First page by B.White, one writer who dared
send work to Mommacrit.
SWITCHER by B White, Science Fiction
Walking through the serene sky-blue corridor didn’t soothe the raging anxiety inside young
Nurse Ashley’s mind. The inevitable confrontation loomed ahead and she was upset at being chosen courier. Though she
was instructed to withhold the actual news, people tend to lash out at the first staff-member seen due to the unexpected detour.
When she arrived at the waiting room door, all her willpower went into appearing calm as she pushed it open. An unusually
slow delivery day meant just one occupant was inside. His magazine closed as he rose from the seat, a look of happy expectation
on his face.
"Mr. Jackson, Doctor Abelson wants to speak with you."
Forecasts for scattered afternoon thunderstorms from
the television high on the adjoining wall were her only immediate response. Fear quickly replaced excitement for the recipient
of her message. As he placed the magazine on the nearest table, his hands began shaking.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
Ashley smiled reassuringly even though her insides were
“The doctor will explain everything,” she said. “But let me place
your mind at ease. Your wife and child are both recovering nicely.”
A slight smile grew on his face from obvious relief.
“Is it a boy? When can I see him?”
Her face retained its artificial smile as she stepped to the side.
“It’s a girl. You can see her soon but I need to take you to the doctor
first; if you’ll please come with me?”
This is a huge disappointment for him. He is Brent Jackson,
owner of Jackson Realty in need of an heir. His requirements are for a son which he’d truly hoped would be his first-born.
A girl just won’t do. Females don’t have the backbone needed for this cut-throat line of work. She’d ruin
everything he’d worked so hard to build. Well he’ll just have to start over. Let Paula have the girl and he’ll
set about prepping his boy for life. When he took one step toward her, that smile fluctuated just enough for him to see.
“You’re not telling me everything,” he said while stopping. “Is
she retarded; my daughter?”
Reaction from Mommacrit
First off, has
B.White followed Mommacrit’s guidelines?
“Send Mommacrit the
first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume,
and its genre.”
B.White is not consigned to
the naughty chair for failing to follow directions. The text was correctly labeled and under 501 words. However, the formatting
was definitely idiosyncratic.
Has B.White sent Mommacrit a
hook, a page to lure a reader into buying the book?
“Hooked” is probably
not the most apposite word to describe Mommacrit’s reaction. “Confused” is getting a whole heap closer.
In 350 words, the Momma is presented with a kaleidoscope of feelings, sky-blue corridors, weather reports and quivering insides.
And that’s before a huge POV shift makes the Momma’s eyeballs pop.
Here is one sentence where B.White had the
Momma unzipped: “Though she was instructed to withhold the actual news, people tend to lash out at the first staff-member
seen due to the unexpected detour.” Say what? Detour to where? Detour from where? When a reader begins to ask, “Am
I missing something?” the writer should look at the text and check it is clear.
B.White labeled the genre as
science fiction, but there’s no hint of it in this hook. It’s more like a scene from The Bold and the Beautiful.
Mommacrit would not be surprised to discover in a page or two, that Young Nurse Ashley is actually Doctor Abelson’s
love child and Brent Jackson’s half-sister. But that would be before aliens abduct Paula’s daughter…
Some of Mommacrit’s confusion
is caused by the hook’s wordiness. (Admittedly, some of Mommacrit’s confusion is caused by tequila, but anaesthetic
is often necessary for this job.) B.White needs to learn to write tight – instead of “A slight smile grew on his
face from obvious relief.”, try “A smile of relief showed on his face.” Instead of “The inevitable
confrontation loomed ahead and she was upset at being chosen courier.”, “A confrontation loomed. She hated being
The Momma has one unbreakable
rule of fiction: never, ever, bore your reader.
Go to the naughty chair, B.White.