Friday, April 2

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, April 02, 2010 38 comments
Thanks to Kelly of Kelly's Compositions for hosting today's First Page Blogfest! Stop by her blog to find all the other blogfest participants and links to their offerings.

Here's the opening of my novel Bring to Light. Happy reading.


Dad? Here in my room? No freaking way.

I lean on one elbow and squint, brush mascara flakes from my eyelashes. What the heck? It can’t be. Just days ago, he was gone. Nurses powered down his monitors, pulled a sheet over him and rolled him away.

Yet he’s here. Himself again: thin, lanky and strong. There’s no trace of the crusted bandages, crazy quilt of stitches, angry bruises, dripping tubes, blipping machines, creepy Darth Vader breathing. Relief washes over me, warm and bubbling.

He leans on my desk like he did every night and runs a hand through his thick, ginger-blond hair. His blue eyes crinkle in the corners. I want to jump up and kiss those crinkles, kiss his hawk nose and big ears. Hang on and never let go. But I can’t move, can scarcely breathe.

How can you possibly be here? I thought…they said…you’re…supposed to be dead. You were cold and gray and still as a rock.

He frowns. “Dead? Blimey, Dani, that’s got a bit of a final ring to it.”

Whoa. He must’ve heard me. But how? I didn’t say anything out loud.

I must be dreaming. But I’ve been in the room two minutes, tops, sorting stuff for my carry-on. That’s not enough time to doze off. And I just had a Coke with supper.

No, I’m pretty sure I’m awake. And yet my dead father is talking to me, and reading my thoughts and how could that be possible’s not him. It’s a ghost. An evil spirit. Or… just the standard grief hallucination: dead relative pops in, hovers, smiles, leaves.

Keeping him in my sight, I push aside the pile of toiletries, sit up and hug my knees. He goes on smiling and watching, but his eyes seem sad. What would happen if I tried to touch him? Would he disappear like mist on a windshield? Better not risk that.

“What…what are you doing here?” I finally say.

“No idea. You tell me.”

So it’s interactive. Huh. I don’t think that’s part of the standard hallucination.

“I don’t know why you’re here, or even that you’re here. Jeez, I don’t even know if you’re you.”

“I see. Quite the dilemma.”


  1. Nice, really nice. Very well written. I like it a lot. I'd like to see what happens.

  2. Very nice. I like this a lot. Poor Dani. Quite the dilemma, indeed. :) I'd like to read more.

  3. I love all the questions this brings up and would definitely keep reading to find some answers. Great job!

  4. Love how the first line gives me an approximate age and tone right off the bat!

    My favourite line is the 'interactive' one - that's awesome! :)

  5. Oh wow, this is an emotion-packed first page. The description of her dad's injuries is powerful.

  6. What a great first page. I love your description of the dad's injuries. I'm curious where this goes--I'm hooked.
    Great job!

  7. Laurel I think it's just perfect. What I like the most is the voice, it's so true and real. And you have me VERY intrigued. Great job!

  8. Look who else has a great voice ;) What a great job with that! And, yikes, how freaked out would I be?! Nice job.

  9. I love how we're right inside Dani's head and we learn about her father - and her 'hallucination' - through her thoughts. Definitely interested to read more.

  10. Oh, it's changed a bit, hasn't it? I like it very much.

    Now everyone else can be excited for you to publish as well. :)

  11. Wonderful! I'm pulled in by Dani, her dad and the situation you've presented so well. Super voice. Powerful descriptions, too--crusted bandages, crazy quilt of stitches, cold and gray and still as a rock, mist on a windshield. This has me hooked.

  12. I can sense the mystery, feel the bazaar tension.

  13. Well, I'm hooked. Your writing is just lovely, Laurel. Reading your material is like watching a diver at the Olympics slice through the water. Anticipation...this will be good, but will she pull off the perfect entry? And...yes.


  14. Whoa! I'm totally hooked. Dead dad back to life! Loving the mystery going on.

  15. Exceptional page, Laurel. You are a great writer. I admire the wry, sympathetic character. I related to her right away. Love this blogfest for giving me the opportunity to read your work. When are you getting published, by the way? It has to be soon.

  16. Great dialogue. I have to say, I love the dad. He makes it with his dialogue and fun attitude.

  17. Count me in! I'm hooked. Great job.

  18. You have me hooked from the start. Definitely would love to read why/how the dad is there. Awesome job!

  19. I love the voice and how well you've already established personality! I'm completely hooked, Laurel. :-)

  20. Anne: Thanks so much. I've rewritten so many times I can hardly look at it any more.

    Sarahjayne: I cheated Kelly's 24 lines rule a little to include that line. :-)

    Charity: Oh, goody. The preceeding chapter I trashed definitely didn't achieve the question raising. I feel better now about losing those 15 pages.

    Jemi: Thanks. It was a long road to get past the whiny and onto the smart, arty, witty girl I knew she could be.

    Portia: Thanks for coming by and following. Glad it moved you.

    Christine: Thanks. I had a lot of trepidation about using this hook--it used to be buried in chapter 2. Glad this drew you in.

  21. Crystal: Wow, what a great compliment! The more I listen to Dani and let her speak, the better my revisions become.

    Tara: Your dead relatives don't hang out and chat? Really? :-) Glad you liked this.

    Talli: Deep POV is the hardest job I've come to love. Thanks for your kind words.

    Simon: The Milestones crit group shredded this scene and pressed me to do really deep revisions. The second page is even more radically changed than this. Go peek at that FYI doc I posted to our group site and you'll see what I mean.

    Tricia: Thanks so much! Glad to hear the imagery worked for you, my poetic friend. :-)

    Mary: Thanks. I'm learning to embrace the bizarre that is to be found in the well of grief.

    Karen: Wow, super compliment simile! If you only knew how incredibly awed and intimidated I am by athletic people. You made my day.

    Nicole: Thanks! glad the premise grabbed you.

  22. Roxy: Hee hee. All in good time. I hope to do agent hunting take-two this summer. I kind of, um, threw away the entire middle and am building a new one. :-)

    Laura: Ah yes, dear Graham. Kinda sucks that he's dead. But it's great to know he's likeable, since he looms large in the story.

    DL: Thanks for coming by and following. I'm totally squeeing that a guy likes my work!

    Shelley: Thanks for your kind words. I'm definitely glad I chucked my original opening (toodles 15 pages!) and revised this one.

    Shannon: Thanks so much! It took a lot of rewrites to get here. Whew.

  23. Excellent voice. And your descriptions are vivid, well written. The emotional content is just right; intrigued, worried, happy, curious. Such a wonderful mix, and I can relate to every one and feel it's relevance.

    I like the way you introduce the plot: “I don’t know why you’re here, or even that you’re here. Jeez, I don’t even know if you’re you.”

    And that last line is perfect for a chapter break. You've really set the tone, and the relationship between father and daughter. I want to know more about whatever put him in the hospital, how long he lingered, and where Dani is off to now.

    A lot of questions that I am anxious to read on to find out. Way to go Laurel.


  24. Okay, I'm hooked. Where can I get the rest of the book? *grin* Seriously, what happens next?

  25. The first line draws me in right away. One of my favorites: So it’s interactive. Huh. I don’t think that’s part of the standard hallucination.
    I love the voice and the dry humor. Great job, Laurel! Thanks for participating!

  26. Her father's description really conveys the warmth of this relationship. Good writing, Laurel.

  27. very good. hooked me right away. I would definitely read this.

  28. Beautifully written, draws me right in and great voice. Your descriptions are perfect, vivid without being overdone. Superbly done!

  29. What can I say? This is awesome! I love the premise, the voice, the pacing.

    I love the part about the crinkles. I really adore that part.

    You are awesomespice, Laurel. You make me want to be a better writer.

  30. I love her inner dialogue, and the fact that he can hear it make it that much better. I'd read more, for sure! Love her voice. Very nice.

  31. Excellent job of getting into your main character's head. I also like the fact that she's not scared, just confused. It makes me want to know why he showed up and what's going to happen next.

  32. Loving blogfest!!!! Love this piece it is a wonderful read! You drew me right in!

  33. Donna: Wow, thanks so much for the thorough review. It's helpful to know where I'm getting it right so I can repeat the process in other scenes.

    Nisa: I'll be looking for fresh eyes to do whole-book critiques probably in mid-late May. Let me know if you're interested in being a reader.

    Kelly: Thanks so much for hosting it! This fest opened a surprising opportunity and I can't thank you enough for your part in it.

    Elaine: Thanks! I'm so glad you can feel their strong bond from this short portion.

    Tamara: Thanks so much for your kind encouragement.

  34. VR: I thank my crit groups for helping me find that balance and get this into its polished form.

    Amber: Thanks, friend! The teacher side of me is most flattered that I inspire you.

    Tina: Thanks. Dramatizing the "is this paranormal or psychological?" question took at lot of revision. Glad this worked for you.

    Catherine: Deep POV got me thinking beyond the cliche (ghost=scary) toward more complex emotions.

    Jen: Thanks for your encouraging words and enthusiasm.

  35. Visiting ghosts of fathers shouldn't just tease their daughters with "Quite a dilemma." That's just cruel. Like life. Like death.

    I really enjoyed your first page. It had a feisty heroine and a puzzling "dilemma." Better her father seemed like he didn't know about the why of his presence. And he had a sense of humor about it. Even better.

    Isn't that one of the great draws of reading, to have fun? I'm glad you remembered. This page took a lot of effort. Polished storytelling does not happen by accident. Congrats.

    Come check out my own first page. Have a healing week with only happy surprises -- and no undead ones -- unless you're into that kind of thing, Roland

  36. Leaves me with many questions and would have me reading more for the answers! Great job!

    Hosting Last Line Blogfest, details on my site.

  37. Loved this! Can't wait to read more. Great job!! :)

  38. I really like this concept, and would definitely read more.

    Mostly, I want to know what makes this character tick. Her narration seems kinda flippant for a girl whose dad just died. That intrigues me.