Solitary Sky ~ First Page

Title: Solitary Sky
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Wordcount: 77,700

I peeked through the back door window and saw Claire sitting at the kitchen table still wearing her dress and apron from work. She held a cup of coffee and cigarette in one hand while going through mail with the other. I tossed my purse and book bag to the side of the porch and sat down on the grass hoping to wait her out. The last thing I wanted today was a conversation with my mother.

She got up fifteen minutes later, but it was only to refill her cup. I sighed and slung my bags over my shoulder, lifting myself off the grass.

“You’re home,” Claire said as I rushed through the door past her. “Hey, get back here, Lilah. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing,” I said, avoiding her overly made-up eyes.
“Well you look like crap. Have you been crying?” She pursed her lips and blew the steam rising from her cup, waiting for me to answer.

"No, I'm just tired."

She pulled out a chair from the table and patted her hand on the seat. This was her "mother-who-cares" act, but I wasn't buying it. Did she really expect me to sit and talk with her about my life over piles of old mail and the breakfast dishes she'd left for me to clean up? I shifted my bags to my other shoulder and stood with my arms folded on my chest.

"Fine." She shoved the chair back under the table. "I'm not gonna beg you to talk to me."


  1. Hi Shannon!
    I liked that there was tension between the characters right from the start.
    My issue is that I'd like to see something paranormal from the get-go, not just another parents-just-don't-understand story. Some hint that this will be different and unique. To me it felt a bit cliche. Is there some way to hint at the overall conflict in the first paragraph or two?

  2. Oooh, I like it!
    (also your blog design is so cute!)


  3. Andrew,

    Some paranormal aspects come a little later in the chapter...that's the rub about only posting 250 words, which I had to do for the contest. ;o)

    Also, I made the decision to cut the prologue (136 words) in favor of posting more of the chapter. The prologue is all action and part of the paranormal storyline. =)

    The conflict between Lilah & her mom sets up why she leaves home and experiences the paranormal situations in the story.

    Thanks for your comment...I may post the entire 1st chapter after the contest. ;o)

    xox, Shannon

  4. Maddz,

    Thank you so much! =)
    Check back soon, I'm going to post the entire first chapter! ;o)

    xox, Shannon

  5. Go ahead and post your prologue in the comments and see if people find it more of a hook. :)
    You don't need your "official" 250 words 'til Monday. ;)

  6. I like it. I would just suggest trying to make your sentences as succinct as possible. For example, changing "I peeked through the window of the back door and saw Claire" to I I peeked through the back door window and saw Claire" and "Fifteen minutes later she got up, but it was only to refill her cup." to "She got up fifteen minutes later, but only to refill her cup."

    Good luck!

    <3 Gina Blechman

  7. Great idea, Andrew! =) Here it is:

    Dirty, claw-like fingers thrust from the shadows and wrapped around my throat. In one lightning swoop I was off the ground, my legs flailing frantically. I dug my nails into cold, clammy flesh, trying desperately to free my neck from his inhuman grip, but he only laughed at my futile attempt to put up a fight. A scream rose from deep inside my chest as I struggled and gasped for air. He tightened his hold on my throat, crumbling the last of my resistance as it gave way to exhaustion. Billowing curtains of darkness draped my consciousness and I felt myself slipping into the black.
    My eyes fell closed. I prayed for death to come quickly, lifting a trembling hand to my chest to clutch the cold, hard metal between my fingers.
    …where are you?

  8. Gina,

    I love your suggestions! =) Brevity is something I struggle with, lol.
    Thanks for your comment & critique...good luck to you, too! ;o)

    xox, Shannon

  9. I was with you until the last line "where are you?" Not sure what that was. Did she say or think that? Who is "you"?
    What metal was on her chest?
    Also could use a little more scenery. Think about all five senses here to give me the experience of this attack.
    For me, the prologue part is a lot more hooky and I bet you could make it a good 250 words.

  10. The "where are you?" is supposed to make you wonder who, but you figure it out fairly quickly in the story. =)
    The metal is also left for you to wonder about and look out for. It will be discovered later in the story.
    I think it's a great idea to add more about the scenery, I will do that...thanks! =)

    So, you really think I should just post the prologue?

    xox, Shannon

  11. Oh, and yes, she is thinking "...where are you?"


  12. So for the metal, some description other than "cold, hard" might work.
    Texture, general shape, size. It could be a breast plate or a tiny charm. How is it mounted?
    Don't have to say what it is, just what it's like. Round, pointed, bumpy.
    The ellipsis on the Where are you imply that it's the end of the thought...did she start the thought with "Scooby Doo!"?
    Would suggest making it a complete (if still ambiguous) thought.
    Definitely see what other people think! I'm just one guy.

  13. It's a locket, so I can definitely put more detail in there...and I will take out the ellipsis...as you can see, I'm very fond of them! ;o)
    Thanks for the wonderful suggestions...yes, you are just one guy, but you are one very helpful guy! =)

    xox, Shannon

  14. D'oh! I need more words! Or more training in reading short snippets ;)

  15. The good news about this is, of course, is that I liked it enough to want more than the snippet at hand . . .

  16. Ha! Thanks, Deb! ;o)
    I'm thinking I will post the whole chapter--including the prologue--after this contest is over. =)

    xox, Shannon

  17. Ooh, I could really FEEL the frustration she feels. You have a great way of conveying the mood of the protagonist. Great job! Good luck in the contest! :)

  18. Hey Dorothy!

    Thanks! She is very frustrated, so I'm glad that came through! =)
    Thank you for the lovely comment, & good luck to you, too! ;o)

    xoxo, Shannon

  19. Nice work. Feels very authentic.

  20. Thank you, Vicki--I appreciate the comment! ;o)