Thursday, February 16, 2012


Jamie Ayres is having a contest. From her blog:

If you’d like to participate, then please email me at by 5pm tomorrow & post the first page of your manuscript on YOUR blog. I will compile a list of the participating blogs and post them here tomorrow. That way, everyone can hop around and post constructive feedback on each others first page. I will randomly draw five names to receive a personal critique from Heather (Burch). I’ll announce those winners tomorrow on my blog and then contact you with instructions. Also, I  will personally visit everyone’s blog to comment and will keep a tally on who is leaving the most helpful comments for others:) That person’s reward will be a mailed copy of Heather’s book (Halflings) *can I get a woot, woot* I’ll announce that winner on my regular blog next Wednesday.

Here is the first page of my MG fantasy adventure, THE PRINCESS'S TREASURE HUNT:

Princess Cassandra accidentally stabbed herself with her sewing needle. She glared at it and shoved her thumb into her mouth so she wouldn't get any blood on the fabric. Lady Bethany would have a fit if that happened.

She risked a glance outside the large peak-shaped window. The sun shone down from the height of its journey, and Cassandra wanted nothing more than to throw aside the stupid patchwork and run down to the stable to fetch a horse. Not that Philip, the nasty stableman, would let her ride one. After the incident two months ago, Cassandra was banned from horseback riding, and Philip told that he would lose more than just his job if it was found out that he had aided her.

Cassandra sighed and glanced around at the other ladies in the small sewing room.

"Is something wrong, princess?" Lady Bethany asked. With a sharp nose and sharper eyes, Lady Bethany, her tutor in ladylike graces, had an awful habit of knowing when Cassandra was plotting some fun.

"No, nothing's wrong," the princess said.

"Then you better get back to practicing."

Crooked, shoddy, her handiwork simply wasn't presentable. Not for a maiden, certainly not for a princess. And she didn't care a whit.

"Actually, I am feeling a little under the weather," she lied, pressing her hand to her forehead.

Lady Bethany pursed her lips, and a crease formed between her eyes.

Lady Helen lowered her sewing project and smiled. "Go and lay down. We hope you'll feel well enough to join us at supper."


Any and all comments/critiques/thoughts/suggestions welcome!


Heather said...

"As her tutor in ladylike graces, Lady Bethany often prevented her from having fun." This line gave me a chuckle this morning. Good luck with the rest of your story!

Cherie Reich said...

I can relate to accidentally stabbing yourself. I swear the way I'm going to die is by using scissors to open a package. I'm dangerous with them. *laughs*

I think you've set the scene well. :)

Alice said...

Love your first page sample. Fun character/story. The kind I like to read.

RachelMaryBean said...

This is cute! I'd read it. :)

Angela Brown said...

I enjoyed reading this first page. It gives us an insight into the personality of Princess Cassandra, also a bit of back story hinting at some sort of "trouble making" with the incident mentioned.

At first I was concerned that with it being the first page, there may be a few names to get used to pretty quickly. But after reading it a second time, it works nicely. I think it was the "Lady" titles that I had to get used to.

I couldn't help linking a likeness of this character to Arya from G.R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.

Anonymous said...

I also struggled with all the characters. Princess Cassandra, Lady Bethany, Lady Helen, Philip . . . that's a lot for a MG to handle on the first page. I also stumbled through the trying to read the paragraph about Philip. Not sure if there was a mistake or it just didn't flow well for me. All that aside, I think it's a super cute story that my middle schooler and I would want to read! ~Thanks for participating & if anyone wants to join the fun, I only had 8 people email me by 5pm tonight soooooo I'm open to more:)

Anonymous said...

Adorable! I really enjoyed reading this.

My only suggestion is to use "said" instead of "Phillip told". That tripped me up a bit.

You set the scene really well.

Good luck!

Carrie-Anne said...

It sounds like a fun book, and I love that your MC loves horses. I don't know if this was intentional, but I liked how the stableman is named Philip, since the name means "friend of horses." (I also have a Phillip, the father of one of my characters, who breeds and raises horses for a living.)

Cassandra actually reminds me a bit of American Girl Felicity, who also loved horses and often tried to get out of lessons in being ladylike to ride horses and do other ungirly things.

Sharon Bayliss said...

Hi Nicole! The character's voice and personality really shines through. The voice is relatable and fun but still sounds distinctly medieval.

A few nit picks:

-The sentence, "Not that Phillip..." is a continuation of the last thought and it felt odd to be the start of a new paragraph.

-You don't need "Cassandra looked at her" or "Lady Bethany often prevented her from having fun."

-You don't need "Cassandra looked down at..." You could just say "Her handiwork was..."

-Lady Helen came out of nowhere, I didn't know anyone else was in the room.

Hope that's helpful. Good job and good luck!


Anonymous said...

After reading that, I want to know more... You've left us with hooks - wanting to know more about Philip and what exactly she did wrong last time. I also like that she protests against her 'Lady' duties, but finds a way to get out of it.

I'd probably drop 'nasty' in front of stableman, since the rest of the info sort of implies this.

Also, when she spoke to Cassandra, I kind of expected her to have a bit of an regal accent or way of speaking.

Otherwise, I quite enjoyed this. Best of luck.

Talli Roland said...

That sewing needle can be soooo stabby! I love the opening - I get an immediate sense of her character. Great extract!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Good first page. Maybe tighten those sentences a little, watch the dialogue tags, but really great characterization and description. Sounds like a fun character to read :)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, to be able to go lie down whenever! I feel like doing it right now...

I liked it! Good job.

Christina Farley said...

This looks like such a fun book! I enjoyed the first page.

Anonymous said...

Loving all your feedback! Thanks again for participating and to author Heather Burch! Everyone be sure to check out her debut YA novel, Halflings, available anywhere you can buy a book:):) Hey, we made it to Friday *pumping fist in the air

Shell Flower said...

I really like this. MG readers will certainly relate to the princess who just wants to have fun instead of do her duties. I've already formed a bond with the girl just from this page.

I guess the only thing that stood out to me is where did Lady Helen come from? Perhaps you should set the scene up stating who is there from the beginning.

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

I really like this! Cassandra seems like kind of a rebel - my kind of girl!

Consider setting the scene a bit more at the very beginning. Maybe after Cassandra stabs herself, she could gasp because I'm sure it would hurt. Her gasp would catch the attention of both the Ladies in the room. Some physical description of Lady Helen would be good, too.

I wish you the best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Awesome first page. I really like the voice of your characters. Good luck getting published:D

Anonymous said...

I love the symbolism and foreshadowing of the needle drawing Cassandra's blood in the very first sentence, and that the conflict is brought right into sharp (sorry ;) ) focus.
To bring Lady Bethany closer into the scene perhaps rearrange her dialogue ("Is something wrong, princess?") closer to the actual stabbing, since Cassandra's gasp would probably precede that.
Princess Cassandra will make a great protag, and is someone I would love to read about!

Hope Roberson said...

I think you have a great twist on a princess story after reading only your first page. I love that she still has to learn how to do things like sew. Her voice comes through well and I am curious as to what happened with the horse a few months ago :) I loved the line "my tutor in ladylike graces", beautiful writing!