I've been working on this novel for only a little while. I'm challenging myself to finish a chapter a week. I feel like a strong start will give this work its best chance. I am looking for criticism on this first page, please. As the work progresses, I will look forward to sharing it and getting help.
Thanks in advance. .. Janet
Sweat flowed between my shoulder blades, tickling the small of my back. The summer in New Hampshire seemed mild, especially compared to my childhood summers in Louisiana, but it was still hot. It couldn’t be helped; some work was simply best done outdoors. I put a finishing coat of chemicals on the 14 inch apple wand, careful to miss the second and third ring. It was a beautiful piece; I knew its owner would be thrilled. This wand was for a child, not for real Magic. The chemicals nearly silenced the wood, or would have if I hadn’t given it a little opportunity. “Queris, Dňmi sof si yo rele, mwen respekte w.” I told the wood. (Lady Apple, Sleep unless they call. I Respect.)Likely she would never be used for Magic, but I always felt like the wood deserved a chance.
First and foremost, I must stress that you should finish before worrying about any critiques. Sometimes, they have a way of stopping you cold when there is so much more to come. That said, here's what I see:
1) I know it's summer and that the protagonist (if that's who the narrator is) moved from Louisiana to New Hampshire right off. What I don't know (and should) is if I should be picturing a guy or gal. The language sounds feminine, but that may be because I know that you are, and the mention of the "small of my back."
2) I am not certain of the time period. The only word which makes me think contemporary is "chemicals," and that word was available from the 16th century on (according to my OED).
3) I have read at least two other stories about crafting wands and locking the magic in, so I advise treading carefully on how you go about it.
I would read on for a page or so to see if the information I feel is missing (some way of identifying whether the protagonist is male or female and the time period) appeared. Also, I like that you put the speculative element up front.
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My fist impression is to cut down to "some work was simply best done outdoors" -- probably should be "is best", but the sensory stuff belongs in a different opening. Certainly not in the same paragraph as the rest. And best inserted later on. But that's just my take on this.