First Page Blogfest

I must first start off with an apology.  I was supposed to participate in Livia's Alternate Version Blogfest yesterday, but for reasons I didn't anticipate or plan for, I wasn't able to make that happen.  I thought about finishing what I had been working on and posting it today, until I remembered Kelly's First Page Blogfest.  I've decided to admit defeat and just post my entry for the First Page Blogfest (which just so happens to be already completed) and apologize to Livia for missing her creative event, as well as anyone who stopped in to see what I had to offer.  Sorry guys!

Below I present to you the first page of my novel FALLEN KNIGHT.  It belongs squarely in the mystery/suspense section of your local bookstore, and someday I hope to see it there.  Honest opinions only!  :)

Today was the day; he could just feel it.

Brady Jones told himself the same thing every morning. Deep down, he knew that it was simply lip service, a way of puffing up his confidence and reminding him that on any given day, his life could change for the better. He felt like one of those people who bought lottery tickets every week, always looking forward to the possibilities. Like them, he never wasted time worrying about the countless days when his prediction had turned out to be false, preferring to remain hopeful. After all, the change he hoped for didn’t have to be anything earth shattering; nowadays, his expectations were low.

This morning was different, though; he actually believed his pep talk. He sensed confidence surging through him. It was already May, and the end of the school year was just a few weeks away. That meant he was running short on time, and he always performed better when he had a deadline. His daily horoscope on Facebook that morning had read, “Some recent quandaries regarding romance look set to develop today. Someone new and exciting will fire you up.” Most important, his complexion was the clearest it had been in weeks, and his wild black hair was actually cooperating this morning. He resisted the temptation to check his reflection in the sun visor’s mirror.

He glanced over at his mom behind the wheel of their rickety 1997 Dodge pickup. Feeling unusually self-confident, he asked, “Mom, when can I get my license?”

His mom looked back at him, ignoring the road for so long that Brady felt uncomfortable. He noticed that the right side of her face, which had started swelling a few days earlier, was worse today. Her tooth was giving her problems, but they lacked the money to have a dentist look at it.

Turning her attention back to the traffic ahead, she answered, “Honey, we talked about this.” Her hands twisted nervously on the steering wheel, signaling to Brady that the conversation was turning serious. He wondered if she knew what an open book she was to him. “We can’t apply for a driver’s license under your real name, and I’m afraid to do it under Brady Jones until I can afford to buy some better documents. And even if I could pay for that, I can’t afford to buy you a car.”

63 comments

  1. Great job DL! I'm wanting to know why he can't get a license under his real name.
    Great job!

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  2. Oooh! I want to know what's going on with the two names thing!

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  3. Very interesting beginning. I definitely want to know more about the whole neame thing, too.

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  4. I liked it ok. You really pulled me in though when you got to the part about the names. That is your hook, can you get to it any faster?

    You said honest ;) and it is probably just my personal style opinion so feel free to slap my hand and tell me to go away.

    I would read more though because of the two name hook.

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  5. I like all the talk about confidence and such. I get the feeling it's some foreshadowing, and I love me some foreshadowing.

    Nice hook! That coupled with the poverty--very interested to see what happens next.

    Good job, DL!

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  6. The "most important" zit comeent gave me his age/good voice. Nice job.

    Terrific last para. - I want to know why/what/how?! I do agree with Charity, I'd like to get there faster :)

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  7. I liked it as well. My opinion/taste, I think the lead up to the hook was just fine.

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  8. I would like a signed copy when this comes out, please! (Save me one as soon as you can, before the 7-figure advance makes you too lofty to talk to the little people.) :P

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  9. Brilliant read, DL. I'd definitely read on!

    You said honest, so I do have one suggestion - I'd like a little more detail on the pep talk before you reveal he doesn't believe it. Either that or open with the fact he doesn't believe it ('Brady Jones didn't believe the pep talk he gave himself every morning, but he did it anyway. . .'). At the moment, it feels like the opening takes two twists (pep talk - doesn't believe it - believes it today) which makes it a little harder to get a sense of where you're going.

    But I would definitely read on - the names thing is just too intriguing - and the writing is strong :)

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  10. Yup. It got good in the last paragraph. The mystery is now established, and the reader wants to know more. Nicely done.

    Plus, that's the first time I've seen a FB horoscope mentioned in fiction....

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  11. You've got a great hook with the whole double name thing!! Love that. But I got a little lost in the first two paragraphs. Could they be tightened? Could we get grounded in the setting before he goes into all that introspection because I had pictured him walking down a street, not in a car.
    But you're off to a great start!

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  12. Wow! Amazing... I definitely want to read more. I want to know why she wants to change his name and why they are so poor. Great tension!
    Thank you for sharing!

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  13. Wow, DL. I have never read your work before, and you are a great writer. I loved how smooth everything flowed together. I liked the character and was surprised by the revelation that all wasn't as it seemed in his life. Very well done!

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  14. I agree, the "most important" and the Facebook thing were nice touches. And I would love to know why he's using a false name.

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  15. I am so intrigued why he cannot get the license under the real name!!

    Wonderful!


    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  16. I enjoyed it as well DL. I already feel like I know the MC and his situation a little bit - but with that last bit I sure want to know more :)

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  17. Great first page, DL! Becuz I don't write YA, I automatically started with him being an adult until it got to the obvious high school thoughts. But that doesn't matter becuz if someone had the book in their hands (and I'm sure there will be plenty in the future who do) they would already know the age of the MC. I loved the comparison you made with his daily hopes to those of weekly lottery players. That was so great and really made me understand his thought process. And the hook at the end? Fuhgeddaboutit! It's awesome. *hugs*

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  19. That last paragraph hooked me. And I love the title!

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  20. Very mysterious. I like his proactive attitude. You've built a sympathetic character with lots of growth potential. I'm already getting a sense of the plot also in the foreshadowing.

    The part about the lotto ticket, while revealing to his character, is a bit wordy and cliche. And he's apparently not old enough to buy a lotto ticket so it's a bit out of place.

    I think you capture his optimism much clearer in the FB horoscope. I like how you weave in the family situation, the way his mom asserts reality without it feeling like an info dump. Perfect timing.

    I'm seeing a mom and her kid on the run from a very abusive man, so I get a sense the tension will really build up as the story progresses.

    I'm very interested and drawn in. Very well written first page.

    ......dhole

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  21. So intriguing. I love the little parts where you show without telling. Like talking about his acne and Facebook. I feel like I get to know the character more, and get a glimpse into who he is, rather than someone's perception of him. Does that even make sense? ha ha.

    The only thing that brought me out of your story for a little bit (you wanted honest right?) was where you state "they lacked the money..." This seemed like a narrator intrusion, and I thought you were doing just fine describing their poverty without saying it straight out. The rest was excellent and I would definitely keep reading more to figure out what is going on. :)

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  22. Under his real name? Why does he have a fake name? What happened!? GREAT beginning!

    I think you should post the Alternate Version post late - I'd read it anyway!

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  23. Wait... why wasn't there more DL, this is just as bad as Teaser Tuesdays!!! The nervous mom was adorable but I am so wanting to know more about the "real" name thing!!! Hmmm interesting!!

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  24. Very well done. I like your use of contrasting hope and depression for the kid. Definitely a teenager thing.

    Also, the obvious question comes to mind about his name issue which leaves a fair sense of mystery.

    I completely honestly can say that the writing style in that first page is good. I'm not just saying that.

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  25. Ohh, I agree with everyone else, I want to know what's going on!! Great first page, I'd keep reading =)

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  26. “We can’t apply for a driver’s license under your real name..." I was not expecting this line and boy do I want to know the reason why! Great job (as usual). Thanks for participating!

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  27. You have a great way of drawing the reader in. I wanted to read page two. I believe you have a great talen in writing, and it shows you daily try to improve it. Congrats.

    I fear I came in too late to join in the fun, but I still tried. That'll teach me to be a blood courier, driving rare blood all over creation these past 24 hours. I'm always hoping a beautiful vampire will want to strike up my acquaintance because of my unique job. That could be a mixed blessing, right?

    Come and read my first page. I wish us both good fortune in getting published. Roland

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  28. Good job. Had me interested and wanting to learn more about this guy! Especially after he's trying to build up his own confidence.

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  29. Great work - you have me thinking domestic violence.

    They have been there a while, long enough for Brady to have forgotten the need for secrecy?

    You have sprinkled clues, sparingly.

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  30. Ooh, I like the mystery with his name. Fascinating!

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  31. Great first page DL! You set up tension, voice and mystery all right here! Awesome job! :)

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  32. Ooh, he has a real name and a fake name! Of course we're wondering why! Nice hook!

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  33. Honest opinion: This was very good. I was interested right away and I want to know more.

    Post the rest of it. ;-)

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  34. This was great ... but what a way to leave us hanging!!!!!!!!!!!!! I teach high school English, and I got thinking about how my students would act in Brady's position ... lots of room for connections here, which is what always makes what I read come alive for me. Good stuff :-)

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  35. Wow, talk about a cliff hanger. I was immediately drawn into the character's mind--excellent!

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  36. Oh, so many questions!! This is a great beginning D.L. I would definitely keep reading. I love the "real" details like the Facebook horoscope and checking his complexion - just right! :-)

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  37. Christine ~ Glad I could make you wonder!

    Falen ~ Heh heh heh

    Sarahjayne ~ Thank you!

    Charity ~ I first wanted to establish Brady's frame of mind and eternal optimism before I got into raising questions. I didn't want to rush things, for reasons that come out at the end of the chapter. My primary goal was really to get the reader/agent/editor to turn the page and I believe i accomplished that.

    Summer ~ Foreshadowing can be a mystery writers best friend. :)

    Tara ~ see my comments to Charity.

    Jaydee ~ Thank you for weighing in.

    Julie ~ Oh you're so funny, little miss contacted by an agent person. :)

    Ellen ~ That was a very helpful comment! Thanks for the help!!

    Simon ~ Thanks!

    Laura ~ Note taken. Thank you!!

    Elizabeth ~ Thank you so much!!

    Roxy ~ Thats what I like about these Blogfests...it gives us all an opportunity to experience each others writing. :)

    Whitney ~ Sorry, but i'm not telling...yet. :)

    Courtney ~ The you'll be blown away by the ending to the chapter!

    Jemi ~ Thank you. Mission accomplished.

    Gina ~ Why aren't you cleaning?!

    K.M. ~ Thank you! I'm kind of partial to the name myself. :)

    Donna ~ Good point about the lottery ticket, I can explain that better. Thank you for the excellent observations!!

    Tiana ~ I not only want, but expect honesty. Thank you for yours!!

    Harley ~ :) heh heh heh

    Jen ~ I know...and I'm sorry!

    VW ~ I really appreciate that man. Music to my ears.

    Natalie ~ Hopefully one day you'll get that wish. :)

    Kelly ~ Thank you...fearless leader!!

    Roland ~ Sounds like an interesting premise for a story! Thanks for the comment.

    TerryLynn ~ Thank you! :)

    Kimberly ~ I appreciate that!

    Elaine ~ Somebody is very astute!!

    Shelly ~ :)

    Anne ~ Thank you...thank you...thank you!!!

    Kat ~ You never realize how much you're trying to accomplish with this first page until you put it in front of new readers like this. Thanks!

    Dawn ~ Thank you!

    Christi ~ I can be bribed!!

    Klo ~ Then you probably wouldn't like how the first chapter ends then.

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  38. I love the horoscope on FB part! LOL!

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  39. KM ~ It's really fun to discover which parts resonate with various readers. Thanks for sharing that with me!

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  40. Whoa, I wasn't expecting Mom's response! What a fantastic hook for a novel's first page. I wanted to know more as soon as I got to that paragraph.

    Some of the comments you've gotten contain great feedback. Like Gina and Donna, I didn't immediately identify Brady as a teen. Even when he thinks about the upcoming end of the school year, I was thinking he may be a teacher. Maybe getting that skin clearing up description in earlier, something like: Today was the day; he could just feel it, and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that his complexion was the clearest it had been in weeks, either. Brady Jones's told himself the same thing every day...

    Anyhow, great job and best of luck on this project!

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  41. You have captured my attention. Definately an interesting opening. I want to see more.

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  42. Nicole ~ As always, a very helpful comment. That's an adjustment that is very easy to make. Tank U!!

    Chris ~ Mission accomplished. :)

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  43. Thanks for coming and reading, DL. That's me. Dare to be purply. I'm a romantic. I believe in the poetry of the human spirit, especially facing that darkness which all of us, soon or late, must face -- hopefully with dignity, with compassion for those around us, and with courage. Have a great weekend, Roland.

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  44. No need to apologize, DL. I know how life gets in the way. Intriguing beginning here. I want to know why he's under a fake name.

    I do agree with the folks who have suggested getting to the hook quicker. The first paragraph is very general-- you might be able to cut it. I like the facebook bit in the second paragraph, and the complexion part. it gives a bit more personality,a nd once he starts talking to his mom, then the story gets going.

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  45. Wow...I apologize that my comments are so unoriginal, it's just that I've been wowed several times today. This is an amazing start. Totally sucked in. The first sentence did it. The last one sealed my fate.

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  46. I gave you an award over on my blog! :)

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  47. I so relate to the being too poor for dentistry! As soon as I got insurance, I had my wisdom teeth pulled.
    There are $50 cars though (at least when I was getting my license in '88), but the whole hiding their identity thing has got to make everything impossible.

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  48. Good details - I like how we know his age and that they're low on money without actually being told. And I really want to know why he can't use his real name. Great beginning!

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  49. Ooo - great tease. Lots of unexpected details here. I was not expecting the swollen face to be from a tooth - that was a really cool surprise. And now I'm intrigued about his real name.

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  50. Thank you for your great feedback on my entrance!

    I would SO keep reading your story. Its got a great start; its VERY strong. I love things that end w a little suspense, too.

    Maybe you would be interested in my blogfest: Last Line Blogfest?

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  51. I enjoyed this, and definitely would keep reading, especially after that last paragraph hook!

    I too assumed he was an adult for a bit too long, until I was set straight, but I think Nicole's easy suggestion would solve that small misunderstanding.

    I look forward to reading more!

    Thanks for sharing.

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  52. I liked that I originally thought he was an adult and then thought Oh! I was wrong! I like when that happens because it makes me remember not to assume so much.

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  53. Roland ~ Everybody has their own taste. Write in what you believe!

    Livia ~ Yes, there was a reason to apologize and you are gracious to say otherwise. I'll make it up to you one day!

    About the beginning, I've had several comments about that (and numerous others the other way), and I think I might address it in my next blog post.

    Tina ~ I know what you mean, this has been an amazing blogfest! Thank you for your comments anyway, they weren't unoriginal to me! :)

    Amanda ~ Aren't you a sweetheart!

    Lorel ~ I was kind of proud about that little detail. :)

    Susan ~ That is one rule of writing I've heard over and over that I've tried to take to heart. Show...Don't Tell!

    Kirsten ~ Sorry for the tease! Occupational hazard. :)

    Lilah ~ That sounds like another interesting blogfest. I'll be there!!

    Lola ~ All you have to do is say the magic password! :P

    Lilah ~ I have to remind myself of that from time to time as well. Great point. Thank you!

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  54. Great first page. I am so curious as to why he can't get his license because of the name thing. Wow, you've really set the story up here. Love it :)

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  55. Wow, 56 comments is a lot to scroll through just for me to tell you that I gave you an award on my blog today! :-)

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  56. Eva ~ That's nothing compared to the end of the chapter! Heh heh heh.

    Summer ~ Awwwwww. You are such a sweety! A kick-ass sweety...but a sweety just the same!! :)

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  57. DL,

    This was an engaging first page! I wish I had something unique to offer, but at least I can add to your commenter's general pool:

    The two speed bumps I hit were not quickly understanding the age of the protagonist, and the pace of the initial paragraphs versus the major grab your last paras have.

    Nice job! I'd sure read more.

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  58. I've put up a new post on my blog. Come by and see. You may enjoy it. Hope so. Another struggling cyber-author, Roland

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  59. Good hook there at the end! Great job!!

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  60. Wow. Great job DL! You really pulled me in there right at the end. I want to know what they are running from if they can't use their own names...are they illegal immigrants? Fugitives? I am intrigued.

    The only thing that caught my eye was "wild black hair." Even though this is third person, we are firmly in Brady's POV, and that much description of his hair seems weird. I think it would be better served as "...weeks, and his hair was actually cooperating this morning."

    Also, I know it leads to the big shock reveal that Brady is not his real name, but in a narration that is so close to him, would he be referred to by his fake name? Does he think of himself as Brady Jones?

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