Happy Thursday, gang! Today we have a first page submission for discussion. I love the title, LAND SHARKS, mainly because I get to post a picture of Sharknado. After my comments about this page, please add yours!
Beverly Hills – the home of beautiful clothes, beautiful cars, and beautiful people. Where the perfumed smell of money floats in the air. And like blood in the water, it attracts sharks.
Not the ones with fins, but those that walk on two legs and camouflage themselves in human clothing.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve never run into a real two-legged, great white face-to-face. I hope I never will.
At the moment, I’m eating at a trendy Asian Fusion restaurant a block away from Rodeo Drive. My spicy shrimp dumplings and miso soup are excellent. I like the soup so much, I’m even wearing it dribbled down the front of my best white blouse. Not an unusual occurrence for me. It would be nice if bibs were fashionable for women to wear at meals other than lobster. I’d save a lot on my dry cleaning bill if it were.
Sadly, even in this nice restaurant there’s a nasty fish, and I don’t mean on the menu. I’d classify him as a piranha. A piranha is a shark wanna-be, and I do run into a lot of those.
After that fun title, I was ready to like this first page. I love snarky, self-deprecating humor in a narrator’s voice, and this page the has potential to be sharp and funny. But snarky humor is hard to pull off effectively, as this page demonstrates.
I think the opening line could be a bit fresher. Using “beautiful” three times in a row has a quality of sameness to it. I think “beautiful people” could be replaced with something something more unexpected, something that conveys something humorous about the story we’re about to encounter. Keep the alliteration, but play around with the images you’re conveying. I would keep the first instance of “beautiful,” perhaps, but then go for something stronger and sharper from there.
Second and third paragraphs
“Not the ones with fins, but those that walk on two legs and camouflage themselves in human clothing.”
I think this paragraph, and the one that follows it, begin to strain the shark metaphor. Why don’t you just replace them both by adding “The two-legged kind” or something similarly brief at the end of the first paragraph? Then move on.
We learn a lot about this woman’s messy eating habits, probably more than we want to know at this point. By now, we should be getting a sense of the character’s situation, not simply what she’s eating.
This paragraph does a bit of wheel spinning, and again, it strains the shark/piranha image. Rather than saying a nasty fish exists in the restaurant, let us see your character encountering the fish. Something like, “I looked up from my noodles just in time to catch a flash of teeth. It was “(name). Of all the sharks prowling the waters of Beverly Hills, (name) was the nastiest fish.”
I used past tense, because I think present tense is very difficult to pull off in an adult story.
This could be a really fun story. Who doesn’t love to mock rich people in Beverly Hills? I like its potential, but t have a feeling that this page is simply a warm-up to the next page, As it stands, the story probably really begins on page two. I would condense most of this page and get right into the story.
Thank you to the writer for submitting this first page!
What do you think of LAND SHARKS, TKZ’ers?