Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Impressions

Okay, I guess I should confess. I have my first 400 words up on two blogs for critique. It's for a manuscript I completed last month. Since then, I've gone through it a few times and had a couple of readers critique the first chapters. 

After I received feedback from Dianne and Marcy's blogs, I started making changes! I've already reworked the beginning. Right now, I'm leaving in the mirror because I don't use it as a tool to describe her appearance and it has significance for the end of the chapter and the end of the book. It may go later. I've also deleted a few hyphenated bits and I've toned some vocabulary, so the protagonist sounds more MG than YA. This early guidance has helped steer me in the right direction. Thanks, Dianne and Marcy!


If you want to see what I've been writing, please visit: 





And if you're interested in receiving a critique, Here's how it works:


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

Dianne Salerni of In High Spirits and with Marcy Hatch of Mainewords  have teamed up to critique the first page of your manuscript on the first M/W/F of every month. If you're interested, please email either one of us. We promise to be nice :)

My first 3 posts of each month are devoted toFIRST IMPRESSIONS-- short crits of first pages submitted by YOU! I'm teaming up with Marcy Hatch of Mainewords for this feature.


me: marcy@tidewater.net
or dianne: dksalerni@gmail.com

Please, write 'first impressions' in the subject line, and paste your submission into the body of the email - no attachments. And thank-you! Critiques help all of us.

FAQs

1. A page is about 350-400 words
2. Prologue or first chapter? Send what you would query an agent or editor with.
3. Will we rip your work apart? Absolutely not. We do our best to be kind and helpful.

We are now taking submissions for September. 


58 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great service! I'm off to go read what you've been writing :)

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  2. That's great Theresa. I will go have a read.

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  3. Now that's a wonderful way to get helpful feedback. I did not know at all how that part worked. I peeked over and read your first 400 words- and find myself wanting to know what happens next!

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  4. Kudos to you, and everyone else who has volunteered before, for putting work up online for critique. Marcy does a good job with the excerpts too. :)

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    1. LG, I wanted to tighten the beginning for WriteOnCon. Are you participating?

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  5. Thank you so much for the shout out, Theresa! Very cool :)

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  6. I read Marcy's critique. (She does a great job.) If the mirror is important, leave it in.

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    1. Alex, I'm trying to decide. I don't want agents to dismiss it because there's a mirror, but I don't actually do the cliche, "She stared at her big brown eyes while she tugged a red curl and pouted her full lips."

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  7. It's so helpful and important to get fresh eyes on our work! I applaud your bravery!

    Hope you're having a great weekend, Theresa! :)

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    1. Dawn, thanks. I was pretty nervous to see the feedback.

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  8. Having your first 400 words critiqued on blogs is a great idea. I hope all the feedback is helpful!

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    1. Libby, it has all been helpful. It's great to hear people's reactions.

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  9. It is so wonderful to get advice and critique- even if it can be a bit scary. Seeing our writing through the eyes of others can help us see what we couldn't see. :) Best of luck and good for you for putting it out there!
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS, you are so right. I didn't even noticed all my hyphenated words until the critiquers pointed it out.

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  10. I think you did a great job with your opening page (I commented on both blogs) and this is such a cool idea! How kind of Dianne and Marcy to offer this service!

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    1. Susanna, thank you for commenting in all these places. I think Dianne and Marcy offer a great service, as do you on your blog!

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  11. I totally enjoyed your first page, lovely Theresa!!!! Take care
    x

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    1. Old Kitty, you were one of the first commenters. Thank you!

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  12. Critiques are so helpful, aren't they? I'm always amazed at how giving other writers can be when it comes to steering people in the right direction with their books. Oh, and I can totally see if you would want to have the mirror in if you use it in the very last scene, especially if it's done in a memorable way that makes it feel like it's come full circle. I love endings that contain traces of the beginning. Makes the journey feel whole.

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    1. Caryn, thanks for understanding the mirror. This manuscript made me see lots of threads and circles in the rough draft that I don't usually figure out until later drafts. I have to thank one of the workshops at a conference I went to in the spring for that!

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  13. Hi Theresa .. that's great and I love the idea of the black dress - so appropriate, yet so inappropriate ... also she has a very strong personality - who will carry the setting off and no doubt be a major part of the rest of the book ...

    Interesting - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, thank you for the kind words. Yes, Grandma Rosa is pretty important. In her zest to rid them of Stepzilla, the main character is going to wind up making a big mess of things.

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  14. Yeah, I think the mirror was an acceptable too at the beginning. I mean, what is it that sets up the conflict? Her dress, of course, and it's only a symbol of her feel about life at the moment. I suppose if you wanted to get away from it you could simply have grandma say something through dialog that introduces the same idea, but I'm not here to critique.

    Yay for your shout out to Dianne's and Marcy's blogs. Such wonderful places to hang out.

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    1. Crystal, thanks. I am going to leave it for now. How my character sees herself through other's eyes vs. when she sees herself through her own eyes is an important part of her growth. I know I can take out the mirror, but I like the chance to use a literal reflection.

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  15. Diane and Marcy are doing a wonderful thing. I'll check out the links.

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  16. Wow! This is interesting. I had no idea they were doing this. Thanks, Theresa. I'll see what you're up to.

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    1. Cleemckenzie, they've been putting up requests on Writers Support 4 U. I finally succumbed.

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  17. Awesome information! I'm always looking for new sets of eyes for my work, especially the tricky first page or so. Best of luck with your revisions!

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    1. Meradeth, yes, that first page is tricky. I was just talking about that with another writer last night.

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  18. Sounds like an awesome opportunity. Thanks Theresa for posting about it.

    Nas

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  19. Oh, this is great! I guess I sort of knew they did this, but it's nice to hear that they've been helpful!

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    1. Hart, I've read their posts in the past, but this is the first time I've taken the plunge.

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  20. How wonderful that I found you this morning. I am looking forward to getting to know you and your writing. I will check out the sites that you mentioned here.
    I am a wanna be writer that quit writing my book when my husband left years ago. Often I wish I would pick it up again. If I can get brave I might have to take you up on your offer to critique a chapter.
    Take care
    Maggie

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    1. Grandma Yellow hair, you should pick it up again. Good luck!

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  21. The first page is so important. What a wonderful resource for writers!!

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  22. I can't wait to check out your work. What a great resource.

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  23. This is such an awesome idea! I'd be tempted to enter something if what I had was polished enough for critique. :-)

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  24. I left a comment on Dianne's blog, but I thought I'd leave one here too. Sorry I didn't comment sooner; I've been wading through academic jargon all week. Anyway, I thought the scene was really good! I can already tell how the narrator and the grandmother feel about the new stepmother; your description was very vivid.

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    1. Neurotic Workaholic, I know how that goes. Thank you so much for the feedback!

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  25. Misha is correct. This is a GREAT idea. Thanks, Theresa and Dianne and Marcy. I'm assuming it's only for full-length novels. I'll keep it in mind if I create a full-length story novel. Thanks again, Theresa, for sharing this with your readers.

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    1. Victoria, I bet they'd look at the beginning of a long piece too. Doesn't hurt to ask!

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  26. What a terrific and generous offer from Dianne and Marcy! I love reading their critiques. They're always so spot on. I'll have to go check out your samples! :) Hope you're doing well!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I hope you're doing well. Congrats on your Ninja interest.

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  27. Fresh eyes and someone to give you a critical look are the best things that can happen. I live with my editor and I don't always like what I hear but it always helps me think through what I need to keep or throw away. Cheers!

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    1. Danette, how convenient to live with your editor!

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  28. First impressions sounds like a great idea - such a helpful service. I find fellow writers' critiques so invaluable.

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    1. Talli, I do too. It's nice to do one of these more public forums once in a while. The feedback is probably more critical.

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  29. Very cool idea. First impressions are so important :)

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  30. LR, I agree. It's good to hear what others think because I want to make my beginnings as tight as possible.

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