I dunno. I got dis feelin’, ya see? Like, sometimes I start a story. Ya know? An’ da autha thinks it’s so important for ya ta listen–and dat you understand. Ya know? Yeah. So, he, well, he tells ya stuff that doesn’t really go no where because he’s workin’ up a head o steam to get to da point. Ya know what I’ mean? But you keep listenin’ cuz da way dis guy is tawkin’ you know there’s sometin’ interestin’ coming. I’m just sayin’.
You’ll have to excuse my fooling around with dialect, but, that was my immediate reaction to this first page I’m critiquing today.
Now, please understand that this first page has actually intrigued me with the narrator’s voice. I know this character dislikes public speaking even though he’s in front of a huge audience, and he is reunited with a mountain of a man from whom he wished he had the chance to run. Even the few misspellings and wrong word choices were surmountable. My biggest concern is that from this first page, I have no idea what is going on.
No Who? (Well, two guys with gangster-sounding names.) What? Nope. Where? (A stage somewhere.) Why? Nope. When? Nope.
Again, it all can’t be delivered on the first page, but I’m lost. I want to know much more. I feel like I was asked on a blind date and all I have to go on is a fascinating voice over the phone. Otherwise, I’m in the dark.
That said, I’d take a chance on that date—cuz’, ya know? Sometin’ tells me I’d find a diamond in da rough here. Ya know what I’m sayin’?
So, hook me, baby. Don’t need much. Perhaps spend less time telling me about the voice Nicky hears in the crowd. Maybe, let him hear it, then spend a few sentences telling me why Nicky wants to run. That way, when they embrace in that bear hug, I can be screaming, Run Nicky! Run!
Kudos to the author for the courage to share. I would read more. Tell me what you think.
THE CROWD ERUPTED. Dominic Bellagio grasped a microphone and waived his appreciation to his audience. Hating public speaking, Dominic’s subsequent expression of appreciation was perfunctory and terse. Once completed, he offered a final waive. Just as he was about to leap from the stage, he picked out a familiar sound coming from the audience. A sound he hadn’t heard in years. Right away, he couldn’t believe it. Didn’t want to believe it. But there it was just the same. There was no mistaking Eduardo Catalanos’s big hoarsey laugh. Too late to make a run for it. Catalanos had plowed through the crowd, shoving people aside, as if they were little children. Now he stood at the edge of the stage grinning up at Dominic.
“Hey, Nicky! NICKY!” The big man shouted, arms opened wide. “How’ya doin’, bro?”
“Hey . . . uhhh, Cat. Wow! CAT!” said Dominic. “It’s . . . it’s been a while . . . buddy.”
Dominic jumped from the stage and the two men wrapped each other in a bear hug. His friends called him Cat; anyone else knew him as Catalina Eddie. An imposing sight—six-six and two-eighty-five—two coal-black eyes gleamed from a smiling face. To his credit, he looked a cheerful person. In truth, he was far from it. Favoring black, he was dressed in a simple black tee shirt and matching karate pants. His body was solid and tight.
“Yeah, Nicky. That’s about right, bro.”