Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Contest

Okay, this is a fun time. Hop over here, and sign up for the contest.
Then come back...I'll wait... and read my entry below.
I'd appreciate feedback/comments, but even more fun, come and play in the
contest with me.

thanks all,

~ Frances


My Entry:

Shrouded
Science Fiction Romance
80,380 words

Opening excerpt:


Vashia pressed her spine against the steel wall and watched the transport slide to a stop between her and the Comet’s back entrance. The alley she’d snuck down reeked of grease and sweat, and she held her breath for more than just a need for silence. A gutter lizard slithered up the wall opposite, snapping its purple tongue at invisible insects. Vashia cringed and slid a half step back down the way she’d come.
The hover sled powered to idle, and the long door panel slid open. Her father’s insignia disappeared into the housing as the gap widened and Jarn stepped out of the vehicle. Vasia’s mouth twisted in distaste at the same time she did her best to merge with the alley wall. Jarn knew about the Comet. Damn it. He’d managed to cut her off four steps from sanctuary.
He tugged at his gloves and sneered down the street in both directions, his vulture eyes picking through the riff-raff for any trace of her. Vasia’s skin crawled. She froze in the alley’s shadows, couldn’t risk the sound another step away from the governor’s aide might make. Instead she watched his shorn head shake and heard him bark out orders to the driver and the armed thugs standing at either side of his car. “Wait. Keep your eyes sharp.”
She held her breath until Jarn disappeared into the Comet, until he’d slid his skinny, uniformed shoulders through the nightclub’s entrance and the blast of music faded once more into the clatter and hum of normal street noises. The hover car whined in front of her, blocking the route she’d intended to take. Jarn’s toadies might not have genius level IQs, but they couldn’t miss an attempt to slip past them in the full light of Eclipsis’ primary moon. Vassia backed further into the alley and let out a slow, silent exhale. She was screwed.

18 comments:

Ben A. Bell and Melora J. Bell said...

Hi Frances!
I love this! I'm a big SF fan and your opening is just my style--a pefect blend of voice, action, and description. I liked that you used all the senses. I'm very impressed.
Good luck!

houseoflaoch said...

I liked the voice but the main characters name goes through three different spellings. I think you've done a good job of setting up the conflict.

Frances Pauli said...

It does! Hilarious. Can you tell I was trying out options? ;) Thanks for the heads-up.

~ frances

Jessica said...

I also liked the blend of voice, action and style. Good luck!

Jamie said...

Not much to say here you have a lot going on in the first 250 words. One sentance that made me stop and re-read a few times was...
"She froze in the alley’s shadows, couldn’t risk the sound another step away from the governor’s aide might make."
perhaps drop some of the comma's that pop up a lot.
"She froze in the alley's shadows knowing another step would alert the governor's aides."

Good luck in the contest!

Alison Miller said...

Oh - I love the way this ends, and I was really intrigued by the entire excerpt. With all the description, I really feel like I'm there. There's a lot of emotional intensity in that third paragraph.

Really good - I just thought the second paragraph could use a little tightening. You've got some long sentences here and there.
ex. Vasia’s mouth twisted in distaste at the same time she did her best to merge with the alley wall.
could probably be broken into two sentences and be as if not more powerful.

Good luck! SF could just be the new popular trend!

JSC said...

i had a hard time connecting with your mc. there was some voice, but i didn't feel like i was in her head enough right off the bat. the first sentence didn't stand out to me ata ll, either.

but this is really great writing all around. great description and an interesting and engaging beginning.

38a62b0a-5ca8-11e0-aa4d-000f20980440 said...

i enjoyed this first page. there is conflict, vivid description, various emotions, and we are certainly observing action on a faraway world which as a sci-fi nerd is always cool :)
i also like the high tension being eased a bit by the admission that she is screwed. good change-up there.
douglas esper
http://www.douglasesper.com

Shellie said...

First of all, you do a great job with using all the senses. But not being a sci-fi reader. I'm not sure about what's happening here except the girl MC is hiding in an alley from some government bad guy. It sounds like they have some weird means of transportation here that I can't quite envision. But like I said, sci-fi isn't what I read.

Writing wise, I think this is very good but I stumbled over 'alley's shadow'. Lose alley's. And something about '...sound another step away from the governor's aide might make' read awkward.

Nicole said...

Nice job of immediate world building. Good job!

Best of luck!

erica and christy said...

I liked it, but I did have to read it completely through twice before I could figure out what was going on. I think maybe because there's so many proper nouns/descriptors in one page??

Good job and good luck!
erica

Frances Pauli said...

Thanks so much for all of the great feedback! I know I've got some great ideas for tweaks and repairs now. :)

I'm trying to get to commenting on the rest of the list as well, but blogger is really arguing with me at the moment.

I appreciate all the great feedback here, and I'll do my best to reciprocate.

~Frances

Kate Larkindale said...

I like this a lot! It may be a little heavy on the world-building for my tastes, but I think real Sci-fi lovers will not be bothered by it as much. I would certainly read on since you've got my heart pounding with tension, wanting to know what happens next...

lissawrites said...

In the opening line you said she presses her spine against the wall... it made me wonder if her spine was sticking out of her back. Gross, I know, but I'm wondering why you didn't simply say 'back' instead of 'spine'.
Other commenters have already mentioned my other issue - the name changes.
I do feel this is a powerful enough opening to make me want to read further.

Loralie Hall said...

This is great - I love the little details you've worked in without telling us too much up front.

A couple of things that threw me off...I had a hard time picturing the car's height/relation to your mc...was she seeing the lizard over it, on the other side of it, no where near it? It was tall enough to hide her?

That was really my only hang up. Otherwise, I was so very intrigued and all the questions I had would keep me reading for sure ^_^

Ben A. Bell and Melora J. Bell said...

I already posted at the beginning, but have circled back around to say this is my favorite. I'm following you now and wishing you the very best and much success!

Laura (Ben and Melora Bell)
http://www.bellshadow.blogspot.com/
laura_6eg(at)yahoo.com

Frances Pauli said...

Thank you! I followed your blog as well. Didn't realize it, but I've read Ben's story in Rotting Tales. I own a copy, and my good friend Jaleta Clegg has a story in there too. I love Biggun.
Glad to have met you all through the contest. :)

~Frances

Rowenna said...

Nice opening--really puts us in the moment!

Nitpicks--"the alley she'd snuck down" read a bit awkward for me. I think you might do better with just "The alley reeked" and give us the indication she'd snuck in elsewhere?

I felt like I had to figure out a little bit that she was hiding from Jarn--that he was after her, not that she'd kinda stumbled into him. Or maybe I misunderstood? Ok, haven't had my coffee yet :P But perhaps that could be a touch clearer?

The voice is great in this passage--I really enjoyed reading! And for the record, Vasia is my favorite spelling :)