Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini: Contest Entry

The freakingly fantastic Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini hosted by Shelley Watters starts today!!! Below you will find my 250 word entry. Actually, it's 257 words; but Shelley said not to stop in mid sentence. I hope that you enjoy & feel free to critique/comment!!

NOTE: I spaced the paragraphs so it'd be easier to read.

Title: The Demon Chronicles: The Black Light Of Purity
Genre: Young Adult/Horror Fantasy Romance
Word Count: 60K

Contest Entry

All of her life, Taisie Monahan knew the hollow feeling of loss. She had never experienced it before now; but she always felt it. As if a memory from another life were haunting her and begging her to find it. Find…him once again. At least that’s what she always thought and her mom even encouraged her to believe that some great love was out there…waiting to be rediscovered. That emptiness she could deal with. This…was something different in every way possible.

As she climbed out of her father’s black Lincoln Town Car, the rain felt like an icy dagger being driven into her fair skin. Her blue eyes flicked up at the ever-graying evening sky and watched as a lone raven glided across the silver clouds. Standing there in the cold winter’s rain; Taisie could swear that someone, or something, was watching her every move. The icy wind stung her face as she glanced around in hopes of catching a glimpse of her admirer. It’s just your imagination, Tais. Get a hold of yourself. 

“Taisie…go up to your room and start packing,” her dad said as he tried to hold back the tears that he had been walling up all day.

She tugged at the bottom of her black cotton knee length dress as she turned around swiftly, making her brown hair fly wildly into the piercing rain. “Why can’t we just stay here?” Anger rang in her voice; but pain filled her heart. None of this made sense and her father’s decision wasn’t helping things either.


  1. Third try. Hope it doesnt murk things up. The author paints a great image of Taisie and does a great job of creating conflict between her errie feelings to stay and her father's decision to leave. Make me want to read a little more.

  2. I like the tension and wonder what the great love is about. I like the part about feeling someone watching her. I almost wonder, though, if it should start with her getting out of the car and then go on to the first graph. Good luck.

  3. I like Kristi's suggestion of starting with getting out of the car (something more active). My suggestion is to eliminate all the ellipses (...)in your first page. Grammatically speaking, they are used for omitted words in a quotation. I think your page flows better without them at all. If you truly feel the need for a pause, use a hyphen instead.
    I like the scene you have set and want to read more of your novel based on your first page.

  4. I really like the darkness and suspense of this opening. It feels like something awful has happened and I'd love to know more. I agree with Kristi and Susan. Beginning when Taisie gets out of the car into the rain feels even more dramatic.
    Good luck.

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  6. *Sorry, made a typo in my last post. :)

    I was thinking the same thing others have said; I'd start with her getting out of the car, because everything before that is pretty much just backstory, which I'm sure will be addressed later on in the story. On the first page, you want to focus more on getting right into the action and catching the reader's interest.

    However, this is well-written and intriguing. It's good that you don't spell out anything; you show––rather than tell––that some tragedy has occurred, making the reader wonder what has happened.

    One other minor thing, I think in the second-to-last paragraph you mean "welling" and not "walling"––although maybe I misinterpreted the meaning.

    Anyway, good luck! :)

  7. I agree with moving the being watched part forward. Maybe even a little enhancement. I would cut some of the words describing her dress too. Maybe cotton? (Just a small thing) But I really enjoyed it. It sounds like my type of book! Good job and good luck!

    I am 93 if you want to take a look or go to

  8. Some of the writing is definetly overwrought, like the heady description of the dress and all the -ly adverbs, but overall it's a strong piece that sets itself up well!

    Good luck!

  9. Nice conflicts set up here with the father, and again with the watcher. The MC has some angst, good. It does need some polishing still, but great scene.

  10. I agree with the above comments. If you start with your current first line, then you don't need to use the second line repeating that she always felt it, because you said she felt it all her life in first sentence.

    I was a bit lost with this. I'm not sure where it's going, why the father is crying, why she feels loss (did her mother die?), and why does she have to pack and leave?

    If you've written this in 3rd person POV then Taisie wouldn't say 'her blue eyes flickered' cause she can't see her eyes.

    Be careful of repetition. You mention it rains several times, when once is enough. You also say that the rain is like icy daggers, and then use the same description for the icy wind, and then say later on that it's piercing rain (no need to say again). Go through this and check carefully before you enter the competition. Good luck.

  11. You have a lovely way with language. I also like that first sentence. It immediately grabs me and makes me ask, "Why?" However, the main problem I have here is that you're being too ambiguous. I did have to reread that opening paragraph twice b/c I immediately assumed the feeling of loss was because of a death she'd dealt with as a child. But then she says she's never experienced it until now, which threw me off. So it's a feeling she's always had but can't explain. And as I read on, I realize they must be attending a funeral (thus the "until now").

    Of course, it could definitely just be me being slow to catch on lol. Also, I'd suggest cutting back on the use of ellipses.

    In any case, I think you've got a strong first sentence, and I like the feeling of loss that really does permeate this opening. You can feel Taisie's a little lost herself and the way she snaps at her dad is also a great way to show how she's feeling.

  12. You have some great suggestions above already. I'd have to agree with starting with her getting out of the car and then weaving the backstory later on in your story. Why are they moving? What's going on? A quick something like her thinking "I hated him for making us move from my mother's home, it was where I felt her presence the most." Of course, use the real reason and that's kind of a bad example but gives you the idea. As far as eclipses go, use them sparingly. And I think Susan meant to say use emdashes (two hyphens together) instead of a hyphen. Now to the genre, you might think about streamlining your genre reference to YA Paranormal Romance - which would include the horror and fantasy elements of your story. Here's the definition . Just a little tightening will do wonders for this opening. Okay, with all that said, I was intrigued to read on. Good luck! :D

    P.S. DM me if you rework this and want me to read it again. *Hugs*

  13. Can't add much except to say that I love the phrase "hollow feeling of loss." It makes me want to read on and to get to know the character better. Also love "plot bunnies" Brilliant. I think there are a few of them hiding under my bed :)

  14. There's a nice balance between internal dialogue and external action. Good work!

  15. You built up some great tension here. When the dialog started I felt almost like I was reading 2 different books. The voice seemed to change and I was thrown out of the story and had to go back and reread. Also how does Taisie know her father has been holding back tears? This felt like a POV switch which is possibly why I was pulled out of the story. You have a great voice and the beginning paragraph starts really grabbed me.