dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

Before we get to this month’s First Impressions, I’d like to announce the winners of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Thank you to everyone who entered! Now, a drum roll please …
Congratulations to Kat C, winner of a signed copy of WE HEAR THE DEAD – and also to Candie L and Ashlyn Jai, winners of an original photograph of one of the (soon-to-be) famous CAGED GRAVES of Catawissa, PA . I’ll be contacting you for mailing addresses, or you can email me first at dksalerni@gmail.com.
Today, we’ll be looking at the first page of WAITING FOR APRIL, a paranormal romance by Jaime Loren.
My life is a web of endless days, with periods of silent darkness my only indication that time is still moving. Others sleep. Those unlike me, who age and fall ill – they sleep. The darkness gives them time to recover from the fatigue and hardships the daylight presses upon them. For eight hours of their day they are allowed to forget about their troubles, and enter new worlds where anything can happen. Worlds where they can see and hold loved ones who are no longer with them. Worlds where they can go back in time and change their future.
If I could sleep, I’d dream it was 1729 again, and I’d save April Anne Fletcher.
And I wouldn’t have failed her another thirteen times since.
*****
Every morning I stood in the hallway of Harvard’s Quincy House, waiting to discover if April was still alive. Today – the first day of our summer vacation – was no different. But this morning there was no light spilling out from under her door, nor had she answered when I’d knocked. Considering she could sleep through a severe hailstorm, these observations alone didn’t necessarily strike fear into my heart. No, it was the fact she also had a terrible habit of meeting her maker that sent me racing down four flights of stairs and into the courtyard. I checked my cell phone again. No text messages. No calls. My chest tightened.
I’d only just scrolled to her number when something slammed into my back.
My eye got stuck on the first line, and at first I thought it was a run-on, and then I thought it was just missing a comma, and finally I caught the rhythm of it and read it correctly as written. But since you don’t want your reader doing that much work on your very first line, I’d suggest simplifying it.
In fact, my attention was absolutely riveted by this sentence: If I could sleep, I’d dream it was 1729 again, and I’d save April Anne Fletcher. You may want to consider moving that up and making it the opening line. It would certainly get my attention! How important is that first paragraph really? What if you began with something like:
If I could sleep, I’d dream it was 1729 again, and I’d save April Anne Fletcher.
And I wouldn’t fail to save her thirteen times afterwards, either.
Now, the next thing I’m going to suggest kind of shocks me, because I’ve never done this (and the one time I tried it, I couldn’t stand it). But for some reason, I wanted the paragraphs after the section break to be written in present tense. Maybe it’s because that first paragraph you wrote was in present tense and I was expecting it to continue.
But of course, with just this one glimpse, I don’t know what complications of time are ahead of you. Based on the contrast between the date 1729 and the cell phone – not to mention the hints of immortality in that first paragraph – I’m betting this novel spans huge time gaps and you may be constrained by what tense you use when. Still, I was a little confused by the switch to past tense. Maybe a slightly altered transition would ease us into your past tense narration?
What do my blog readers think?
Jaime, thanks for sharing your first page with us! You definitely have my attention, and can I tell you, I absolutely love the name April Anne Fletcher as our repeatedly dying damsel-in-distress!
Please stop by Mainewords to see Marcy Hatch’s critique of this page, and check out Jaime Loren’s blog, The Lovable Protagonist.