Monday, October 21, 2019

First 50 Critique - MG #4

Disneyland First 50
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 you'll be able to submit.

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 entry.

First 50 Words – MG Entry #4

When landing inside a Christmas tree, stay away from pointed pine needles. Despite being smaller than a snowflake, Halo was painfully aware of that fact.

Luckily, this year she materialized halfway from the tip.

Evergreen scents tickled her nose, and she glanced through the white pine. Ornaments as familiar as the fingers on her hands hung on every branch.


  1. First of all I love Christmas, so this made me smile as soon as I started reading it. I'm guessing she's a fairy or elf and that she has visited the same tree before? I am certainly intrigued and would love to read more, it sounds like the start of a lovely, cosy Christmas read.

  2. I also love Christmas stories. Halo is such a cute name for your MC. We know she has been there before. We know her tiny size. What is she doing there? I would certainly want to read more.
    The "white pine" threw me just a little. I know there are white pines in some areas but not all. It stopped me for a moment because I thought all pine trees were green. I was thinking at first it had been sprayed white. I love the idea for this story.

  3. I love your first line! I would read this story just for that line.

    It's in 2nd person POV, which does make the transition to the rest of the story [3rd person] a little jarring. Maybe the second line should end with "lesson" rather than "fact" so it looks less like 2nd person. At least that's my impression.

    This is a great start and I love the voice. Good luck!

  4. White pine worked for me, it let me know exactly what type of tree and scent. But I'm more of a forest guy than most people. Some of the sentences felt a bit long. Especially because there weren't smaller ones to break up the rhythm. "" could probably help you with this -- it's free! Otherwise, I like the story. I'm curious as to what is going to happen. And what will make it middle-grade instead of a children's book. Seems interesting.

  5. Hello-

    Thank you for sharing your work. Your first two sentences have the same structure. You might change that up a bit.

    I actually think you can omit the sentence "luckily this year she materialized half way from the tip"

    You do a much better job of showing us (and with nice voice!) That she's been there before with - ornaments as familiar as her own fingers.
    I really want to know what the MC is doing there.

    Good luck to you.


  6. I agree it's a good opening and an interesting concept. I think being lighter than a snowflake might work better than using 'bigger' as a comparison. The reader might also get thrown by the line 'materializing halfway from the tip.' Show why this should matter if the MC is so minuscule in size. It does succeed in luring us into the story and making readers want to know more, but even though it's just the First 50 words, it's not enough to emotionally invest us in the MC. So, I'd be curious to read-on to find out where this goes... Good luck!

  7. Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions. I’m glad to see where I confused the reader and how I can make it better.


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