Wednesday, June 12, 2013

First Page Crtique

Today we have another first page critique. Check out my comments below and see if you agree, or disagree. 
- want to have your first page edited? simply send it to lisaphillipsbks(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll leave off your name.

Here's today's offering. Thanks to the person who sent it in, it's never easy to put yourself out there.
Since the day she had packed her entire life and her daughter Hope into the car, for the first time Cora Richardson was having doubts.  The town of Ponderosa Hills had changed little in the years since she had visited her Aunt and Uncle during summer vacations—more to escape her parents and earn a few dollars than for her love of small towns. 
            But she found that now she didn’t mind so much.  The rolling landscape seemed to her like page after page of memories, despite the buildings that had once been so pristine, which now looked tired.  For Sale signs were dotting every street as she drove toward the center of town. 
Her Uncle’s Diner was at one end of Ponderosa Hills Road which cut through the heart of town, and years ago had been zoned for pedestrians only.  She parked, snagging her purse off the passenger seat, and slipping Hope from her car-seat in the back.  The child stirred, resting her head against Cora’s shoulder. Wrapping her coat around both of them, she gave her a gentle squeeze. 

Two planters blocked what had been the original road and she wound her way between them to locate the salted sidewalk.  Hal’s was the diner started by her Uncle’s father, now run by her widowed Uncle—Hal Junior—since his three children had all grown up and moved away.  Cora barely remembered her cousins and would probably have no clue where they were today were it not for the internet.  

I marked the passage that's backstory in red. Not because it's bad, but because it helps to have it highlighted sometimes. I'm of the belief that little nuggets are fine, so this one would fall under this category. A sentence, okay. A paragraph, I'd say that would be pushing it. 
The rest of the 250 words are very descriptive, but there's a lot of the use of participles which slow down the narrative "snagging" and "slipping" could become "she snagged" and "she slipped" which makes the sentence more active and less passive.
All in all, it's very pleasant to read. I'm wondering, as the reader, why this woman is coming home to the family she has left, and why she's alone with her daughter. I'd read on...

How about you? Would you read further in this book? What advice do you have for the author?

Lisa Phillips is a wife, mom of two and worship leader who writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense. Her first book, The Ultimate Betrayal comes out summer 2014, from Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense. You can chat with her on twitter @lisaphillipsbks or find her at 

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