book. In the rest of the novel Katherine tells her story in her own voice and it starts a year before this meeting. When she gets to this same scene I show her words. I didn't want it to sound repetitive hence the telling here. If this book gets published first,I'll probably skip the prologue. But as the link to the other book doesn't happen until the midpoint, I think I need this foretelling. We'll see what survives revisions :)

Huntress said...

I need more of this sub. Yowza.

I agree with the tell vs show. There are lots of ways to clean this up and make this pop.
Even though it does have flaws, dang, this drew me in big time.