Monday, October 7, 2019

First 50 Critique - MG #2

Let's start this week with a bit of housekeeping.

First, THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who commented on my first 50 words AND those of you brave souls who sent us an email with YOUR first 50 words.  You are all AWESOME!

Second, two of the First 50 Critique entries we received by email last week were misdirected and finally forwarded to us by the person who accidentally received them [hi Michelle, and thanks!]  We're not entirely sure how that happened, but we want to try to prevent that happening in the future.  So, when you send us an entry by email, please be sure to open a brand new email and address it to our gmail account at OperationAwesome6.  Click here for more info on contacting us.  Also, the entry window will probably close on a Wednesday, and we will send a confirming email to everyone who enters.  If you do NOT receive a confirming email by that following Friday, please contact us by Twitter DM and we'll track it down and/or give you an alternate email address to use.

We sent a confirming email last week to those of you who emailed us your First 50 Critique – MG.  If you sent us an email and didn't receive our confirmation, please send us a Twitter DM.

Now on to the good stuff!

For all the details of how this works, click here.  We are NOT accepting entries this week.  But if you want to enter when we DO open the entry period, you must post a critique on at least TWO previous entries before your submission will be accepted for use on the blog.

Reminder:  Be nice, but be honest.  [Comments that are not polite/respectful will be deleted.]  What would YOU like to know if this was YOUR first 50 words?  Do you think it's a good opening line for the category/genre?  Does it have a hook?  Does it pull you into the story?  Do you want to read more?  Why or why not?  Be specific, so your critique helps the person who wrote the entry.

Here's this week's middle grade entry from an awesome OA blog reader!

First 50 Words – MG Entry #2

Crouched down, quiet as a mouse, Octavia Bloom was holding her breath. The dust floating like glitter in the old attic was tickling her nose. Laughter bubbled up inside her, which she quickly suppressed by biting down on her lip. It wouldn’t do to make a noise and give away her position behind the old striped sofa.


10 comments:

  1. Good morning! This is an interesting beginning that leaves me with a lot of questions already, so I'm curious to keep reading. Questions like - why is she hiding? who is she hiding from?

    As for improvement, the passive verbs could be turned stronger -
    ... Octavia Bloom HELD her breath.
    ... old attic TICKLED her nose.

    Other than that, you're off to a fun start!

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  2. Holly C. beat me to the passive verb advice :) Easy fix.

    I like your beginning and I want to read on to see why Octavia Bloom (cute name!) is hiding. The dust floating like glitter is a sweet visual and something a child would think of.

    Good start to a fun sounding story.

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  3. This is a good improvement over the draft you submitted for Pass or Pages! I like that it puts the reader more firmly into the story with Octavia right away.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, I knew I had read that cute character name somewhere but couldn't remember where :)

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  4. The following comment was received in an email which was misdirected, and forwarded to us:

    Well, this is the first time I've critiqued, so not sure I've done this correctly, but I'm intrigued by the secrecy here. She must be playing hide and seek because she's hiding and giggling and the attic is obviously out of house keeping range and normal use since it's so dusty. How old is she? Who is she hiding from? Is there a light source to make the dust glitter? I'm hoping, as a reader, that she either finds something mysterious or that the attic is a portal of some kind and she's whisked away. Then the story is off and running and her giggles are transformed to something of greater consequence: fear, awe, mystery, earth shattering or life changing. There's a lot of expectation here. I like these first 50.

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  5. I do love the amount of adjectives and sensory details used here. I don't care for "quiet as a mouse" in the opening, but that's probably just me. Assuming a game of hide-n-seek is going on, this is well-written.

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  6. Thanks everyone for commenting, I appreciate the great feedback and suggestions!

    I took on board Kelly's comments from the pass or pages critique and applied it where necessary. I feel the beginning is tighter now.

    J Lenni Dorner - I understand where you are coming from about the mouse, but it is relevant and is foreshadowing something that occurs later on.

    The paragraph carries on...If she kept quiet, she was certain to win this round of hide and seek. Her sister and cousins wouldn't think to look up here. The attic at grandmother's house was strictly forbidden.

    So yes, she is playing hide and seek and no, she shouldn't be up there. She does indeed find something in the attic - a tiny fairy door. She investigates and discovers her family are hiding two life-changing secrets. Her adventure takes her into the realm of Fairy Land on a race against time quest.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

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  7. The following comment was received in an email which was misdirected, and forwarded to us:

    Hello. This is off to a great start! Opening the scene with 'Crouched down, quiet a s a mouse, holding her breath, helps to set up immediate intrigue and pique the readers' curiosity. Here is where I would make a suggestion that you distinguish that this is a game of hide and seek (...give away her position) and not something more sinister.

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  8. Hello. This is off to a great start! Opening the scene with 'Crouched down, quiet a s a mouse, holding her breath, helps to set up immediate intrigue and pique the readers' curiosity. Here is where I would make a suggestion that you distinguish that this is a game of hide and seek (...give away her position) and not something more sinister.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If I were writing this, I would edit like this:

    Octavia Bloom held her breath. Attic dust floated like glitter and tickled her nose. Laughter bubbled inside her; she suppressed it by biting her lip. Making a noise would give away her position: crouched quiet as a mouse behind the old striped sofa.

    Why do it like this?
    > Starting with the object of the sentence (and even better the character's really great name!) throws the reader immediately into the action. Starting with a subclause is less tense and enticing.
    > Making the reader wait to find out exactly where the character is hiding her breath is intriguing. So we wonder why, and you tell us in the next paragraph. We want to read on.
    > Shorter, simpler sentences with active verbs are easier to read and "better writing".
    > You don't need to tell us the attic is old. It's dusty and there's an old sofa stashed there. The reader will automatically imagine an old room.
    > Directions like "down" for "crouched" and "up" for "bubbled" are redundant (and usually considered overwriting). You can take them out and the sentence means the same, but reads better.
    > I debated whether you could also have removed "striped" from the sofa description. By what the heck, it's MG and it's nice to have those visuals.

    Overall, it's enticing but a few small changes can make it even better! :)

    ReplyDelete

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