Wednesday, January 28, 2015

First Five Sentences #2

TITLE: Windfall
GENRE: Adult Contemporary Romance

The last thing Ian McGregor expected when he opened the door to his Manhattan high-rise apartment was a dinner party, particularly one he hadn’t been invited to.

But Kendra and nine guests were gathered around his candle-lit dining table, jazz played over his surround-sound speakers, and a stack of L’Oiseaux catering boxes towered six-high on the sideboard. Another scenario didn’t come to mind.

He loosening the red silk tie he’d knotted on more than fourteen hours ago as the conversation dissolved into a last few dry coughs.

“Hey, everyone.”


  1. Okay - I've got a good sense of Ian's socioeconomic status and an age estimate right there in that first sentence. Also a time and a setting (NYC), and a bit of intrigue (why someone was hosting a dinner party in his own home without his knowledge). That's a whole lotta information!

    Second sentence gives us some more details as to Ian's social set.

    Third sentence has me completely confused. What other scenario didn't come to mind?

    Fourth sentence gives us a few more character tidbits -- businessman, possible workaholic, successful, etc. Nice.

    Last sentence leaves me guessing -- but not in a bad way. I'd be interested in reading more.

    Good job!

  2. Good job setting things up so well in just 5 sentences. I have a strong sense of the MC: he lives in a ritzy place, he puts in a lot of hours at his job, and he lives with Kendra, with whom he seems not to be on the same page. I'm interested.

  3. Your opening sentence kind of reads like a pitch. Maybe you could show his surprise rather than tell it? I agree that the 3rd sentence doesn't make sense. Watch for typos--your fourth sentence has a few. This scene shows a lot about Ian and Kendra, so it's a great way to start, I just think you need to work on a few of the sentences. ;)

  4. Ok, sorry, I totally read his name as Ian McKellen, haha! Anyway, I'm going to agree with the others about the 3rd sentence. Also, who is Kendra? I mean, I guess she's important because she's got a name, and maybe a key to his flat, but why name her at this point? I'd wait until you're really ready to introduce her. Anyways, definitely know the setting and time. But I'm thinking, maybe if you describe the way he takes off his tie or something, showing that he's tired, it might be more interesting than saying that he had a fourteen hour day.

    One more thing, he didn't know these people were in his house and he's just going to say, "Hey, everyone," like it's normal? He's not, like, concerned at all?

  5. I like it! Great job with the setting, introducing Ian, bringing up Kendra, who is obviously someone important in his life (GF? Ex-wife? Daughter?), and showing the discomfort of whatever is going on. It's not, as one might expect, a surprise party for Ian, and while the "scenario" comment doesn't make sense now, it might in a few more sentences. I would read on!

  6. I read the name as Ewan McGregor which was distracting. You may want to try on some other names for your MC. Great setting. I agree a bit with Empress, that we need to know a little about Kendra-girlfriend? roommate? maybe a thoughtless roommate? This is so we can care about her and the relationship.
    Write On!

  7. I really like this opening, it does an excellent job of grounding the reader in the character and the setting.

    I agree with the comments about the third sentence, although I understand what you're trying to say. I just wonder if it's redundant... he can't imagine it being anything but a dinner party and yep, that's what is is... you know? Unless it's *not*, and then leave it.

    I get a nice sense of the relationship b/w him and Kendra from this opening - clearly they aren't communicating well. But what I would like is a little more sense of how he feels about walking into this dinner party. He wasn't expecting it (which you tell us) - but does he care? And here, you need to *show* us. When he loosens his tie, does he do it angrily? Does he frown as he does it? Or does he suddenly feel relaxed because he wasn't looking forward to seeing Kendra alone, anyway? When I read his greeting, I want to be able to hear in my head how he says it, based on how he loosens his tie, or some other clue. I want to hear resignation in his voice, or irritation, or maybe he's a pleasant, social guy. That's actually how I heard it, btw. "Hey, everyone," sounds to me like, a guy ready to grab and drink and gab with the girls. So, if that's how you wanted it to play, then it did, to me But you need to control your readers.

    I love adult contemp romance and wish I could read more!

  8. Wow, Anonymous (and everyone else), THANK YOU. So helpful. Ian (or whatever his name ends up being, ha!) is wary in this moment, which I *think* the next sentences show) but I totally get how a reader could think otherwise. That's why these crits are so valuable. And everyone is straight-up right about that third sentence. Consider it gone!)

  9. At first I thought this must be a surprise party but the few dry coughs and the lack of someone shouting "surprise" make me think this is headed in a completely different direction. Very nicely done! I want to read more. Setting is very clear.

  10. "Another scenario didn’t come to mind," is confusing. I agree with JennyC about the surprise party.