Another first pages participant. I love that you guys are so willing on this. Way to get out there! Way to be brave.
Some secrets shouldn’t be shared. (My opinion on this opening is just that, my opinion. I'm not sure I like it. It seems more like it belongs on a query letter or back cover.)
To keep secrets, lying was necessary. Lucy James knew this better than most people. Her whole life had been a series of deliberate misinformation (This phrase is tripping me up for some reason. I'm not sure if it's because we have "series" -- plural -- up against "misinformation" -- not plural, or if it's because series leads me to think of events and "deliberate misinformation" aren't events. Hmmm.)—not out of a fundamental dishonesty or a disregard for civility, but out of self-protection. Some would say a cheater’s glimpse into the future was a gift. To Lucy it was a curse she had to protect through constant deception.
Lying was also one of her job requirements as a CIA courier.
Settling down in a big city like LA would give Lucy plenty of ways to stay in the shadows
, yet still be a part of society. Patting the
handbag along her hip, she smiled, knowing at
least her dream of planting roots would soon be a reality. She had She'd signed
papers to have utilities changed over to her name by
tomorrow (Without "by" it sounds as though
she is signing the papers the next day, but "had" means she already
did. Since seeing into the future is already part of the storyline, it could
confuse a reader)—the same day the house she bought should close.
The big, two-story City Hall building (At first I thought the description was about the house she just bought, so the "City Hall" part threw me.) in which she walked held many offices, and all of them connected with some city organization. On the same floor as the water and sewer department, the fire department had their administrative offices. (Only because I've beta read this novel do I know why this is here [cheater, cheater ... I seem to be doing that a lot lately.] If I pretend that I don't know this, the description sticks out as odd. As I talked about with the last Three-Hundred Thursday first page critique, Gennifer Albin recommended putting as little exposition in the first pages as possible. Give what is needed to ground the reader in the scene and nothing else. Consider cutting some of the description of the building and focus on her actions. One possibility -- let her walk through the building and give concise, quick descriptions.) The doors across the hallway from them belonged to the mayor of Los Angeles and other city administrators.
For the most part the other occupants of the busy hallway were polite (Are there some that aren't polite?) and returned her eye contact, brief as it was. By the time Lucy
started descending descended (leave out start, begin, etc. unless a sentence
wouldn't make sense without it.) the long, curved staircase, she saw (Revise sentences to avoid wording such as saw, heard, feel,
etc. If the scene is in a character's POV, allow the character to simply
experience the sense. The reader doesn't need to be alerted that the character
sees this or that.) a handsome man (who happens
to be one of my fave heroes ... just saying.) dressed in a dark blue
t-shirt with a firefighting symbol near the shoulder. His brown eyes captured
her attention, as well as his smile, and he was
looking looked straight at her (Is there stronger wording that
could be used to convey this action? It's a heart-beat-missing moment; I need
heart-beat-missing wording to match.). Lucy’s heart missed a beat, and she quickly returned
the smile. As she She worked up the courage to say hello, maybe stop and ask his
A familiar phantom wind blasted across Lucy’s face, jerking away her breath, leaving gooseflesh skittering down her arms in its ghostly wake. (LOVE the description) The sickly cold sensation
she knew so familiar to her went unfelt by anyone except her.
It was a precursor to a phenomenon she’d known since she was a young child—a
warning that someone was about to be killed (Passive voice, which
should be avoided when it can. In this case, I'd suggest "when someone was
about to die.").
As I mentioned in one of the comments above, first pages need to contain as little exposition as possible. Ground the reader in the scene and stick with mostly action. In the first few paragraphs I see lost of description that can probably be cut and inserted later. Be clear, be concise -- concepts that far too often seem at odds with each other. (I'm wrestling with it in my query right now!)
Thank you, kind participant #3. Good luck!
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