New Contest and my first page

Shelly Waters is holding an amazing contest. Again. This time we have to post the first page of our book for an opportunity to have ten pages critiqued by Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates!

I know I’ve had this page, chapter and book critiqued to death. But several extra eyes won’t hurt! Thanks for taking the time to read my entry. I’ll hop blogs to leave my critique too.

Title: SOUTHERN CROSS
Genre: YA Literary Fiction
Word Count: 87,000 words

Lies have short legs. I’ve known this ominous proverb since before I could speak.
    Who among my ancestors brought the saying across the Atlantic all the way to Argentina?
    My Russian great-grandmother embroidered it on a pillow after her first boyfriend broke her heart. My Palestinian grandfather whispered it to me every time my mom found his stash of wine bottles hidden in the unlikeliest places, like underneath my bed. My Andalusian grandmother repeated it like a mantra, lost in her old woman insanity, before her memories and regrets called her to the next life.
    Perhaps the saying doesn’t belong to any language, and sprouted from this land the early explorers thought encrusted with silver, and my immigrant family adopted the expression like its own.  
    In spite of seventeen years of practice, my lies’ legs haven’t grown stronger or faster. I know the consequences of lying to my father. A reflex slap that will leave my face burning for hours. A session of yelling and blaming his worries on a daughter who’s not as beautiful as her mother nor as smart as he is. A litany of all the reasons he gave my mom for not having any more children after Pablo—perfect, beautiful Pablo—was born.
     With all these thoughts clamoring in my head, I still went to the stadium to watch my brother play in the Scoundrels’ opening match of the season. My brother and that other boy whom the press calls the Titan because on the pitch, he’s more than a god. Diego Ferrari.

17 comments

  1. Very well written.

    From the very first sentence, I love how everything unfolds, only to be the explanation of that very first sentence!

    And the introduction of both her brother and his soccer teammate, Diego, leaves me wanting to turn the page and read on.

    Well done. Best of luck in the contest!

  2. Lissa says:

    I really like this opening. It's very strong, and having to take a guess at the genre I'd say literary or maybe just contemporary fiction. I love the mixed heritage thing. It was a bit confusing reading about the different nationalities of all the family members, but that's not really a critique, as my own family is as mixed up as that as well – so it's quite believable. I also love the recurring theme of the lies, and the family drama. Well done!

  3. LOVE. =)

    One suggestion:

    "I know the consequences of lying to my father[:] a reflex slap that will leave my face burning for hours, a session of yelling and blaming his worries on a daughter who’s not as beautiful as her mother nor as smart as he is, a litany of all the reasons he gave my mom for not having any more children after Pablo—perfect, beautiful Pablo—was born.

  4. Angie says:

    I love this. Awesome opening sentence. I'd like to maybe get into why she's lying a bit sooner or make that more clear. I think it has something to do with the soccer match she's going to, but it's not really clear why that would be considered a lie.

    Good luck!

  5. Loralie Hall says:

    I love this. It's got voice that's subtle but distinct, it's got an emotional kind of tension, and it says so much about the mc right up front. lineage, rearing, all sorts of amazing things.

    I'm floored. No suggestions here ^_^

  6. Perri says:

    Hi there,

    I saw your lovely entry over at the "Is it hot in here…" contest and thought I'd hop over and say hi. Lovely writing! I really enjoyed it.

  7. It was great getting to know you better at wifyr. I'm passing along the Irresistably Sweet Blog award, to an irresistably sweet awesome writer! Congratulations!

  8. Kristi says:

    oooh, I really like this. I think you did a great job. You definitely want to read on … good luck. I don't have any suggestions for improvement!

  9. Tracy says:

    Just one little thing. I would make it "as he." rather than "as he is." But that's just me and its a style thing. It just makes it more parallel to the as her mother part. You didn't say as her mother is.

    Thanks for sharing though! Very interesting proverb. I'd never heard it before but I like it. Great way to get her rich heritage in there as well.

  10. Linda Gray says:

    Beautiful! The only place that stopped me was when she says her lies' legs haven't grown stronger or faster. Excellent thought, but I was expecting it to relate directly to the opening phrase more: long/short.

    I'd read more in a heartbeat.

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