Thanks again to darylsedore for bravely offering the page. I think this is an interesting high concept beginning, and the page is able to build a suspenseful tone, which I enjoyed. The “bring hammer” part of the premonition was a great touch, and I really want to know why she’s under that bridge.
My concerns with this page have to do with the opening lines and with the overall polish.
I’m honestly not quite sure whether the opening rhetorical questions are meant to be taglines or whether they’re intended to be the first lines of the manuscript. As someone who doesn’t care for queries beginning with rhetorical questions, I’m afraid I’m not usually a fan of them kicking off novels either. I would suggest cutting the two lines and letting the mystery build on its own – “Sarah Roberts looked at her watch again” is a perfectly fine opening line.
And in terms of overall polish, I’m afraid I just didn’t feel that the writing was smooth, and I was tripped up by some awkward phrasing and confusing descriptions, which are below in the redline. Lack of precision was the main culprit, and there were places where I thought a better word choice could have been more effective.
With more polish I think the reader will be more engaged as the plot unfolds.
Title: The Precog
Word Count: 250
Would someone die today? Would she be able to save whomever it is she’s supposed to save? Confused by this opening
Sarah Roberts looked at her watch again.
Three minutes until the premonition came true.
This was the fifth one she chose to act on. She’d had seven in the last six months. The first two were neglected Passive voice. She didn’t know was happening then a tad awkward, and a word missing – it took me a little while to realize “then” meant when she was first receiving the premonitions. But now
, she followed her notebook details “notebook details” the right word choice? exactly as they were written. Sarah didn’t question the cryptic words. Fear played a role, but confidence won didn’t quite understand this – fear played a role in what and confidence won what? If she doesn’t question the words, what does she fear?.
She reached back and found a few stray hairs above the nape of her neck.
She massaged them until they were firmly in the grip of her fingers “massaged” the right word choice? do we need this sentence? . Then she tugged them out. She closed her eyes and leaned back on the dirty cement. The slight pain that oozed over her skin soothed her does pain “ooze”?, calming the nerves.
Vehicles crossing the bridge above came to her didn’t quite understand “came to her”. She made a mental note that the next time she had to hover under a bridge waiting for whatever was supposed to happen she would bring a pillow to sit on. The hard cement
ground she inhabited angled toward a small river at forty-five degrees. It was hard cement. The grass on either side looked more comfortable, but the message was specific. If there was anything Sarah knew, it was to follow the messages with absolute precision.
Thinking of the message, she recited it in her head; Sit directly in the middle
, under the St. Elizabeth Bridge. At 10:18am. Bring hammer great detail.