Saturday, 28 October 2006

First page challenge

Julie Cohen is blogging about creating character and conflict in the very first page of a book and has thrown out a challenge to other authors to show how they do it. I accept that challenge, Ms Cohen!

BLIND-DATE MARRIAGE
Silhouette Romance/M&B Romance Dec 06

Jake knew only two things about the woman he was going to meet: her name was Serena and her father had money.
We know instantly that Jake is on his way to meet a stranger. Who is she? Why is he going to meet her?

Serena. Sounded kind of horsey. She probably wore jodhpurs. Mel had refused to comment on whether she was pretty or not, so she probably looked like a horse as well. He could see it so clearly: the gymkhana trophies, the chintzy bedroom. Serena wore her mousey hair in a bun and had too many teeth.
Uh-oh. Jake has a problem with a runaway imagination. Making assumptions like this is going to get him into trouble.

He stepped off the kerb of the busy London street and weaved through the gaps in the traffic. Headlights lit up his knees as he squeezed between the bumpers. A horn blared. That’s why he liked to walk. It gave him a sense of freedom in the midst of the cloying traffic. He wasn’t about to take orders from anyone, especially not a pole with coloured lights on top.
He’s also a very self-contained kind of guy and likes to be completely in charge of his universe. He likes playing life by his own rules.

Hopefully, I've set up the feeling that Jake's blind date is going to be completely different from what he's expecting and hinted that he seems ripe to have his tidy world turned upside down.

4 comments:

Julie Cohen said...

Yup. You've also made me eager for him to be proven wrong so I can see how he deals with it! That little touch about crossing against the signal is great.

Thanks for taking my challenge Fiona!

Laura Vivanco said...

I'm not an author, so I hope it's OK for me to join in.

'her father had money'

That gets me interested in why this would be one of the two pieces of information he has. Is it because he's particularly interested in her money? Is it because whoever gave him the information is interested in money?

'Serena. Sounded kind of horsey....Mel had refused to comment on whether she was pretty or not, so she probably looked like a horse as well'

He comes across as judgemental. And why does he care so much about her appearance? Is he a bit superficial?

'Serena wore her mousey hair in a bun and had too many teeth.'

I feel like telling him not to look a gift horse in the mouth. And what's wrong with having mousey hair in a bun? Yes, I'm beginning to take this personally ;-) I quite often wear my hair in a bun.

'Headlights lit up his knees as he squeezed between the bumpers. A horn blared. That’s why he liked to walk. It gave him a sense of freedom in the midst of the cloying traffic. He wasn’t about to take orders from anyone'

He's more interested in his own personal freedom than in the feelings/convenience of other road users. That suggests he prefers to think about his rights/pleasure rather than his responsibilities to others. But he sees this as a positive, 'free-spirited' sort of thing to do.

I may be misreading this, but those are my thoughts/impressions.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this challenge from blog to blog and have found it entertaining but, more importantly, educational.

I loved Laura's interpretation of your opening paragraphs. It was interesting to see what somebody who hasn't written them gets out of them.

Fiona Harper said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. It's really interesting.

Nothing against buns, honestly, Laura. I just wanted my hero to have a picture of a certain type of upper class girl in his head. Buns can be very practical when showjumping etc.