Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guess My Age contest!

Just found out about this, and it sounds super cool! So I'm throwing my entry into the pot as well. The rules are over at Brenda Drake's site, and a bunch of writers have already signed up. But apparently plenty more can.

So you have to guess the age of the main character based on the first 250 words of the ms., without knowing genre or anything else.
Put your guess into the comments, give me any feedback you want about the snippet, and thanks for playing. :) Oh, and go check out the other contestants, too.

Without further ado, here are my 250 words:

I wake up with a very small, very ticked off firedrake sitting on my chest.
“Aw, crud,” I mutter. Sunlight stabs through the light curtains jigging in the breeze that comes through the open windows. Summer nights in the desert are warm, and I always sleep with the window flung open as wide as it can go. Sunlight this strong means I've overslept.
Sassy hisses in displeasure and taps me with indignant claws. Luckily, her claws are as tiny as the rest of her, so I barely feel it. Her red-gold hide is sort of pale, like a washed-out version of her usually bright self. She's hungry. Which means all the others are, too.
“Okay, okay. Sorry!” Flinging back the light blanket still twisted around me, I sort of stumble-roll out of bed and promptly fall to the floor with all the grace of a linebacker learning to dance en pointe. Sassy instinctively flies off but still manages to land upside-down next to me on the floor. Her claws scrabble at my bare legs as we both struggle to right ourselves and assess the damage.
“Dammit.”
What did I fall over? I look down and discover I have a long, tawny tail left over from my dreams, snarled around my legs and twitching just slightly.
Sassy jumps back as she notices it too. A questioning chirp comes from her cute little beaked mouth. We both stare at my tail as I attempt to grasp the rapidly escaping dream.


34 comments:

Julie Daines said...

I'm going to go with something around 16ish. This is a very intriguing beginning and I would definitely read on.

Jesi O'Connell said...

Thank you! Super glad you'd want to read on.

I'm going to try to remember sometime next week to post the character's age.

A.E. Martin said...

Hmm, my guess is this is YA so I'll go with 16 as well, sounds interesting!

Stephanie Diaz said...

I'll guess 16. This is intriguing! Just one nit-pick-- I think "What did I fall over?" should be "Why did I fall over?" ;)

amy kennedy said...

I love this. I would guess older teen as well: 16 or 17. I'm certainly intrigued and want to read more.

P.S. The giant sticky notes
Post-it lined easel pads -- they're a little spendy, but I adore them.

amy kennedy said...

P.P.S. I'm so glad you decided to do this too!

Jesi O'Connell said...

Thanks for all the comments! Much appreciated. Thanks for the nit-pick, Stephanie--those are the things I need to hear about. :)

Amy, thanks. I'm checking out that easel thing, it sounds like it might be perfect. Visual planner...

Kelly Andrews said...

Maybe 17? Clearly this is YA because of the language. Very vivid and interesting.

Francesca Zappia said...

I'm going with 16. This sounds really interesting--I'd definitely read more.

Jenny Keller Ford said...

I'm going with everyone else - 16 or 17. I LOVE the opening line.

Laura Josephsen said...

I'm going to guess about 16. And she (he? My thought was she, but I could be wrong) has a tail after dreaming it! How interesting!

I'm particularly curious about this because it seems fantasy-ish--you have a firedrake (which I'm assuming is a fire dragon?) and a person who dreams a tail into existence. Yet there was a mention of a linebacker learning to dance en pointe, so there's football, which means fantasy in this world?

Jesi O'Connell said...

I'm loving the comments and age guesses!

Jenny, thank you so much for the opening line compliment. And for everyone who says they'd want to read more--that's awesome praise. :)

Laura, interesting comments from you; they're making me think a little more about the opening and how I'm presenting it. Since we're not supposed to reveal genre, I'll keep mum on that for the moment...

Shell Flower said...

I'm going with 16 as well. She is mature enough be aware of the needs of her pets (or whatever they are) and talks like a teen. Strong, fun voice and what a cool premise. You are going to do well with this.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Ooh, I definitely want more! I think I'll go with 17 yrs old.

meradeth said...

16 or so? Maybe a year in either direction? Sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Sharon Bayliss said...

Hmmm....everyone thinks young, but I was thinking your MC was a grown up. Twenties maybe. Since they slept late but wasn't woken by a parent, I think they're on they're own. FYI - I'm not clear on gender yet. Maybe that's something to throw in too. Good luck!

Amanda the Aspiring said...

My guess is 16! Possibly 17. =)

"Sunlight stabs through the light curtains jigging in the breeze that comes through the open windows. Summer nights in the desert are warm, and I always sleep with the window flung open as wide as it can go. Sunlight this strong means I've overslept." -- I like it, but it delays the story too long, kinda loses me and the forward motion of the first sentence. I'd try to condense the information to one sentence, or two shorter ones. =)

The sentences following are rather short, close to the same length, so it reads a bit choppily. I might combine a couple to add some longer ones, to vary the length and add texture.

The last sentence felt a tiny bit clumsy, with the repetition of dream. I might alter it a bit, cutting off the 'as I attempt to grasp the rapidly escaping dream.' and maybe just start right in on the details she remembers, so her grasping for the escaping dream is shown, rather than told. =)

Overall, I'm very intrigued, and I would definitely keep reading! ^_^

Julia K said...

I would say 15??

Julia K said...

oh and my blog is vegaprep.blogspot.com :)

Gyran Gymble said...

I'll play it safe and say she's 15 and it's a nice snippet

E. Arroyo said...

Nice. I'd say 16 17.

Elaine AM Smith said...

This is intriguing. My guess is this is YA and I think your character is 15.

Deborah Oster Pannell said...

I actually got an older hit from this character. Something about the timing, the pacing, the easy way in which she greeted the day, despite knowing that she slept late. I would guess that she is at least in her twenties, living on her own, but could easily be older. The story definitely drew me in...

And BTW, thanks for your very insightful comments on my character regarding his age...

Deborah Oster Pannell said...

PS - My blog is
http://nothingoriginalhere.wordpress.com

Jesi O'Connell said...

What a great contest this is! I love all the blog hopping, "meeting" new writers, and getting all sorts of helpful comments on each others' writing. Thanks to everyone who's stopped by and left me words to mull over.

Aimee Laine said...

Oooh! What a neat concept ... dreams seep into reality. Awesome. I'm going to go with 19 on this one. She sounds a little older, but still young. :)

(Posting as my alter ego since Emi Gayle doesn't have a blogger account). :)

Susan Francino said...

Neat opening! I think I'll go with 16 as well... And I'm getting a vibe that she's maybe older, but probably not younger.

Crystal Licata said...

I'm guessing 16. I really like the fantasy elements and how they are mentioned like it's normal. Great opening :)

Diane Bohannan said...

My guess is 17. Love firedrakes already and the tail! Looks like a fun read! :)

Jennifer M. Eaton said...

I am picturing a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. I guess that is because I picture her living alone.

Jennifer M. Eaton said...

I am picturing a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. I guess that is because I picture her living alone.

Jennifer M. Eaton said...

I am picturing a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. I guess that is because I picture her living alone.

Jesi O'Connell said...

Sweet--I've made a few changes to the opening based on comments. Thanks, everyone, it's been really helpful.

1000th.monkey said...

I'm thinking 16-ish. I found the 'linebacker' line very jarring, seemed as out of place in a fantasy as if you had mentioned an iphone.