Thursday, January 27, 2011

99th page blogfest

Hosted by Alicia, Erinn, Holly, Pam, and Quita.

The linkys should be available on the hosts' sites. Here are the rules: When visiting the pages, you should focus and answer the following three questions:

1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on this page, how likely is it that you would buy the book?

Here is my page 99. It's not exactly exciting... but that's the point of the exercise, right?



After sweep-netting for a while, I wander farther from the group of students. I want to collect larger insects by the pond. More than that, I don’t want to be around everyone else. I chase a dragonfly. He’s huge, but so fast in the midmorning sun that it’s impossible to catch him. I enjoy myself anyway, listening to the whirring and chirping of crickets and cicadas as I walk. The dragonfly leaves the bank and hovers over the middle of the pond. There’s no way I can get him now. I go back to staring at the ground, looking for a new bug to stalk. That’s when I see a tiger beetle running along the grass. It’s super fast, multicolored, and iridescent. This is my day for fast bugs, but something on the ground is easier than something in the air. I whip my net over the beetle and catch it right away.
After putting the tiger beetle in my jar, I sit for a while next to the bank, in the shade of a tree, listening to the birds calling in the distance. Drinking from my water bottle, I let my body cool down a little. I sit still to see if anything bigger than a bug or bird will show up, but as the day gets hotter, the big animals retreat. To see the good stuff, like deer, I’d have to be here early in the morning or as the sun’s going down. I can see fish coming to the surface of the water, looking for food, and tadpoles lurking around by the shore. A water-strider glides across the surface, skating across the pond on its long legs.
I can hear buzzing and humming from a few kinds of insects. Listening, I try to imagine what kind of animal is making the sounds. I close my eyes. I’m pretty certain at least one’s coming from a katydid. I think I also hear a cicada. Maybe the sounds of a grasshopper or a cricket? I guess it’s a combination of several of each, because I can hear three or four slightly different pitches of trilling. They work together like a symphony, layering one on top of the other. My mind wanders, threatening to land back on the Andersons. But I don’t want to waste this time, this moment, on anyone but myself.

26 comments:

  1. I LOVE your words, your language and how much you love insects. Everything about this scene and I can't wait to read more.

    Excellent, I feel like I"m there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOVE this! When we moved from the farm to a near-by town, we lived on a lake. Oh but you captured the sounds of all those little critters and how one feels their presence. I felt like I was outside hearing and feeling. Beautifully done!

    Yes, yes, I'd read the next page!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. <33333 Gosh I love this. It's so beautiful and it tells us so much about Bea. <333

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, you have a certain rhythm with your words--that just seem to flow into each other. And I have to say, the premise of your story is SO unique. I don't think I've ever read about a bug-collecting protagonist. For that reason alone, I'd pick up this book. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would keep reading because I seriously need to know who the Andersons are and why her mind is wondering back to them! I love your details in this excerpt too. Beautiful writing :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd give you extra feedback, but I'm saving it for when I finish the MS. (;

    1. I DID turn to page 100, gladly.
    2. Bea's own curiousity comes shining through, and I'm right there exploring and investigating with her.
    3. I'd buy it. The premise, plot, and prose displayed in this page are definitely stand-out on your average YA shelf.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're right, there may not be exciting action here, but we have to wonder why she is so desperate for her solitude right now. Instead of turning to 100, I'd want to go back to the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're right about not exciting, but the writing is great and right at the end of page 99 you hit us with this Andersons thing. That alone would push me to page 100.

    The thing that struck me is all the bugs. It got me thinking to anytime I'm outside (except when it's below freezing and winter) and bug noises are almost a constant. It's something I overlook.

    Thanks for participating!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Alicia - the Anderson thing at the end grabbed me. And it also made me long for summer, but not Maryland summer. It made me want my hometown summer in northern New Hampshire, when the dragonflies are huge and the junebugs are obnoxious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This was page was so serene. I liked your imagery. I would turn the next page.
    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like the ending of this. It would make me want to read on, mostly to find out who might interrupt her serene moment.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the slowness! I love the description. I really love this passage (I think I made that clear). It just conjures such a lovely image. I would certainly read on.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a lot more mellow than what I'm seeing other places, but it didn't feel boring or flat. Your description was vivid, with a great use of the senses, and I felt like I was really in the character's head. I'd read more. Especially with the last sentence comment about the Andersons ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  14. I kept expecting some unknown bug to sting her or the something bigger to be a gator. Love the scene even with no context and no idea what kind of a book it will be, I too got hooked at the Andersons and why she didn't want to think about them.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Such beautiful language! You are really good at details! I would absolutely read your book! Keep up the good work! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi,


    I'm there, utterly transported to the waters edge by beautiful prose.

    You've got me netted: who in hell are the Andersons? I have to know! ;)

    best
    F

    ReplyDelete
  17. You paint a beautiful picture with your words, set a great mood. I want to turn the page to see what happens. I feel like this is a lull before more action.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful excerpt, and then just at the end, I find myself wondering who the Andersons are and why thinking of them would waste her time. This feels like a quiet spot in the novel to me, and it's got such nice language and vivid pictures that I'm happy to idle for a minute.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wonderful page and nice twist at the end to keep the reader wanting to turn the page.
    erica

    ReplyDelete
  20. Really peaceful, but with an underlying conflict. I would keep reading. :)

    Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Felt like I visited summer for a moment--I'm so sick of cold and winter--I even miss the bugs.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I, too, loved the sense of peace and rest. The pace and language of this page fit with the emotions behind it. It's interesting, considering 1st person present tense should be sort of fraught by definition. (I am curious about your choice of POV and tense, but perhaps the 1st page would give a better sense of the reasons behind it.)

    Definitely would read on to find out more.

    Beautiful writing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great detail. You have painted a wonderful picture of nature. Not sure yet where it's leading, but I would turn the page to find out.



    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  24. I loved reading this and would totally read on. I felt like I was there with Bea, among the insects. And the bit at the end with the Andersons was a great teaser. Your clean writing and beautiful imagery alone would make me want to buy this book.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Good description! I can tell you love bugs, that you notice them, that you watch them. Very colorful, especially the part where you talk about the layered trilling.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks to everyone-- I am sorry I wasn't able to make individual comments. I went out of town for the weekend, and it was all I could do to comment on the 99th pages of the other participants.
    I appreciate the input!!

    ReplyDelete

YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.