Friday, April 2, 2010

STRINGS--First Page Blogfest

Thanks to the Beta Club at Fiction Groupie, I recently received a lot of great feedback on my opening to STRINGS. What better time to show off my new opening than during the first page blogfest? (Rhetorical question. ;D)See the rest of the first pages here

STRINGS
Chapter 1

All this hot water is softening my callouses, and the cold wind chaps my wet skin. Not that Hanah will accept that excuse. Not today.

Our papa died only nine days ago, and while my eyes are still red and puffy from crying all the time, she's stone-faced as she watches me wash the dishes from his pomona, his first funeral supper. Making sure I don't contaminate her wash basins, most likely. She and my other sister Jeanette would be the first to call me unclean.

I know I wasn't supposed to touch him, that it was forbidden, but it was so sudden the way he went, collapsing on top of my mother in bed. He always joked that she'd give him a son yet, even though I'm the youngest of three girls. I don't know how we three all turned out so spiteful when my papa was a gentle man who laughed and joked all the time, and was never mean to a soul.

Ach, I want to cry again, but if I do, Hanah will tell Jeanette and they'll tell Mother that I stroked Papa's hand before the undertaker arrived to get him out of our wagon. I just wanted to touch him one last time before he was gone forever. How can that be so wrong? It's not as if I needed to worry about his spirit. He was just... gone.

"Hurry, girl, you've got to hurry," comes a rough female voice from behind me.

Hanah doesn't turn.

She has no idea that anyone is even there. And if I turn, that will just be one more reason for her to call me cursed, unclean. Marime.

I scrub garlicky stew out of a heavy iron pot, waiting.

Old Kira breezes through us, making both Hanah and me shiver.

18 comments:

KM said...

I think I read your first page on the Beta Club. This is great! I'm not sure what culture it is, but I feel drawn into it.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Okay....for some reason my comment did not show up the first time ;o) lol

so what I said was: I think that the mystery of not knowing exactly what kind of people they are is what is hooking us! WONDERFUL!!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Julie said...

Death is sometimes a good beginning and it totally works here. Great job!

Voidwalker said...

Can I be totally honest with you. I would take out that first paragraph that says

"All this hot water is softening my callouses, and the cold wind chaps my wet skin. Not that Hanah will accept that excuse. Not today."

And either move it into a later moment, or just remove it. Instead starting the book/chapter with the paragraph where you mention Papa dying. In my opinion, that is MUCH more powerful, but that is just my opinion and seeing as how I'm not published, just yet, you are welcome to mock me for my newbie recommendation as you see fit.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That last line made me shiver. I love the way you've brought secrets and unease in right from the start.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your last line is indeed powerful. I believe VoidWalker may be onto a better path to walk with your beginning. But the following pages may need it. Still put that passage a bit later. Perhaps on the 2nd page. I am hardly a Jedi Master of prose. I find the rest of your 1st page enthralling. Come check out my first page, will you? Roland, Jedi wanna be.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I love the picture of this family that you paint. :)

sally apokedak said...

This is haunting.

I think you need the first paragraph to tell us she's outside doing dishes. Are they gypsies or something? You have the cold wind and the wagon and the iron pot. It seems they are traveling, at least. But why does she need those callouses, I wonder?

This is very intriguing and promises a rich story world. I like it a lot.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Your vision of the household and its traditions are vividly described - I could feel her fear.
SMALL TWEAK:
The hot water softens my callouses, and the cold wind chaps my wet skin. Not that Hanah will accept that excuse. Not today.

Charity Bradford said...

I liked this, but I agree with voidwalker and roland about the first paragraph. I think you need it close to the top though so we know where she is.

Did you give a reason for Hanah not accepting that excuse "today". Did the day make the difference in whether or not she would except it?

Catherine A. Winn said...

Very good writing! I think I would start with Papa died..., that's the most powerful sentence to begin with.

Christina Lee said...

You have definitely got me intrigued! Il iek the whole bit about her needing to touch her papa's hand!

Kelly Lyman said...

This was great. I like how you opened with the fact that someone died- I could feel her emotions. Great job. Thanks for participating!

Callie Forester said...

Great job on this--i agree with void walker as well--it would be a great idea to start with the first line of the second paragraph. That's really intense and powerful. All you'd have to do is substitute Hannah's name in the part where you say she.
IE: ...and while my eyes are still red and puffy, Hannah is stone faced...

This is really excellent though, nice job!!

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, this pulls me right in. Fabulous writing! Great start...

roxy said...

Great writing! I loved this first page. You did an excellent job.

Julie Dao said...

This was awesome. I got the chills reading how she just wanted to touch him one last time, before he was taken away forever. Beautiful writing!

Krispy said...

The voice is distinct, and the mood is done so well! I love the shivery uncertainty. I'm very intrigued.

I do like the current opening, but I also think starting with the "Papa died" line might be stronger. I think also the opening seems kind of like it's dangling because I'm not sure it's clear why Hanah won't accept an excuse today. Maybe the answer comes later, but as it is, there's a small disconnect between the lead-in of the opening to everything else.

But regardless, I loved this! The voice, the mood, the setting, the lovely bits of detail! :)