First Pages are Impossible

I’m working on a new project and would love feedback…

October: Haunted

            One night stands are normal, or you think they are when you’re at college. And if you had the pleasure of spending time with my friends and acquaintances, you’d believe monogamy dead. As a college student, you also probably believe others share in the experiences and values you align yourself with. Every person on campus drinks grain alcohol mixed with Kool-Aid out of old Gatorade coolers, receives an occasional grade of D in an oh-so-tough course led by a lousy professor, and has meaningless one night stands. It can be a shock when you realize your experiences are far removed from others.

My time at college has been marred by generalized anxiety disorder. Until my senior year, I did none of the above. So I surprised myself when I ended up in bed with a guy I barely knew. I’m not the kind of girl who would normally be in a strange man’s apartment in the early, early hours of morning. In an unmade bed smelling of sweat and boy parts, too terrified to move an inch.

But here I am on strange sheets. My body rigid. My finger itching, but I refuse to scratch and give Jeremy, the almost naked guy next to me, any indication of interest. Instead, I fist my hand, manicured nails digging into the soft flesh of my palm. Control.

I hear myself swallow, loud in the silent room, and tell myself to relax. Five deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Control the fear.

One night stands are normal. Control the anxiety now.

I’m sure many other college students can relate when I say I’m not sure how I ended up here, some of the helpful details obscured through a haze of hard cider and Fireball. Earlier, I strutted out of my apartment in my new slutty pirate outfit, yet somehow managed to feel less than sexy. It had looked good in the package. But my black leggings were itching and covered with cat hair even though I’d made every attempt to hide them from the demon cat, Snuggles, who illegally lives with me. My high heeled black boots make me wobble and my low cut shirt fell to the left, which would give anyone a good look, not only at my cleavage, but also my bra.

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One thought on “First Pages are Impossible

  1. Hi Lisa,

    It’s Preston. It depends on what you are trying to do and how it ties in with the rest of your story. Just based on this little piece, if it were me, I would probably tweak it a bit. Keeping in mind the old adage that usually if a reader doesn’t like something they are right, and usually if they tell you how to change your writing to fix it, they are wrong, I will try to give you my reasons so you can evaluate where I am coming from. Good luck and keep going!

    For me, the goal of the first sentence/paragraph is to hook the reader and make them interested in learning more. In terms of that goal, I think your third paragraph is much better than your first. At the risk of sounding too out of line and expanding far beyond what you are asking about, for my personal taste as a reader, your writing has a tendency to over-tell. It is good in the sense of I imagine your readers don’t get lost lost, but, it also tends to make things a little too predictable.

    So, I would start with something a little more like:
    My finger is itching, but I refuse to scratch and give Jeremy, the almost naked guy next to me, any indication of interest. Instead, I fist my hand, manicured nails digging into the soft flesh of my palm. Control.

    I hear myself swallow, loud in the silent room, and tell myself to relax. Five deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Control the fear.

    I don’t usually wake up in an unmade bed smelling of sweat and boy parts, too terrified to move an inch, but,…

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