Set in the Bridgewater Triangle, an area in southeastern Massachusetts which is famous for supernatural activity, The Ghost of Him is a YA paranormal thriller, complete at 110,000 words:
I remember the first time I heard the story of the lonely boy’s ghost. I think I was about nine years old. My two older brothers were trying hard to scare me one night. I was sitting on my brother Clement’s bed, in the bedroom he shared with Joe and they’d turned out the lights for effect. Joe had smuggled one of my mother’s homemade, scented candles out of her pantry workshop off the kitchen and put it on Clement’s desk. He pulled a small book of matches out of his jeans pocket, opened it and tore one match off. We weren’t supposed to use matches unless a grownup was with us, but Joe lit the match with one perfect strike because he’d practiced so often. He picked up the candle, held the flame to its wick and pushed the fragrant wax cylinder toward my face. I didn’t flinch. I said what I always said. “I’m tellin’.”
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 06, 2010).]
Thought I would read this one and so I did.
My first novel opening critique here.
Anyway, not bad, everything is clear. I can see boys acting like that. I think the third sentence could be shorter. Too long and complex for my tastes.
But over all I'm not sure if it's a grabber. It has too many details and is boring. Of course you should see if anyone else agrees with that last statement but that is not to say it needs violent action. A couple of extra comments about the ghost maybe. A bit less details maybe, even though I'm not sure what should be cut. You might be able to say that they lit a stolen candle with less words and the same thing about the matches.
I can envision the scene you've set here, so I think you've been effective at that.
Some of the details you choose don't match the mood of the scene. For example, phrases like and "fragrant wax cylinder" don't help me imagine any suspense or fright. You could just as well say "taper" or just "candle" or even "it".