Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Page 1 Review -- Tripp Parker Vs. The World

ERINN FAIL!!!! Blogger didn't post this when it was supposed to. LAME. SORRY.

A very special thank you to Jessica for being the first person to subject herself to the Page 1 Review.  Thank  you!


Title: Tripp Parker Vs. The World (apt to change because of that dang Scott Pilgrim movie :))
Genre: MG Adventure
Pitch: 12-year-old Tripp trades prep school for an African adventure and must save his parents from being sacrificed to an idol of ancient legend.


Critique Level 2

You've done one revision on your own. You want a beta to read it. You know it's not perfect, but it's a lot stronger then it used to be. You know the words still feel like words on a paper, not it's own world the reader sinks into it. You're ok with that, for this draft.
My comments are in red


First 250:

Each tooth was enough to make me pee my pants right there in the coffee house. I really like the first half of this sentence but “in the coffee house”  through me off.  It pulls me out of the story.   I’m not sure if the beast is IN the coffee house attacking.  The beast’s raw gums glistened with saliva and three ropes of drool tangled in the air while it charged. The whip cream on my double tall Socrates latte had long since melted, but I couldn’t stop staring at the photograph. This sentence is also a little jarring, because  the idea the MC is starting at the photograph comes at the end of the sentence. Maybe if it was clear from the beginning that he was looking at a photograph it would clear up any confusion.  I wondered if the creature would smell fear and attack it, like bees and dogs. If so, I’d be a goner within the week.  These sentences aren’t working for me.  I feel like your writing is stronger than these sentences.  


“You drink a lot of coffee for an eleven-year-old boy,” said a sweet voice. “Don’t your people like tea?”  Is he British?  


“You know it’s decaf. And you know I’m twelve.”   repeating the term, “you know”. Oh beautiful, beautiful Angela of the coffee shop, I thought. How I’ll miss you, especially if I die. These two ideas don’t seem to match. his words seem a little harsh for him to follow up with beautiful Angela of the coffee shop... his language is too formal for a twelve year old too.  I teach SMART 12 year olds and only one speaks like this.   



She was my favorite barista not sure if a 12 year old would know the term, at The Forum, one of my hang-outs  and if he does know the term barista,  he wouldn’t use the term “hang outs” on Yale University’s campus. There had been nothing so pleasant back at Cambridge. We left England when I was nine, and the British made a stink about little boys hanging around university students, even if they had large vocabularies and professor parents.  

As a general rule, I’m not a fan of the super smart kid.  There seems to be TOO many of them in middle grade. I think Artemis Fowl is the best example of a smart kid because it’s a very fresh take on the whole cliche.   But at least you’ve explained very early on why he speaks the way he does, which is great!  And it doesn’t feel like an info dump, also great.  But it’s a little off putting to an average middle school reader.


“And this fellow,” I pointed to the photo, “is about to become my closest acquaintance.”


Angela offered a sad smile. “Still leaving tomorrow?”


“Yes.”


Tomorrow I would leave behind four-hundred and fifty-three days of perfect attendance at Winston Prep, one undefeated debate club record, nineteen stuffed animals and action figures, and zero friends to possibly be torn apart by the jaws of the most vicious, terrifying, murderous animal on the continent of Africa.   This is EXCELLENT!!! It gives insight to the character without and states the conflict of the story.  I think this should be your opening paragraph.    But it does make for nice conclusion to your first page.


Over all I think it’s a great start, there’s just a few word choice issues.  I love the idea of the fish out of water, with a smart Brit running around Africa fighting anchient gods.   YES YES YES GIVE ME MORE!!!!  



Possible revision could be:  My changes are in purple


Tomorrow I would leave behind four-hundred and fifty-three days of perfect attendance at Winston Prep, one undefeated debate club record, nineteen stuffed animals and action figures, and zero friends to possibly be torn apart by the jaws of the most vicious, terrifying, murderous animal on the continent of Africa.


Today, I studied the photograph,the beast’s raw gums glistened with saliva and three ropes of drool tangled in the air while it charged it was enough to make me pee my pants right there in the coffee house. The whip cream on my double tall Socrates latte had long since melted, but I couldn’t stop staring at the photograph. I’d be a goner within the week.

“You drink a lot of coffee for an eleven-year-old boy,” said a sweet voice. “Don’t your people like tea?”

“It’s decaf. And I’m twelve.”  But you knew that, oh beautiful, beautiful Angela of the coffee shop, I thought. How I’ll miss you, especially if I die.

She was my favorite barista at The Forum, one of my hang-outs on Yale University’s campus. There had been nothing so pleasant back at Cambridge. We left England when I was nine, and the British made a stink about little boys hanging around university students, even if they were smarter than half the professors.

“And this fellow,” I pointed to the photo, “is about to become my closest acquaintance.”

Angela offered a sad smile. “Still leaving tomorrow?”

“Yes.”




Yeah I did something weird with the tenses so you can ignore everything I just suggested. 

 Do you have any suggestions for Jessica?    Leave them below. 


If you want to do a first page critique email me at  fussymonkey2 at gmail dot come


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