First Page Critique/Workshop: SAVING JAKE (WOMEN’S FICTION)



Critiquer: Dee Romito

I met Jake Sorenson in Sheridan, Wyoming the summer I turned 28 and it was love at first sight.  Because of this line, I’m expecting this to be about two people falling in love. When I get to the next line about him only being 10, I’m left a little confused. I was waiting for something in the first 250 to give me a clue as to what was going on, but it didn’t. I’m not sure if you’re purposely being mysterious, but the reader has to have some understanding or some clues , otherwise it’s hard to make sense of it. For me, at least.  Being only 10 years old, it took Jake a little longer to reciprocate the feeling.  But there was something so sweet and sad in his huge, brown eyes with glasses too big for his face. Something so familiar.  One look and I was lost.

I saw him for the first time sitting out by the motel’s small pool. It was mid-afternoon in mid-June and brutally hot for so early in the summer.  Nearly every guest in the place was out there, including at least ten other young kids, but Jake stood apart.

He didn’t play with the boys and girls who were running and jumping into the pool, despite the large white and red sign that strongly advised against both activities.  He couldn’t because he was not at all dressed for it.  He was wearing faded blue jeans that didn’t quite reach his ankles and a brown and white striped shirt under a grey hoodie.  Bright yellow flip-flops incongruously rounded out the ensemble.

Instead of swimming, he sat in the shade far away from everyone else, including his parents, If she’s never seen Jake before, I’m wondering how she knows who his parents are. on a white bath towel he had brought down from his room.

He was playing with a small bucket of little green army guys, and from where I was sitting it looked like he had just as big an imagination as Andy from Toy Story ever did.  I love the voice and the descriptions in this a lot. I have some guesses as to what’s going on, but as I mentioned above, if you’re going to start with that line, there needs to be something that helps it to make more sense to the reader.


If you have any thoughts or questions, the comments are open, but please keep it constructive. No douchebaggery allowed.

One thought on “First Page Critique/Workshop: SAVING JAKE (WOMEN’S FICTION)

  1. I’m…..gonna disagree with Dee on one point: I love the opening lines. Flat out love the confusion that comes with the second line. I’d be flipping pages to figure out if this 28-yr-old woman’s love for this 10-yr-old boy is maternal, creepy, or vampiric in nature, so if that’s what you’re after, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

    If it’s not, then, yeah, reconsider.

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