Monday, March 21, 2011

Entry Number 23

Title: Sycamore Meadows
Genre: YA Urban fantasy/mystery
Christmas Eve

6:37 pm.

“Finally. Our lives will be changed forever,” Cole said wistfully.

“Finally. Something to make you shut up,” Emma answered dryly.

The siblings had waited all day with anticipation for night to fall. Their grandparents gave them a telescope the night before and the time had finally arrived to use their new gift. They decided to take the telescope to the lake where the stars would be easier to see without the glare of the neighborhood lights.

Emma was carrying a book of constellations and Cole held tight to the bag as they skipped down the hill toward the familiar shore. Cole didn’t waste any time setting up the telescope and a moment later he was looking through the lens.


  1. Good byplay between the siblings. You've got me wondering why a telescope will change their lives.

  2. I love everything except the adverbs tacked to the dialogue tags. I know, I know, but I swear, I'm not an adverb hater. I just think there are stronger ways to open up your book.

  3. If they waited all day, I know they anticipated. You don't need that.
    night before. Time had come
    I'd cut They decided to take - and just say They took (the decision is implicated with their action.
    Just suggestions.

    I love stories with siblings, I'd totally read on.

  4. I'm curious how the telescope is going to change their lives forever.

    I think it may be stronger to start with the second paragraph and not the dialogue. Move that to after.

    I'm with Lori too, the adverbs with the dialogue tags aren't working for me. I use adverbs, but putting an adverb in both lines of dialogue right at the beginning of the book keeps me from getting into it.

  5. I agree with Quinn. Don't start with dialogue. You've got two lines of it, but you haven't yet established where your characters are or what they're doing. At least paint an image for us. Are they walking down street? Climbing out a window?

    And cut the adverbs from the dialogue tags. Both starting off with dialogue (which agents hate) and over using adverbs like here (again, which agents hate) marks you as a novice writer. You don't want that.

    Start with the paragraph, but replace the pronoun with their names. The other thing you need to do pretty quickly is establish who's POV this is in. For example, Cole and his sister, Emma, had waited all day with anticipation for night to fall. Now I know it's in Cole's POV. If it's in Emma's then switch the names around. That will help the reader connect with your characters sooner.

    Good luck!

  6. Thank you so much everyone for the great ideas!! :) Wish I had them before I submitted, but I really appreciate what you had to say. I agree with the adverbs and I will take out "anticipation." Thanks again!! :)

  7. I like the dateline opening. Reminds me of the beginning of Hitchcock's Notorious. I would have liked to get a hing of the mysterious or mystical early on, though I know 100 words is only a tiny slice.

  8. I'm okay with the dialogue opening, but I think you need to tighten up some of your phrasing....The siblings had waited all day for night to fall. Their grandparents had given them a telescope last night and the time had finally arrived to use it.

    I'm curious how having a telecope is going to change their lives...