Day Nine of July’s First Page Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Laura Heffernan & Helene Dunbar
Jul13

Day Nine of July’s First Page Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Laura Heffernan & Helene Dunbar

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 … Laura Heffernan Website | Twitter Laura Heffernan is a California-born women’s fiction writer, represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary. One Saturday morning when she was four or five, Laura sat down at the family’s Commodore 64 and typed out her first short story. She’s written both fiction and non-fiction ever since. In her spare time, Laura likes travel, baking, board games, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.   Laura’s first page critique … Margaret Whitefield faltered when she saw [Try to avoid filter words like “saw.” It may be better to say something like “Margaret faltered at the end of…“ Without that, you’ve got an intriguing opening line, because I want to know where the hallway is going and why it’s making Margaret falter] the long hallway. The worst days of her life had begun just like this – a seemingly harmless journey down an ordinary hallway. [Try to avoid saying “hallway” at the end of two sentences in a row. It’s better to vary your word choice a bit. Also, there are no spaces on either side of an em dash.] Margaret sighed. Why should today be any different? Addie tugged at her mother’s hand. She half-stepped, half-skipped along the corridor. Her Tinker Bell backpack swished back and forth on her thin shoulders. [I like this detail.] Addie pointed at the bright posters, decorating the walls of Coal Valley Elementary School, but Margaret noticed none of them. [If she doesn’t notice them, then how is she pointing them out to the reader? Since we’re in Margaret’s head, we shouldn’t see anything she doesn’t notice. Ignored might be a better word.] She couldn’t stop watching [other] parents say good-bye to their children. Mother and daughter located the kindergarten classrooms at the end of the hall. A menagerie of brightly colored animals bloomed on the walls, and the entire area vibrated with childish voices. [This is good description. I can picture this moment perfectly.] Addie’s teacher stood at the classroom door. She welcomed Addie and introduced herself as Miss Hall. [I’m torn, because this is telling, but...

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