A sci-fi/fantasy aimed at a middle grades audience, Expiration Date tells the story of Devlyn Winslow, a 14-year-old orphan searching for a new world to live in. Earth is dying, and scientists have calculated the date beyond which human life may not be sustained, so everyone is being evacuated to the book-world of their choice.
I've written about 38,000 words so far, and I'm hoping some of you will be willing to read my first 20. I need help!
Here are my first 13 lines Moonlight slipped past the partially closed curtains, casting slanted beams of silvery light in the toddler’s room. Three-year-old Devlyn slept soundly, so he didn’t hear when a pane of glass from his bedroom window was cut with a pocket-laser and removed by someone outside. Sleep had the little boy so firmly in its spell that he went right on dreaming when the man reached through the empty frame to flip the latch, and push the window open, and climb through. The man was huge. He unfolded himself from the unauthorized entrance he had just created and walked over to gaze at the child with light-brown hair. Devlyn whimpered slightly in his sleep and began sucking his thumb, as if things weren’t going so well in dreamland. The intruder smiled, wrinkles creasing an intelligent face as he pulled a small knife out of his coat
Overall, I like what you wrote. Given that it is MG I enjoy the omniscient PoV. I think you did a good job of establishing the setting fairly quickly.
I only have two nitpicks:
quote:...the man reached through the empty frame to flip the latch, and push the window open, and climb through...
One too many "and"s for my personal taste but this could just be a matter of style/voice so that's why it's in my nitpick category.
I stumbled over that part of the sentence. "Unauthorized entrance" just makes me think of those signs on office or government building doors that say things like "Unauthorized Entry Prohibited. Personnel Only." I think "surreptitious," "clandestine," or "stealthy" would be a better adjective. Again, that's in my nitpick category and not a big deal
I see exactly what you're saying about the word unauthorized, and I like the replacements you suggested. I'll have to think about the and thing - is two too many? I know that commas in a series usually end with just one and, so maybe that other one needs to go.
Regarding the "ands" I personally feel that when it comes to prose, style trumps grammar. For instance, Hemingway had a long standing love affair with the word "and" and he's considered one of the top American writers. So, I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule. Go with what you like.
I like the premise of your story. However, I found that it reads like an adult reading to a child. You use phrases like "toddler", "little boy" and "sucking his thumb." These may accurately describe a toddler, but what middle grader wants to identify with a toddler?