Catch Me If You Can is an awesome blogfest at KayKay's Corner that everyone with a first chapter should join.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Since we have a limited amount of time to catch an agent's eye, the first hundred words of our manuscript have to shine. For this fest, we post the first 550 words of our books and go around to people's sites to critique them. Sounds like fun.
I'd specifically like to know at what points you get pulled in and at what points your mind starts to wander because something needs to be cut or reduced. Thanks!
The sun set over the river Tiber, painting its currents pink, like ribbons waving in the breeze. Tuccia clutched the edge of her seat. Whenever their carriage passed over the Tiber, she knew Rome was close.
Tuccia squeeled and jumped onto her pater’s lap. “We’re almost there, tata!” she cried. This trip was a rare and anticipated treat. Her villa was half a day’s journey from the city and her family only traveled to Rome to see the bustling festivals that turned the city into a glowing religious spectacle.
“Which festival are we going to?” Tuccia asked as she pulled on her pater’s toga.
“I told you, we aren’t going for a festival,” he reminded her.
“Then what are we going to do in the city?”
Tuccia’s mater sat close to her pater and watched him with a cold, emotionless face. He opened his mouth to answer, and he looked at her mater with apprehension as he did so. Her expression didn’t change, but she shook her head and mouthed the word “no.” He cleared his throat. “It’s a surprise,” he said.
He picked her up and sat her back down. Tuccia fidgeted in her seat.
The raeda crossed through the city gates and descended into the crowded cobblestone streets. They were surrounded by rows of thick columns hefting up heavy, towering ceilings of marble. Tuccia felt small in a way that was breathtaking.
“Tuccia! Get back inside!” snapped her mater.
Tuccia looked at her pater, who nodded for her to come back in, so she reluctantly sat in her seat and strained her ears to see if she could still hear anything. The voices blurred into an incoherent mess, so she could only cross her arms and scowl.
As it grew darker, the people gradually thinned out. The streets cleared enough for their raeda to move smoothly without frequent stops, so the grand buildings passed too quickly for Tuccia to get a good look at them.
The moment the raeda stopped moving, Tuccia jumped out of her seat and waited impatiently for her parents to open the door. When her pater lifted her out of the raeda, Tuccia saw a small round temple with a thin pillar of smoke curling lazily from the roof.
“We’re at Vesta’s temple!” Tuccia cried as she clapped her hands with joy.
They had recently gone to the Vestalia festival, the only time of the year when women could go into the temple and see the constantly burning fire inside. Tuccia was mystified by the eternal heath-fire of Rome. No matter how much she had begged her mater to let her go inside, her mater insisted she wasn’t old enough. Tuccia was jealous of Vesta’s priestesses who could go inside whenever they wanted.