Saturday, June 25, 2011

Contest for the First 250 Words @ Shelly Watters' Blog!

Another deviation from the plan: Author Shelley Watters is hosting an agent judged first page contest, which I've been waiting for for weeks, so I've gotta go with that for today. Participants post the first 250 words of their YA or MG novel today, June 25, visit other blogs for critique on the 25th and 26th, and post the "final version" on her blog on the 27th.
The winner gets a full manuscript request from Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency!

Good luck to all involved!

Genre: YA Dystopian
Word Count: 95,000

First 250 Words

“You there!” The booming voice stirred Jade into alertness, reaching her eardrums with the subtlety of a blunt mallet. Only two lines of bushes and a wrought iron fence distanced her from the pairs of footsteps running her way. “You!” the officer shouted. “Where do you think you’re going?"
The officer barreled down the street, running after the young man who darted just a few feet ahead of him. The clunk, clunk of the officer's footsteps and the wheeze of his voice escalated as he ran. “You there! I said stop!”
The escapee continued running, dashing towards the bushes that lined the inside of the gates. Tall. Muscular. Short hair, Jade noted. But before anything else could be processed, he slammed into the fence in front of her, rattling it and then hitting the ground. The runner groaned angrily, coughing up the little air he had left in his lungs. Jade's heart pounded. She gasped with him. Beneath the cover of leaves and branches, the man was now nearly invisible.
           Jade turned her attention to the officer, whose face twisted in irritation as he paused to wipe the sweat from his brow.
“Peter! That’s not you again is it?” the officer barked. He flexed his muscles, perhaps for the gods to admire. "You know what happens to those who disobey, don't you, son? Don't want a repeat of last time do we?" 

<3 Gina Blechman


  1. I'm definitely feeling the action from the start! Your descriptions are beautiful, but I can't help but wonder if there are too many, bogging down the action, especially near the end. Example - sheltering shrubbery, which is great alliteration, however, it made me stop for a moment, losing sight of what was going on. Another example is where you talk about the starched uniform of the patroller, unless this is important to you story, I would shorten this. Good luck and thanks for letting me read! :)

  2. Very cool way to start. Got me curious. Intriguing. This MC has an interesting way of seeing the world. It sounds to be a the start of a pretty exciting story.

    Oh, it jumped out at me, there is a missing a closing quotation after --you're going?

  3. Nice entry.Wondering what's gonna happen next.

  4. Agree with Julie on trimming things so the action can gain full momentum. It's an interesting start and one that grabs my attention.

    Watch your formatting. Generally it's more readable if you give each instance of dialogue its own paragraph. You're missing a period after "dirt" and the next line isn't indented the same as the others. (I'm kinda anal about formatting).

    But, nice work and nice sense of immediacy.

  5. "subtlety of a blunt mallet" haha! love it! great voice. only thing: can you really hit the ground at lightning speed? Seems a bit of a stretch to me.
    Good work and good luck!

  6. You started with the action--nice job!!

  7. This really starts out great and has me interested to find out what's going to happen next. The other commenters ahead of me caught most of what I noticed. I did wonder what was clunking. Is it the police officer's breath? Or a weapon? Make it clear. Other than that, this is a wonderful beginning. Good luck! :D

  8. Hey there!

    First sentence: "The booming voice stirred Jade into action,"
    It does? What action? I don't see her doing anything or making any sort of reactive motion.

    "The officer towered down the street, running after the young man who darted just a few feet ahead of him."
    ^I have a bit of an issue with this. He wouldn't be saying "You there" if he's literally feet behind the kid. "You there" is for people at such a distance that the addresser could probably be mistaken for talking to someone other than the addressee. It feels odd.

    "he forcefully slammed into the fence"
    you don't need 'forcefully'.

    A couple comma issues:
    "You know what happens to those who disobey, don't you son? Don't want a repeat of last time do we?"


    "You know what happens to those who disobey, don't you, son? Don't want a repeat of last time, do we?"

    Like the action and the pacing! Smooth reading. Very best of luck to you!

  9. I think the action start is great. You introduce the characters seamlessly, which I always find to be a hard thing to do.
    I stopped when I read "the officer towered down the street". I know what you mean, but I don't believe someone can actually do that in the true meaning of the verb "tower". Towered as he ran down the street? Barreled down the street?

  10. I would definitely love to know the consequences of his actions, and if the girl gets away with whatever naughty thing she's doing, too.

  11. Very nicely done, now what will happen next?

  12. Nice sample that you've posted here Gina.

  13. My favorite line: "subtlety of a blunt mallet". Awesome description!

    Loved how fast-paced this was. My only "eh" came from being a tad confused at the first that Jade was in her garden or something and hearing the tumult. From the first paragraph I thought the officer was after HER.

    Good luck Gina!