Wednesday, February 25, 2015

First Five Sentences #19

GENRE: Young Adult Paranormal

Before I knew the truth, I’d ask myself, what kind of mother tattoos her own face on her baby? And why images of her looking so angry, or asleep? I imagined she wanted me to remember she was always mad at me. Or bored with me. But that didn’t explain why she made them so tiny and put them where I can only see them if I contort myself in front of a mirror.


  1. The way you start with Before I knew the truth, means she knows the truth now so why should I read any further. I would delete and start with What kind of mother tattoos her own face on a baby? Images so tiny I have to contort myself to see the angry faces along my hairline.

    So I know she's looking in a mirror at tiny tattoos and wondering why. I would read on, but I read somewhere one shouldn't have thoughts as questions. Try to turn them into statements as the first sentence with What kind of mother could be considered cliche.

  2. I agree 100% with Alice (sorry, don't mean to steal your critique) but that's exactly what I thought when I read your opening sentences. Start off with the question 'Who tattoos their face on their own baby?'

    After explaining they're in concealed places and very small, the reader gets the idea that they were put there for a reason, maybe for identification or something if the mom gets separated from her child later on in the story. That would make me want to read more.

  3. So now there're two of us who agree with Alice. Starting with "What kind of mother" way better. I like your voice and I know something weird will happen because of tattooing a baby. Yuck! I'd read on.

  4. What an intriguing concept! It definitely feels a bit YA, and though I didn't catch the paranormal feel yet, it does feel not quite normal, and I don't think that has to be squashed in the first five sentences, anyway.

    I did have to read it a few times to catch that the narrator here is the one who is tattooed. At first the image I had was the narrator looking at a baby. Just something to consider.

  5. I agree with starting with "What kind of...." When you start with "Before I knew..." that doesn't make me feel like I'm in a scene at all. It makes me feel like you're summarizing back story before we get into a scene. This all feels like internal narrative.

    It sounds like it could be YA. It's tough to shove paranormal into the first five sentences, but it does have a weird thing going on that I buy might be paranormal.

  6. I'm intrigued by what's happening here and want to read on. And I agree that the opening sentences need reworking.
    The narrator's wondering works well. Why, indeed?
    I did want to know where the tattoos were, that the narrator had to contort themselves to see them.