Hi everyone, these are the first 253 words of my adult contemporary romance (small town, food related).
The bell above the door jingled and Mark lifted his head in time to see a woman enter his diner. Her eyes darted from one taken table to the next before she made a beeline to the last unoccupied booth by the window. She put down her shoulder bag and backpack first, then removed her parka and sweater before sitting down. Mark smiled. She was still wearing at least two layers and a thick scarf. She took off her knit hat and shook out dark blond hair that fell to her shoulders.
Mark tore his eyes from her before she noticed him staring. He turned to the kitchen window for the order of burgers and fries Sally had placed there. He made small talk with Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Sanchez, widowers who came in at least twice a week for a shared dinner, before swiping a menu from their table. He walked over to the newly occupied window booth.
“Hey, welcome to Inferno,” he said. She startled and swung around to stare up at him with wide green eyes. He took an instinctive half-step back to put her at ease. “I brought you a menu. Would you like something to drink?”
She blinked and he wondered if she spoke English, given the surprised, anxious look she was giving him. But then she collected herself and her voice was steady when she said, “A cup of coffee, please.”
Mark delivered two more orders before circling back to her table with a pot of coffee.
I like the dynamic of him noticing her, and not wanting her to catch him noticing her.
The most immediate issue with the writing is the lack of sentence variety. You have eighteen sentence here, and fourteen of them start with Mark, or a pronoun (it should be about the opposite). It feels repetitive pretty quickly, and it keeps you from establishing the scene. Give us some imagery. Make us feel the layers of clothes she has to take off.
The first line is great partially because you are putting us there, and note that it's one of the few sentences that doesn't start with s/he. Look at what it does for you: 1) The bell tells us it's an older place, or one seeking that nostalgic feel. 2) We've all heard that bell, and seen the image of one set for the door to strike it, so it grounds us in the scene. 3) You've got both a visual and an audio detail in the first line--awesome!
Get more of that in there. The first page is worth creating several gems like that.
Last Edit: May 11, 2017 10:10:12 GMT -5 by cesarm3
On top of what's already been said, try to avoid introducing too many characters on your first page. Are Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Sanchez essential? Do we need to meet them on the first page? Who's Sally, and why should i care about her immediately? Keeping the focus on the two main characters would help.
Also, Mark's a waiter, right? Why is he making her wait? Adding some insight to his thoughts and emotions would help readers connect more with Mark.