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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | First Impressions: HOTEL ROOM

First Impressions: HOTEL ROOM

Photo Credit: Eunice Stahl via Unsplash

It’s been a long time since I hosted a First Impressions here on my blog! This submission came through Marcy Hatch’s blog, and is the first page of an adult novel by Selena. I am going to insert a few grammatical fixes in the text, then summarize my advice afterward.


She woke up with a splitting headache and a muddled mind. Without opening her eyes or trying to form a coherent thought, she pushed her head deeper into the soft pillow and sent a silent prayer to the heavens for the pain to go away and let her sleep a little longer. Unfortunately, it took only seconds for a nagging feeling to appear in her stomach, telling her something was wrong. Peeling her eyelids open, she took in her surroundings. The city lights coming through the large floor-to-ceiling window were enough for the sleek lines of the furniture around her to form a disturbing picture in her head. A hotel room. She was in a hotel room. An expensive one at that, if the leather armchairs positioned by the coffee table and plush curtains framing the window were anything to go by. At the same time, she noticed the silky feel of the sheets covering her body and realized she was naked. Panic made her lift her head up with the a jerk, and she immediately regretted the move since blindingly sharp needles of pain pierced her brain. Firmly shutting her eyes, she let her head fall back down and waited for the onslaught of nausea to pass. She really was in a hotel with possibly the worst hangover of her life. The good news was that the room was still dark which meant the morning didn’t hadn’t come yet. Nobody was in bed with her or even in the room, so she didn’t have to get up right this second. Her brain will would probably offer some information about the last night events at some point, so there was no need to panic. She allowed herself to relax just a little bit and sunk sank into the softness of the bed trying to decide on the course of action that will would get her out of this room and home. Preferably as soon as possible. A The headache wasn’t going anywhere, and she didn’t have any painkillers so the shower should probably be the first stop of her escape route. That will would clear her head enough to find her stuff, leave the hotel and find a cab that will to drive her home. Well, it appears appeared that forging the plan wasn’t so hard after all.


First of all, if this character has a name – and if there is no reason to withhold it – I would suggest naming her in the first line instead of opening with the pronoun she. Secondly, this is a long block of text that would read easier if divided into smaller paragraphs. If it were me, I would break the paragraph before these sentences:

  • Peeling her eyelids open, she took in her surroundings.
  • Panic made her lift her head up with the jerk …
  • The good news was that the room was still dark …
  • She allowed herself to relax …

There are quite a number of adjectives and adverbs used in this passage, and the text would read more cleanly it they were reduced. For instance, it’s vivid enough to say that needles pierced her brain when she moved. It’s not necessary to add that they were blindingly sharp.

As for the hook of this opening, I would definitely read further! I think we can all imagine the horror of waking up in a hotel room naked, having no memory of how we got there. I immediately want to know whether this is a complete aberration for her, or if this is not the first time she’s found herself in a situation like this.

Selena, thanks for sharing your first page! Best of luck with the rest of your manuscript. Check out Marcy’s blog, Mainewords, for additional feedback on this opening page.


One Response to First Impressions: HOTEL ROOM

  1. Good point about breaking it into smaller paragraphs. Increases the urgency.