Just when I say—I have that novel I wrote a few years ago. I’m pretty sure there’s been enough time and distance that I could effectively sand it from rough to draft.—information about a writing competition falls in my lap. Literally. I dropped my Writer magazine and it fell open to the page about the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.
So here’s where you come in. If you picked up a book, with an interesting title and captivating cover art, of course, and read this first page, would you care to turn to page two?
Day settled into an unsettled evening. Marybeth stood barefoot in front of the kitchen sink. The dishwasher lay open at her right. The pots and pans, the mixing bowls, most of the dinner preparation dishes were already clean. It was Marybeth’s habit to wash as she cooked. It saved time in the end. She only had the span of her kids’ bath to have the kitchen work finished. The echo of laughter and splashes swirled with the steam of the dish water to warm an otherwise cold room.
Paul was silent, sitting hunched on the toilet lid with a towel over his legs to keep his jeans dry. The setting sun would be glowing through the frosted window had he not shut the shade before he started the bath water. He watched the kids bathing in brief glances over his iPhone. A beer can sweated on the edge of the sink. There was nothing else on the small ledge, just as he liked it. The linen closet door was closed, as it should be, and the kids’ towels hung on hangers exactly six inches apart.
Two-year-old Sara spun in circles on her bottom, her wet hair clinging to her face and back. Charlie was strapped in his bathing chair, kicking his legs and chewing on his hand. He was two months old. Paul had grown tired of doing separate baths and had sent Marybeth to find something suitable for Charlie so he could join his sister in the tub.
Submissions are due by midnight Tuesday. Does this feel like the now of a story, or backstory boringness? Do you feel oriented in the location? Is there enough that you think you might care about these characters at all? Does it make you wonder what’s to come enough that you’d give page two, or perhaps chapter one, a chance?
Any feedback is appreciated. Kindness is not necessary. If it’s crap, do say so. I promise to only cry one or two tears. I can’t be objective anymore. I’ve read it too many times.
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