Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Mania: First Page

We have two submissions to read today. So after reading the first, scroll down to the second.

Janette Rallison submitted the first page of a novel she's writing. Feel free to make comments, but please keep them constructive.

Critique Archive 0008:


A fairy godmother’s guide to saving troubled teenagers.
Extra credit report
For Master Sagewick Goldengill

Dear Sir,
Thank you for allowing me to raise my semester grade through this extra credit project. Here is some pertinent background information about the troubled teenage souls involved, and how using fairy skills I was able to improve their dreary little lives, thus proving I have mastered the magic necessary to pass apprentice level.
(page break here)


Boys weren’t a problem for Anne. They only paid attention to her while asking for help with homework. She always knew the answers. See, no problem at all.

It wasn’t because she wasn’t pretty enough. She was. She had long dark hair the color of milk chocolate, hair that she usually wore pulled back into a pony tail because that way it took her two minutes to do and didn’t fall into her face while she looked down at her school work.

Her eyes were the same candy bar color—and really who doesn’t like chocolate? Certainly not the boys in her senior class. Her eyes were pretty enough even behind the glasses she always wore. It was unfortunately, her air of extreme competence that scared them away. In many times and places—as she slid things in and out of an immaculately organized locker, as she encouraged the students in her tutoring sessions—she didn’t seem to be a teenage girl at all. She was somebody’s mother, just waiting to happen.

Many perfumes promise to lure men to women. None of them reek of motherhood. None of them proclaim the wearer to be tidy, thrifty, and sensible. At least not in high school. Those traits become attractive much later on, when guys wake up and realize they’re not living somebody else’s life.

So there was Anne, walking out of the school building with a backpack which was heavier than it needed to be, because after all it couldn’t hurt to read over her Shakespeare assignment one more time. As happens with most important life changing events, she was not thinking about anything important at all. If she had thought of Hunter that day, those wishes, those half formed sighs of longing had faded as soon as the bell rang after calculus. He had picked up his books and tucked them under his arm without a glance in her direction.

8 comments:

Josi said...

Very fun--another Janette masterpiece I'm sure!

I did have a couple points, first, I'm totally confused on the paragraph of 'Dear Sir' I didn't get if it was from your main character, or if it was related to the story in a different way. From the exerpt they seem to have no connection at all--is there a way to clarify that?

Also, the sentance who doesn't like chocolate? Certainly not the boys . . . so are you saying they don't like chocolate or they don't not like chocolate which means they actually do like chocolate which means they do like her, but I don't think they do. Anyway, maybe clarify that as well. also, I think you need another comma in front of 'unfortunately' but I'm not sure.

Me and my house are anxiously awaiting the next book! Good luck.

Bill T. said...

I also saw the disconnect at the beginning that the first commenter noted. I changed some sentences and deleted a few words. Too bad that this blog won't allow us to highlight the changes.

As far as the resentencing, concentrate on the idea I was conveying rather than using my exact words.

Bill T.

Bill T. said...

Whoops, here is my additions I forgot to paste in.

Thank you for allowing me to raise my semester grade through this extra credit project.

(page break here)

As you can see from the account, I was able to improve the dreary little lives of troubled teenage souls through the use of fairy skills, proving I have mastered apprentice level magic and am ready to begin my intermediate levels.

Boys weren’t a problem for Anne. They only paid attention to her while asking for help with homework. She always knew the answers. If only boys were her problem.

It wasn’t because she wasn’t pretty enough. She was. She had long dark hair the color of milk chocolate, hair that she usually wore pulled back into a pony tail so it took her only two minutes to style so that it didn’t fall into her face while she did her school work.

Her eyes were the same candy bar color—and really who doesn’t like chocolate? Her eyes were pretty even behind the glasses she always wore. It was unfortunately, her air of extreme competence that scared boys away

Heather B. Moore said...

I like the changes suggested so far. I also think it would be more clear if we knew that the opening part was an extra credit report in the first line (you can just switch the first two sentences). Also, I wonder where the report is . . . right now you have the letter to the teacher. Maybe you can include a little more explanation in the letter before you break off.

Technical: It probably only took her seconds to pull her hair into a pony tail.

The motherhood/perfume reference was very funny. I'm expecting the character to be quite mature and insightful after reading that (which it seems that you are setting us up for).

Overall, a nice beginning, I am definitely curious since you've raised several questions in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I totally got the letter at the beginning. I thought it was a fun intro.

Janette Rallison said...

Somehow the formatting got lost in the post, but yeah, in the actual manuscript there is a page break from the intro of it being an extra credit report to the actual beginning of the story.

Great comments, by the way.

Julie Wright said...

Hey there all. I got the beginning. I took it as a sort of prologue. As for the rest, My only issue is with the chocolate. Why wouldn't boys like chocolate? Or is it in reference to they don't like her eyes which were like chocolate?

I can't wait to read it. I am your biggest fan (in a completely non-stalker way) I'd give anything to be half as funny as you!

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

Janette,
I love the opening, and I assume that more of the assignment will be sprinkled throughout. The second paragraph was really confusing to me, however. Loved the rest.