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).
If you will email me your snail mail address at email@example.com 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.)
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!