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  1. #1
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    Skating Novel - Need Feedback

    Last summer I posted a link to a skating novel I was writing. I didn't realize how rough it was until I joined a few critique sites and found out how much I needed to learn. I've spent almost a year learning, rewriting and polishing the manuscript. I hope by the end of the year to have it ready for submission.

    My question is if the first page makes you want to continue reading. The first chapter has been the most difficult part of the book to write! I've received lots of varying opinions from my critique partners and wanted to test the opening here. I've included the rough "back of the book blurb" and the opening of the first chapter. Thanks so much for any feedback you can provide!

    Nineteen-year-old Emily Butler and her figure skating partner, Chris, dream of being the first American pair to win Olympic gold. Their young coach, Sergei, sets them on the path to the top, but when he and Emily fall in love, their relationship puts Emily’s goals and Sergei’s career in jeopardy. With the biggest competition of her life approaching, Emily faces unexpected threats and must summon new strength to keep her dreams of gold alive.
    BAM!

    My elbow whacked Chris’s forehead for the fourth time that day. He grunted and caught me before I hit the ice. Though I’d skated over half of my nineteen years, I’d never had so many collisions. Of course, until a year ago, I’d never skated with a partner.

    I cringed and touched Chris’s sweaty brow. “I’m so sorry.”

    “It’s okay.” He brushed his hand through his thick dark hair. “A little head trauma never hurt anyone.”

    I laughed wearily and arched my neck, stretching the sore muscles. The cold air wasn’t helping to loosen them. Looking up, my eyes honed in on the red, white, and blue banner above the rink:

    Emily Butler and Christopher Grayden–2000 National Silver Medalists

    Only four months had passed since Chris and I placed second at our first national championship, but it seemed like a lifetime. The triple twist, the high-flying element we needed to learn before next season, continued to elude me. If we don’t master this move, we’ll never compete with the top teams in the world.

    “Let’s try it again.” I grasped Chris’s hand.

    We took matching determined strokes across the ice. The burst of wind cooled my face and loosened damp tendrils from my long ponytail. With a quick motion, Chris squeezed my hips and launched me into the air. I wound myself tight and spun but fell into Chris’s strong arms just before finishing three revolutions. My shoulders heaved with a sigh.

    Sergei glided around the other practicing skaters. Our coach was often mistaken for one of them because of his youth. He nodded and regarded us with his deep blue eyes. “The rotation is getting faster. Focus on what you did right today. I see a lot of improvement.”

    I relaxed into a smile. Before I’d started working with Sergei, I’d heard many horror stories about Russian coaches. Sergei demanded discipline and maximum effort, but his energy stayed positive, and he provided constant encouragement.

    Chris and I left the ice and sat on the short set of wooden bleachers. My ankles thanked me as I untied my skate laces and gave them space to breathe.
    Last edited by TanithandBenFan; 09-01-2011 at 03:41 PM.
    My Blog - Author & Figure Skating Fanatic
    LIFE ON THE EDGE - my skating novel
    EDGE OF THE PAST - the sequel
    FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE - the final book in the trilogy
    ****CROSSING THE ICE - new book coming August 7, 2014!****

  2. #2

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    I will reserve any judgement until such time as I find out what age group this is pitched to.

    What is your target age?

  3. #3
    U.S. Ice Dance Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    I will reserve any judgement until such time as I find out what age group this is pitched to.

    What is your target age?
    It's Young Adult, possibly could also be considered YA Crossover.
    My Blog - Author & Figure Skating Fanatic
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    EDGE OF THE PAST - the sequel
    FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE - the final book in the trilogy
    ****CROSSING THE ICE - new book coming August 7, 2014!****

  4. #4

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    Your opening is *way* better than it was. It's much more action-oriented. You're no longer telling us, you're showing us. You've obviously made major changes to this, and for the better. I encourage you to keep going.

    This bit makes it feel like a romance novel. "...but fell into Chris’s strong arms." Is it a romance novel? If it is not, then consider revising and taking out the reference to his "strong" arms, rather than just his arms. Likewise, Sergei and his "deep" blue eyes, rather than just blue eyes.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  5. #5
    U.S. Ice Dance Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Your opening is *way* better than it was. It's much more action-oriented. You're no longer telling us, you're showing us. You've obviously made major changes to this, and for the better. I encourage you to keep going.

    This bit makes it feel like a romance novel. "...but fell into Chris’s strong arms." Is it a romance novel? If it is not, then consider revising and taking out the reference to his "strong" arms, rather than just his arms. Likewise, Sergei and his "deep" blue eyes, rather than just blue eyes.
    Thanks, Garr! Yes, it is a romance. I just edited out "strong" (I realized that might lead people to think Chris will be the love interest when it will be Sergei). Thanks!
    My Blog - Author & Figure Skating Fanatic
    LIFE ON THE EDGE - my skating novel
    EDGE OF THE PAST - the sequel
    FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE - the final book in the trilogy
    ****CROSSING THE ICE - new book coming August 7, 2014!****

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TanithandBenFan View Post
    Thanks, Garr! Yes, it is a romance. I just edited out "strong" (I realized that might lead people to think Chris will be the love interest when it will be Sergei). Thanks!
    If you're interested in getting reactions from romance/YA readers and authors, you should definitely submit this to Dear Author - they run first pages of works in progress every Saturday and you could get a lot of useful feedback from doing that. You can check out the first page archive here to get an idea of how it works, and can find more about how to submit your own first page here. I suspect some people might want to see more focus on Sergei, as it's mostly about her relationship with Chris at this point.

    I'm not too familiar with YA fiction, so I'm afraid I can't offer anything on that front. There are quite a few sports-related romance novels, but other than Summer's End, I can't think of any that have featured figure skaters - so you might have found a good niche for yourself.

    Good luck!

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