First Page Blogfester

Preface: TGIF. It has been a day.

So. I'm participating in the First Page Blogfest in which writers around the blogosphere post the opening 24 lines of their WIP. (In a "real" book, this is the approximate amount of work that would appear on page 1!) This blogfest is being headed up by Kelly over at Kelly's Compositions. Please check out the other entries and leave them a comment on their work.

My own WIP will be featured on Roni's Beta Club next week, and I chose an excerpt from the beginning one chapter one for critque over there, so today I'll give you the true beginning: the opening lines of my prologue.

Here goes nothing.

My working title is A SAD SONG IN A FLAT KEY
Genre: Literary Fictionspice


May 2005

     Laurel sits Indian style. She faces the head of her bed and tries to focus on Cafe Terrace at Night, pretending it is priceless artwork instead of a cheap replica. She counts the tables first, and then, the stars. A sliver of early morning sun sneaks around her bedroom curtains and Laurel contemplates whether or not she should muster a scowl. Balls of dust cling to the plastic picture frame, but illuminated, seem to glisten a bit. She cocks her head as she makes eye contact with her own reflection in the print, a makeshift mirror. Her ashy brown hair is tousled and sticking up in every direction like twigs in a windy tree.
     She starts to wiggle her big toe back and forth, a nervous habit Laurel doesn't recognize as her own. In her left hand, a silver Samsung vibrates again. Laurel sucks in a breath. She uses her thumb to flip up the face of the phone and eerie green words greet her with the obvious: another missed call from her mother. She snaps the phone shut and sighs. Ankles still crossed, she brings her knees to her chin and rests her right elbow on them, wrapping that hand around the back of her neck. She makes a fist with her free hand and allows the bridge of her nose to press against her knuckles. She squeezes her eyes closed.
     She thinks it unfair that her mom must deliver the bad news.
     The house creaks, and Laurel senses that Owen is perched in the doorway behind her, in his usual disapproval-stance: one arm on each side of the door frame, debating. She pretends, as precious seconds of solace slip away, that she does not notice that he is there. Still as a statue, she orders herself. He shifts his weight. I win, she thinks, imagining a staring contest.
     Owen starts slowly.
     "Laurel, please just get it over with. Call your mom back and let her say it. Call Paul, if you'd rather. Let him tell you what you think you already..."
     She doesn't turn to face him.
     "Just leave me alone. I will call her back when I am fucking ready!"
     She hears the bedroom door slam, hears Owen's bare feet padding down the hall, and realizes, an afterthought, that she screamed the last sentence she spoke.

Okay! I'd love your feedback. I know that it is considered cheesy for the main character to see her own reflection, so don't berate me for it. I'll probably take that out.
Thanks for reading and have a Happy Easter slash Final Four Weekend.
Go Butler.


For the record, that was 24 lines when I wrote it in WORD.

Either it looks longer on my published post, or I just can't count.
Natalie Murphy said…
Good job sweets! I am intrigued and want to keep reading =) MWAH!
I also want to know the answer to the epic question of what the bad news is. And what's up with mom? :)
Nice! Ditto to what has been said. It must be bad for her to yell at the guy.

Good job building the dread and sorrow before we even know what the event is.
Elaine AM Smith said…
I agree with the comment about the description of your character and your own thoughts about the indepth description from the mirror

I think I'd have her pulling her hair out - illuminated by the green glow and refusing to answer the phone - but I'm in :) loved it
Tara said…
You left me really wanting to know what the bad news is! Good job.
KLo said…
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ... so what's the news???????????

I love reading excerpts that are posted, but at the same time I hate it because I want to know what's going to happen. Like, now. It's horrible lol.
EmcogNEATO! said…
It's good. [chanting] We want more. We want more.

Literary Fictionspice. *smirk*
Sierra Godfrey said…
I like it.

I liked the sense of conflict and the worry the narrator has.

I didn't know what you meant by a "silver Samsung in my hand" though until later...I figured out it was a phone...wait, was it? Minor detail.

Donna Hole said…
Nah; the reflection worked well. She was on the bed, and its not like it was an indept analysis.

This was very intriguing. Passionate, sensitive; I really felt her heartbreak through all that useless energy. It felt real to be doing something to distract herself. And not wanting to know something we suspect is true is perfectly normal.

And Owen's character was subtle, but well done. I got a good sense of who these two were, and how they relate to each other.

And the mystery; well done. I'm captivated.

Julie said…
Yeah, I found your blog! Loved chapter two by the way. Great job! I'm ready for 3 whenever you're ready to post it.

Anonymous said…
She's a great character. We already know she's tough because of Owen but also very unsure of herself. She's facing bad news of some kind and is trying to avoid the inevitable. Good multi-sided character.
VR Barkowski said…
I'm in! I want to know more about this character, what the bad news is, why she doesn't want to call her mother, and why she's mean to Owen. Well done!
Tiana said…
Your voice is so unique! Seriously, I love how you started this piece, and I love your working title (I think you should keep it). Thank you for your kind words over on my blog today. They certainly made me smile :)
B.E. Sanderson said…
The mirror part didn't jar me out of the story - so it must've blended in enough to be done right. I think you've got a fine start here and I'd want to read more. Good job. =o)
Amalia T. said…
I am interested in finding out what this news is that she's agonizing over! The emotion is definitely spot on, and I think your instincts are right about removing the look in the mirror-- it slows us down with description we don't need. But the anxiety and stress of the scene and the situation is clear and compelling!
Pat Tillett said…
Hi there,
I took a chance and clicked on your link at Talli Roland's blog.
I'm glad I did. I really like what I've read. If you don't mind, I'm going to tag along.
Laurel said…
I like where this is going and the lushness of detail. The start seems a little slow for the tension you're trying to build. A bit of rearranging would help. A thought I had is to move up this bit to the beginning:

"The house creaks, and Laurel senses that Owen is perched in the doorway behind her, in his usual disapproval-stance: one arm on each side of the door frame, debating. She pretends, as precious seconds of solace slip away, that she does not notice that he is there."

Then transition to describing her staring at the picture in her effort to meditate and ignore him. The rest flows from there, though you'd need a transition to pick up the rest of the Owen bit that didn't move.

Anyway, it's an idea to try. Nice work, Amber.
Anonymous said…
Left wanting more. That's a great job!

Hosting Last Line Blogfest, details on my site.
Abby Annis said…
I want to know what is going on with the phone call. Great job! :)

Can't wait to read your post on Beta Club.

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