I read this amazing book last night that I'm so excited to tell you about on Monday. I know you are ALL going to want this one. Well, if you love humorous, romantic books that make you stay up until all hours of the night and then wake up and read all your favorite parts again because it was so good and you want to relive it all. *le sigh*
All right, on to First Page Friday. I am so grateful for the time and effort our editors put in and for all of you for submitting. If you would like your first page critiqued by a national editor, the instructions are in the sidebar.
by C. Michelle Jeffries
Elias Porter didn’t like being covered in demon blood. It had a particularly nasty stench that stuck around for days, even after you scrubbed it from your skin. And, seeing that he dealt with demon gore for a living—he pretty much stunk like that all the time.
At least the humans can’t smell it.
His eyes scanned the people walking down the sidewalk. Most of them seemed to not even notice he was there. A few saw him, giving him a wide berth, as if they could almost sense what he’d been messing with all night. Still fewer covered their noses scrunching their faces like they’d encountered something putrid. Thank the Guardian Angles they were few and far between.
He could make himself invisible, but that used a lot of energy especially after tonight’s experience. It was easier to pull his hood over his face, shove his hands in his shredded sweatshirt, and walk the tension of the evening off, as he headed home. Just the thought of a hot shower and leftovers quickened his step.
“Quiet night?” he asked as the slightest sound of feet hit the sidewalk behind him. Katia had been trying to sneak up on him the entire time they’d worked together. Her black tactical clothing hardly had a splotch of demon or other “things” on it.
“No, I am just better at killing them than you are.” She shrugged off her disappointment with a cat like roll of her shoulders and fell into step with him. “Looks like all my usual business decided to have a party in your sector.”
“Yeah it was a lot of fun. Especially the Celestine demon in the subway.”
She sucked in her breath. “You messed with a Celestine and you didn’t call me?”
“She was just a baby, didn’t see any trace of her parents tho’ which means we need to be on guard.” Elias looked at the sky. The moon was almost full, the weekend would be busy.
Ms. Shreditor's Comments
This has been a difficult critique to write because, honestly, I can’t find much to pick apart here. The first sentence ropes the reader right in, and the story gains momentum from there. Aside from some syntax-level issues and mechanical errors, I can’t find fault with much.
I enjoy the element of insinuation on this first page. The second paragraph, “At least the humans can’t smell it,” hints that perhaps Elias himself isn’t human. This is a skillful method of introducing important character details. I also love Katia’s entrance into the story—the sound of her feet on the sidewalk, the way she falls into step with him. These subtle details establish immediate intimacy between the two characters. They tell us how close the two are without resorting to something rote like, “They were very close.”
My one criticism is that there are some punctuation and spelling errors (e.g., Guardian “Angles”) in this piece. I would recommend having someone proof it before submitting. I would also change “tho’” to “though” in the last paragraph, as I don’t see any real need to shorten a one-syllable word in a way that doesn’t change the pronunciation.
The most important elements, however, are in place here. As I’ve said in the past, I can’t control what happens to a book baby once the author sends it out into the world. As I’m sure many of you know, if you send a manuscript to three different beta readers, you’ll get three very different critiques. The same is true of acquiring editors and agents; you never know what is going to pique their interest. But this first page feels “ready” to me.
Thank you again to everyone. We'll see you next week!