Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First 50 Words #15

TITLE: Stars in the Texas Sky

The car ran past the STOP sign like it wasn't there, a streak of red dust in the early Texas sun. Henry stepped back, dropping the sign in his hand, and nearly swore. "Danged people in such a hurry." One day someone was going to either kill or get killed.


  1. I like this: nice sense of place, person and intrigue (where is the car speeding to or from?). I'd definitely read on.

  2. I loved the title and the imagery in the first line.

    A few thoughts: "Henry stepped back" might be more dynamic - and more realistic - as "Henry jumped back." Also, is Henry the teenage MC? I liked the voice of that line of dialogue, but I thought it made Henry sound more like an old man.

  3. My only problem is that the car ran. Could there be a better verb? Running usually implies feet. And I wonder why he's holding the sign? Again, something that would be easier to judge if I had the first page. Good Luck : )

  4. I agree Henry should do more than 'step' back. I also thought you should start with that, as he seems to be the POV character.

    Henry jumped back as the car sped past his STOP sign . . .

    As is, the focus is on the car.

    And he does sound like an older man.

    And the last sentence is not an either or situation, because if someone killed, someone else would be killed, and if someone was killed, someone had to do the killing. So both things are happening, not one or the other.

  5. I had to read this a few times because I was confused about the sign. I assumed this was a regular Stop sign on a pole until the second line. Something like, "The car ran past Henry's Stop sign..."

    I agree with Bekah. There is probably a stronger verb you could use in place of "ran."

  6. So did the MC set up his own stop sign to slow down the traffic? Sounds like he has some issues with this particular intersection, enough to use his time to stand outside with a stop sign. And if it's a young character, even better. But as others have said, if this is the MC talking, and he's a young adult, he doesn't sound young at all.

  7. I love it! And not just because it's set in Texas. (That is a factor, though.)
    Especially the last sentence. It sets up the scene quickly, though I'm not really sure who Henry is.

  8. I like this! I can see Henry being younger. I can hear a younger person saying those words with a slight southern drawl (not all teens curse, ya know). I like the imagery, I like that it starts with a bit of action (but not too much) and it's easy to understand what's happening.

  9. I'm slightly confused. Henry's holding the stop sign? And was the car the red streak of dust?

    I'd keep read, though. I'm curious to know what happens next. :)

  10. The way it's set up I feel like the "streak of red dust" is referring to the STOP sign rather than the dust that the car is stirring up. I agree that the "ing" verbs are putting in some passive voice that can go, but those are easy fixes.

    Also - I get that Henry is holding the sign, (I assume, working on a road crew?) but I would make that clear in the first sentence, rather than later. When you say STOP sign I think of the ones that are grounded.

    Something as easy as - "flew past the STOP sign Henry was holding" will clear that up.

  11. Nothing here to engage me - and the way it's written, it's the stop sign leaving a streak of red dust. And, yes, it's confusing because stop signs are usually posted, not hand-held, so you have to first give us the image of Henry standing there holding the sign.