Friday, May 18, 2012

First Page Friday and The Hop Winner!

I had critique group last night so you know what that means---yeah, I didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. and I'm dragging today.  Honestly, I wish I could bring you all along for my crit group.  It is so fun!  We laughed a lot, but we also got a lot of chapters critiqued.  It is so motivating to have that.  I can't wait to dive into my WIP today.

We also have an amazing First Page Friday to read, but before we do, here is the winner of my LDS Authors Giveaway Hop (or whatever it was named. The one I started last Friday).

*drum roll*


If you will email me your snail mail address at then I will send you your book basket and dessert.  Thank you to everyone who entered!

On to today's First Page Friday.  And, as always, if you would like to have your first page critiqued by a national editor, then follow the instructions in the sidebar.  (Can I say I'm a little excited about this entry because I BEGGED Melanie for an epilogue to her book, The List, and this is pretty much what I needed.  So THANK YOU Melanie for giving me closure.  :)  (I hope that's not a secret.)

The Entry
by Melanie Jacobson

I tore Trentyn Bach's large square head in half and dropped him in the garbage. Molly winced at the sound of the photo paper ripping.

“Sorry,” she said.

“This is officially irony,” I said. “We develop a whole web series to reform the Huntington Beach dating scene, and the star gets himself into a relationship.”

“Raina is a cool girl,” she said. “We should probably be happy for her.”

“I know. I'm trying.” I sighed. It would be easier to cheer on their blossoming relationship if it hadn't become official two days before I needed Trentyn to do things like save my business and revolutionize love and romance in HB.

“What are you going to do?”

“I have no idea. I barely got Trentyn to agree to do it. I don't know who I could convince to step in.”

Molly ducked behind her Mac screen and turned the radio up, leaving me to stew until I was ready to talk it out. Greatest best friend/employee ever. I snatched up my phone and texted my future sister-in-law, Ashley. Can you dump my brother for three weeks?

Her reply was instant. Sure. Wait. I mean, HECK NO. Bachelor problems?

I snorted. Are there any other kind?

She sent back a picture of Ryan Gosling reading, “Hey, girl. Smile.”

So I did. Unfair trap.

The soulful ballad playing gave way to a party rock anthem the UCLA marching band used to play after every touchdown during my senior year there. Molly reached over to switch the station, but I waved her off.

“Leave it. Maybe it'll motivate me to come up with a good idea.” I drummed my fingers in time to the up-tempo beat but by the second chorus, I still had no answers.

Ms. Shreditor's Comments

Very good this week! You'll see below that I had some issues here and there, but not bad at all.

I like the first sentence of this piece. It’s an attention grabber. However, we lose a bit of momentum in the second sentence, which pulls Molly into the fray without any words of introduction. Who is Molly? We meet her in the first paragraph, but we don’t learn that she’s the narrator’s best friend/employee for another seven paragraphs. I would rework this so that her role is more immediately apparent.

The narrator has a fun, snarky voice. We don’t learn her name, but we do get a sense of what might drive this story (her search for a male star in her web series).

The musical element could use some minor tweaking. Molly turns on the radio, but we don’t know what kind of music she plays. The second-to-last paragraph opens, “The soulful ballad playing,” and the reader has to backtrack a bit to remember where this ballad is coming from. The easiest fix would be to recast as follows: “The soulful ballad playing on Molly’s computer gave way to a party rock anthem…” Or something to that effect.

Be careful with the word “irony.” I blame Alanis Morissette in part for how widely misused this word has become. So few things in “Ironic” are actually ironic, but I digress. Irony is, according to Merriam-Webster, “the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning.” An alternate definition from Merriam-Webster: “Incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.” There’s nothing incongruous about someone starring in a series about dating and getting into a relationship himself. It might be ironic if he were starring in a series about dating and decided to swear off relationships.

I would avoid abbreviating Huntington Beach at the end of the fifth paragraph. I had to stop in my tracks to figure out what “HB” stood for despite its close proximity to the first mention of “Huntington Beach.” I’d recommend spelling it out.

I’ve dissected a lot here, but I really do like the writing style. There are very few grammatical issues, and the writing has a nice, natural rhythm. The bulk of the work to be done here is minor reorganization so that identifying details accompany the first mention of a character or plot detail. Otherwise, well done!

Thank you to Ms. Shreditor and to Melanie.  I know I really enjoyed this one.  See you next week!


Melanie Jacobson said...

Thanks, Julie and Ms. Shreditor! I needed this today. I'm in next to last edits for this story and at the point where I hate it and I'm convinced it stinks, so that makes me feel better. :)

Debra Erfert said...

I have a hard time with irony anyway. Thanks for the lesson, Ms. Shreditor.

Melanie, this definitely doesn't stink! It's the kind of fun story that I like. Can't wait for you to finish with the edits.

Janice Sperry said...

I loved this first page. Well done, Melanie.

I often have conversations about irony with my husband. He's in the "irony is everywhere" camp. I'm not. For all the talk about irony, it isn't very common. :)

Emily Gray Clawson said...

Melanie, I can't wait to read it! I picked up Twitterpated at Storymakers and just read it last week. I loved it (just like all your books)!

Ms. Shreditor, thanks for the great comments. I love being able to lurk on another's critique to get extra ideas for my own work. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Julie, you rock and I'm going right now to post a little response on my blog. LOL. ;)

Jordan McCollum said...

Hooray, Melanie! I'm excited to read this book! You can do it!

Man, I love first page Friday, even with the crit group hangover ;) .

Jordan McCollum said...

PS, Ryan Gosling is my favorite part. (I may or may not secretly have an RG blog...)(Not telling.)