First Page Feedback – Untaming Delilah

Ooh, a Nocturne! Thanks Ashlynn! (@Ashlynn_Monroe), for sharing…

“Hey there Delilah, what’s it like in New York City…” sang Jonathan Brook, her guardian’s lab assistant.

“I swear if you actually said hello like a normal person I’d think you were body snatched by aliens,” Delilah Jones interrupted his serenade. The song was his usual greeting. His cliché musical rendition of her name had been cute for about twenty seconds, and now she found it completely irritating.

He grinned. Jon was a nice albeit obnoxious senior biology major.

She stood outside the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the UW Madison campus. The breeze brushed her skin. A stronger gust penetrated her cotton t-shirt causing goose bumps to rise on her arms and she shivered. Cold was Wisconsin’s favorite temperature, but this was early September and she was dressed for a warmer day.

Jon held the door for her as she rushed inside the facility. Heat rushed over her and the realization the furnace was already on was a relief and surprise. Delilah’s tense muscles loosened up. Aaron wouldn’t be happy if he saw her.

“You dad is going to be pissed off if you get sick, Delilah,” Jon said, reading her mind.

She shrugged. “Aaron Amun isn’t my father. He’s my guardian and doctor.”

Aaron would freak if she caught pneumonia again. When she was sick, he couldn’t get accurate results from blood tests because her white blood cell count went up. Without the results, He couldn’t give her the right dose 5-23 injection to stave off the seizures.

“Really?” Jon genuinely sounded surprised. He had only been Aaron’s assistant a couple of weeks, long enough for her to know way too much about him, but not long enough for her  to be comfortable spilling the sad tale.

“Yep, he’s a good man, but he’s not my dad,” she gave him as much as he was going to get  from her. If he really wanted to know there were others in the facility willing to gossip  about poor, sickly Delilah and her rare brain tumor that made her see crazy shit.

“What’s going on in your head? You went like a million miles away,” Jon muttered the question with a hint of annoyance in his tone.

“Nothing that would interest you, I promise.”

“I don’t know, you seeming like the kind of girl with deep thoughts and big plans?” Jon said in a flirty way that made her inner voice groan.

“I think I was wondering which Kardashian I want to be when I grow up,” she lied.

He grinned. Not easily fooled are we?

“Aren’t you cute?”

Jon put emphasis on the word cute. As soon as someone discovered she had a terminal illness, interaction always got weird so she didn’t flirt back.

“Oh, that’s right, I was wondering if they ever found the body of Aaron’s last assistant. He liked to bother me too, and then there was that experiment that went horrifically wrong…”  she let her voice trail away absentmindedly and cringed for effect.


First Page Feedback for Shannon Barr

Love the song lyrics in the first line! However, you’d need to get permission to use these lines, and it’s unlikely to be granted unless you want to pay for it. Therefore, I’d suggest rethinking the opening lines, even if it hooks the reader in. (I now have Plain White Ts stuck in my head!)

These two pages do a lot to engage the reader with questions: where are her parents? why is the doctor her guardian? what kind of tumor does she have? and how does it affect her life? We also get a great sense of Delilah’s personality from her interaction with Jon, she seems like she has a tough shell with quick, snarky comebacks, but we also get the sense that she is lonely because she doesn’t let people get close enough to hurt her. I would be concered with this as a submission to Nocturne simply because I cannot get a sense of where the paranormal comes into play with this story, hopefully that would become more evident in the following pages…I also am wondering if this is meant to be Young Adult becuase if Delilah has a guardian then she must not be 18 and legally an adult yet. Overall, I think it is a great start and I would love to see where the story goes, simply from the voice of these first pages. 

Too, keep in mind that pop references (like the Kardashians!) might make the book feel dated or not translate well. Though there are enough of those girls around it might not be an issue… 🙂