Day Two of July’s First Page Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Hayley Nicole Stone & Jessica Vitalis
Jul02

Day Two of July’s First Page Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Hayley Nicole Stone & Jessica Vitalis

Welcome to July’s First Page Workshop with some of our past and present PitchWars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected many wonderful writers to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a first page for one lucky writer. The writers are anonymous. Follow along all month to view the first page critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques … Hayley Nicole Stone Website | Twitter  Hayley (H. N.) Stone is a recent graduate of California State University, Sacramento where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in German. Her poems have appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Calaveras Station Literary Journal, and more recently, she served as a judge for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. When not reading, writing, or editing, she designs book covers, falls in love with video game characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She writes speculative fiction, and is represented by Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency.   Hayley’s Critique… June 14th 2012, New York City J.J. realized he was procrastinating when he counted the menthol butts littering the brick sidewalk under the maple tree. He dropped a chewed toothpick. It touched the tip of a flattened filter, looked like a willow branch in the middle of full-grown tree trunks floating down river to the mill. You use several filter words here (realized, looked like) that create distance between the reader and the narrative. Eliminate the filter words, and let us observe how he is procrastinating rather than simply telling us. Additionally, the closing sentence is convoluted. Try a simpler image that also conveys the mindset of the MC: It touched the tip of a flattened filter, a willow branch floating in a sea of lumber. Small. Insignificant. (Obviously you don’t have to go with this example, but try utilizing objective correlation to help convey emotion.) He wanted a menthol, not a toothpick. This is a stronger opening sentence than the one you currently have. Also a good opportunity to inject some voice into the piece. Is J.J. one to swear? If so, it could read: He wanted a menthol, not a damn toothpick. Always look for opportunities to add voice. The unmistakable horselaugh echoed from the tavern. The word “tavern” made me second-guess the genre, because it tends to have fantasy connotations. Give the tavern a name to help ground it in the contemporary setting. Specifics lend a story more verisimilitude. It was louder than every other sound emerging through the open door. What sounds? Again, be specific....

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