Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are You Hooked? First Page #14

Title: Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking. That’s what they call him. Stays out of town mostly, up in the hills where the wind whips your hair into barbs that score your cheeks. Folk says he’s not just mad...he’s deranged. There’s a difference, presumably. Mad’s mad as far as I’m concerned. I guess that’s why they dared me to do it. Go and get my fortune read by Dead Man Walking.

Stolen boots firmly laced to my feet, I started the long climb up Devil’s Hill. Rain threatened to burst from the pregnant clouds and a wintry chill cramped the air. Determined, I trudged up the barren path, lone trees pointing their scarred branches at me.

“Go home,” the rustling branches whispered. I chucked a stone at the boughs and told them to shut up.

I was panting and out of breath by the time I reached Dead Man Walking’s cave. The sun dipped further towards the horizon and a red stain bled over the rocky ledge.

“Hey, mister. Mister...err, Walking.”

Nothing stirred from within the eerie depths of the cave for a moment. Then I could hear him coming. Big heavy steps like a bear. A bear wearing a construction worker’s boots. He emerged in a flurry of cobwebs and trickling dust.

“What is it?” he snarled.

His bulbous nose burned a deep scarlet beneath dark eyes, and his grey hair fell in matted waves around his shoulders. He needed a wash too - and soon.

Me, being only fourteen and a girl at that, you’d assume I was scared stiff as a corpse. Bloody right I was!


  1. YES.

    I like the voice and the set up--the mood is appropriately eerie and the last line is a good hook; I was wondering what she was feeling, so that was nice to see. ;)

    This sounds fun.

    Good luck,


  2. I think this is a GREAT hook. I feel that some of the descriptive language could be trimmed, but only a little.

  3. To kill a Mocking Bird, and death row come to mind. Both powerful reasons to continue reading. I love the stone throw and telling the branches to shut up, and the stutter between Mister and Walking made me smile. I'd tighten up somewhat. For example the repeat of Dead man walking at the end of the first paragraph, makes me worry the author might be one I'd be apt to skim, and that means if I'm in an impatient mood in the bookstore I may set it aside.
    Thanks for sharing and I think you have a great start overall.

  4. Yes, but I'd cut some modifiers and use stronger nouns and verbs. It would give this a more powerful voice. Still, I'd have to know what happens. I got into it. :)

  5. Sign me up! I'd add it to my Amazon Wishlist right now if it were out.

    I wish you'd take out the part where she thinks because she's a girl we'd assume she was scared. I think her being 14 is reason enough for us to assume she's scared w/out the implication girls are chickens, LOL.

  6. Yes, and another yes. The voice is awesome, the writing consistent with your narrator and descriptive without being melodramatic. Great premise--lots of possibilities. Nicely done.

  7. Definitely hooked -- great voice!

  8. It's not my kind of story, but I think it is good. Just not something I'd read :)


  9. Great voice!

    I must admit that the title and the man's name -- Dead Man Walking -- had me stuck on the movie of the same title. That's the term they use to describe an inmate on death row who is taking his final walk to the death chamber.

    So I'm wondering -- might he need a different name? But perhaps it's my own hang-up.

    Your voice is great, though!

  10. I didn't know about that movie - sounds like one I ought to watch! Will have a think on this. I oopsied though - the title of the book is "Skins". The chapter title was "Dead Man Walking". Thanks for the insight! Muchos gracais! (sp?)