Blogfest Today: Catch Me If You Can

Kristina Fugate is hosting the Catch Me If You Can blogfest today! The idea behind this blogfest is to answer the question, “Does my WIP catch people’s attention right away?” Participants post up to 550 words from the beginning of their WIP, and then visit other participants’ blogs as well. Click the button above for to sign up and find out about the prize.

I hope you enjoy the opening to my YA paranormal BLINK. I am way open to feedback. So, whether you like it or not, please leave a comment. Thanks!

***********Based on feedback, I will change the opening paragraph.**********
Suggestions welcomed.

April 22, 2009

Lexi Ripley listened to 80’s music when she killed. She wasn’t always a killer or a fan of 80’s music, but when her Uncle Lucas disappeared, everything changed. Especially her. After endless hours with the Golden Peak Search Team, Lexi needed a return to normal or in her case, time with her favorite dog-walking clients. Peanut, the Anderson’s great dane, greeted her at the door. Blue licked her ankles until she scooped up the chihuahua. Dizziness made her sway when she straightened. Peanut edged closer, both dogs whined.

“Oh, you guys. I’ve only been gone three days.”

“Lexi? That you?” Mrs. Anderson asked.

“Yeah.” The dizziness grew heavy, promising another headache. They’d been happening a lot lately.

Mrs. Anderson peeked from the kitchen. “Didn’t expect you ‘til Monday.”

“I need a break from my time off. Mind if I walk the ddd—” Pain trapped her in a white abyss of agony, yanked her right out of reality into a dream world. Mrs. Anderson’s muffled voice hovered near, but the soft whisper of wind pushed it away. Lexi stood on mountain land. Where am I? How’d I get here? Paw prints four times bigger than Peanut’s pockmarked the blanket of snow. A bear? No, something bigger. More menacing.

“Lexi, can you hear me?” Her dad’s voice floated next to her.

Blush-tinted mounds surrounded her on all sides. The possibility of what lie under those human-shaped piles and what stained the snow beneath in fading shades of red made her queasy. She focused on the crisp air and its chilling caress, instead. Were people supposed to get goose bumps in dreams?

“Lexi, open your eyes, Honey.”

She wanted to answer him, but curiosity anchored her on the mountain. She sensed the area, the tracks, and the heaps of snow were more than hallucinations, but that didn’t make sense. Normal people don’t have visions. Behind her, the sun sank below the horizon. She rubbed her hands together to warm her numb fingertips.

“Alexandra?” Her dad sounded scared now.

Big snowflakes swirled on the icy breath of wind. It burned her cheeks and stung her eyes, making her squint. Snow crunched under her feet and lightened the mounds to a pale pink. The tracks darted from one snowy mound to the next. When the distance between the piles grew, so did the paw prints, as if the creature started running. Lexi jogged between trees whose branches drooped under the weight of snow.

Twilight sank into a bluish nighttime glow. The full moon lit her path until she reached a massive pine tree, which towered over her. She knew it’d be in there, the creature she tracked. The creature with feet four times bigger than Peanut’s. A dangerous thing. Her skin prickled. She should go, follow the sound of her dad’s voice to safety.

A frigid wind swooped down, stole her breath. She fought not to lick her chapped lips as she shoved her hair out of her face. The tracks doubled over each other like the creature had paced there. Lexi rounded the pine, searching for a spot big enough to squeeze under the branches, but stopped at a huge patch of ground edged with splotches of red. Blood. Lexi covered her gasp. Did she seriously want to follow a bleeding animal under a tree? She took a step back, yet still studied the paw prints. Something didn’t look right. Human footprints, not animal, led from the patch to the tree.

Thanks for reading! If you have a lengthy critique please email it to me at: writesbymoonlight at gmail dot com


33 comments on “Blogfest Today: Catch Me If You Can

  1. lbdiamond says:

    Wow, this is intriguing. I like how you wove the “vision” into a “average” daily life event. I’m curious to know what happens next. Nice job!

  2. Zan Marie says:

    OOOH! And now I want to know if Lexi just might have another set of prints of her very own. Great start!

  3. Rane says:

    I really like the way you introduced the dogs at the start! It was really easy for me to see. 🙂 And what are those headaches all about?? hmmMMMmm?

  4. Heather says:

    I like your idea but I found this a little disorienting. The way she hops from killing to her Uncle disappearing to the S&R team to the vision/dream.
    Your imagery of winter on the mountain made me shiver.
    I saw this one little error: Where people supposed to get.
    Thanks for sharing your work.

    • Hmmm. I’ll take another look at that opening. Wanted it a little disorienting cause that’s how it feels to Lexi. But don’t want to put off readers.
      About that mistake, ugh! how many times have I reviewed/revised this piece. I’m fixing it before anyone else sees it.

  5. Thank for stopping by Writing with Debra and your candor. I appriciate your feedback. Actually, my WIP is a Christian thriller. The prologue sets the stage for the search of the Cross of Be’han after Karton removes the cross from the protection of Frank’s stomach.

  6. Meant to add I enjoyed reading your opening. Your MC sounds intriging.

  7. Loralie says:

    This is a very intriguing hook – I love the interraction with the dogs and the vision is intense.

    The thing that threw me off were the first three or four sentences about the music and the killing. They didn’t seem to have any relevance to the rest of what you showed us and I was left wondering where they belonged.

    Great setup after that, though ^_^

  8. The first sentence is one of the best hooks I’ve ever read, and I don’t usually like hooks.

    That being said, I understand why you want us to experience the same disorientation Lexi feels, and I think it’s a good idea. However, you’re disorienting us about things Lexi isn’t disoriented about. She knows who she kills and why, she knows about how her uncle disappeared, she knows the names of her dogs, and she knows she has visions. The only time we should feel confused is when Lexi feels confused (when she’s actually having the vision).

    Thanks for reading my entry! I appreciated your comments.

  9. Alexis says:

    Thank you for your very helpful comment on mine ^.^

    The beginning is a little disorienting but after that I really dig your imagery. I totally want to know what is going on and why she is having visions.

  10. Antimony says:

    Great read – totally hooked, although the first couple of lines left me a little confused, I’m assuming there’s more to the music & killings to come, but as an introduction it kind of lost me a little. Adore the imagery, I felt like I was on the mountain with your MC 🙂

    Lady A

  11. katharine says:

    I agree that the first was just a little disorienting. If it’s purposeful, then of course keep it. 55 is so short, we can’t totally get a feel for it. Once I felt oriented I really fell for your imagery. I don’t want to know what’s under the red-stained human shaped piles! Very intriguing!

  12. Kaitlyn says:

    Unfortunately, you didn’t “catch me.” The first line is intriguing, but after that the whole piece was too much telling instead of showing. As a result, I didn’t feel any connection with the character. Also, I read your comment above about how you wanted the beginning to be disorienting–I would avoid that in any piece. Your reader needs to be grounded in the plot line and care about your characters before you purposefully confuse them.

    Great first line though, and an interesting premise.

    Nocturnal Readings

    • @ Antimony – There is more to the music and killing, but I think I’ll end up moving that line to later in the manuscript.

      @ Katherine – Thank you. I’d like to keep the first line, but gonna have to give it up. 😦

      @ Kaitlyn – Thanks for the honesty. Maybe I’ll ‘catch you’ with a different manuscript. 🙂

  13. Marie says:

    I love dream sequences, especially since it looks like you’re setting this up to be real or very close to real. The dog-walking thing feels hurried, and the first sentence is confusing compared to the dream world thing later in this sequence. If you cut out the beginning and made this all in the snow world, would it hurt your plot?
    Either way, I’d keep reading. 🙂

  14. I like the first line. But I can’t tell what it has to do with her uncle, or the dogs, or the vision. Or the search party that seems like it should be a big deal, but was only given the space of an afterthought on the page.
    All of those things are in a first paragraph that starts as a general statement about the MC, and ends us in an unrelated scene.

    I don’t understand the timeline either. Did the uncle dissapear a long time ago, and so the MC evolved into an 80’s music-loving killer over time? Or is the uncle missing as she takes the dogs for a walk, and she had a sudden urge to kill to the soundtrack of Saint Elmo’s Fire? And what or who is she killing?
    I was lost after that, and I caught myself skimming to see if I could make sense of what I was reading.
    The imagery was poetic, and if I had started reading in the vision, I would have been mesmerized immediately.

  15. Greatest hook ever written.

    I agree with the others, though. The stuff that followed seemed to jump around a bit and I found it very disorienting. It helps to ground a reader at the beginning–you don’t want to confuse them too much right away. It could turn some people off the book. But otherwise, this is a neat concept and I’d like to find out what’s going on 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. J.C. Martin says:

    The ‘vision’ in the snowy mountains were written really well. Brilliant imagery there, and very intrigued about what Lexi is tracking, but I agree with a previous commenter that the start seemed a bit detached from the rest of your story. 80s music and killing, her uncle’s disappearance, dog walking, then bam! She’s in a strange otherworld. Is there any way of making it a bit more coherent?

  17. Sounds like the general consensus is get rid of the first line. Which makes me very sad 😦 but that’s what writing’s about. Knowing when to let go of something you love.

    I’m waaayy open to suggestions for a new start. Thanks.

  18. This was immediately intriguing. And then she’s just trying to do something mundane like dog walking, holding on to something tangible while she’s in pain and experiencing visions. It says so much about her. Great intro.

  19. Jodi says:

    Love the first line, but you can make a change for the better. I would try to make it active. have her listening to the song while thinking about the past, kind of thing.

    I would try something like:

    The (Name of 80’s Band) playing through Lexi Ripley’s earbuds (or headphones) reminded her of a time when killing hadn’t been routine. Her mind drifted back to that time the time before her Uncle went missing as she rapped on the door to her clients home. She popped her headphones out. (then go into the dogs at the door.) maybe?

    The snow imagery is lovely. I would read on.


  20. Madeline says:

    I too felt a little strange when it went to murder to dog walking.

    I did like this though, I’m a bit curious as to what Lexi is following. I want to say werewolf, but that’s just a guess. And the snow world seems too awesome!

    Good job! 😀

  21. Trisha says:

    I think the first line has great impact, but I’m not sure that the transition into all the rest works all that well. I feel a bit disoriented with where she’s been, i.e. she has been on vacation?

    I think your description of the landscape she goes to is really beautiful – I could totally picture the vibrant colours in my mind, and I want to be in that forest – well, except for the blood anyway 😀

  22. Thanks to everyone who helped me tweak this excerpt to make it better. As painful as it was 😦 I revised my first line. I’m am saving it though, for the query/synopsis for BLINK.

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