First Page Feedback – Somerset Cove

And we’re back to doing our own First Page Feedbacks after an exciting week of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE’s online conference!

Karen C has sent in an opening for HQN…
“Okay, so I understand the fondant is on backorder for two weeks, but you DO realize that this is a bakery, right?” Jenna fumed as she ran a hand through her long brown hair. It was clear there was nothing she could do about the situation; she’d just have to change her game plan until it was available. At least luck was on her side and she didn’t have any wedding cakes to prepare in the next couple of weeks.

She finished placing her supply order, hung up the phone and popped her hair into a pony tail before returning to chopping the pecans for her signature turtle cupcakes. After emptying the nuts from the food processor into a clear plastic container, she rounded the counter and pulled open the large stainless steel door to the commercial refrigerator and placed the chopped nuts next to the sliced strawberries. The blast of air that escaped helped to cool down her frustration with the supply company. She took a deep breath and enjoyed the momentary reprieve. It was nearly five o’clock and she still had so much to get done at the bakery to prep for tomorrow’s creations. Although she opened early in the morning, it helped that she closed at three o’clock so that she could spend a few uninterrupted hours preparing for the next day. Usually Emily, her best friend and business partner, would be here to assist but she had the day off since she worked a wedding the previous weekend.

Over the course of the next hour, she prepared the fluffy buttercream, chocolate and cream cheese frostings and placed them in the refrigerator. She broke down all the cardboard boxes from the supplies she got earlier in the day, gathered them under her arm and went out the rear door to stack them by the dumpster in the cobblestone alley. She smiled when she felt the warm rays of sun on her face as it was getting ready to hide behind the mountains for the day. Early spring in New England was such a beautiful time, she thought to herself. Just as she was turning around to go back inside, she heard the slightest whimper coming from behind the dumpster. She stopped. Unfortunately she’d heard that noise before and it caused a knot to form in her gut.

 

First Page Feedback from Allison Carroll!

This first page does a great job orienting the reader—I know the heroine owns a bakery, in partnership with her best friend, in New England, and it’s spring. All great information to have, and it’s presented seamlessly within the action of the scene. The last couple of lines is really where things take off. What is making that noise?! (Seriously, can you tell me?) It’s great this mysterious catalyst happens early in the first chapter as it’s really what’s going to hook the reader. That said, I felt perhaps too much time is spent showing her work. Consider infusing the scene with some more of her personality and indicators of where she’s at emotionally. Is she enjoying her work? Feeling rushed? Happy to have some time alone? I get the sense it’s just another day for her at the bakery (until she takes the trash out!), but is that a good or bad thing? A subtle cue or two will make these opening paragraphs that much richer! 

And there are a lot of dense paragraphs–perhaps consider breaking them up a bit? 

3 replies on “First Page Feedback – Somerset Cove”

I felt like this was a message for me! Too often I clump sentences together into long paragraphs, and I lean towards WAY too much description and detail.

Of course I’m a sucker for a heroine (or hero!) who owns a bakery. Who doesn’t like reading about baked goods? I really enjoyed the contrast between what is probably Jenna’s day-to-day working world and the whimper that clearly isn’t part of the everyday normalness.

My guess is the whimpering is a dog or cat…though it’s left me itching to find out.

Thanks for sharing Karen.

Hana–

A lot of times the paragraph denseness can lead to a rich and rewarding reading experience! But many readers also use it to give a shortcut to the type of pacing, story, development and “feel” of the story.

If you’re writing something contemporary, genre-oriented, with humor and fast pacing, the reader will be at sea with densely packed opening paragraphs.

Always remember that there are tons of titles as competition out there, and you want to hook the reader in as quickly as possible. Understand the mood and genre of the story you’re telling and let it shine through at the beginning to capture the exact readers who will love your stuff!

Good luck–and thanks to Karen as well!

Matrice

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