First Page Contest at Shelley Watters’ Blog, Yo!

Hey gang! Author Shelley Watters is hosting an agent judged first page contest. Participants post the first 250 words of their YA or MG novel today, June 25, visit other blogs for critique on the 25th and 26th, and post the “final version” on her blog on the 27th.

The winner gets a full manuscript request from Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency!

Good luck to all the participants!

Here’s my entry:


GENRE: Young Adult Dystopian

WORD COUNT: 75,000


I hated afternoons the most. Why? Because darkness followed—the time when death could literally snatch you out of bed and drain all the blood from your body. Amazing that any of us survived with all the raids and extermination campaigns to rid the world of us red blood cell deficient freaks.

I rubbed my shoulder as we walked, still sore from the last fight. Some dude tried to scrimp on my fair share of the rations we snatched from the distribution truck. I wished Sammie didn’t have to watch me pummel the guy, but he started it. If I hadn’t ended it, he would’ve left us starving.

“Justin, I’m hungry.” Sammie tugged at my shirttail, her small voice squeaky.

“Me too.” I was always hungry. Whoever came up with the idea of food pellets and water tablets must have enjoyed making people suffer. Really, how could eating a sawdust-flavored pill make you feel full? But the Vie didn’t need food, only blood. So, the pellets kept their prey alive. We did the same with chickens…when we lived in the forest.

That was before. Before Dad blew it and got us kicked out of the community. Everybody told him peace with the Vie was impossible. But he didn’t listen. Now he was dead and Sammie and I were on our own.


20 comments on “First Page Contest at Shelley Watters’ Blog, Yo!

  1. lexcade says:

    Oh wow. That’s really different from the original 😀 Very nice!

  2. Love it! My offer to be a beta reader for you still stands. Hint. Hint. Hint. 🙂

  3. EArroyo says:

    Nice job! Not much to comment on. Good luck!

  4. I like this a lot. I love the voice, Good stuff. And it gives you just a little taste so that you want to know more. Good luck with the contest.

    ❤ Gina Blechman

  5. Tanya Reimer says:

    Wicked world you created. I was sucked in an disappointed when it ended.

  6. Vicki Tremper says:

    Yes, big changes. I love it! You give us voice, intrigue, world-building and a great hook of a first line. Good luck!

  7. I love this. Easy to see the characters in the mind’s eye and the writing voice is excellent. Good luck

  8. WOW. From the first word I was sucked in. Great job!

  9. Sarah says:

    It’s a lot of info all at once, but very intriguing. I want to know more.

  10. I may be in the minority here, but I think the question in the beginning drew me out of the story, or the mood the first sentence set for me, although, it may hint at the voice of the MC, which you may want to keep, which I understand…. Here’s a suggestion for you to take or leave.

    “I hated afternoons the most. Darkness always followed–the time when death could snatch you out of bed and drain all the blood from your body. (I also got rid of ‘literally’.”

    The only other suggestion is to add the word ‘had’ in here…which may be controversial….
    “We had done (did) the same with chickens…when we lived in the forest.”

    I love dystopians and your first page definitely leaves the reader wanting to know more about the two characters and the world they live in. Love the idea of the blood suckers keeping them alive with tasteless pellets. Christy

  11. J. N. Khoury says:

    Eerie. Intriguing. Who doesn’t love guys that can pummel other guys who try to steal his little bro’s food?
    Good luck!
    J. N. Khoury

  12. Cheree Smith says:

    Love it. You’ve got some fantastic voice going on in such a short passage.

  13. Catherine Johnson says:

    That is brilliant Laura! It’s got a hint of Divergent to it 🙂

  14. Lydia K says:

    I loved the chicken detail…like human livestock, those characters are. Love it!

  15. Cool! I loved the chicken feed detail, too.

  16. Lots of good world-building in here with interesting details that make me want to read more.
    Would like to see a little more setting up front.
    Definitely got dystopia, anger, and need. Good elements.
    I wonder though if there aren’t too many things on one page. I feel a little bit pummeled. Fighting, freaks, chickens, Daddy, it all all feels a little rushed to me and therefore I’m not sure what’s important.
    Otherwise, great start!

  17. Tom Hoefner says:

    Great stuff. Great opening. Nothing to change here. Keep it up! – Tom H.

    Check out my first 250!:

  18. Linda Gray says:

    I’m drawn into the dystopian world and especially to the relationship of Justin and Sammie. Poignant.

    I think you can ramp up the power of your opening sentences by deleting “Why?” and “Because” and just go straight to “Darkness followed-” Also, if you put a period after “campaigns” the rhythms are stronger. Next sentence: “Red-blood cell deficient freaks like us were targets.” ?

    Really pulled me in and I want to know what happens to Justin and Sammie!

  19. K.D. says:

    oooo. I like this, and I’m picky. I love when a new (future) world kind of setting works well.

  20. Kari Marie says:

    What an interesting concept. I loved the voice you have started here!

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