If you’re a writer who’s been in the trenches for awhile, you know the importance of the first page of your manuscript. It’s supposed to do a myriad of things like establish voice, create character presence, and give an inkling of the premise. It’s a lot of pressure for one page. Recently, I received a critique back from one of my CP’s (critique partners) and she provided insight into the first page, but more importantly she reacted to my first paragraph. She pointed out what she’d learned about the story and character just from reading the first six lines.
I thought it’d be fun to do First Paragraph Friday’s, where I critique the first paragraph of either an unpublished manuscript or a published novel. If you want to participate, send me the first paragraph of your first page to writedahl (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll give you feedback about what I learned from it. Then you can decide if that’s what you wanted your reader to learn.
Today’s FPF is Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan. It’s another prologue and I’m curious to see how I’ll do with this one.
Here’s what I consider the first paragraph.
At the very beginning, she had seen his face and knew he would not let her live.
She couldn’t plead with him, he’d sealed her mouth shut. No way to beg, to appeal to his humanity. He had no humanity. Why hadn’t she seen it before? Had she been so blind that when he looked at her she couldn’t see the hatred, the anger, the sick lust?
1. She knows him better than just a stranger. He might be a colleague or someone she dated.
2. She will die. (The girl said it in the first sentence and I believe it. Mostly because it’s a prologue and not the first chapter. If it were the first chapter, it might make the girl the protagonist/hero of the story and less likely to die so soon in the story.)
3. The story will be about the man who killed her and his capture.
4. She will not be the only one he kills. I’m basing this one off the sentence, “He had no humanity.” I’m inferring that he needs to kill to satisfy some sick need inside of him.
That’s my observations. If you think I missed something, please feel free to add your own observations in the comment section.