Mar 7, 2011

Catch Me If You Can Blogfest

We've all heard it a million times: 
If your book doesn't catch the agent/publisher's eye quickly, they'll probably reject it. 
So, I'm sure at one time or another we've asked ourselves, 
"Does my WIP catch people's attention right away?" 
Catch Me If You Can Blogfest 
is an opportunity to share the first 550 words or less of a current manuscript and get instant feedback from your blogging friends, fellow writers and, if you're lucky, a publishing professional or two.

I've chosen the first 400 words of a new book I just started,


Please leave your critique in the comments below, then click on the blogfest button above to visit others who have joined me in seeking a quick review of their work.


* * *

 There is no memory of me. No swing sets or sand boxes. No slumber parties. No prom dress or first kiss. No first anything. Nothing but the rote memory of objects that surround me, and a language that stumbles over my tongue with unfamiliarity.
My first new memory? The throbbing in my head when I wake. The searing pain as my eyes crack open to bright lights and blurred images. Muffled voices and whispers about a girl they call Jane.
Is that my name?
“Jay—un,” I try the sound of it on my lips. It tumbles out with my breath, but sounds different coming from me. I try again to form each letter. “Ja—ay—nn.”  My fingers reach for my mouth, as if prying my lips apart will help the way they form the word. “Jane.” It’s still not quite right, but it’s my first word and I feel the corners of my mouth curl into a triumphant grin.
Someone steps close—leans over me. A woman, I think. The edges of her face are fuzzy because my eyes still haven’t adjusted to the light. She has long hair that sweeps down toward me. Yes, a woman. I can smell the sweet fragrance of her perfume wafting around me as she draws even nearer.
“She’s awake.”
At first, I think her voice is smooth, but then sense a roughness about it—an authority in its tone. I blink hard and try to make her image sharpen. It helps. I can see she has dark brown eyes and brown hair. Her high cheek bones and tall slender build make her beautiful, even without makeup.
It’s odd to be thinking of such a thing when I should be asking questions. I’m having a hard time focusing—my mind that is. My vision is clear now. I take a deep breath, suck my bottom lip inside my mouth to moisten it, clear my tender throat.
“Where . . . ?” My voice squeaks.
No one answers.
Someone else is watching me now—a man with short gray hair and dark rimmed glasses. His sudden interest startles me at first, but then he smiles and I try to relax. “We should call Aaron. He wanted to be here when she woke.”
Aaron? I search my memory for a face to go with the name. There are no faces—not even my own.


  1. LOVELY! i can feel her emotion, confusion, longing to understand her situation. nice descriptions, too :)

  2. Very interesting and powerful. I think the blogfest is an amazing idea.

  3. OH! Great start! I'm hooked and I want more. The title--J.A.N.E.--is intriguing. Keep going. ; )

  4. The emotions came through really well. The descriptiveness was also wonderful. I think this is an excellent start. It has me wanting to read more. XD

  5. Very nice. Great beginning. It makes me want to know more. Is it a child waking? A wife? The questions are plenty--good questions. Thanks for sharing.
    --Angela :)

  6. "There is no memory of me." LOVE this line. It's a great opening sentence. And the rest is just as intriguing! I really feel her confusion :) Great work!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Intriguing selection! It created a lot of great questions for me. Most obviously--what happened? But I also wondered if she really is Jane or if she is remembering someone else.

    I did get confused between the first and second paragraphs. The first paragraph seems like a later reflection on current action, yet the rest of the selection is in present tense. Perhaps flipping the paragraphs might help--starting with "My first memory is the throbbing in my head when I wake." Then she can realize that she has no memory of herself.

    I would certainly read on!

  8. as you know I love everything you write, and can't wait to know more about JANE!!!!

  9. Brilliant! I LIKE it! This is a very fun blogfest.

  10. Love it, love it, love it! Might put that opening line in my top ten. So beautifully written.

    How can I get to read more????

  11. I'm not normally a big fan of amnesia plots but Jane pulled me in. She's fascinating and her POV of this shifting of the sands of her life makes her story compelling. Well done.

  12. Excellent all around! I agree with Regina and Kristina--I am intrigued immediately, and emotionally involved. I will be following you, oh, most definitely!

  13. You guys are great for my ego. Thanks for all the wonderful comments and suggestions. And welcome to my new followers. YAY

  14. LOVE IT!!! This is so good. Is Aaron her husband, boyfriend? Oh you always do this to me.

  15. I came over from Ali's blog, and am now following. Nice to meet you!

    And I loved this piece, the opening was strange, but evocative. Quite powerful. Well done.

  16. This was really good and has me hooked. I would read more to find out about J.A.N.E.!
    Great job.

  17. Very interesting premise! I love that Jane has the periods in the word because I already know it means something more than just a name. I love that she doesn't have faces or memories and even sounds to use. Very intriguing!

  18. Love how you incorporated a variety of senses. This excerpt has great voice and flows well.

    I'd keep reading. Thanks for posting, Natasha Hanova

  19. This is interesting. But I have some issues. Is she just guessing that the woman is a woman because she can't see clearly and would otherwise know the gender of the person? or is she guessing because she doesn't know what a man or a woman is?

    How does she know what perfume is? and that that scent is associated with women? Just things to think about when decided how much she remembers or doesn't remember.

    The writing is strong and I would read on.

    Thanks for sharing.


  20. Very creepy. I like it, but other than Jane waking up, not much is happening. It's tough since she has no memory, but is this where the book starts? Who's the man with the glasses? Is he significant?

    Some things to think about. :) Keep going!


  21. I'm intrigued, and you've left me wanting to know more!

    Lady A x

  22. This is incredible! Beautiful writing. And I love that first line. This is definitely enough to make me want to read on and devour the next pages. ;)

    The only thing I can suggest:

    "At first, I think her voice is smooth, but then sense a roughness about it"

    I would put "then I" in there. It just seems to flow better. But that's just my take on it.

    I have no other criticism. Well done!

  23. Hey Christine, I think it's a great first 550 words. I'd want to read on. Lots of mystery.

    I have a random question for you. Awhile ago, when you were an MMW poster, you posted a pic of a girl in a white dress walking out of the sea with a moon behind her. I loved that picture, and it reminded me of a scene from my book. Could you tell me where you found it on the Internet? (I tried to email you through your website, but it was disabled.)

  24. Wow. I'm hooked! I want to know what has happened, where she is, and who all these people are! I loved this. I especially love your first sentence - "There is no memory of me." Genius!

  25. Wow! Really good, Christine! Hooked!

  26. I thought I had left a comment on this post. Obviously not. Loved Jane. Can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing. I participated in this blog fest, thanks to you, and I had a great time and recieved some helpful comments.