First Page Feedback – A Measure of Money

Another Special Edition entry! Luckily readers also love these stories…

Jenny stowed her bag in the overhead locker of the plane and squeezed herself into her window seat. Flying on budget airlines was the only time she was glad to be shorter than average. She tucked a wayward tendril of her short chestnut bob back behind her ear, feeling quite excited as she contemplated the six weeks ahead of her.

“I really think you need a proper break,” her boss had insisted. “I can’t reverse what Derek did, but I can at least make up for it a little.” Jenny had tried to protest, but he had firmly sent her home to pack her bags and make arrangements.

She looked up as a tall man slid into the seat beside her. He would have been good-looking, she decided, if he hadn’t had such a scowl on his face. She sneaked another peek. Despite his casual shirt and jeans, he looked like a typical businessman, with a clean-cut hairstyle and a smooth-shaven chin.

Definitely has a girlfriend if he’s shaved on a Saturday morning, she thought.

His long legs were squashed against the seat in front of him, and as he shifted to try and make himself more comfortable, his knee brushed against hers. Startled, she pulled her legs together and inched herself closer to the window. The plane suddenly felt very claustrophobic and she closed her eyes, fighting back the panic. Breathe, she told herself. Slowly. In. Out.

By the time she had recovered her composure the plane was ready to go and she dutifully watched the stewardess go through the safety demonstration. Her neighbour glowered beside her all the way up to cruising altitude, while Jenny tried to ignore the blatant invasion of her personal space.

“Sorry,” she said as soon as the seatbelt signs had been switched off. “Could I just get out to go to the toilet?”

He let out a theatrical sigh, and Jenny decided it was time to do some scowling of her own. She looked him full in the face. “Are you always this uncivil, or is it just when you get on a plane?”

Feedback from Carly Silver

I really liked this introductory page. It established a distinct, relatable, and flawed character in Jenny, and her reaction to the man sitting next to her was one I know I would have had. I’d love to see where this manuscript would go, as I didn’t really get a sense of what line this book was meant for.

One thing to watch out for is that many editors and readers are wary of scenes starting in transportation. This isn’t as strong here because we meet the hero right off (or so we assume!), but sitting back and thinking of the elements that got the hero/heroine to the destination while in car/train/plane can sometimes become a cliche. 

Thanks, for the offering! It’s  a solid opening, but might not have established a strong, enticing story right from the start. Could there be something a bit more compelling?