Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Would You Read On? by Diana Flegal


Today is Weds and that means it is the next installment of First Pages and Would You Read on contributed by the Bold and Courageous.

Prologue

TIDEWATER, VIRGINIA 1830

Her astounding beauty and defiant dignity stood out even in this horrible ugly circumstance. She wasn’t like the others in the line. Anyone could plainly see it but more than that he could sense it. All of the women’s heads hung low, shoulders slumped with hopelessness, humiliation and defeat apparent over every inch of them. Some tried to cover their nakedness with their hands to no avail. No one cared about their shame. They were not afforded the privilege of pride or decency for they were not human to most of the spectators. They were mere stock animals on parade for the highest bidder; assembled for inspection to be purchased and used for whatever the buyer desired. Dear Lord, when will this end? How long must my people suffer this shame and bondage? He prayed silently holding his anger in check, pushing his urge to lash out down inside himself. He noticed her head was held high and her stance impudent even in chains. She was lovely standing tall, majestically arrogant in spite of such indecent exposure. No one took pity on these women being sold like prime cattle…no one but him and God. His heart always ached at the sight of their uncovered bodies shiny with oil, pulled with chains and fettered in leg irons linking them all together. Waiting to hear from the Lord, Bo stood in the back as he always did out of sight of the others eager to make their purchases. Some of the men poked and roughly prodded at the female merchandise. The women often cried out in pain while others whimpered from fear and shame. This one particular woman made no sound. Her eyes were cold, filled with malice, her full lips tight. “Open up!” Montgomery Dale yelled at her. He worked for a wealthy farmer outside Richmond and wanted to see her teeth. After all good skin, teeth and pink tongue meant you’d be getting a reasonably healthy slave. She didn’t open her mouth. “You heard me, you stupid wench, open up!” Her jaw visibly tightened. Harvey Price moved over to her and hit so hard she rocked back. “You heard him! Open your mouth!” He took his hand and proceeded to try and pry her mouth open. She still resisted. He hit her again. He swore and tried again to open her jaws when in an instant she bit down on his fingers.


Would you read on?

Last weeks First Page was from the published title, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, submitted to us by author Eddie Jones. This title won the 2011 Silva Award for YA fiction.

Join us next week as we review another First Page and where this weeks entry's author will be revealed.

Have a great 'over the hump' day ya all!

Diana

11 comments:

Linda Glaz said...

This is such an incredible teaser. How could anyone put this down? Absolutely beautiful!

Kathryn Elliott said...

More, more, more! Storylines that trigger an emotional response pull me in right away. This one, as my Gram would say, got my Irish up.

Millie Samuelson said...

I hope she "knees" him next. . . so sure, I want to read on. . . slavery is so saddening!

Katherine Hyde said...

Speaking as an acquisitions editor, I'm afraid I wouldn't read on. The situation is intriguing, but the writing doesn't exploit it to its full potential. It is repetitive, overloaded with adjectives, not grammatically polished, and loses the impact it should have by being sensationalized. I would ask the writer to revise and resubmit.

~sharyn said...

I agree with Katherine and would not read on, unfortunately. The writing isn't strong, starting with the unnecessarily long first paragraph.

Also, I thought the story line came across as a little exploitative and forced. With a topic like this, the writer doesn't need to try so hard.

jill said...

I have to agree with Katherine. Too many adjectives weaken it (but we love those adjectives, don't we?!). It seems somewhat forced, and I'd rather be shown the backstory than told how the spectators feel about the slaves. I do want to know what happens between these two, so it has a good story behind it.

From Mary's Pen said...

...Talk about being naked in the line...

This does not read like a first-time writer, but I have to agree with the others, the writer is trying just a little too hard. Rather than shine a spotlight on every lurid detail, it might be best to approach the scene with a lighter touch.

It is an intriguing scene, with a lot of potential. I hope the writer keeps going with the story and finds the balance that would make this plot shine.

Thanks for sharing, Dianna. I hope the comments help this author develop their work further.

Rejoicing in the day,
-Mary

Millie Samuelson said...

I'm guessing this might be from an already pubbed book?? If not, it sure sounds content-wise like one or two I read/scanned earlier this year. . . I need to look up the title/s. . . :-)

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I would read on. As a reader I was not put off.

Adam Blumer said...

Yes, this could be better. Some paragraphing might help (as well as some slimming down on adjectives). I was also struggling in the first few sentences to get a clear sense of point of view. The scene has much potential, but it could use more work.

Heather Marsten said...

I think the premise is good - but it is a massive first paragraph with repetition. I might make it several paragraphs, and show a little more detail. What intrigued me was the last few sentences, with the rebellious one not opening her mouth, and biting fingers. I might focus on the shame, and the women's postures.

have a paragraph of the man standing in the back observing.

then have the rebellious slave's actions.

three paragraphs, and with the shame, you could show postures of the women, mention their nudity, how they cover themselves, cheeks blushing. The reader would then infer the shame they felt.

still, I do want to know what happens to the rebellious one.