Another day of running the roads and not much writing time. Total words to date: 1630.
I woke up to a nice surprise though. My first page entry was critiqued by a Hqn editor. Great feedback! Thought I’d post it here.
Winner B: Lorraine N
What the hell? Blake Bennett noticed what appeared to be a riot in progress as he rode into town on his vintage Harley. When he spotted Roger Dunfield in the middle of the crowded sidewalk arguing with a beautiful redhead, he had to pull in closer and check things out.
Parking the bike a safe distance away from the agitated crowd, he removed his helmet and listened…or tried to. The noise level could almost outdo the sound of his chopper. He’d have to cross Main Street and join the crowd, if for no other reason than to get a better look at Roger’s adversary. Anyone with enough balls to stand up to one of the Dunfields was all right in his book. The cream of the crop in Westonvale, or so they believed, Blake thought it high time someone told them different.
His eyes on the redhead wearing a short skirt over body-hugging leotard, Blake sauntered up behind the spectators. Her ‘in your face’ confrontation had her emerald eyes flashing fire as her voice raised in fury.
“You’re the one who approved my business and registered it with the county. Why should it make a difference what type of dance I teach?”
“That’s not dancing! You’re corrupting the women of this town and I won’t have it! Your lease is cancelled and your business is closed as of now.”
A chorus of ‘Yays!’ and ‘Nays!’ rose from the crowd until someone spotted Blake and yelled out,
“Blake’s here. He’ll settle this. Blake, what do you think?”
He stepped forward into the fray. “I think someone should tell me what’s going on.”
Everyone started talking at once and he held up his hand for silence.
“Ladies first.” When all had quieted, he asked, “What seems to be the problem, Miss…?”
“West, Gina West. I have a license to operate a dance class on these premises,” she said, jerking a thumb toward the building behind her. “It just opened today and he,” poking a hard finger in Roger’s chest, “is trying to shut me down.”
“With good reason!” Roger huffed, hands fisted at his sides. “She’ll be corrupting our womenfolk with the type of dancing going on here today.”
Impressed that this woman had gotten such a rise out of the staid politician, Blake turned a questioning eye toward the redhead. “What type of dancing do you teach?”
“My first classes are for Ballroom Dance lessons and Pole dancing.” At his raised eyebrow, she continued, “Pole Pilates is the actual name of the dance program.”
“It’s stripper training, plain and simple!” said Roger. “And having that pole in full view of Main Street caused a major traffic jam earlier today. It’s a wonder there weren’t a few fender benders along with it.”
The opening paragraph—“riot in progress”—immediately brings the reader into the action. It’s an out-of-the-ordinary situation, which entices the reader to learn more. Also, this scene has strong dialogue and a few well-placed details—eyes flashing fire, voice raised in fury—that allow the reader to see what the characters are feeling. The reason for the confrontation—that Gina may be corrupting the ladies of the town with her Pole Pilates class—seems to be the kind of conflict that would occur in a small-town, but the tone of the scene is not as “small-town” as it could be. You may want to include a few details that let the reader know what kind of town Blake is riding into: Is it rural? Does it have only one main street? Is an agitated crowd something that hardly ever happens? Also, it might help the reader better understand what is at stake for the characters if Blake’s and Roger’s roles in the town were clarified a bit more. For example, the crowd turns to Blake to sort out the fight between Gina and Roger: Is Blake the sheriff? Roger is introduced as a Dunfield first, a politician second. But his reaction—to shut down Gina’s business after he approved it—indicates he has government control. Is he mayor or does he own the town, so to speak?