AS PROMISED, I AM SHARING MY ATROCIOUS FIRST PAGE. MY COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO SEEMichael Tate sat in the school library, which was quiet except for the hum of the copy machine and computers. The old battle ax librarian was old school and she demanded silence .Normally the hush didn’t bother him, but he was caught up with his assignments and would have liked a diversion to avoid thinking about what his sister Cassady had said to him last night.- HERE IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY. INSTEAD OF THE LONG DRAWN OUT DESCRIPTION OF THE LIBRARY AND THE LIBRARIAN, WHO ARE NOT IMPORTANT TO THE ACTION, I COULD HAVE JUST STARTED WITH LAST NIGHT.Michael sauntered to the front desk and grabbed the newspaper. –I AM TAKING WAY TOO MUCH TIME HERE WITH SUPERFLUOUS DETAIL-The headline blazed: BODY FOUND IN HOME, VICTIM DEAD POSSIBLY ONE YEAR. Last night he had seen this story on TV. THE HEADLINE IS INTERESTING, BUT IT COULD BE WOVEN IN TO THE DIALOGUE.
THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GOOD PLACE TO START MY ACTION“I can’t watch the news anymore,” his mother, said as she and Michael went to the kitchen before dinner.
“Why not? “ Michael’s father asked.
“A mother was accused of putting her daughter in a microwave. The baby was burned from the inside out,” she said.
“Gross,” Cassady said. She was helping their dad Frank fix dinner. Their mother rarely cooked. “She could burn water,” Frank liked to say.
“There was also a woman found dead in her house after a year,” Michael said.
Cassady scrunched her face. “Michael!”
Michael sat on a stool at the kitchen island. “The only reason they found her was thieves broke in and someone discovered the body while they were ripping her off.”
(I DID GET COMPLIMENTS ON MY DIALOGUE, WHICH IS NOT ABYSMAL)Michael’s sister carried four plates and silverware into the dining room. “Thanks for ruining my appetite.” She spread the plates around the table and picked up the silverware. THE PANEL ALSO LIKED MY VERBS“It wouldn’t hurt you to skip a meal,” their mother Grace said. OKAY HERE IS A TELING DETAIL, WE SEE THE CONFLICT. THE PROBLEM IS, WHOSE STORY IS IT? MICHAEL’S? HIS SISTER’S? HIS PARENTS’? DO WE EVEN CARE?
OVERALL THIS FIRST PAGE FAILS ON MULTIPLE MANY LEVELS. AS A WRITER I NEED TO DECIDE WHOSE STORY IT IS AND WHAT THE CONFLICT IS.
I MIGHT ABANDON IT, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF THE “STORY” WRITTEN. YET ABANDONING MANUSCRIPTS IS NOT A FAILURE; IT’S A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY NOT TO REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES.
Sorry about the all caps.:)