Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WIP Wednesday! Help me with my first page?



Okay. I'm going to be brave and post my first page of my WIP. (Which is now at 45,513 words *applause for me*) I was inspired by the first page blogfest last week, and I know you guys will tell me how it is and not in a mean way, right? *cringes*

Here it is:

Desert Nomad
Chapter 1
Descent

The escape pod hurtled through space as if it fled the event horizon of a dying star. Aries clutched the handlebars of her seat, her sweaty palms slipping on the cold metal. She could feel freedom flowing all around her and inside her as well, coursing through her veins like she drank liquid fire.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she hollered, her voice resonating inside the small compartment. The primal call released raging emotions held back from years of silence. Many times she thought she’d implode from the pressure, but instead she schemed, plotting the day of her departure down to the last water bottle. As the spell dissipated, she opened her eyes and peered up at the stars as they blurred into streaks of shimmering light.

She’d have at least three hours before the ceremony ended, and they came looking for her. Her shipmates would check her cell first and then activate her locator. When they realized that she wasn’t on board, they’d stop the ship and count the escape pods. By then, the Ark would be a parsec away.

Aries wondered if they’d come back. Giddiness bubbled in her throat with the thought of the ship coursing away without her. But she knew better. They’d turned the Ark around before, and knowing Lieutenant Barliss, he’d have it no other way.

The orange hulk of Sahara 354 claimed the horizon like a distant dream. Her eyes soaked in the sight of the small, forgotten planet, like the first time she laid her eyes upon pictures of old Earth. Although it was a bleak desert, inhabited by lizards and other primal homo sapiens, to Aries it was a haven. Her own ceremony loomed a month away. Guilt seeped in, and Aries swallowed it back. Feeling sorry for those closed-minded pragmatists would only bog her down. Besides, they never asked her what she wanted.

Blue and red lights flashed on the panel in front of her, warning her of the change in trajectory as the pod entered the planet’s pull of gravity. Aries shut off the main thrusters and allowed the vessel to be pulled into orbit. She glided in space, figuring new coordinates for her entry into the atmosphere. Completing a full scan of the surface, she searched for any signs of resources or life. Although she had enough food and water for days, it would be useless if no further sustenance could be found.

Time ticked away, seconds that she knew she didn’t have. The Ark traveled much faster than an escape pod, and she needed time to fake her own death and disappear. But Sahara 354 was a vast wasteland with small pockets of water and plant life. If she didn’t choose her landing spot wisely, she’d be plummeting to her own demise.

18 comments:

Al said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al said...

Hey this is really brave. Good on you!

I really enjoyed your first page. It draws you into the story nicely.
My only quibbles are very minor especially since this is a first draft.
I think you are packing a bit too much information into the first page. You can for example write about what sort of creatures inhabit the planet below later and probably use that to build suspense.
Really minor things: a deceleration couch in an escape pod is not likely to have any bare metal, it's going to be padded;
if the planets name is based on anything like our current naming conventions, it sounds like the 354th planet of the system (if you like the name I'd call it something like the "2nd planet of the Sahara345 system."
Anyway over all I enjoyed it and would read on; so just tell me to go back to my hole about the other stuff.

Theresa Milstein said...

You got me sucked in. The small passage raised a lot of questions, so I wanted to know more about the silence, ceremony, specific reasons for escape, and how she's going to get rid of the tracker.

"Aries wondered if they’d come back" Maybe say turnaround first? I was confused when I started that paragraph.

Also, at the end, you say demise, but you mean pretend demise, right? Maybe put demise in quotes or play around with it?

It's coming alone nicely. Good luck!

Aubrie said...

Thanks so much Theresa and Al.

Al:

There is a lot of info in the first page. I'll see if I can whittle it down. And padded...I didn't think of that!
I'll also specify the name!

Theresa
Turnaround sounds better!
And yes, I mean pretend demise :)

Thanks for all your help!

Talli Roland said...

How brave of you!

I like it. I would agree there is a quite a bit of info on the first page, and a lot of description. (It's all good, mind, but I'm wondering if it might be better if you could cut it down a bit?)

Other than that, I could visualise what she was seeing very clearly, and I'd certainly keep reading.

GMR said...

Though I'm not sure what a parsec is and I don't usually go for space adventures, I love the details revealed so far and the descriptions are wonderful. Favorite? The second paragraph. Lots of lovely descriptive terms to tantalize the imagination. My only suggestion ...on the 1st sentence, perhaps changing it to "as if it was fleeing"...just my opinion, you are after all the writer. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle H. said...

It's a good first page. My own concerns were already addressed by others, the info dump was a bit too much and there's just something to the first line that's nagging me. But you place enough tidbits in here to make the reader curious to go on: ceremony, food supplies, etc...

There was just one other thing.

The orange hulk of Sahara 354 claimed the horizon like a distant dream. Her eyes soaked in the sight of the small, forgotten planet, like the first time she laid her eyes upon pictures of old Earth.

You used two metaphors back to back, linking with the word, "like."

... like a distant dream
... like the first time she laid eyes upon pictures of old Earth

You might want to steer clear of this. Too many metaphors will deaden the writing.

That second paragraph is very descriptive! It speaks of the character, hinting of something deep that has gone on during her life. "Years of silence." "Raging emotions." It makes me wonder why she's taking such drastic measures. I enjoyed it!

Alesa Warcan said...

Not repeating the things that have already been said that I agree with.

At no point did I feel overloaded with information...

And with technology that is undefined the interior could be any which way the author imagines... Maybe the pod has NNR deceleration, so high G during deceleration isn't an issue. What is NNR? Near Nil Resistance, a technology that was developed by analyzing the molecular structure of the slime from giant land slugs from Amazon 157. Or maybe, the culture that produced the pod doesn't believe in luxuries like padding and everyone has to "tough things out". We don't even know if Aries is fully Human (as we understand it at our point in time) yet. Maybe she, like all spacers, are equiped from birth with a synthetic exoskeleton, and a biological system genetically tailored to resist high Gs? Or maybe there should be padding everything is possible at this point. Likewise for the planet naming scheme... We don't know how far in the future this is. Anything is possible.

I do mostly agree with Michelle's comment... While I'm not against using two metaphors, using "like" twice so close together jars a bit a stylistically.

I agree, this was fun to read, and this first page definitely makes me want to read more.

Lisa Rusczyk said...

I thought it is good as is. Made me want to know why she was escaping. And I like how the action starts right away. I'm not too good at critiques though. I usually just notice grammatical errors.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Aubrie, you have such wonderful fluidity to your author's voice. I thought this was fab for a rough draft. And you wrote 45K+ since the first page blogfest?? You go!!

Best of luck with it :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your first page draws the reader in quickly. I've found that a solitary sentence for a first paragraph helps to snare the attention of any agent or reader who reads this to see if they would be interested.

For instance : Space was a hungry, star-filled mouth waiting to swallow her.

Then, go into your standard paragraph format. It seemed to work for the four agents who are viewing my novel.

Hope this helps a bit. If not, know that you have a friend in your corner, rooting you on, Roland

Lola Sharp said...

First, CONGRATS on your bravery! Woot! Thanks for sharing your first page with us.

I enjoyed your first page. I want to know more...what evils she was escaping from, the ceremony etc. The imagery was strong.

I agree with Theresa about fixing the 'pretend demise', so as not to confuse the reader.

I also agree with Michelle's suggestion to not have two back to back (especially 'like') metaphors.

Good job!

~Lola

Bethany Mattingly said...

Congrats on the word count! You're brave to post the first page. I was thinking about it after I missed the blogfest, but I couldn't decide what to do.

I have one little thing that you might want to consider. The first is in the first paragraph, 3rd sentence..."She could feel freedom flowing all around her and inside her as well, coursing through her veins like she drank liquid fire." I would cut out the "as well" I think the statement could be a bit more powerful.

I really did like this as an opener because it drew me in. Generally, I don't like science fiction when its about space and aliens, but I think I could read this and enjoy it so kudos to you :D

roxy said...

I was certainly caught up in the action, Aubrie. I loved the details of this fantasy world. Well done!

Cherie Reich said...

I don't think I could say anything that hasn't been said. I enjoy how you suck the reader into the action. I want to know what happens to Aries on this strange new world she has encountered, as well as why she ran from her old life to begin with. *needs to go read the rest of the draft you've sent me* :)

Shelley Sly said...

Kudos to you for posting this. I think you create fantasy worlds just beautifully. I look forward to learning more about the areas you described. I suppose it is a little description-heavy and lean in terms of action, but I still thought it was good.

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Bravo to you! Sharing our work is scary. Good for you for doing it.

Not to echo everyone else, but when you revise it play around cutting words. Play a game where you cut as many words as possible. That might help with the info overload that is occurring.

Nice job though!

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