First Page Contest – Judged by author of Halflings, Heather Burch

Today Jamie Ayres is hosting a first-page contest on her blog, to be judged by author Heather Burch. Five random winners will receive a personal critique from Ms. Burch.

[Since the contest is over, my novel’s first page has been removed for copyright and future publishing reasons.  The comments still remain. Feb 22, 2012]

20 thoughts on “First Page Contest – Judged by author of Halflings, Heather Burch

  1. Ooo, yes, when what??? I’d definitely keep reading. You have great descriptions, and your characters’ voices sound very real. Nice job!

    I, too, was a little disappointed that the dragon wasn’t real. It jolted me when I found out it wasn’t.

    What if… (here I go again with the ‘What If’ game! :D) you started the story with this: ‘Your time is nigh. Be brave’, then have David describe the dream to Charlotte? That’s just an alternative for you to consider, though.

    I wish you the best of luck!


  2. This certainly promises to be an interesting story. I am already guessing/hoping that he ends up in that scene at some point and it’s up to your MC to slay the dragon. Just make sure you don’t rely too heavily on dreams, as that is a real turn-off to a lot of agents.


  3. You drew me in–kudos for that:) First pages are a darn hard thing to do. I’m still struggling with mine. I would’ve liked a little more transition from the drawing to actual setting, too, but I do like how you tricked us. I would also Nix what Jennifer Eaton suggested . . . it felt a wee-bit info dumpy and then you have Charlotte mentioning the graves, so I felt as a reader that you didn’t trust me to be smart enough to know they’re dead. It’s just that you really must manipulate each word and detail for maximum impact on your first page to draw them in. Remember our readers, young adults, have short attention spans:) ~Good luck and thanks for playing!!


  4. Wow! That opening has come a long way. I was completely gripped until “their arms raised like shields above their heads, terror etched into their eyes and mouths.” That made me stumble a little bit. I’d work on that to keep the flow moving.

    David tossed the [HIS] charcoal pencil on his [THE] desk

    Nix this: What happened to all those feel-good dreams where my parents were alive and we lived happily ever after? It’s a little too much here. Maybe just “I used to have happy dreams”

    ”Then why — Check to see if that quote is reversed in your manuscript

    Change: “this time around that affected you more than normal” to “last week bothered you for some reason.”


    1. Yes, I like the Why then vs Then why…

      I’ll look at the happily ever after line. I’ve debated it for a long time. I also like the switch between his and the.

      Thanks for the help!


  5. This is a strong start, Jenny. Reading the first paragraph — which is rife with beautiful imagery — I assumed you had plopped us down in the middle of an action scene. Come to find out, it’s but only a drawing, however . . . Love that you leave us with a cliffhanger!


    1. I’m glad you like it, Cara. I think the first page…the first line, actually…is the hardest to write and get people engaged. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed the beginning.


  6. Good luck on your edits!! I was a little thrown by the switch between the castle scene and the boy with the chalk drawing. Maybe a sentence or two more of transition from that to the other.


    1. It is complete. I’m in the middle of an edit right now after getting a rejection. But, the rejection had some valuable info so I’m going with it. 🙂


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