Tuesday, 27 October 2009


So much of the submission process is about first impressions and page one is the foot-in-the-door... the rest has to back it up with more than a good opening pitch but ...
I'm at home; it's the holidays: I work on chapter one ;-)
I want page one to tell you everything you need to know - does it do that?
CH 1
A few small differences

Dad parked in front of the white, stone entrance. Even there I could see that things had changed. On the new school crest there was a beast standing on two legs. It had sharp teeth, raised claws and it glared down at visitors to school.

I scanned the familiar, red brick building as I walked around the front of the car to join Dad, “That’s different.”

He put his hand on my shoulder as we stepped into the reception area. He pressed both the buzzer, and my arm, while we waited. The secretary wove between the desks towards us; her expression did not match the “Welcome to Woodford College” banner on the wall.

“Good Morning. I’m Simon Trainer, and this is my daughter, Jess. We’re here to see the Headteacher.”

She picked up a pen and tapped it on the diary date, “Mr McIntyre is in his office. I’ll let him know you’ve arrived. Please push the green button and I’ll let you in.”

We walked into the brown, tiled corridor and sat beside the office. I smoothed the fabric of my trousers over my knees. I tried to make sure that my toe tapping was invisible inside the shoes I forced to remain still.

“Mr McIntyre will see you now,” called the assistant as she approached.

Glancing at Dad, I caught the moment he narrowed his eyes and straightened his shoulders. His preparation for battle didn’t match his, "It’ll be fine."

We followed the secretary into the room dominated by a long, curved desk. Our view of the new Headteacher was limited to a glimpse of his mid-brown hair, and the jacket of a charcoal suit, as Mr McIntyre turned to reach into a low drawer in the filing cabinet behind his chair. He paused, drew a deep breath, before he swivelled back around.


  1. Yikes! Not a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for the poor girl! If you're aiming for me to worry about the girl, and think she's not going to enjoy this school, you've got it :)

  2. Hi Jemi
    Unsettled and hostile - that'll do nicely!

  3. I think it did well to tell what it needs to: setting, MC, a sense of her age, POV and tone of the novel.

    I know this first page hints at hostility, but to me the overall tone is seriousness. I'm not expecting the entire novel to be written in this manner, but I'm also not expecting a jaunty, chick lit type book either.

    The mystery of why her and her father are in front of the headteacher draws me to want to read more. Is she in trouble, is there tuition problems, is she starting late in the semester . . You've set a mystery to be resolved in the next scene.

    I'm ready to read more.


  4. Hi Donna
    It is so exciting for me to read your first impressions; getting a glimpse at your thoughts as you experience the new - old - school are priceless.
    Thank you, Elaine :)