Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday and a Blogfest

It’s finally here. Not just Friday, but Kelly’s First Page Blogfest. Make sure you head over and check out the awesome list of writers signed up to share their first pages with you. Here’s mine.

The sky is a blanket, grey and wet, no comfort at all against the wind that blows just enough to send the unseasonable chill bone deep.

December in Florida isn’t supposed to be like this. Nothing is supposed to be like this.

He shivers and shrugs himself deeper into his jacket in the face of the wind, picks up his pace as he turns the corner.

The street is empty and so is the sidewalk as he catches his reflection in a storefront window.

It’s been a while since he’s been here. He’s not even sure it’s still open. But he’d left the base early without much thought to where he was going, just running on empty.

Not because it was Friday, but because his apartment windows had been dark when he'd pulled up to the curb in front of his building and sat watching the first tendrils of fog roll in.

He’s pretty sure it’s better to be empty and cold outside than empty and cold in the front room, the kitchen, the bedroom.

He finds what he’s looking for and pushes through the door.

The bar is empty except for a couple of guys shooting a half-assed game of pool under a big screen. The bartender looks up from washing glasses and gives him a half-nod as he makes his way to a back booth.

“Hi, I’m Theresa.” The waitress materializes at the table, paints on a cut-glass smile. “Can I get you something to drink?”

He settles deeper in his seat, tilts his head. “You got Sam Adams?”

She flicks bored eyes toward the screen at the roar of the crowd. “Bottle or draft?”


She spins on her heel and bounces off toward the bar.


  1. Nice beginning. I always like the bar for an opener.

  2. Thanks, Anne. Hee! I love the bar. And it seems I have a lot of stuff written in the bar. It's a great place. :)

  3. Good stuff! I feel like the bleak day mirrors this character's description. Very well written.

  4. I love the second paragraph--it is resonant and haunting. Would your ever consider switiching it around with the current first graff? The idea that "Nothing is supposed to be like this" immediately makes me think, "hmm, intriguing, I wonder why he thinks that."

    The oppressive sense of loneliness and grief is so palpabale. Nicely done.

  5. Ah, you have me wondering why he is so sad. I'd keep reading to find out. NIce start.

  6. Great idea, posting the first pages. I like this, and get the feeling that your character needs to face a pretty important issue. Nice start!

  7. This is incredible Sarah! I love how your words are not overdone at all, it's perfect and intriguing. I absolutely love the first paragraph. Great job!

  8. I like this, you've done a good job with the emotions.

    I found you from TheQQQ (Matt's blog). I'm officially I new follower for you! ;-)

  9. Great job! I agree with Laurel switching the second paragraph with the first. I'm wanting to know why it is not supposed to be like this.

  10. Wow. You know I love your stuff. And this is just beautiful. I feel emptiess, pain, longing. So great. No red in sight - seriously ;)

  11. Portia, thanks. I'm all about the bleak. ;)

    Hi, Laurel and Christine. Good call. I like the switch. I think it works really well. :)

    Charity, thanks. I'm glad you'd keep reading. :)

    Joanne, it really is a great idea, isn't it. And thank you. :)

    Crystal, thank you so much. That makes me feel really good about this. :)

    Justine, thank you and welcome. :)

    Hi, Tara. Thank you. You are way too kind to me. :)

  12. I missed your writing. This piece was why. "The waitress materializes at the table, paints on a cut-glass smile." Nice!

  13. Intriguing as always--you have such a talent for tying setting/mood/character together in one thematic piece. And now I think I know what your project is.

    Of course I could be wrong.

    I like this idea of first pages. I'll have to check this out later (not at work)

  14. Great stuff!! Makes me want to sit down and write!

  15. Ah, yes. Bleakness. I like bleakness. I like bleakness mixed with bars. Hence I like this.

    I quite like your staccato writing, good lady.

  16. After this winter..I totally understand the despair...

    Love the interested in his depression already... ;o)

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  17. I definitely sensed the bleakness and you did do a great job having the weather reflect the character's emotion and mood. But I did get a little lost in it. Other than depressed, I didn't get a feel for you character and what he's going through. I'm not sure I'd read on about a depressed guy in a bar. Maybe there is a better starting point farther down in your chapter. but youz got amazing skils with the description and emotion!

  18. Wonderful page, SarahJayne. Great description in the first line. It set the scene so well. I really enjoyed the reference to the waitress' cut-glass smile. Excellent. I'm lovin' this blogfest.

  19. Ooh, my favorite things: bleakness and despair! And with a bar! You've got me; ready to read on!

  20. Such a great idea...
    Anyway, i'm your new follower. will you follow mine?

  21. I like this a lot. Makes me want to read on and find out why he's feeling this way. Great imagery with the scenery, too. Nicely done!

  22. Amy, thank you so much. You always say the nicest things. :)

    Hi, Eva. Hee! I wish I knew what my project was and where it was going. :) And yeah, you should check it out.

    Betty, thank you. And yes, sit down and write. :)

    Simon, yes on the bleakness and bars. :) And thank you so much.

    Courtney, you're right. This winter was brutal. And thanks. :)

    Hi Mary and Laura. Thank you and welcome.

    Roxy, thanks. And yeah, I really do love this blogfest. :)

    Summer, hee! Some of our favorite things. :)

    Harsha, welcome.

    Shelley, thanks. I'm so glad this worked for you. :)

  23. "He’s pretty sure it’s better to be empty and cold outside than empty and cold in the front room, the kitchen, the bedroom."

    That, coupled with the weather, set the mood for me nicely.

    I think you slipped out of PoV when you mention "half-assed game of pool", as he can't know from one brief glance how committed the players are to the game.

    Otherwise, such vivid character description and mood setting. I'm totally drawn in to find out what has depressed him; why the apartment is dark. Excellent first page.


  24. You had me with the bar! I really liked your first page!! This was really nice! I think I'm starting to get a little jealous that I didn't participate! I should pay better attention.

  25. I really love how you've painted a clear picture using minimal words in the beginning - and then how you surprised me by saying it was in Florida, completely the opposite of where I was expecting!

    Great start!

  26. I'm so crazy--I followed your blog and forgot to post a comment. Uh...
    Great voice. I like the internal conflict here. Nice characterization, Sarahjayne! ;)

  27. He seems so depressed and I want to know why. I want to know why he's going to a bar alone- I like it. I sense an internal conflict which always captures my attention. Thanks for participating!

  28. I loved the line "December in Florida isn’t supposed to be like this. Nothing is supposed to be like this." It stirs a bit of intrigue.

  29. The barmaid bounced off - a graphic image :)

  30. I liked the voice and the descriptions. Great job.

  31. Well done, you! I absolutely want to know what's going on with this guy. Excellent foreshadowing. Will we get to see more of this during the Bar Scene blog fest?

  32. Donna, thanks. I love that line. I'm glad it worked for you. :)

    Jen, thank you. And yes, you should have participated. :)

    Talli, thank you so much. :)

    Elizabeth, no problem. I'm glad you came back. Thanks. :)

    Kelly, thank you. And thank you for hosting this. It's been a great blogfest. :)

    Nisa, I love that line, too. :)

    Elaine, welcome and thank you. :)

    Terry Lynn, thanks so much. :)

    VR, thank you. It's funny that you ask. I was just thinking about that. :)

  33. nice descriptions of the cold wet air. Brr! You did a good job of weaving in bits and pieces of the main character without actually giving an info dump.

  34. Thank you for reading my first page...and for the very kind comments.

    I like what you have here - good use of weather that sets the tone and makes me wonder how bad things may get.


  35. Wow, the first graphs were so cold and bleak I thought the world had come to an end, and I suppose in some way his world has. Nice job of setting mood and scene and mystery about what's happening.

  36. I. adore. you.

    I want to read more. I especially love "cut-glass smile."

    I don't like this sentence, though, to be honest: The street is empty and so is the sidewalk as he catches his reflection in a storefront window.

    Take out the "as" and make it two sentences. Please?!

    Other than that, I got nothing. Well, nothing except a plea that you'll post more of this!

  37. Great job! I like the parallel between the depressed sort of weather and the downtrodden character. I agree with Amber there about "cut-glass smile" that is a great desciptions there!

  38. Your description of the weather really sets up the mood. I'm curious to know why he's there. Great job!

  39. "The sky is a blanket, cold and wet" - great description - I can see that sky. Nice work here!

  40. Excellent! I agree with Laurel's comments about switching the two paragraphs. Love the sensory details and the gloom. :-)

  41. Great descriptions, if we were studying this in a lit class I would say the weather is a metaphor for his feelings. Nice work.

  42. I love the punchy-ness of this (is that a word? oh well.) It's quick and direct. The point of view is so unique and I would keep reading. :)

  43. You ease the reader into asking questions about the protagonist's mindset. And that is the first step in caring about him and his problems. I believe an agent would want to see what happens to him next. I know I do.

    Come check out my first page and see what you think. Have a healing weekend, Roland

  44. I had just dragged in from a 212 mile jaunt delivering rare blood all over creation when I read your 1st page -- without reading your kind comments on mine. Thanks. May there be only happy surprises in your weekend, Roland

  45. Well, I have a *huge* backlog of your posts to read, so I hope you don't mind if I start from the end and work my way up... :-)
    (and btw nice new picture!)

    He’s pretty sure it’s better to be empty and cold outside than empty and cold in the front room, the kitchen, the bedroom.
    This gives you the measure of the cold, more than the great descriptions of the weather your gave us before: this is not just a matter of outward chill, due to the season and the wind, this is much worse because it's the coldness *inside*, the kind that does not warm up so easily.

    Great beginning but...just a little, tiny gripe: where's the rest???!!!

  46. VERY NICE!!!!! I am intrigued by this MC and your descriptions made me want to go grab a cozy blanket --LOL!

  47. There were so many descriptive gems in this excerpt that kept drawing me deeper into the story. I wondered what base he came from, military probably. I wondered how that contribute to his loneliness. And I loved how you used the setting to mirror the character's emotional state and create a palpable mood for the story's opening.

    Great job! Best of luck with the project :)

  48. I love this...bars and bleakness go together like mac and cheese.

    I agree with Laurel. The "nothing is supposed to be like this" is your first major hook. I hope you swap it around.

    I definitely want to read more!

    Thanks for sharing.

    (and thanks for the sweet get-well comments :)

  49. I just love the way you write. I definitely want to read on.

  50. Wow! This is my first time on your blog & I'm so impressed! I love your post - it's so descriptive without being heavy-handed. I'm particularly fond of ""Nothing is supposed to be like this." Excellent job.

  51. Thank you for your great feedback! I'm SO glad you liked my asshole who shall die part. I was nervous that was too much.

    I think you have a GREAT start and I would ABSOLUTELY keep reading. Kudos for using present tense!

    Hosting Last Line Blogfest, details on my site.

  52. I love the description of the sky as a blanket. Lovely.

  53. Tamara, thanks. I’m glad that worked for you.

    Catherine, you’re welcome. And thank you for the kind words.

    Tricia, yeah, his world has.

    Wendy, thanks.

    Amber, hee! I’ll see what I can do about the ‘as.’ And there might just be more of this for the Bar Scene Blogfest.

    Harley and Amy Jo, thank you so much and welcome.

    Susan, thank you.

    Shannon, yay!gloom! And I agree with you and Laurel.

    Catherine and Roland, thank you so much and welcome.

    Tiana, of course it’s a word. And thanks.

    Nym, thanks. I love that new picture. It’s so springy. And the rest, I suspect is buried in the novel.

    Christine and disobedientwriter, thank you so much and welcome.

    Nicole, thanks so much. I’m glad you liked this.

    Lola, hee! I love bars and bleakness and mac and cheese.

    Copyboy, thank you so much. That’s nice of you to say.

    Lilah, thanks so much. I’ve already signed up.

    maybe genius, thanks so much for reading.

  54. I have an award for you over at my blog!

  55. Well hitting a bar is a definite win for me.
    The issue I have is that there's no real conflict so far...nothing to really draw me in. Also not a huge fan of present tense. And any guy who chooses bottle over draft...or Sam Adams for that matter...I could see it if he plans to use the bottle as a weapon.
    Other than that, I liked a lot of the word choices and metaphors like the cut-glass smile. I want to know what he does with the bottle!

  56. First page posts are a great idea. Yours is terrific! Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great week,

  57. Loved how the description sets the mood. Great job! :)

  58. I want to know why he's sad and why he doesn't want to go home. Poor guy. Definitely want to keep reading:)

  59. This is really crisp and concise–you are a strong writer! First person is tough to do well, but this is totally seamless.

    On thing that pulls me out of this is the fact that our main character at this point is just HE. I like being able to identify with characters right away, and while I can definitely identify with his mood, I feel disjointed from him since he is only a pronoun to me at this point. This is probably just my own neuroticism though.

    That said, I would definitely read more of this to see where it is going.