Monday, January 30, 2012

Let's Make Fun of My First Manuscript

Below is the first page of a virgin writer's manuscript.

Disclosure: I feel VERY exposed showing you this. Like walking into a library donning a bikini. You can't see me, but I'm turning all sorts of colors right now.

I wrote it years ago. It was about a ghost and a whole bunch of other nonsense that was rejected by dozens of agents (understandably) and now sits on the dusty virtual shelf of my flashdrive. But looking back at where you started can do two things: One, boost your confidence because look how far you've come! And, two, serve as proof that all these hours of researching the craft of writing, reading writer's blog, and writing gazillions of words may have actually paid off. Plus, you might get a chuckle out of it. I know I did.

So let's play a game!

Based on what you know about writing craft and the oh so daunting task of creating an impressionable first page, what would you change? Find a beginner's mistake and post it in the comments below. Let's see how many we can find. Ready go!

Somewhere between Portland and Redlands a change took place inside me. I didn’t know it. And I surely didn’t feel it. But when I saw him, I sensed it; something different. I laugh now because that day, I thought there was something wrong with him.   
It was there, on my first day at Grove High, when I saw him. He was standing beside COLE GYMNASIUM, alone, and the fact he was staring at me was not what grabbed my attention— plenty of eyes lingered on me as I stumbled anxiously through campus, but not eyes like his.
At first they were wide, surprised perhaps at how uninteresting I truly was. My average appearance wasn’t just disappointing to him, but unforeseen. Honestly, what had he expected? A model? A movie star? Based on his extraordinary good looks, perhaps that’s what he’d hoped.
As I neared, his eyes narrowed enigmatically. What I thought to be the squinting eyes from the sun’s glare, I now recognized as a glower, staring me down. Did he not realize I could see him? That he was breaking a fundamental rule of social politeness — the one every child heard at some point in their youth — don’t stare?
Disappointing or not, I didn’t warrant such a harsh greeting. It took all I had inside to resist the childish urge to stick out my tongue.
“Three months,” I muttered to myself. The words held no reassurance.
As with the other visual salutations I’d received, I allowed my eyes to retreat back to the sidewalk. The horizontal cracks my feet trespassed were a comforting distraction. I counted eighteen then the sidewalk forked. I grunted and reluctantly glanced again to where the boy was standing, but thankfully he was gone — already left for class.

Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings. I already know how horrible it is. (But this might be a good chance to practice your critiquette.) Let's see what you can come up with!


  1. Being your CP, I can totally see your growth from then until now. What a difference! All those adverbs...shame, shame. At least you know better now.

  2. Nicole! I have awarded you the “Versatile Blogger Award.” Follow the link: