Saturday, April 16, 2011

First page critic

I just sent my first page (250 words) to a few blogs for a critic; I figured I should offer my revised first page up here as well… so if you want, read it and tell me what you think. Thx for your time and effort, all advice is welcome.

98,000 words

Valley of Swords

REMOVED... thx for all the advice.


  1. I love opening line. You hooked me for sure! However, it does feel like it's bouncing around a little and inconsistent.

    The opening line he's saying its his last change to kill his father so it seems like he is definitely planning to do that (and that's what hooked me)

    The next paragraph he's hoping his father dies on his own, then he talks about the army, then he's back to plotting his father's death again 'after' he returns from the Army. So now the opening hooky line has lost value because it doesn't seem true anymore.

    I wonder if you could focus on the opening line more in the first page and why he wants to kill his father and let us see him actually planning what it is he's going to do to carry it out. And then bring in the army and why he wants to join it so badly later.

    Just my opinion of course and I hope it helps. But I think you've got something here.

  2. I see your points... I never saw it that way. The next page goes into his attempt and confrontation with his father. Maybe I should move that up then address why he is leaving home later. I wanted to get some background in before the action scene.

    I see I need to but some more thought into this. I have rewritten it so many times, one or ten more times can’t hurt.

    Thx for the input…

  3. Great opening line. You have my interest and great suspense by needing at least one barrier between them. I want to know what happens. Why kill his father if he's leaving? Those are questions the passage brought to mind. Your opening is a success as you grabbed my interest and made me want to read more.


  4. Hi Jeff,

    I know what you mean about rewriting the first page so many times. That is one thing I struggled with a lot and it wasn't until I had an epiphany that I finally think I 'might' have something with my current WIP. I just read a great post on *Confessions from Suite 500* from last Friday, I think it was, on what should be in a first page. If you haven't seen it, you may want to check it out. (It's Suzy Townsend and Joanna Volpe (agents) blog.) They have some really good stuff in that post.

  5. If, hopefully, his father wouldn't return at all that night, I think I would just leave the door open and get some warmth. :) (Joke)

    This is getting better and better. For my personal likes, though, I wish you would stay with one thing at a time and explore it more fully and don't change the subject yet. You know more about writing fiction than I do, that's for sure, but you seem to be too worried about getting all the "required elements" into the story. There are a lot of things in this story that are going to be very interesting when their time comes.

    You can't keep listening to a hundred opinions and keep rewriting it though. Go for it.

  6. Solid opening line. Great hook. I immediately wanted to know what was going on, why he wants to kill his father. I think the only line that really threw me was this one: "old enough to be recruited (more like forced) into the emperor’s army. He couldn’t wait to board..." mainly because if he really wants to go, why would he have to be forced? Also, I don't think you need that last paragraph, since we already know he wants to leave home because of his dad so it feels a tad redundant. Perhaps find another way to insert his desire to learn the dagger?

    All around though, well done!

  7. I agree with what Carol said about the word forced. I was also wondering about this...You call the father "father" each time, but one time you call him "dad." To me calling him dad feels like a term of endearment, I'd keep referring to him as father to indicate the coldness in the relationship. I think this is a much stronger version than the previous version. WTG!