We're back! Kicking off 2017 with the very popular 250 word critiques! Yes, this was supposed to go live last week but we've been flat out editing your incredible books!
Right, today we have a fairly controversial first 250 of a YA sci-fi. Controversial in that it has split the #EditFoster camp.
One editor wants changes, one isn't so sure. So, we want your feedback. How would you edit this opening page? Would you recommend revisions? Would you read on?
Here we go...
It’s difficult to tell what I feel the loudest. I’ve reached the end, and it’s as if I’ve captured a breath after staying underwater too long. Yet more consuming than relief is the uncertainty of what waits for me on the surface.
But whether I’m ready for it or not, after today, everything I’ve worked for will be mine: the title of captain, the finest ship in the galaxy, but mostly the freedom of open space.
My uncle’s voice seeps into my head. “Is there freedom in the promise of war, Tethys? Will you attain it with your heart or demand it with the point of a sword?”
I clench my eyes against the thought. No, I won’t go there. If ever I needed confidence in the Acquisition, it’s today. Focus on the final trial, on your last test, and prove you’re the woman Uncle believes you to be. I step forward, yanking at the sleeves of my armored bodysuit. My boots glide soundlessly over the training hall’s sleek, metal floor.
From ground up, the domed, reflective glass panels ripple like a snake’s glossy skin to reveal the Guta moon and the sun peeking just over its shoulder. I inhale the familiar stringent scent of a recently sterilized room. And in the hazy glow of early morning, the cavernous room atop the Acquisition Starship wraps me in the chill and quietness of deep space.
Yet nothing can still the wild thrumming of my heart.
Our first editor says:
"Fantastic, strong writing. Very stylish. We meet the character and see that she’s determined, ambitious, successful, that she appears to crave freedom; we start to ask questions like ‘reached the end of what?’ and ‘what war?’ and ‘why does she think of her uncle and not her parents?’; we see some confusion in her mind through her uncle’s voice, a possible clue into her internal conflict. Completely enthralling with a strong voice that will push a reader to keep reading. No edits recommended at this stage!
And our second editor says:
While the writing is strong, I feel some attention needs to be given to setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening, as well as showing more action instead of beginning with the character’s musings. The first page provides the opportunity to connect the reader with the protagonist. Show me an immediate scene with action and description, plus, if it works, dialogue. Show me how whatever happens has consequences for the protagonist. The reader doesn’t need set-up because the story should be happening NOW. What is the inciting event, or what’s different that day that will change the direction for the protagonist? And lastly, what happens on the first page should raise a story question—what happens next? Or why did that happen? "
So, please, leave your comments below! Thanks for stopping by.
Fortnightly on Mondays, we live critique one writer's query letter or first 250 words of their manuscript. Every Wednesday & Saturday we bring you an edit tip of the day!