Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Mania--First Page

One of our readers has submitted a first page for critique. Please offer only constructive comments.

Critique Archive #46

“Well, it’s not much, is it?”

The landlord’s forehead wrinkled up like crumpled paper. “I give you the deal of a lifetime, you tell me ‘not much?’”

Soren scratched his shoulder where the strap of his satchel had begun to rub through his thin shirt. His eyes scanned the building before him again. It looked like the innards of a sandwich squashed between two chunks of bread, pressed so close to the neighboring buildings that he doubted he could squeeze between the peeling old walls without turning sideways. A layer of grime coated the front windows and the door sagged pitifully crooked on its hinges. He thought the building might have been all white at one time, but now it displayed bare, muddy-looking brick with streaks of peeling gray and only specks of remaining white. An uneven patch of rough boards had been nailed just below one front window and Soren forced his eyes to the roof before he could think about a possibly gaping hole in the wall. The shingles were either missing or curling up on themselves like dead spiders; he winced at the prospect of placing buckets around the place to catch leaks. The thing did have two floors, but they couldn’t possibly amount to more than four rooms total, and only if two of those were bathrooms the size of broom-closets.

“It is affordable,” he admitted. He pursed his lips. “But it’s still not much.”
The landlord harrumphed. “This my only business vacancy. You don’t like? Go pay a fortune at someplace ‘much.’”

Soren chewed on his lip for a few seconds. He thought this would be an appropriate time to weigh his options, but found there was nothing he could put on the opposite side of the scale—the building before him really was the only thing he’d found that he could pay for. What had happened to the time when people could pay the same price for ten times the quality?

Of course, the answer to that was simple—the invasion had happened.

He sighed and held a hand out. “I’ll take it.”

With another harrumph, the landlord slapped a rusty key into his palm.


Susan Aylworth said...

The invasion happened, huh? Okay, I'm hooked -- at least enough to want to read more. I found I skimmed most of the description of the place. That could be shortened without losing anything, since details can be added back in as we read along. I don't know Soren yet, but so far I like him.

More, more, more!

Janice said...

you have some really good description but sometimes less is more. What's at stake here? Why does he need a business? I like the little tease of the invasion.

Elly said...

Ooo, I want to read the rest, now! The one thing that caught my attention was the detail of his "thin shirt". It felt like that must be significant. But as I read it didn't seem significant. And then I was just reading the whole thing to see why he was wearing a thin shirt. My point: detail is great, but only include it if it reveals something about the character, story, or setting.