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  1. #1
    Aara Vinsh
    Guest

    Opinions welcome

    I wouldn't mind if someone could take the time to read this and give their opinion. It is the first few pharagraphs of my new manuscript. I have a thing with books that if I am not attracted to it within the first few pages or the first chapter then I lay it aside. Also on a side note...I ramble alot...which is not always bad, but can be confusing...

    Let me tell you a story about a very ordinary girl named Evelyn and a day that was the same as any other day…until a certain unexpected event changed it all.

    Evelyn was a young, very normal, sixteen year old girl. Her black hair was always pulled back in a clip of sorts, she wore an old worn out pair of black combat style boots, clothes that always seemed to be two sizes too big and her shoulder was always the previous year’s style in back packs, that more then just often, was looked down upon by the preppy group at school. She lived in the everyday town of Birch Valley, where nothing ever happened to the point that every day was the same as the last. Not to say that the town itself was a bad place to live, but it was a small town, quiet and uneventful to say the least. Everyday Evelyn walked to school along the same route, passing the same buildings…the police station, the library, a few houses, other odd buildings and then the hardware store where her father worked long hours into the darkness of the night. She sat in the same seat for eight long hours, listening to the teacher’s mundane and so very tiresome voice and then walked home, the same way in the afternoon that she had walked that same morning.

    Nothing ever changed until one day when passing the same library she always passed on her way back and forth between home and school, she could have sworn she had heard someone call out her name. Stopping on the sidewalk Evelyn glanced up at the statue sitting on the front step of the library reading a book and holding a quill. He could not have said her name; he was made of stone and was way too engrossed in his book to notice anyone like her just passing by. Starting to walk down the sidewalk, her name was again called, but this time it sounded like it had come from inside the building next to the library, which was an old empty store that never seemed to do anything but sit there with a for sale sign on it. Looking around there was no one about, no policeman standing on the sidewalk, her father not calling to her from the store, not even a pigeon pecking along looking for crumbs under the statues heel. Evelyn kept her eyes on her feet and slowly walked the few steps to the old abandoned building and looked cautiously through the window. The For Sale sign was no longer in its original place on the window, but instead was replaced with a large wooden sign that just looked like a large piece of old drift wood, but it had large letters painted on it that read THE LIBRARY. Evelyn peered curiously through the window of the store, it actually seemed to be rather dark inside, but past the sign she could see what looked to be rows upon rows of shelves loaded with books to the point that they bowed. She moved towards the large oak door, pulled it open and walked through into a room that seemed to be vacant, but only because it seems to be, does not all at once mean that it actually is, for there was an odd looking blue eyed, hooked nose older female clerk behind a counter with her nose pressed between the pages of a book and a few people sitting around in comfy lounge chairs reading quietly to themselves.



  2. #2
    Lisa P
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    Aara,

    Just a few things that noticed on the first read through:

    Let me tell you a story about a very ordinary girl named Evelyn and a day that was the same as any other day...
    The POV here reminds me a little of the Lemony Snicket series. Is the "me" you are referring to going to be an actual character? If not, you might want to reword.

    her shoulder was always the previous year’s style in back packs, that more then just often, was looked down upon by the preppy group at school
    This whole line threw me a bit. I think you mean on her shoulder, and that more then just often is just awkward; besides, then should be than.

    You seem to have a lot of wasted words throughout; things that don't need to be there, don't add to the understanding of the story, and slow down the narrative.
    Ex: the police station, the library, a few houses, other odd buildings and then the hardware store
    quiet and uneventful to say the least
    mundane and so very tiresome voice

    This is a nit of mine so I wanted to point it out.
    Evelyn kept her eyes on her feet

    I also noticed a lot of repeated words close together, such as
    but instead was replaced with a large wooden sign that just looked like a large piece of old drift wood, but it had large letters painted on it that read THE LIBRARY.

    Also, the last sentence is a run-on and very all over the place as it's written. You could break it down, and make it much more clear.

    Last, I probably wouldn't have kept reading. There was no tension. I didn't relate to the MC and I just didn't get a good sense of where this was going. I noticed your PA book looked like women's fiction or romance, but this one seems more MG or YA. You might want to read some books in that genre to get a feel for the voice. An excellent one I just finished is The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, it isn't meant to be, just honest.
    Others will have more.

    ; )

  3. #3
    Aara Vinsh
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    Thank you Lisa, not harsh...I accept honest and it makes me look closer the what I am "trying" to put into words. I always have so much going on in my mind that it does not come out the same and I cannot see it until it is gone over by others.

    my PA book is a historical/time travel romance...but right now in my head seems to be a fantasy...

    "but instead was replaced with a large wooden sign that just looked like a large piece of old drift wood, but it had large letters painted on it that read THE LIBRARY"

    this part was a mistake I missed...I the one line

    "Let me tell you a story about a very ordinary girl named Evelyn and a day that was the same as any other day...
    The POV here reminds me a little of the Lemony Snicket series. Is the "me" you are referring to going to be an actual character? If not, you might want to reword."

    funny enough, I never read the Lemony Snicket Series...lol...no the me is not a character, I see what your saying there

    "This is a nit of mine so I wanted to point it out.
    Evelyn kept her eyes on her feet'

    I can see the problem here now that I look at it

    "You seem to have a lot of wasted words throughout; things that don't need to be there, don't add to the understanding of the story, and slow down the narrative.
    Ex: the police station, the library, a few houses, other odd buildings and then the hardware store
    quiet and uneventful to say the least
    mundane and so very tiresome voice"

    This I am not sure I understand b/c it is suppose to sort of

  4. #4
    Aara Vinsh
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    sorry I missed a word there...its supposed to ramble some

  5. #5
    Kate B.
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    OK…this is just my opinion so use or ignore…whatever you like.

    I wouldn’t start out with two and a half paragraphs about how dull and mundane Evelyn’s life is. For one, it doesn’t entice me to want to know more about her. For two, it isn’t true. She wears combat boots. She doesn’t seem to care about traditional fashion. In a little town, it should make her stand out a little. Juxtaposition can be really interesting. Maybe if you tried to contrast how dull everything is in her town with not dull Evelyn is, there might be a hook in your first couple of paragraphs.

    FWIW, you caught my interest with the sign in the window. But I also agree that you ramble in a way that adds extra words but no extra voice.

    For example, I would trim the third paragraph to say something like:

    One day on her way back from school, she could have sworn she had heard someone call out her name. Evelyn glanced up at the statue sitting on the front step of the library reading a book and holding a quill. He could not have said her name; he was made of stone and was way too engrossed in his book to notice anyone like her just passing by. Her name was again called (I WOULD SAY:SHE HEARD HER NAME AGAIN…IT’S MORE ACTIVE), but this time it sounded like it had come from inside the building next to the library, which was an old empty store with a for sale sign on it. There was no one about: no policeman standing on the sidewalk, her father (WAS) not calling to her from the store, not even a pigeon pecking along looking for crumbs under the statues heel. Evelyn slowly walked the few steps to the old abandoned building and looked cautiously through the window. The For Sale sign was no longer in its original place, but instead was replaced with a large wooden sign that looked like a large piece of old drift wood. It had large letters painted on it that read THE LIBRARY. Evelyn peered curiously through the window of the store. She could see what looked to be rows upon rows of shelves (BOWED WITH THE WEIGHT OF) books. She opened (THE DOOR) and walked through into a room with an odd looking, blue eyed, hooked nose older female clerk behind a counter with her nose (HER NOSE IS DOING A LOT IN THIS SENTENCE) pressed between the pages of a book and a few people sitting around in comfy lounge chairs reading quietly to themselves.

    I cut about 90 words and to my ear, it sounds more clear. I don’t feel like it loses tone in the cutting, but that’s your call.
    ~Kate

  6. #6
    Lisa P
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    Aara,

    Sorry, I should have made myself clearer regarding wasted words. I highlighted which ones
    I was referring to:

    the police station, the library, a few houses, other odd buildings and then the hardware store
    quiet and uneventful to say the least
    mundane and so very tiresome voice (this just seemed like saying the same thing twice)

    Hope that explains.
    ; )

  7. #7
    Robert Wilson
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    I find it to be verbose and repetitious.

    RW

  8. #8
    Aara Vinsh
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    Thank you all for looking and your input...I shall have to work on the...too many words

    I am glad I asked...

    Kate - I definitely agree with if she is dull than why continue reading...though I have to smile some b/c in the small town I grew up in, the no fashion and combat boots did not make you stand out, it made you fit in...along with the camo and cheeks full of chew outside during lunch break

  9. #9
    Annie Bean
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome

    It does need less wordiness. For example:

    Evelyn was a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She wore her black hair pulled back in a clip, worn-out combat boots, and clothes that were two sizes too big. The preppy group at school looked down on her unfashionable back pack, but she didn't care. (Or did she care?) She lived in Birch Valley, where every day was the same as the last. Not that the town was a bad place to live, but it was small, quiet, and uneventful. Each day Evelyn walked to school, passing the same buildings…the police station, the library, a few houses, and then the hardware store where her father worked long into the night. She sat in the same seat in school for eight hours, listening to the teacher’s tiresome voice. After the bell rang, she took the same route home.

    Or something like that..... lots of the word same. Hmmm....

    I think you have a story, but it needs to cut to the chase.

    Annie

  10. #10
    sam albion
    Guest

    Re: Opinions welcome


    Let me tell you a story about a very ordinary girl named Evelyn and a day that was the same as any other day…until a certain unexpected event changed it all (CUT ALL THIS).

    "...sIXTEEN-YEAR OLD Evelyn'S black hair was pulled back in a clip of sorts. She wore an old, worn-out pair of black combat style boots AND Clothes that always seemed to be two sizes too big. Looked down upon the preppy group at school, she lived in Birch Valley. The town wasn't a bad place to live, but it was a small town, quiet and uneventful. Everyday, Evelyn walked to school along the same route, passing the same buildings; the police station, the library, the houses, the hardware store where her father worked into the darkness of night. She sat in the same seat for eight long hours, listening to the teacher’s mundane and so very tiresome voice and then walked home the same way.
    Yet one day, passing the same library she always passed on her way back and forth between home and school, she could have sworn she heard someone call out her name.
    Stopping on the sidewalk Evelyn glanced up at the statue sitting on the front step. Reading a book and holding a quill, the statue could not have said her name; he was too engrossed in his book.
    Walking down the sidewalk, her name was again called, but this time it sounded like it CAME from inside the building next DOOR TO the library- THE old empty store.
    Evelyn looked cautiously through the window. The For Sale sign was no longer in its original place, INSTEAD replaced with WHAT looked like a large piece of old drift wood. The letters painted on it read THE LIBRARY.
    ALTHOUGH dark inside, EVELYN could see what looked to be row upon row of BOWING shelves, loaded with books. She moved towards the large oak door and pulled, ENTERING a room that SHE HAD ALWAYS ASSUMED WAS vacant.
    A blue-eyed, hook nosed female clerk SAT behind a counter with her nose pressed between the pages of a book. A few people SAT around in comfy lounge chairs reading quietly to themselves..."

    .... Of course, my revision isn't perfect, but perhaps it's a good-enough example of how you could edit your work a lot, and still keep the original tone and themes.

    I kept the tense, and did not make it active, as I assumed the original sentence meant a narrator was telling a story.

    To make the story better, Evelyn, from now... should be "here", instead of "there". Make the story become "now", instead of "then". Most people say a story written entirely in past tense is boring, so, allow the story to become present tense. "I go/She goes", "I am going/she is going", rather than "I/she went", "I have been/she has been".

    feel free to ignore, debate, become irate about my comments- as always, they are just my opinion.

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