I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First Page Blog Fest

Today I’m participating in Elle Strauss’s First Page Blog Fest.

Here are the first 250-words from my YA Horror/Paranormal manuscript, FROM THE OTHER SIDE.

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When I woke, with a splitting headache and pain slashing through my body, things had changed. They had brought another victim.

I strained to see the girl through grainy eyes. My heart pounded, rocketing away in all directions in my too-tight chest. A drum solo emphasizing my frantic thoughts.

No. No. No.

The girl lay beside me, just out of reach. Battered. Bruised. Naked. Ragged patches of blood smeared parts of her body, shadowing the small of her back and defining the curve of her hip.

Wait…the shape of her body…it couldn’t be. Could it? My head felt like it was cemented to the ground, but I managed to lift it slightly. To see the girl better. I breathed a sigh of relief when my eyes came to rest on her matted dark hair. It was closer to mine in color than to Audrey’s bottle-blonde. I should’ve known better. My sister still lay in hospital, breathing through that awful tube shoved down her throat. There was no way this girl could be her.

She lay so still. I tried to reach toward her, tried to see if she was all right, but my own body refused my commands. My head collapsed back to the ground with a painful thud. I needed to rest.

My ragged breathing slowed. Softened. There was no other sound. The silence pressed down on me, growing louder and louder, echoing in my eardrums.

Time slithered away from me as I lay there. A giant hourglass poised in the air above my head. Waiting to fall and smash me to bits when the last grain of sand trickled through.

When will they return?

+++

Hope you all enjoyed reading, would love to hear what you think. I’m currently neck-deep in revisions for this manuscript, and plan to begin the submission process very soon.

To check out the other participants in this blog fest, click here.

33 comments:

Rachel Morgan said...

I know what comes after this! He he he...

I liked:
"My heart pounded, rocketing away in all directions in my too-tight chest" - it's hard to come up with original ways to talk about a heart beating fast, so that was good.

"Time slithered away from me" - nice picture :-)

All the best with revisions!

Madeleine said...

Ooh it sounds very intense from the very beginning. Good luck with submissions.

Quinn said...

I really wanna know what's going on here and who the girl is :)

The only thing, I'm not sure what "they" is in the second line. It seemed to make sense when I read it, but when I thought about it, I realized I had no idea what it meant.

Also, the paragraph where he's talking about the girl's body and thinks it's his sister. Well, the way you were describing the body almost seemed sexual to me (the small of the back, the curve of the hip). And then he thinks it's his sister because of the body. So, from that ... I got the impression that something was going on between him and his sister or at least that he had checked out his sister. Not sure if that's what you were going for.

I love that it started out so tense though and really liked how you described the body.

Francine said...

Hi,

First off it's a gripping start, because who are THEY? What is going down here, other than seeming brutality? Who is the MC? Great atmosphere too, and of course the MC's sense of incapacity and inability to aid self let alone another victim.

Yes, really good opening! ;)
best
F

Summer Ross said...

I was pulled in right away! well done. I'm curious what going to happen next and I would turn the page- it almost sounds as if its a rape thing with the way you described the other girl coming in, but then I'm not sure cause you mention they and it makes me wonder if it is something else. well done

Cinette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cinette said...

Can't spell worth beans. Need more coffee!

This definately starts in the middle of things. Gripping from the get-go. Good luck with submissions!

Colene Murphy said...

Love it! I was reading as if it was a girl narrating but Quinn said "he" so if it is a she I think the description of the girl and her curves is fine because girls do notice things like that about other girls. But a guy trying to figure out if it's his sister is a little creepy. If that is the case maybe give her a familiar shaped nose or something.

I love your description and the tension and reeeeeeally wanna know more!! Wonderful!

"She lay so still. I tried to reach toward her, tried to see if she was all right, but my own body refused my commands." <this is wonderful but it took me out for a moment. I would replace "my commands" with "refused to obey" but that is just me. And nothing wrong with how you have it. shutting up now.

Love it! Good luck with your submissions!

Shallee said...

I like the tension and mystery in this scene! I'd like a little more information, but it is only the first 250 words, so that might be coming soon. Good luck with it!

Nathalie said...

Where to start? Such a rivetting beginning! I read it at a break-neck speed. Maybe a bit more description of where the MC is would be helpful? Are they on the ground, lying on a hospital cot, in a lab, etc.

Very compelling and mysterious. Such a fab-o start that makes the reader beg for more!

Elle Strauss said...

Good sense of danger here ampted up by concern for the mc's sister. Lot's of questions to pull the reader in. Thanks for sharing.

Jolene Perry said...

"the silence pressed down on me"
love that line.
You totally pulled me in!

DLCurran said...

That was a great read - I'd love more information! Couldn't even guess where this is going, but in a good way. Great hook - definitely want more! :)

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

With a little work I think it will be good. But I was confused about who I was listening to. I think we need just a bit more explanation without giving too much away.

Marieke said...

I still love this, as I'm sure you know I do! ^.^

Rachael Harrie said...

Hi guys, thanks so much for your comments. I'll definitely take on board suggestions for improving; some great ideas there which I'll work in to clarify things. The narrator is a girl, so I don't want there to be any sexual connotations - might revise the description a bit. The rest of the chapter starts describing where she is and gives more info about what's going on, but I'll see if there are any more details I can give a bit earlier.

Rach

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Intense stuff!

I agree with the people who felt knowing the sex of the protag is important, and where she is exactly. The feel of the table she's on maybe?

Brenda Drake said...

Wow, riveting piece. I'm sacred for both girls and wondering what the heck is going to happen next. I'm very intrigued and would definitely keep reading. Great Job! :D

Melissa Gill said...

I think this sounds great. Some people said they wanted more of a feel for where she is. I didn't really miss it, until others brought it up. But some people really seem to need that so you might add more setting. But it's very intense and I want to know more.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I'm with Melissa. I didn't miss place either. Questions were raised which would have me continue reading!

L'Aussie said...

Jeesh, this has it all for a first page, Rach. I love your gory descriptions and you've hooked me in, like you're s'posed to. Good going..:) Time's slithering away...

Christopher said...

i want more

Stephanie said...

Definitely leave me wondering what happened!

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, all kinds of questions, but in a good way. I don't think you need to get to place on this page. Soon, yes, but I was okay.

I do think clarifying that it's a girl would be good.

Excellent beginning! And good luck with submissions. :)

Laurel said...

Very evocative and intriguing. I agree that it would be helpful to know the MC's sex. One idea would be to describe the girl as "another girl" and her injuries as "like mine."

Steena Holmes said...

You pulled me in - great job!

Michelle said...

Wow I haven't been here for a while, and I'm glad I came back !! Great work!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Very intense start (I'm guessing this one is not for kids), I would look at slipping in a little about the gender and age of the narrator in the first couple of paragraphs and a sense of the setting. I get that they're captive, but I'm guessing the room will be quite scary too. I also think you might revise the way the girl mistakes the other for her sister - knowing the curve of her naked body does seem a bit freaky, maybe she could have one of those identity bracelets or something common that her sister also has?
Excellent concept and start!

Melissa said...

Intense, emphasis on the tense. This is a great opening. It's got me asking questions and looking forward to more.

kathrynjankowski said...

A suspenseful start, but I'd like a smidgen more about the setting up front.

Thanks for sharing.

Rachael Harrie said...

Just wanted to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who commented on my first 250 words. I'm so excited by the great response to my manuscript's beginning.

It was lovely meeting you all during this blog fest, and I really enjoyed commenting on all your writing (hope some of the things I said helped). I can't wait to see all you round the blogosphere! :)

And...I got some great suggestions for improving my first page. I've already rewritten it to show that Verity is a girl, and show a bit more where she is. I've also made the word change that Coleen suggested. Can't give away too much though, cause it will ruin the twist ;)

kangaroobee said...

Ooh Rach I am intrigued. I agree with Kathryn to show us if they are in a warehouse or dump truck, whatever. Something subtly mentioned in the middle. Good stuff :)

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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