My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: Lin on July 12, 2006, 04:07:58 AM

Title: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on July 12, 2006, 04:07:58 AM
In this thread I would like to give our "Reviewers" chance to post  the FIRST LINES of their novel  You know how it is with publishers - the first line/paragraph is always the one which catches the eye.I am hoping that members can get some short sharp feedback from their posts.I would ask you to post no more than 75 words please!  If you are a reviewer I suggest you copy and paste the  author's text with their name and review all on the same post. eg  PLEASE POST ON THIS THREAD BELOW

copy text
review underneath


The questions I would want you to answer are:

What caught my attention? Title? Names of characters etc
Did I want to read more?
What did I feel about those lines?

I would rather hope that those who want a quick review can gain this more easily as the reading of a short paragraph is quicker and most likely to be answered.

Good luck
Lin
Moderator


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2006, 04:41:57 PM
This sounds like a fantastic idea Lin.

As you say, Publishers seem to decide which novels they like, or dislike for that matter, solely by reading the first few paragraphs.

Sign me up for this one. (I need all the help I can get. ;D)

Do we just post here or are you opening a new forum?

CATHY C
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Telcontar on July 12, 2006, 04:49:44 PM
Hi Lin,

Well, seeing as I got a 'Bee in my Bonnet' a couple of months back about opening lines (courtesy of reviews in MWC, I might add) I'd better sign up to this one. Excellent idea!

Dave.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Tyger on July 12, 2006, 04:56:38 PM
Sounds great. I'm intrigued...

Tyger
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 13, 2006, 03:03:10 AM
Just post here and as I mentioned above, dont forget to copy and paste the authors 75 words and put your comments underneath, PLEASE DONT FORGET TO PUT THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR/MEMBER AND KEEP VIEWING THIS PAGE FOR COMMENTS ON YOUR OWN WORK

ie just a brief example and one I thought of on the spur of the moment
NO NEED TO COMMENT ITS JUST AN EXAMPLE
AUTHOR LIN

The Chief Steward sat with his crotchet work on his knee.  He was watching a movie.   The other officers and crew sat silently, but the Chief had seen the movie before and at the moment he remembered when the cat sprang out from behind the curtains, he was ready to pounce with his knitting!! NOW COPY AND PASTE AND COMMENT

 (actually this is a true story!!)

Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: mrryhrt on July 13, 2006, 02:05:00 PM
Okay, I'll bite. Here's my first bit:

The setting sun streamed through a thin canopy of colored leaves, giving the illusion of warmth.  Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.  Surely life couldn’t get any better than this.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 13, 2006, 03:18:21 PM
Count me in. ;D

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 13, 2006, 03:21:39 PM
Okay, I'll bite. Here's my first bit:

The setting sun streamed through a thin canopy of colored leaves, giving the illusion of warmth.  Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.  Surely life couldn’t get any better than this.

Very nice prose, but as the first line(s) of a novel, it didn't grab me. 'Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.' would be better imo, but still not the hook you need.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 13, 2006, 03:23:17 PM
I suggest a new forum, with a max of about 50 words. One paragraph only, make sure posters know that over the word count gets the post locked or deleted, I suggest deleted.

It also must be the first paragraph only. Or a max of (50) words.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 14, 2006, 06:51:36 AM
Okay, I'll bite. Here's my first bit:

The setting sun streamed through a thin canopy of colored leaves, giving the illusion of warmth.  Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.  Surely life couldn’t get any better than this.

Lovely descriptions but I have to say that I think you need something more than this - you need more of a hook.  "Shartanian anticipated each icy breath" is a hook, but I cant help feeling I wasnt fulfilled.   Perhaps a few more words might have done it (you are allowed up to 75)  I suggest Shartanian shivered and anticipated each icy breath.   Or something which SHOWS more of the feelings of the character, therefore involving the reader in the feelings too.

I also feel as Writer's Block has said that the first line is probably a bit too ordinary.  Maybe you could change those sentences to start with the feelings of Shartanian.   Therefore drawing the reader immediatley into the characters shoes in the first sentence.   

I started my novel with the first line in the shoes of the main character and left my reader wanting to know more about her.   Then I went on to describe the scenery and her connection with that.

Hope this helps

Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 14, 2006, 09:41:52 AM
I was out shopping earlier, in a bookshop, surprise, surprise.

I picked up a few and put them down, when it suddenly struck me, I had probably rejected about 8 to 10 books.

So, I went back to see what the problem was.

In all but one of the books, the first sentence didn't grab me (yes I am saying I only read the first sentence - if I am busy, I have less time to spend - I get extra choosey).  The one where the first sentence was promising, the first paragraph let the story down.

I didn't waste time reading on, I just left 'em.

Never, underestimate the importance of the opening.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: lynne-lynn on July 14, 2006, 10:15:27 AM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 14, 2006, 01:49:52 PM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.
I think this would have been better in the past tense

Jennifer Jones sat in the bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, sleeping pills and barbiturates by her side.  She wondered if it was enough to do the job.   Her routine had been the same for a year and wondering if she really had the nerve to take her own life she remembered  she was also  taking the life of her unborn child.

I think I would want to read more because here you would have left me wondering did she do it or not?

Im not sure if this is what you wanted but do you think it flows better?  Im not sure that the routine being the same has anything to do with what she was about to do, I think you could change that.

Hope this helps but I do think the past tense is better.


Lin

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: lynne-lynn on July 14, 2006, 03:46:59 PM
Thanks,

I was wondering about that when ever I write that passage or read it to someone so Thank you truly. Just the feed back I was wanting for I dont know myself if she goes through with maybe she should for more drama, But as for as "the same routine"

I like left out and also the past tense

It flows a lot better can I correspond with you more often.

If you need help just ask - Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: University Girl on July 14, 2006, 06:40:57 PM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: jordanofengland on July 14, 2006, 06:48:34 PM
Sounds good Uni Girl. Sort of grabbing.

Here's my effort..

So I'm dead. Sucks really. But it's not like I didn't deserve it, well, that's what some people say anyway. I'll get them back though, let me show you how.




Whatcha think?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: University Girl on July 14, 2006, 06:51:47 PM
Hi Jordy

Like it, death and destruction will follow!!  Please write more, this could be a great story.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Jillanne Nehls on July 15, 2006, 07:50:08 AM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

U. Girl - perfect!  I need to know what he'd settled on, who "he" is, why is he disappointed. I would definately want to read more. Well, I want more NOW. Is this a story?

Jillanne
ps Used to be JKimble
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 15, 2006, 08:20:28 AM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

It's good UG.

Tells us what to expect, but in an exciting way, finishes humourously too.  I'd put 'Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' on a new line, and delete a '!'

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 15, 2006, 08:30:00 AM
Sounds good Uni Girl. Sort of grabbing.

Here's my effort..

So I'm dead. Sucks really. But it's not like I didn't deserve it, well, that's what some people say anyway. I'll get them back though, let me show you how.

Whatcha think?

'So I'm dead. Sucks really. But it's not like I didn't deserve it, well, that's what some people say anyway.'

good opening.

'I'll get them back though, let me show you how.' - think this needs work - somehow it was kind of what I expected after reading the opening.  Make it less predictable, and it would carry more weight. IMO. Although what you say is very short and snappy.

perhaps something like:

So I'm dead. Some would say I deserved it, still sucks regardless.  What really happened is this, oh, I get my revenge from beyond the grave too...


hmmm, can't say I prefer mine after I look at it.

Hope it helps anyway. ;D

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 15, 2006, 10:17:57 AM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

Well that really was a punchy first liner!!  I think it you could improve on the grammar

 "All the films said that when you were least expecting it,"  For me that didnt flow well perhaps you could say

 "I was expecting this man of my dreams to pop out of a screen and into my arms, I expected from what I had heard in the movies that he would appear and be the one for me, the one who would take my breath away and leave me begging for more - Hell, I hate Hollywood!

Well its not my best editing but do you see how you could smooth it out. Just an example

Does anyone else agree on this point?

Lin
Moderator
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Telcontar on July 15, 2006, 10:39:49 AM
Hi Guys,

If I can nip back to mrryhrt's post, here's my version of it; though I'm still not sure it's a strong enough 'hook'...

Sinking below the horizon, the setting sun nevertheless gave an illusion of warmth. Watching the scene through the thin canopy of coloured leaves, Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath; surely life couldn’t get any better than this?

I will say I'm not 100% happy with the seni-colon; I think it reads better than two completely seperate sentences, but I'm not sure it's grammatically correct...

Dave.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Telcontar on July 15, 2006, 12:04:15 PM
Back again...

And here's a little offering of my own. For those of you who have read this opening before, I apologise for being boring; but having learned (I hope) quite a lot from the forum in the few months past, I offer this latest version of my opening for your appraisal:

Flinching, the rider slammed into what felt like yet another solid wall of water; a curtain of rain driven by wind that was funnelled towards the head of the pass by the steep mountainsides defining the valley. She would be facing it head-on for the next four miles. Bullet splashes of rain blurred her visor as she controlled the urge to ride faster; to even try that would be lunacy in these conditions.

Ta,

Dave
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: University Girl on July 15, 2006, 04:57:19 PM
I'm afraid I pretty much made this up on the spur of the moment but I think I'll try to take it further.  Thanks for all your comments and I'll post something as soon as I figure out where it's going!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 15, 2006, 05:27:13 PM
Quote
Quote from: University Girl on Yesterday at 11:40:57 PM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 


Well that really was a punchy first liner!!  I think it you could improve on the grammar

 "All the films said that when you were least expecting it,"  For me that didnt flow well perhaps you could say

 "I was expecting this man of my dreams to pop out of a screen and into my arms, I expected from what I had heard in the movies that he would appear and be the one for me, the one who would take my breath away and leave me begging for more - Hell, I hate Hollywood!

Well its not my best editing but do you see how you could smooth it out. Just an example

Does anyone else agree on this point?

Lin
Moderator

Hi University Girl,

The fact that you made this up on the spur of the moment is mind boggling - it really is good, snappy but I'm afraid I have to agree with Lin that the rest just doesn't do justice to the first line. :-\

So, here's my two cents :P:

I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest I was told I should expect? The melting of limbs, the kiss that would take my breath away and leave me wanting more?
Hell! Sometimes I hate Hollywood!

(Would leave out the speech marks)

Do continue with this - it could be the start of something beautiful. ;D

CATHY C






Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Tyger on July 15, 2006, 08:09:25 PM
Oh yeah, University Girl!
I'm not much on romance, but this one intrigued me. I'd read on, probably check out the back cover, perhaps snoop a biit.
I like your style.

Tyger
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 15, 2006, 08:16:47 PM
Ok, here goes.... :-\

Wrote this about 5 years ago - the start to my first book (that sounds good, does't it. ;D)

At the time it felt like a best-seller...  Now I'm not so sure.... :-\

Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 16, 2006, 05:55:35 AM
Ok, here goes.... :-\

Wrote this about 5 years ago - the start to my first book (that sounds good, does't it. ;D)

At the time it felt like a best-seller...  Now I'm not so sure.... :-\

Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C

Maybe the comma could be changed - "felt it, but as always, was powerless to stop it."   I liked this Cathy and I did want to read more from a publishers point of view.Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 17, 2006, 03:30:57 PM
All are interesting.  Thought I'd take Cathy's version of UG another step.  Hope no one minds.

Quote:I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest I was told I should expect? The melting of limbs, the kiss that would take my breath away and leave me wanting more?
Hell! Sometimes I hate Hollywood!

Comments:  No quote marks if thinking/internal thoughts, unless thinking out loud.  Is this part of a dialogue?  Then quote marks are in. 

I'd remove the second "hell" because it is in such close proximity to the first, which tames them being together like that.  The punch of one hell fits the word punch used following hell.

I'd remove the "Sometimes" from "Sometimes, I hate Hollywood."  Why?  Well, I think now is one of those times and while in that mood the sometime would drop away because the emotion is strong at the moment.  It can be recanted later to be sometimes if it is an important point.  Also, the word "sometimes" is a weak word to put here.  Try it without:  "I hate Hollywood" is much stronger and the first sentence warrants the strong last sentence.

Just ideas.  I could be totally wrong.

Yep, way over the top on spur of the moment writing.  I bow to your skill!  And, yes I would read further.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: polexia on July 18, 2006, 08:38:29 AM
i'll try something, remember this is not the real beginning but the pre-lude:

In pended with this intense notion of sadness ever since, well ever since I was six actually. It was a conundrum never seen before and never seen again. Why I was this way, what set this off? No one knows no one wanted to know. Until the day, I found out that I could never love, simply because my love was no more. Then everything fit together, why I had an inability to love, why I could not open up, simply why I was alone for al these years. This is I; I had no choice, no way out.

x
polexia
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: lynne-lynn on July 18, 2006, 09:56:26 AM
1ST TIME WRITER

Lexi wakes with" hot fire" in the pit of her belly you would think with all the sucking and bumping last night the "fire" would be gone by now. Last night I went to gay bar and met this big booty chick who works at a local firm, I have seen het at lunch Cafe De'Els.What a night.

She rolls over, looks at Lamont her husband of 8 years with a temporay feeling of disgust 'no or is it saddness. Oh well what ever it is, it's just not important enough cause I'am still hornny from last night" and pretty sore it was my first time wearing a Strap-on you would have thought I did a 20k marathon. Shit where is my vibrater maybe If I hit one more nut I could focus on "Lamont " and the Kids.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Apocalypse on July 18, 2006, 01:29:55 PM
Comment to above - Well has a very direct beginning which is what alot of stories lack these days- very good.
Also gives you directly information about the core character (I think) also very effective and good.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: chillies on July 18, 2006, 02:15:11 PM
This is a great thread. And I agree with eveyone who thinks that the first paragraph is important in any piece of writing, not to mention the first sentence.

I've included my first paragraph, tell me what you think

chillies


What could have drove Frank Webster over the edge? A mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many. Yet here, in the garage of his home, he stands over the lifeless body of his wife Sheila, with bloodied knife still in his hand.  Motionless, he contemplates their years of married life and the events that led up to this very second whilst her blood stains the newly re-laid grey cement flooring.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 18, 2006, 03:14:15 PM
Chillies,

First off, I'm moving elsewhere if anyone named Frank Webster moves in next door!  So, I guess you got my attention.

I'll have to ponder this a bit.  The second thought (after the one above) was the last line distracted me.  Started thinking about my hubby and his concerns for our garage floor, but doesn't notice when he's made a mess in the kitchen.  (Did I just say that out loud? Sorry!)

I can't pick it out at the moment but the last sentences doesn't do justice to the beginning.  I have no idea why I am fixating on the end of samples this week.  Must be the heat -- 116 f the other day.

Maybe something about her blood pulsing out.  Something along the lines of more detail about the people and less about the floor color.

This thread is quite fun.  Thanks for starting it, Lin.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Gltagaman on July 18, 2006, 03:30:30 PM
An extract from my revised first chapter:

A FARANDOLE FOR THREE

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.

Comments

Geoff
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 18, 2006, 04:50:55 PM

Topic Summary
Posted on: Today at 21:30:30Posted by: Gltagaman 
Insert Quote
An extract from my revised first chapter:

A FARANDOLE FOR THREE

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.
 


COMMENT FOR GEOFF

Im not sure whether this was too descriptive in the first line, its a beautiful description but I rather felt it wasn't getting to the point quick enough for me.  Maybe "whose branches formed a canopy over the lane" isnt necessary.  I felt it was too long to catch my attention.  And "The pattern took me back" could be changed to "I recalled a time, fifty years before,  when the shadows of the same trees were cast by moonbeams on the bonnet of a grey Kubelwagen.  I think that sharpens the image.

Just another way of putting it, but in this respect perhaps its more to the point and grabs my attention sooner.  What do you think?   Just some ideas to throw around.   You do write well though, its very good.

Lin
Moderator
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 18, 2006, 05:03:29 PM
Geoff,

It's very literary -- something that is hardly written in the States these days.  (Maybe we have forgotten how.) I like literary, so you are now on my radar!

Felt that maybe a couple of sentences were long.  Make some of the longer ones into two -- especially the first sentence.  That would make it feel as if it moved a bit faster.  But, keep a few long for the variety.

Sorry this is vague, but it is this or nothing -- I'm in a deadline rush here. 

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 18, 2006, 08:02:10 PM
Sorry if this is bad form, but it's on topic.

If you're not into pod humor, you might not know this blog.

If you write pod, you should know it and read it.

http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/

Today's topic: bad opening lines.  Yes, really.

And, June 29th is a hoot, too. (Mistakes novice writers make)

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Jean on July 19, 2006, 09:17:06 AM

Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C

Cathy, I thought you did a great job leading into the story. It caught my interest right away. You used some long sentences but broke them up nicely with appropriate punctuation and a short sentence in between, so it did not make it hard to follow what was happening. The line about seeing her own face in a mirror was effective in moving us into the actual dream, and made me want to read more.

If the rest of the story is as well-written as this lead, you have a winner IMHO.
Jean
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 19, 2006, 08:14:33 PM
Quote
Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

Quote
It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C


Cathy, I thought you did a great job leading into the story. It caught my interest right away. You used some long sentences but broke them up nicely with appropriate punctuation and a short sentence in between, so it did not make it hard to follow what was happening. The line about seeing her own face in a mirror was effective in moving us into the actual dream, and made me want to read more.

If the rest of the story is as well-written as this lead, you have a winner IMHO.
Jean
Wow, thank you Jean. (Am dancing round the floor here. ;D)

This was my first attempt at writing (about eight years ago). The book turned out too long (400,000 words to be exact! :o) and I spent so much time cutting it down, writing and re-writing that I'd actually given up hope on it.

Between you and Lin I'm tempted to revive it and breathe some new life into it.

Thanks again

CATHY C
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 19, 2006, 08:26:41 PM
Quote
This is a great thread. And I agree with eveyone who thinks that the first paragraph is important in any piece of writing, not to mention the first sentence.

I've included my first paragraph, tell me what you think

chillies


What could have drove Frank Webster over the edge? A mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many. Yet here, in the garage of his home, he stands over the lifeless body of his wife Sheila, with bloodied knife still in his hand.  Motionless, he contemplates their years of married life and the events that led up to this very second whilst her blood stains the newly re-laid grey cement flooring.

Hi Chillies,


Love the first sentence. ;D Immediately gets my attention.

The second one though, jars a little.  :-\ The way you've written it, it goes nowhere.

Quote
A mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many.

Should it read: 'He was a mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many?'

Good start, gets my vote

CATHY C


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 20, 2006, 11:04:32 AM
An extract from my revised first chapter:

A FARANDOLE FOR THREE

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.

Comments

Geoff

Geoff, I thought this was great.  I agree - very literary; however I definitely would break up the first sentence into two, which would help the flow of the imagery.  The second sentence, though, seems oddly out of place.  I think I would try something like this:

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees. Their branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.

I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 20, 2006, 11:13:59 AM

Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C

Cathy, I loved this.  Truly grabbed me and I want to read more.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 20, 2006, 11:28:52 AM
OK, here's mine.  Be firm but kind.


It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day?

But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.



Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 20, 2006, 11:54:44 AM
Topic Summary
Posted on: Today at 17:28:52Posted by: cheriker 
Insert Quote
OK, here's mine.  Be firm but kind.


It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day?

But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.


Reply from Lin

I liked this it grabbed me but I do think you should put the last paragraph together with the first para.   eg




It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day? But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.

I wanted more

Lin




 

 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: chillies on July 21, 2006, 04:40:56 AM
Hi Nadine,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, you’re quite right; a man would sooner create a murder in the kitchen than his beloved garage. This is how it should be, after all there are certain standards we men must uphold as far as garages and sheds are concerned. However, Frank was not in his right state of mind, in fact everything in the opening paragraph goes against his usual demeanour and attitude to life in general. The fact that the flooring was newly re-laid would suggest that he went to the expense of getting it re-laid only to ruin it in a fit of madness.

Thanks

chillies
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: chillies on July 21, 2006, 04:45:49 AM
Hi Cathy C,

Thanks for your comments, I was revising the paragraph to fit it into the word count and this sentence slipped through the net.

Sorry about that and thanks again.

chillies
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 21, 2006, 10:52:39 AM
Chillies,

You're quite right (and quite funny).  When you have a motive for your writing choices, I vote -- stick with them regardless of what Nadine says!

Now, I have to go back and read that again!

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: CarrieSheppard on July 21, 2006, 06:24:22 PM
Hey UG -
Quote
'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

have to say that the first thing that struck me was
Quote
breathe
instead of
Quote
breath
.

I really am Blockedly retentive over stuff like that!   :-X

However, the story start sounds good, but I don't generally read romance so don't feel I am qualified to comment further.  If the book cover had roses or a handsome, wind-tossed man on the cover, I probably wouldn't pick it up (but I might look at the pictures!   ;))

However, I could be being grossly unfair, as this is such a short snippet and may in fact be the start of something completley different...

Now to get the same treatment.  Having read all the above, I now feel that the opening to my current work is pitiful  :(

It was a dull, dismal, early Spring day.  The sun was hiding behind a grey sky and the roads were wet and traffic heavy.  I wasn't too worried though, because my route to work quickly took me off the main drag and onto country roads. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 22, 2006, 04:44:30 AM
Hi Carrie,

My guess (without knowing what you've written in the next paragraph) is that you've got a better hook to offer a little further into your first chapter. You might want to think about starting with your character already at the destination or in the midst of a predicament... where the country road took him/her. Of course, this I suggest purely out of guessing without knowing what comes next. If you decide to post the next paragraph, I could clarify my suggestion.

Okay, I suppose it's my turn at the stake. So here goes (deep breath, fingers crossed):

He never expected such a little figure to release the hair-raising screech of a banshee. "It's mine!" the toddler shrilled, her soprano wail exceeding the train's whistle by several earsplitting decibels. "Mine, mine, mine!"

Distracted momentarily from his own daunting excursion, Robert McLellan watched as the unyielding sisters fought with the ferocity of Achilles, their princess-like facades fading as quickly as a truce. The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop, but it had called the warriors to battle as though it were the last evidence of sugar on earth. Robert noted the certainty of victory in both girls' eyes, and wished he could borrow even a fraction of their confidence - confidence he would no doubt need by the time he reached his destination.

Thank you,
Kris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 22, 2006, 04:48:59 AM
It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day? But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.


Response from Kris:

Cheri,

I LOVE your opening. Great hook. It made me want to read more. I agree with Lin about keeping the last sentence as part of your first paragraph.

Kris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 22, 2006, 11:13:26 AM
"I opened the door" he told the barman "she groaned from the upstairs landing and I must have scared her. I shouted to her, its only me my dear, can I come in? I was soaking wet after the storm and dripped all over the kitchen floor. I mean what does a man do when he drips like that?  I could smell the Ajax, she had just cleaned up and I could hear her coming down the stairs, there was fury in every stride." 

"Another beer sir?



Just a little something I made up on the spur of the moment?  A practice piece, you are allowed to comment!  - Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 22, 2006, 04:19:14 PM
Okay, I suppose it's my turn at the stake. So here goes (deep breath, fingers crossed):

He never expected such a little figure to release the hair-raising screech of a banshee. "It's mine!" she shrilled in a soprano wail, exceeding the train's whistle by several earsplitting decibels. "Mine, mine, mine!"

Distracted momentarily from his own daunting excursion, Robert McLellan watched as the unyielding sisters fought with the ferocity of Achilles, their princess-like facades fading as quickly as a truce. The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop, but it had called the warriors to battle as though it were the last evidence of sugar on earth. Robert noted the certainty of victory in the toddler's eyes, and wished he could borrow even a fraction of her confidence - confidence he would no doubt need by the time he reached his destination.

Thank you,
Kris

Kris, this is glorious!  I loved it.  You have captured the mind of the child and that of the stunned adult in the same moment.  And a fabulous way to enter a story.  How could anyone fail to continue reading?

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 22, 2006, 05:18:59 PM
It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day? But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.


Response from Kris:

Cheri,

I LOVE your opening. Great hook. It made me want to read more. I agree with Lin about keeping the last sentence as part of your first paragraph.

Kris

Thanks to Kris and Lin for your suggestions.  After looking at it more closely, I agree.  It does read better together.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on July 22, 2006, 06:49:56 PM

Okay, I suppose it's my turn at the stake. So here goes (deep breath, fingers crossed):

He never expected such a little figure to release the hair-raising screech of a banshee. "It's mine!" she shrilled in a soprano wail, exceeding the train's whistle by several earsplitting decibels. "Mine, mine, mine!"

Distracted momentarily from his own daunting excursion, Robert McLellan watched as the unyielding sisters fought with the ferocity of Achilles, their princess-like facades fading as quickly as a truce. The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop, but it had called the warriors to battle as though it were the last evidence of sugar on earth. Robert noted the certainty of victory in the toddler's eyes, and wished he could borrow even a fraction of her confidence - confidence he would no doubt need by the time he reached his destination.

Thank you,
Kris

Kris,
I think this is very well written. I like the descriptions of how much noise the children are making. I'm almost tempted to cover my ears as I imagine the loud scream that the little girl made! I also like this description: "The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop."  From your writing, I can also gather how powerless and uncomfortable the adult must feel as a result of the children's behavior.

There's just one thing that struck me negatively. At first I thought it was one child, then later I realized it was two, when you mentioned about sisters. However when you mentioned "Robert noted the certainty of victory in the toddler's eyes," I found myself wondering which of the toddlers you were referring to, since they were both fighting with ferocity. I'm assuming it's the one who was screaming like a banshee. But this is just a small point, and I would definitely want to read the rest of this story!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on July 22, 2006, 06:58:12 PM
Okay, this is the first post of my work for review. I'm glad Lin stipulated that it should not be too long--which makes things even easier on me. :) Here goes...

Faith

Caitlin Stevens hurried away from the Walters’ imposing three-story white beach house, squeezing through a tiny opening in the towering hedge that separated her parents’ property from that of their neighbors. Her racing heart beat in time to the rhythmic swoosh of her feet against slightly overgrown grass that had been washed by a shower of rain earlier that evening. The wind moaned through surrounding oak trees and nudged at her back, urging her forward.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Cathy C on July 22, 2006, 08:31:00 PM
Quote
Okay, this is the first post of my work for review. I'm glad Lin stipulated that it should not be too long--which makes things even easier on me.  Here goes...

Faith

Caitlin Stevens hurried away from the Walters’ imposing three-story house, squeezing through a tiny opening in the towering hedge that separated her parents’ property from that of their neighbors. Her racing heart beat in time to the rhythmic swoosh of her feet against slightly overgrown grass that had been washed by a shower of rain earlier that evening.


Gotta say Faith, love the name Caitlin. (Used the same name in my opening para. Great minds huh? ;D)

You've almost got the suspense going. The only thing I would say is that I think your first line is too long. (soreee :-\)

Not sure how to shorten it without losing any of the information you want to get across. The best I can think of is: Caitlin Stevens hurried from the Walters’ imposing three-story beach house, squeezing through the tiny opening in the towering hedge seperating her parents’ property from that of their neighbors.

I like the image of her heart beating in time to her feet - very visual. As is the wind nudging her on, adds to the sense of fear and the feeling that she's trying to escape something.

Well done. Would make me want to read on.

CATHY C
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 22, 2006, 09:05:05 PM
Faith, I'm with Cathy on this.

Random thoughts here...the first sentence is long...makes me breathless to read it, which isn't often the case for long sentences.  Ordinarily, short quick sentences are good for a quick pace, which in this case matches the imagery.

Personally, I like a lot (A LOT) of the word choices you made.  I'm not wild about putting her first and last name together like that -- seems forced to introduce the character. So, wow -- I managed to shorten it by only one word, Stevens.  No help, I'm afraid.  Could save the color of the beach house for later, too. And "slightly" from the overgrown grass could go.

Might try a sentence break at the comma, but I really don't care for that solution.  Frankly, other than the three words that could go (IMO) it is rather tightly written while  being full of imagery and movement. To edit it too much would dull all of that.

You have my interest.  I want to know why she is running away, and if she plows into someone as she is looking back...

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 22, 2006, 09:19:13 PM
Lin,

Really?  A practice piece, humm.  The only thing I want to add to the comments is that I like the quick change there with the bartender offering another beer.  It adds to the tease about telling us who these people are...but not just yet.  You have it set up to make us curious, then draw it out just a bit longer with the bartender interjection.  Nice move by holding the suspense an extra beat.  A nice device to add drama to a minor suspense.  Good job.  Yes, I want more...

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on July 22, 2006, 09:35:12 PM
Thanks Cathy and Nadine for the great feedback.

You're right. I could do without Caitlin's last name and "white" and "slightly" can definitely go.

I do feel that the sentences are too long, but I want to pack everything in there. I'm not sure how to shorten the sentences and still keep the essentials in. Would appreciate any suggestions.

Faith
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 22, 2006, 09:43:54 PM
Faith,

I'm with you and Cathy.  Loooong.  However, it does work dear.  No real reason to cram this butterfly into a tight box.  If this is part of a larger piece, and I hope it is, then worry about whether or not to shorten it when you revisit it for the rewrite review when the piece is finished.  For now, and possibly for ever, I'd leave it and keep writing.  You're off to a good start.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 22, 2006, 09:52:33 PM
A pause for gratitude.

Lin, this is a great thread, thanks for starting it. I enjoy reading all of the posts and thankful that so many people are posting. I am in the middle of final edits of my second book, which is boring work, and enjoy quick breaks here and there to come to this thread. It also helps me refocus on reviewing my own work.

This is a very nice forum.  I'm glad to be part of it.

Nadine

Glad you like it - Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: University Girl on July 23, 2006, 12:14:03 PM
Quote
He never expected such a little figure to release the hair-raising screech of a banshee. "It's mine!" the toddler shrilled, her soprano wail exceeding the train's whistle by several earsplitting decibels. "Mine, mine, mine!"

Distracted momentarily from his own daunting excursion, Robert McLellan watched as the unyielding sisters fought with the ferocity of Achilles, their princess-like facades fading as quickly as a truce. The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop, but it had called the warriors to battle as though it were the last evidence of sugar on earth. Robert noted the certainty of victory in both girls' eyes, and wished he could borrow even a fraction of their confidence - confidence he would no doubt need by the time he reached his destination.

Really enjoyed this Kris.  It can be embarrasing to watch kids go at it but you've captured the moment perfectly.   ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 23, 2006, 12:34:36 PM
Caitlin Stevens hurried away from the Walters’ imposing three-story white beach house, squeezing through a tiny opening in the towering hedge that separated her parents’ property from that of their neighbors. Her racing heart beat in time to the rhythmic swoosh of her feet against slightly overgrown grass that had been washed by a shower of rain earlier that evening. The wind moaned through surrounding oak trees and nudged at her back, urging her forward.

First off, thank you's to Cheri, Faith and UG for the great feedback! Can you tell I have a toddler of my own? Ha!

Faith - You were ABSOLUTELY right about not being clear enough about the girls on the train. I had tinkered with the sentence so much before posting that I lost some of the clarification of which girl was doing what. Thank you, thank you!

FYI - Here's what I ended up with thanks to your suggestion:

He never expected such a little figure to release the hair-raising screech of a banshee. "It's mine!" the toddler shrilled, her soprano wail exceeding the train's whistle by several earsplitting decibels. "Mine, mine, mine!"

Distracted momentarily from his own daunting excursion, Robert McLellan watched as the unyielding sisters fought with the ferocity of Achilles, their princess-like facades fading as quickly as a truce. The trophy was a mere two-cent, sticky green lollipop, but it had called the warriors to battle as though it were the last evidence of sugar on earth. Robert noted the certainty of victory in both girls' eyes, and wished he could borrow even a fraction of their confidence - confidence he would no doubt need by the time he reached his destination.


Now... moving on to yours -

I DEFINITELY like how you started off with Caitlin (I, also, love the name) running as if to escape. Makes me want to keep reading! To answer your call for suggestions, here's a stab at it:

Caitlin raced from the Walters’ imposing three-story beach house, squeezing through a tiny opening in their towering hedge. Her pounding heart beat in time to the rhythmic swoosh of her feet against the damp, overgrown grass as she strove to reach the safety of her parents' home next door. The evening wind moaned through surrounding oak trees and nudged at her back, urging her forward.


Hope you don't mind me playing with it a bit. If specifically mentioning the earlier rain is important, I think there's an easy way to work it in... maybe "rain-dampened grass".... hmmm... just a thought. Hope that helps!

Kris  :)

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on July 23, 2006, 01:21:10 PM
Kris, you're a genius!

No, I don't need to mention the earlier rain. I only wanted to say that the grass was wet, hence the "swooshing" sound her feet were making. It never occurred to me to simply use the word "damp". You also tightened it up for me in other places quite nicely. Thank you so much.

Faith
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on July 23, 2006, 03:09:35 PM

Boo hoo no one commented on this one!!  Its mine I want a turn!



"I opened the door" he told the barman "she groaned from the upstairs landing and I must have scared her. I shouted to her, its only me my dear, can I come in? I was soaking wet after the storm and dripped all over the kitchen floor. I mean what does a man do when he drips like that?  I could smell the Ajax, she had just cleaned up and I could hear her coming down the stairs, there was fury in every stride." 

"Another beer sir?



Did you all miss this one?

Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 23, 2006, 05:05:13 PM
Lin,

Fear not!  Ck the second post from the bottom of page 4.

QUOTE (me!)
Lin,

Really?  A practice piece, humm.  The only thing I want to add to the comments is that I like the quick change there with the bartender offering another beer.  It adds to the tease about telling us who these people are...but not just yet.  You have it set up to make us curious, then draw it out just a bit longer with the bartender interjection.  Nice move by holding the suspense an extra beat.  A nice device to add drama to a minor suspense.  Good job.  Yes, I want more...

Nadine

Thanks Nadine - apologies for missing that, it was just for fun but it shows I can still write!!! - Lin

Well, yes you can write.  Are you going to take this further?  I gotta know about the AJAX!  Nadine

Ha ha well please go to the Review Board and check out my real story "Lin Wants a Review posted 25/7"
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 24, 2006, 02:54:50 AM
Hi gang,

Just wanted to mention I posted my first several pages on the Review My Work page with the Subject: "N.Y. Times Best Sellers List - Here I come..."

After all, isn't that where we're all headed?  :)

If you get a moment, I would love any feedback there since those first few pages are always so important.

Thanks a bunch!
Kris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: CarrieSheppard on July 24, 2006, 12:46:09 PM
OK, I've taken advice and written a different beginning to my story.  But is it a bit extreme? 

I stood, blood-spattered, over the body.  In my hand I held a large lump of wood – a rough-edged, heavy branch that I had used as a deadly club.  I was devastated – devastated that I had sunk this low, that I had become a killer.  And I was horrified – horrified that inside I exalted at my success, the feeling of victory, the simple winning of the battle to survive.  He was dead, I knew.  There was a slowing of the blood that had gushed from his throat as I’d swung the branch round and the ragged, sharp ends had sliced him open.  (need to improve) He’d stumbled towards me still, knife in hand, ready to kill me.  It was self-defence, nothing more.  (yada yada yada... )
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writers Block on July 24, 2006, 12:56:04 PM
OK, I've taken advice and written a different beginning to my story.  But is it a bit extreme? 

I stood, blood-spattered, over the body.  In my hand I held a large lump of wood – a rough-edged, heavy branch that I had used as a deadly club.  I was devastated – devastated that I had sunk this low, that I had become a killer.  And I was horrified – horrified that inside I exalted at my success, the feeling of victory, the simple winning of the battle to survive.  He was dead, I knew.  There was a slowing of the blood that had gushed from his throat as I’d swung the branch round and the ragged, sharp ends had sliced him open.  (need to improve) He’d stumbled towards me still, knife in hand, ready to kill me.  It was self-defence, nothing more.  (yada yada yada... )


Very well written, if one is writing about a killing, then one (in my opinion at least) needs to portray this person properly.

And you have. ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 24, 2006, 01:15:09 PM
OK, I've taken advice and written a different beginning to my story.  But is it a bit extreme? 

I stood, blood-spattered, over the body.  In my hand I held a large lump of wood – a rough-edged, heavy branch that I had used as a deadly club.  I was devastated – devastated that I had sunk this low, that I had become a killer.  And I was horrified – horrified that inside I exalted at my success, the feeling of victory, the simple winning of the battle to survive.  He was dead, I knew.  There was a slowing of the blood that had gushed from his throat as I’d swung the branch round and the ragged, sharp ends had sliced him open.  (need to improve) He’d stumbled towards me still, knife in hand, ready to kill me.  It was self-defence, nothing more.  (yada yada yada... )


Hi Carrie,

My opinion? And this is just my opinion... I tend to think it's a little on the extreme side, but I definitely think it has the potential for a better hook than the last one you shared.

I think you'd be better off withholding a few of the gory details until later. Placing them in the opening seems a bit strong for my taste. Maybe something like... (and this is JUST a suggestion, having no idea where you're going with the story, who the characters are, what their motives are, etc.)


Clutched in my hand was a large lump of wood – a rough-edged, heavy branch now splattered with red.  It all happened so fast, I couldn't actually recall how it got there.  All I knew was I was devastated – devastated that I had sunk this low, that I had become a killer.  And more than that, I was horrified that inside I exalted at my success, the feeling of victory, the simple winning of the battle to survive.  I had never seen a real dead body before, but still I knew he was dead.  He had stumbled toward me, knife in hand, ready to take my life.  It was simply a matter of self-defense... or so I would continue to tell myself.


Just something to think about anyhow. Again, I think it's got some great potential!!
-Kris  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: CarrieSheppard on July 24, 2006, 01:39:59 PM
Thanks Kris.  Hmmm, I know it needs more work and I like your ideas.  I will have to revisit the opening - the whole thing is a backwards and forwards between two time zones so the balance of chapters can get quite confusing.  Only 9000 words so far, but its progressing.

Cheers
Carrie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: DwWin on July 26, 2006, 08:07:05 AM
The following is the opening of a short story I wrote awhile back.

The crow was old and had lived longer than was natural for one of his kind, as had the old man on whose shoulders he rested. Together they observed the line of marching men, making their way swiftly through the valley below. The sheer volume of the men was creating a new road way through the swaying grasses but that was not his main concern.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 26, 2006, 12:51:17 PM
Wow. Loved it. My only MINOR tweaks would be on the last sentence - make "roadway" one word, change "grasses" to "grass" (I believe "grasses" is only used as a verb, but I could be wrong), and I would add a comma before "but" to add a little emphasis since those last few words are intriguing. (Geez, I should've been an nitpicky English teacher, right?) Again, I think it's great! Love the visuals... I would certainly want to read more. Thanks for sharing!  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 26, 2006, 01:42:35 PM
DwWin,

Loved the imagery.  Want more. 

What would happen if you switched places with the man and the crow...

From:  "The crow was old and had lived longer than was natural for one of his kind, as had the old man on whose shoulders he rested."

To:  The man was old and had lived longer than was natural for one of his kind, as had the old crow who rested on his shoulder.

The only reason I thought of this is that the paragraph ends with the man's thoughts and it seemed to me, it was smoother to start with him.

Loved it though, and it wouldn't keep me from reading more if you didn't switch the two in the opening line.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on July 26, 2006, 09:26:46 PM
The following is the opening of a short story I wrote awhile back.

The crow was old and had lived longer than was natural for one of his kind, as had the old man on whose shoulders he rested. Together they observed the line of marching men, making their way swiftly through the valley below. The sheer volume of the men was creating a new road way through the swaying grasses but that was not his main concern.



I agree with the others DwWin. The fact that the man and the crow had lived longer than was natural, and especially the fact that the old man had a greater concern than the large number of men marching, definitely makes me want to know more.

Faith
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: DwWin on July 27, 2006, 07:47:29 AM
Thanks Kris, Nadine l and Faith,

The changes suggested do improve it and I'm going to have to be more careful with my grammar in the future. Again thanks for taking the time to review the piece.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: allyrose on July 27, 2006, 11:52:21 AM
Here goes.
She was leaving again.  Again.  Her mother arrived at the foster home to tell her she was going home.  Molly had waited for six years for this news, but it didn't feel as sweet as she had once tjhought it would.  Things had changed over the years. Home was not what it used to be.  Home would be across the ocean in another country called Canada.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: S-wo on July 27, 2006, 01:02:16 PM
Here goes.
She was leaving again.  Again.  Her mother arrived at the foster home to tell her she was going home.  Molly had waited for six years for this news, but it didn't feel as sweet as she had once tjhought it would.  Things had changed over the years. Home was not what it used to be.  Home would be across the ocean in another country called Canada.

Is this really the first line well if it is, it's just me, usually I would like a take on on how the character looks and the age, but besides that it's an alright start.

Here's mine it's nothing but a few descriptions

During the year 1880 on the planet Trenal, a fight is taking place in an underground night club. Two men are in engaged in battle inside of a box-shaped steel cage. One of the fighters is a 17 year old 5’ 9” blonde Caucasian male. His attire consists of an open black jean jacket, a white T-shirt, black jeans, with matching sneakers and gloves. Besides this normal appearance, the oddity of this man is that he has brown monkey-like tail. His opponent is a 6’5” tan, bald, and slim wearing nothing, but a pair of red and green shorts.
Title: Re: First Liners NEWS-authors of bad writing honoured
Post by: "lorraineofkeli" on July 27, 2006, 01:08:19 PM
Hi guys, I came across this article on a site which I think is relevant to this topic.  Writers won awards for having the worst opening lines to their novels..  so I guess they provide examples of what to avoid. You can read the article here:

http://www.freelanceuk.com/news/1803.shtml
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 27, 2006, 06:00:07 PM
She was leaving again.  Again.  Her mother arrived at the foster home to tell her she was going home.  Molly had waited for six years for this news, but it didn't feel as sweet as she had once tjhought it would.  Things had changed over the years. Home was not what it used to be.  Home would be across the ocean in another country called Canada.

Hi allyrose,

It's great! Nice hook. My only suggestion would be to hold off on mentioning the specific country if your story allows for it. Maybe more like:  "Home would be across the ocean in another country - a country that felt as far away as another galaxy."

Just a thought. Holding off makes me want to know where you're going. Nice opening.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: allyrose on July 27, 2006, 06:09:05 PM
Thanks Kris. Molly lives in Scotland, but that part comes later. This is part of my memoirs written in the third person.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 28, 2006, 01:13:21 AM
lorraineofkeli,

Great link, thanks...I fell off my chair laughing.  Yes, I did get hurt, thanks for asking.  You will hear from my lawyer...just kidding.  That was a great read.  Thanks.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 28, 2006, 06:09:23 AM
Is this really the first line well if it is, it's just me, usually I would like a take on on how the character looks and the age, but besides that it's an alright start.

Here's mine it's nothing but a few descriptions

During the year 1880 on the planet Trenal, a fight is taking place in an underground night club. Two men are in engaged in battle inside of a box-shaped steel cage. One of the fighters is a 17 year old 5’ 9” blonde Caucasian male. His attire consists of an open black jean jacket, a white T-shirt, black jeans, with matching sneakers and gloves. Besides this normal appearance, the oddity of this man is that he has brown monkey-like tail. His opponent is a 6’5” tan, bald, and slim wearing nothing, but a pair of red and green shorts.

I thought Kris' comments on Allyrose's piece were good.  I kind of have to disagree with the concept of placing specific a lot of descriptions of the character in the first paragraph, but that may just be a personal preference.  As a reader, I like those kind of things to come a little more slowly, sprinkled through the rest of the story.  If there is too much information about the character right at first there is little to interest me in the plot.  If the action doesn't pull me in right away and have me asking more questions about that character and what is happening to him, I just won't read any farther. 

As for this one, two things bog it down for me.  1) Present tense is distracting to me unless being used for a script as background for the story.  And 2) This one tells me more of the physical characteristics than I really want to know at first and it seems to me (again, just my opionion) you have a perfect hook in the action of the fight.  I really feel that you need to break up some of this info into other paragraphs to bring the action to the forefront.  I don't think you need to tell a year or location right away.  That can be worked in later.  Use enough of the character details to give an quick understanding of your characters, but work it around the action. 

Not knowing if you have specifics on the style of fighting or where you are going with the scene it is hard to make suggestions, but perhaps something like this:

With a quick right to the jaw, the younger man sent the taller, more experienced fighter reeling into the cold metal wall of the cage-like ring.  The fighter's head hit first, the sharp metal bars slashing viciously into his bald scalp sending a spray of blood in all directions, but he bounced off the wall as if he had not felt a thing.  A roar from the crowd around them cut through the smoky air of the underground night club, vibrating the cage and thundering in the ears of the fighters. 

Momentarily facing the young upstart who threatened his title, the older fighter let his rage build.  Bare chest heaving from exhertion, blood and sweat trickled down his tall sinewy frame, staining his red and green fight shorts and dripping onto the mat.  His eyes narrowed on his opponent and his tail swished in agitation, reminding the youth of some bizarre bald, monkey-like beast in a star-circus he'd seen as a kid.  The sight almost made the younger man laugh -- until he caught the look in his opponent's yellow eyes and knew he was in trouble.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: DwWin on July 28, 2006, 06:19:35 AM
This is the start of a prolouge to historic novel I am trying to write (at a snails pace), would it capture your interest?

William the Aethling had first fought alongside his father when he was seventeen years old and now, after yet another successful campaign against the king of France, it was time to go home. That morning his father, king Henry, had been offered "The White ship" to use for his return to England but the kings travel arrangements were already made and his goods and belongings onboard another ship. So, William now stood looking at the galley, "The White Ship", with around a hundred and forty of his knights and a hundred and sixty others, knowing that his father trusted him to bring them home.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Elliottc26 on July 28, 2006, 09:16:57 AM
Hello, here is my contribution:


'In prison, there's never much in the way of escapism, and the monotony of incarceration can drown the strongest of swimmers.  But I wasn't going to let it get to me even though through the windows, I could see the dark clouds rolling in from the horizon'.

Thanks,

Chris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on July 28, 2006, 12:38:40 PM
DwWin

Historical fiction isn't my area, but consider the following changes...I had to ad lib in places where I had information gaps.

William the Aethling had first fought alongside his father, King Henry, at seventeen. Now he watched his King prepare to return home to England after another successful campaign against the King of France.  It was early morning. King Henry had been offered The White Ship for his return to England, but the king's goods and bravest knights were already onboard (name of ship).  William was charged with the duty to accompany The White Ship with a hundred and forty of the lesser knights and a hundred and sixty other warriors, pages and slaves. He stood staring at his King, feeling the overwhelming responsibility of knowing his father trusted him to bring them home.

Somehow, since you mentioned he was seventeen, it feels like it needs how many years had passed since then.  My rewrite isn't quite right, but maybe you can find something useful there.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 28, 2006, 01:37:22 PM
'In prison, there's never much in the way of escapism, and the monotony of incarceration can drown the strongest of swimmers.  But I wasn't going to let it get to me even though through the windows, I could see the dark clouds rolling in from the horizon'.

Hi Chris,

I think it's got the elements of a nice hook... Maybe consider (obviously, having no idea where it's going):

The monotony of incarceration can drown even the strongest of swimmers.  But tonight, as I peered through the prison windows, watching the dark clouds rolling in from the horizon, I couldn't help but smile. For soon, I hoped, the secret that had kept me afloat would soon be pulling me to shore.

Just a thought...
Kris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 28, 2006, 02:49:29 PM
William the Aethling had first fought alongside his father when he was seventeen years old and now, after yet another successful campaign against the king of France, it was time to go home. That morning his father, king Henry, had been offered "The White ship" to use for his return to England but the kings travel arrangements were already made and his goods and belongings onboard another ship. So, William now stood looking at the galley, "The White Ship", with around a hundred and forty of his knights and a hundred and sixty others, knowing that his father trusted him to bring them home.

DwWin,

I think Nadine offered some really good input. Here's another take (obviously, took some liberties, completely guessing):

At last, it was time to go home. William the Aethling had first fought alongside his father, King Henry, when he was seventeen, a mere boy striving to be a man. Only (number of) years had passed since he first charged the battlefield, first spilt another soldier's blood, but somehow it felt like an eternity ago. And now, here he was, on the victor's side of yet another successful campaign against the King of France, feeling the weariness of a man who had witnessed a lifetime of murder. Beneath his royal helmet, William questioned the purpose of it all, the seemingly senseless crusade of death. Yet when he met the gaze of his father, boarding the England-bound ship, he displayed only unconditional allegiance.

King Henry, with his belongings already placed on another vessel, had charged his son with the duty of leading The White Ship home. William naturally accepted without hesitation. He was, after all, the successor to the throne. But still, he felt the weight of his task - the responsibility of bringing the one hundred and forty knights, as well as one hundred and sixty other passengers, back safely to the English shore. Standing on the galley, he stared into the relfection of sun's early rays dancing on the ocean's surface, as if inviting him to set sail. How he yearned to make a pact - a binding pact with Titan, the only force he knew could ensure their survival against the dangers that lay ahead.


I hope, just like Nadine, that you can find something useful in there.
Kris  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Elliottc26 on July 28, 2006, 03:10:16 PM
Hi Chris,

I think it's got the elements of a nice hook... Maybe consider (obviously, having no idea where it's going):

The monotony of incarceration can drown even the strongest of swimmers. But tonight, as I peered through the prison windows, watching the dark clouds rolling in from the horizon, I couldn't help but smile. For soon, I hoped, the secret that had kept me afloat would soon be pulling me to shore.

Just a thought...
Kris

Thanks Kris for your comments and re-write of my beginning prose.  However, I feel it sounds a bit passive.  Perhaps, then:

The monotony of incarceration can drown the strongest of swimmers; but as the sun soaked the earth, I peered through the prison building's windows and I couldn't help but smile. 

The dark clouds were rolling in from the horizon.  I knew soon it would be time for the thunder.

Interesting?

Regards,

Chris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 28, 2006, 03:15:02 PM
Great! Love it!  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: wileygrrl on July 28, 2006, 09:04:11 PM

Here is my first two paragraphs. Interestingly enough, i had to editt to get it down to 75 words which I think improved it.

I am curious to see the rreviews.

Out Of Habit

     Life was good for me. Life was exciting.  My secret was: I had luck. No matter how bad something was  I had managed to turn it around. For me, life was a state of mind and my mind was positive, strong and determined.
     I was in control; but, as luck would have it, I was thirty-eight and I was alone, the one glitch I hadn’t been able to control.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: wileygrrl on July 28, 2006, 09:36:35 PM
I am ready to cut my wrists. I have written this review three times and managed to loose it.  I am legally blind and can't figure out how to use the Quote function. Additionally, i don't know how to increase the font size.  Please excuse my errors.  If anyone cares to guide me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, here is my review of the following first liner:

The setting sun streamed through a thin canopy of colored leaves, giving the illusion of warmth.  Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.  Surely life couldn’t get any better than this.

The prose are nice but it didn't grab me aas a reader. I read in "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein, a noted editor, that new writers think they must use adjectives to paint a picture. The problem is that a reader gets lost in all the verbage and may not see the point.  In the above paragraph, i found, "Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breat" a stronger opening.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying: "if you catch an adjective, kill it."  Sol Stein says to liposuctionthe adjectives and adverbs.  Use them sparingly. I have tried it and am amazed how right they are. 

Please understand that i know this is MY OPINION ONLY.  I am not published. I am a wannabe that, like all of you, beleives i can make it.

Oh, by the way, am i supposed to make my review short and succinct. I can if that is the protocal here.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: wileygrrl on July 28, 2006, 09:50:16 PM

Here is my review:

Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.

I totally agree with a previous reviewer that suggested the past tense. I also suggest you change up your sentences a bit: Consider

Her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates at her bedside, JenniferJones sat on her bed with a gallon of vodka.  Was it enough to finally do the job?  . .

I think your story sounds very interesting, it just needs to have the punch that will grab the reader.

Hope this helped. I feel . . . kind of strange criticizing another's work when i have never been published.

Jennifer McDonald

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: wileygrrl on July 28, 2006, 09:55:17 PM
Damn, i think i reviewed your posting before. I must say that i think your first paragraph is super strong.  I love it. I want to read more.  If your book is as strong as the first paragraph, i think you will be published, if you aren't already.

I am striving to have my work flow as yours does.  Your style is similar to what i strive for but i believe i told you that before.  As for suggestions to improve it, i bow to you.  I have none.

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: DwWin on July 29, 2006, 07:38:25 AM
Thanks Nadine L and Kris you've made me look at it from a new angle, back to the desk!!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 29, 2006, 02:41:48 PM
Quote
Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C

Where's the rest of the book, Cathy? I love this! Feel it! My body is tangled in the sheets, my mind caught in the dream's web.

If I read this on the first page of a book, I'd buy it, head to the nearest coffee shop, and plunck down into a cushy club chair in a corner -- hot mocha in one hand, your book in the other. Keep writing, please!

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 29, 2006, 03:14:09 PM
Quote
chillies


What could have drove Frank Webster over the edge? A mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many. Yet here, in the garage of his home, he stands over the lifeless body of his wife Sheila, with bloodied knife still in his hand.  Motionless, he contemplates their years of married life and the events that led up to this very second whilst her blood stains the newly re-laid grey cement flooring.

The second sentence grabs me more than the first. It sets up the reader for the conflicting parts of this character. What could cause a mild-mannered, respectable mainstream guy to kill his wife? Obviously, from what you've written, the story will focus on his figuring that all out.

Would you consider starting more like this?

Frank Webster was a mild-mannered person, content with his work and respected by many. Yet here he stood, stock-still, staring at the lifeless form of his wife Sheila lying in her own blood on the hard grey floor of their garage. Dazed, he glanced at the knife in his hand and wondered, What went wrong? Confusing images ran through his mind, and he watched their years of married life, the events that had led to this --- this what? Hatred? Is that what he felt? How long had he hated Sheila? What had pushed him over the edge?

Your word picture is a strong one, one that hooks me. I love thrillers. Keep writing!
Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 29, 2006, 03:47:16 PM
Quote
Quote from: Gltagaman on July 18, 2006, 07:30:30 PM
An extract from my revised first chapter:

A FARANDOLE FOR THREE

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.

Comments

Geoff

Hi Geoff,

I just read your submission and a few of the critiques, and I'd like to offer another rewording of your wonderful prose. I don't have a problem with seeing a setting before the action starts, so I was taken -- especially with the dappled pattern formed by light through the oak. Beautiful! I reworded it this way:

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches rose and dipped like a canopy across the lane. A dappled pattern of lights and shadows played on the bonnet of my red Peugeot, taking me back fifty years, when those same trees -- smaller then -- allowed the moonbeams to play those same patterns on the bonnet of a grey Kubelwagen.

My former comrade, Luther Pawnov rode beside me now.
(Like then? Unlike then?)

A wonderful beginning, I think. Sounds like a story to follow, one I'd like to read. Hope you are writing it.

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 29, 2006, 03:52:33 PM
Quote
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2006, 03:28:52 PM »   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OK, here's mine.  Be firm but kind.


It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day?

But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.



Cheri


Cheri, I'm hooked! I related to the first paragraph and kept reading -- it is wonderfully written! But the second one grabbed my attention right now! Hope you're writing this story. It will be another "escape to the coffee shop and read" book.

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 29, 2006, 04:49:36 PM

Cheri, I'm hooked! I related to the first paragraph and kept reading -- it is wonderfully written! But the second one grabbed my attention right now! Hope you're writing this story. It will be another "escape to the coffee shop and read" book.

Barb

Thanks, Barb.  I am working on it right now.  Ostensibly this belongs in the prologue of a much longer work, but I am working on a re-write to use the prologue as a short story submission.  I'll post it for review when I have it semi-ready for commentary.

Thanks again for the comment.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 29, 2006, 04:53:32 PM
Quote
Thanks, Barb.  I am working on it right now.  Ostensibly this belongs in the prologue of a much longer work, but I am working on a re-write to use the prologue as a short story submission.  I'll post it for review when I have it semi-ready for commentary.

Thanks again for the comment.

Cheri

You're welcome. I'll look forward to the short story submission!

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Kris on July 30, 2006, 03:49:43 AM
Cheri,

It was great seeing your opening posted by Barb. Just reminded me how much I enjoyed your hook! Can't wait to read the entire piece once you complete the short story version. Best of luck!!

Kris  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: ChipTee on July 30, 2006, 08:26:18 AM
Only just seen this long running thread.

This is the opening of my wip novel REQUIEM FOR PRIVATE HUGHES

A tropical downpour was certain by mid afternoon. In the morning heat he’d forced himself to get on with routine; no one else wanted to do anything constructive in the sticky air, they wanted to lie about and wait. Sweat ran off them all, even when they lay on their cots doing nothing. Archie sat looking along the stifling barrack tent, tinkering with his sketch, wishing it wasn’t a rest day.

Chip
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 30, 2006, 07:07:13 PM
Only just seen this long running thread.

This is the opening of my wip novel REQUIEM FOR PRIVATE HUGHES

A tropical downpour was certain by mid afternoon. In the morning heat he’d forced himself to get on with routine; no one else wanted to do anything constructive in the sticky air, they wanted to lie about and wait. Sweat ran off them all, even when they lay on their cots doing nothing. Archie sat looking along the stifling barrack tent, tinkering with his sketch, wishing it wasn’t a rest day.

Chip

Chip, I really liked this.  Reminded me of my own military days as it really captured the feeling you get on those few days when the government doesn't have every moment crammed with stuff to keep you busy.  It really put me in the moment and I really liked the construction of the prose.

Cheri
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: cheriker on July 30, 2006, 07:10:07 PM
Cheri,

It was great seeing your opening posted by Barb. Just reminded me how much I enjoyed your hook! Can't wait to read the entire piece once you complete the short story version. Best of luck!!

Kris  :)

Thanks, Kris.  I'll try to get it up as soon as I can.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on July 31, 2006, 02:54:34 AM
First Lineers:Aella
   
    I hadn't expected the goodbyes to be so hard. After all, I'd been waiting for this departure for years.

    Mother followed  me around the house crying. "You'll be home by Christmas, you won't like it up there with all those Yankees."

    I never could look my mother straight in the eye after what had happened between us. So, I looked carefully over her shoulder and said coldly, "I want this, Mother. I'll love it."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 31, 2006, 08:28:47 AM
Quote
First Lineers:Aella
   
    I hadn't expected the goodbyes to be so hard. After all, I'd been waiting for this departure for years.

    Mother followed  me around the house crying. "You'll be home by Christmas, you won't like it up there with all those Yankees."

    I never could look my mother straight in the eye after what had happened between us. So, I looked carefully over her shoulder and said coldly, "I want this, Mother. I'll love it."


Hi Aella,

Your first lines certainly catch my attention, and they are well-written. I'm wondering if her cold expression to her mother is in conflict with the first line, "goodbyes to be so hard" or if it is a cover for her emotions, and it really is hard for her to say goodbye. I'm hoping for the latter, but I'll just have to wait for the rest of the story. I look forward to it.

Barb

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 31, 2006, 11:42:41 AM
 Most of what I have been reading on this site is fiction. Since I write non-fiction, am I in the wrong circle of writers? I'm hoping not, because I'm having fun here....

This is the beginning of a personal essay.

Every life has a story to tell. Some can be told in words, some in music. And some must be captured in picture because words cannot reach the depths and reveal them as a painting can.

That’s what I do. I paint the stories.
   
I haven’t always, however.

As a young mom, I found pieces of the day when I could...

I stopped here for the word count. Please advise on the fiction/non-fiction issue. Thanks.

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on July 31, 2006, 12:29:13 PM
Barb,
I may be wrong, but I think a Personal Essay is by its nature non-fiction. You are writing your thoughts. Fiction usually fits in a form with pretty specific rules. Like the rules for short story or novel. The short story much, much more difficult to do, I think, cause it's like a poem. Each sentence, word must work. In a novel there is more room for sway like a giant bridge has that sway capacity built into it.
  Seems to me the persons who come to this site write a lot of different things and anyone is welcome.
  For what it's worth. In my life I have probably written hundreds of personal essays.
  I think I did this cause I needed to write and didn't really (I thought I did) know how to write short story or novel or think I could competently enough to market.
  But there are few markets for such essays. I sold two when I lived in Boston, ages ago, when their Sunday magazine had a section called "IN Personal Terms" and was open for this. I think the periodical out of N>C>, THE SUN, also does some personal essays.
  I've begun thinking that writing without putting it out, is probably bad for a person, unless sthey have a really clear reason for why they are chosing to write and not attempt to publish in some form.
  I think (most people) write because they have to and because they want to be read. So, to write and not put out, as, I said, I did for years, builds up a feeling of "what I'm doing is not the real thing."
    Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on July 31, 2006, 12:54:58 PM
Thanks Aella. I posted this beginning of my essay as a First-Liner, hoping to get some response to it.

I know essays are non-fiction, and they can be submitted in many places -- thanks for the suggestion of looking at newspaper special sections though. I hadn't thought about that. But none of that matters if no one likes what I write. My posting "I Dance Alone" is also non-fiction.

I'm hoping there are other personal essay writers out there.

Thanks for taking the time to write to me.

Barb

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Post by: Kris on July 31, 2006, 02:13:43 PM
First Lineers:Aella
   
    I hadn't expected the goodbyes to be so hard. After all, I'd been waiting for this departure for years.

    Mother followed  me around the house crying. "You'll be home by Christmas, you won't like it up there with all those Yankees."

    I never could look my mother straight in the eye after what had happened between us. So, I looked carefully over her shoulder and said coldly, "I want this, Mother. I'll love it."

Aella,

I completely agree with Barb. I love your opening, pulled me right in. The same concern hit me, however, about what seems to be conflicting statements - the goodbyes being hard vs. the cold remark to the mother. Otherwise, enjoyed it!

Kris
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Post by: Kris on July 31, 2006, 02:15:09 PM
Every life has a story to tell. Some can be told in words, some in music. And some must be captured in picture because words cannot reach the depths and reveal them as a painting can.

That’s what I do. I paint the stories.
   
I haven’t always, however.

As a young mom, I found pieces of the day when I could...

Hi Barb,

I love the opening. I would certainly keep reading....

Kris  :)
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Post by: Sir Nigel on August 01, 2006, 09:01:51 AM
Hows about this for an opening line -

Anyone with a less refined air of unabashed insouciance would not have been able to so easily slip through the security cordon, charm their way past the armed guards, breeze through the marbled reception area and blithely enter the inner sanctum of the UN Security Council and there successfully negotiate an end to all conflict in the Middle East, but that was the sort of man Nigel Simpkins was.

Sadly that's all there is. But phew eh? Only another 150,000 words to go.


Sir Nigel
 :P
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Post by: Amie on August 01, 2006, 09:12:43 AM
Anyone with a less refined air of unabashed insouciance would not have been able to so easily slip so easily through the security cordon, charm their way past the armed guards, breeze through the marbled reception area, and blithely enter the inner sanctum of the UN Security Council and there successfully negotiate an end to all conflict in the Middle East, but that was the sort of man Nigel Simpkins was.

I get that it's humour ;)

Little nitpick -- see teeny edits above
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Gltagaman on August 07, 2006, 09:12:02 AM
Hi Barbe

Many thanks for your suggestion of the opening of Farandole for three. If I take this up it will allow me to bring in the former comrade Luther more readily.

I'll send you an update soon. I am currently revising all twentythree chapters ofhe novel.

Thanks

Geoff
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Post by: kilter on August 07, 2006, 10:41:36 AM
Mara's Flame by Kilter

You can call a dragon anything you like, but it will still be a dragon. They are big, they breathe fire and they can eat an awful lot.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Hino Naoto on August 07, 2006, 04:55:48 PM
As if in a daze, Jessica started to cross the street. A car swerved to avoid hitting her, and the man inside yelled, where the hell is you brain lady?!

That was a fair enough question she thought. Her brain? Her brain had been happily occupied thinking back to last weeks sucsess. She rememberd the glow she felt as her boss told her she was being promoted.

--------------
ok not the best, but its the first thing ive really ever written.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 07, 2006, 05:48:13 PM
Hino,

First ever?  Really? Pretty good for a first effort.  You have punctuation issues, but for the next 60 days, I am the reigning monarch of punctuation issues. (Don't ask?)

The one thing I would suggest is to be less hesitant.  Rather than, "As if in a daze" just go for it and say she is in a daze.  It is less of a passive voice.

I like your idea of scene, how about this?

Jessica wandered into the street in a daze. Tires screeched, a horn honked, and the man in the car that had swerved to avoid hitting her yelled, "Where the hell is your brain, lady?"

That is still rough, since I don't write in third person voice.  Maybe someone else will pick up the ball and give you a better example.

Keep going, you're off to a good start. Editing is a long way down the road.  Enjoy creating the story.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 07, 2006, 09:32:14 PM
Kilter,
Like your first lines. I would read on.
In first you refer to dragon in singular "it." Then in second go to plural of "they." For what that weighty insight is worth.

I'm curious. Is this a children's story or or or. It could be so many things. I like the line.
aella
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Post by: kilter on August 07, 2006, 09:55:57 PM
Aella- you got it. Children's story! Glad you like it. Here's the entire first paragraph- maybe that will help, as it kinda needs to be read in its entirety to make sense, I think.

You can call a dragon anything you like, but it will still be a dragon. They are big, they breathe fire and they can eat an awful lot. They are also extremely lazy, and get very annoyed if they have to go out for a meal. Fortunately, being crafty as well as lazy, dragons long ago invented an excellent way of getting free home delivery. They simply stuff their caves with treasure, and when humans come to steal it… they eat them.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Tamara on August 08, 2006, 04:32:16 AM
You can call a dragon anything you like, but it will still be a dragon. They are big, they breathe fire and they can eat an awful lot. They are also extremely lazy, and get very annoyed if they have to go out for a meal. Fortunately, being crafty as well as lazy, dragons long ago invented an excellent way of getting free home delivery. They simply stuff their caves with treasure, and when humans come to steal it… they eat them.


Kilter,
I like this.    I liked the first sentence before you added to it, this part just made it more interesting.

tamara
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Main on August 08, 2006, 05:54:55 AM




     He could not believe his good fortune.  He knew the instant that he woke up this morning that it was going to be his lucky day, a very good day indeed.  She entered the tanning salon just as he was leaving and didn't notice him.




     

This didn't grab me, but only on a superficial level as it's not the style I prefer.  For me it was too formal, so I'm probably the wrong person to comment (and I'd prefer past tense).

I'd prefer:

"He couldn't believe his good fortune; he knew the instant he woke up that morning it was going to be his lucky day, a very good day indeed.  She entered the tanning salon just as he was leaving and didn't notice him."

It does, of course leave me wondering why (he) had such good fortune and if and why (she) should have noticed (him), but it also leaves me wondering why you left out their names?

Lastly, there seems to be an awfully large jump between the first and second sentences, almost as if they are the beginnings of different chapters (unless he woke up in the tanning salon, which seems a little odd?).
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Main on August 08, 2006, 06:00:01 AM
OK - I have two to bore you with...

Firstly:

"Midnight.
Illuminated by the patches of neon light falling between the shadows of the trees is a lost soul.  A soul old enough to know better, but still too young to comprehend its fate.  Holding onto the soul by a thread is the ripped and roasted psyche of a child."

That was the beginning of my prologue, but the first chapter begins:

"I tried to move, but failed dismally.  My body was numb and unresponsive; I’d either had a heavy night out or I’d received a solid beating from someone, but it was too early in the day to recall.  Almost certainly too early anyway."

The wording of the final line of the opening of the first chapter (as posted here) just isn't working for me.  Grrr.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 08, 2006, 09:06:51 AM
Kilter,
  Yes, I do like it. Too bad we can't post more. Are we still able to do 500. I love children's stories and just found out, duh, the publisher finds artist, you don't have it. But the idea of trying to market one seems so hard. It's a whole different world. I buy them formyself for fun. Just got Walter the Rat (a literarry mouse), a Book about grandmothers and goatsand ordered the thirties Kate Seredy The Good Master a classic chilldren's story I read and reread as a kid.
  I've started giving some, the really wonderfully illustrated ones or ones with a sub-adult message to friends for holidays.
Good luck with dragon world. I won't be going into any caves for sure. Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on August 08, 2006, 09:18:43 AM
If you want to post more then please do so in the Review My Work Board, you can post 500 words there.   The idea of this thread is to see if the first lines would make a publisher want to sit up and read more with a view to taking on his author client.

All the best

Lin
Moderator
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: kilter on August 08, 2006, 09:25:20 AM
Come into my cave said the dragon to the... Aella (and Tamara's more than welcome.) :-[ ::)
O.K I've posted this already on the review section, but here's the first paragraph of my second book (nowhere near finished.).

Johnny McDolby lived a boring life. Nothing exciting happened, nothing scary, or that is how it felt. Imagine walking about in a bubble and yawning every moment of the day.

I'll post some more of the dragony thingy on the review section.
SeeYa!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Tamara on August 08, 2006, 06:12:19 PM
You know, that will teach me to post things at 5 in the morning while I am at work.  I just went back and re read what I had posted and I left out a complete sentence..I am such a goof.  I thought dispatchers were supposed to be good at multitasking?!  Apparantly I am not.  I will go back and re post this later when I grab my mss.  Wow, it does sound like he slept at the tanning salon.  funny?  And to think that I read the posting before I hit the "post" button.

Kilter, I think that if I go into the cave, the dragon would eat me and spit out my bones.  (I will look for more of the dragon thingy in the review section!)

t.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Main on August 08, 2006, 07:33:47 PM
Looking forward to seeing your re-post Tamara.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Faith on August 08, 2006, 08:54:34 PM
Main,

OK - I have two to bore you with...

Firstly:

"Midnight.
Illuminated by the patches of neon light falling between the shadows of the trees is a lost soul. A soul old enough to know better, but still too young to comprehend its fate. Holding onto the soul by a thread is the ripped and roasted psyche of a child."

That was the beginning of my prologue, but the first chapter begins:

"I tried to move, but failed dismally. My body was numb and unresponsive; I’d either had a heavy night out or I’d received a solid beating from someone, but it was too early in the day to recall. Almost certainly too early anyway."

The wording of the final line of the opening of the first chapter (as posted here) just isn't working for me. Grrr.

I am intrigued, and I would definitely want to read more. However the final line doesn't work for me either. Not sure what you want to say, but it might sound better if you leave out the word "anyway" and simply say: "Almost certainly too early," or perhaps "Much too early." -- Just a suggestion.

Faith
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Billy Tea on August 08, 2006, 09:06:39 PM
It was a dark and stormy night. Apartt from the 2 Ronnies, have always wondered why that was called the worst opening line in history.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Billy Tea on August 08, 2006, 09:14:26 PM
All I could hear was the crack and rumble of scrubber cattle galloping away.They had spotted us as they were grazing beside the srcub just after daylight. Now they were in full flight towards the thickest patches to lie and hide.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Hino Naoto on August 09, 2006, 11:41:58 PM
Thanks Nadine!
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Post by: aellaholcomb on August 10, 2006, 01:17:14 AM
Yep,
I would read on. Aella
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Post by: Cathy C on August 16, 2006, 09:18:45 PM
This has been written and re-written so many times that I'm almost sick of it. :-\

Any comments at this point would be welcome  - even if they are only to say it should be binned.

Please, be as honest as you can. :-*


On what was to be the last night of her life Lucy Hamilton slept only fitfully.

Sometime around dawn, cheerfully hovering over the land of nod, her thumb sleepily followed the well-worn path to her mouth. For a few blissful moments, she managed to forget she was a big girl of six, sucking contently. But a sudden noise forced the digit from her mouth, expelling it with a reluctant and very wet plop!
Nervously, she looked round for what had wakened her.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 16, 2006, 11:52:44 PM
Cathy,
 
Isn't is madding when you can't get a piece to go where you want? It happens to me more times than I can count.

How about making it a little less hesitant? Also, I took a few liberties that may not fit the story line...you'll have to fix them. I think it is less stilted without her last name in this first line, you can tell it some other time.

At first I wondered about telling she would die, but then finding out she was six was more powerful -- or dreadful. So, I left it.

All the pieces are here...I can see where you are going...but it was a rascal to work with.  It's still rough, but maybe this helps some. Yes, I do want to know what she heard.
 
 
Lucy slept fitfully, as if she knew it was the last night of her life. Restless, her thumb sleepily followed the well-worn path to her mouth. She forgot she was a big girl of six and sucked contentedly. As she begin to dose to sleep, a sudden noise forced the digit from her mouth. She expelled it with a reluctant and wet plop!

Fearfully, she peered through the near dawn light for what wakened her.  

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 16, 2006, 11:55:14 PM
Sorry Cathy, I still made it more telling than showing...but, best I can do at the moment. Maybe someone else can help.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 17, 2006, 12:29:58 AM
Cathy,
         The paragraph isn't as it should be . You are right. Prehaps start by giving yourself credit for the sensibility to know it's not right.
To me, why not.
One, the first sentence , to me???, means she will die and then we have the word "cheerfull" and Nod" and i'm like, "WHAT." Is this terror or what.????? You confuse me and I'm "irritated." (as the reader/not me the person. LOL.
       I  feel you're giving the reader double messages. Maybe it would help, if you got real simplistic, and emailed to us, what you're saying in the way you would tell an elementary class. Like. This little girl is going to die, but she's sleeping peacefully, and then somthing. am unexplained noise, makes her wake, sit up, and sit, wide eyed, still sucking her thunb.
  The trouble for me If I really don't know what you are aiming at. Is this terror. Will she literally be murdered?
Maybe in this case getting the content clear would pave the way for you to then write it in a way that felt smooth and good. Or is this about something far less traumatizing. Like>>>>>>>>>>>>>>? Help, tell us.
   Like, Nadine, I empathize. I'm sending in something tomorrow, (course), I've worked and worked on, and it's not right. It's not BAD BAD, but it's not right. Makes me want to pull my hair right as I read another Anita Shreve whose style I lust after.
   I applaude your courage in putting it out for help, even though flawed. It's hard to do that. I don't think I ever have. Only put things out I thought were pretty ok. So you deserve A+ for guts which is the beginning of getting it done.
     Is my suggestion off the wall.
    I am finding in my book/novel about women's nervous breakdown, that often my words do not say that I think they do. And I have to force myself to say, bluntly what I mean. Like, she was hidiously lonley and there was no one to talk to. OK, the word "hidiously" is overkill. But, that is the truth and better than something like, "She had trouble sleeping and missed John."
   You know.
            Good luck. Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 17, 2006, 12:47:12 AM
Aella, good point, it would help if we noted the genre or if nonfiction whether it was a biography or whatever.

Cathy,

Maybe some of the sentences are too complex for talking about a six year old...I know dialogue has to be age appropriate, never thought about it for the narrative and never heard that ever taught...might not have been paying attention that day...

Nevertheless, I don't think you want to make it too simple or too different from the way the rest of it is written or it will really stand out as not your voice.

Have you taken a piece of paper and without looking at this, tried to rewrite the scene and see what you get?

Still scratching my head on this one...what if you expanded the scene...maybe it moves through too quickly from beginning to end...

You can't say I'm not trying to help, but you can say I am no help!   8)

Nadine
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Post by: aellaholcomb on August 17, 2006, 02:37:41 AM
 C athy,
How are you doing with paragraph? I hope some movement.
nite. Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on August 17, 2006, 12:46:19 PM
Quote
On what was to be the last night of her life Lucy Hamilton slept only fitfully.

Sometime around dawn, cheerfully hovering over the land of nod, her thumb sleepily followed the well-worn path to her mouth. For a few blissful moments, she managed to forget she was a big girl of six, sucking contently. But a sudden noise forced the digit from her mouth, expelling it with a reluctant and very wet plop!
Nervously, she looked round for what had wakened her.

Hi Cathy C. I'm rewording your opening, since you invited us to do so. Not knowing where the story is going, I improvised in the second and third paragraphs to show Lucy's state of nerves beginning to come unraveled. I think her state of mind and what she does are more interesting to read than having you tell me she was nervous. Also, I wonder what the noise sounded like to Lucy in half-awake stage? Even the simplest sounds can seem magnified in the morning's quiet. I didn't assume it, but if you draw it out, I think you'll have a stronger second paragraph.

Lucy Hamilton slept fitfully, hovering between the land of nod and the incomprehensible knowledge that this was to be the last night of her young life. A concept far too big for a six year old. Sometime around dawn her thumb followed a familiar path to her mouth -- a habit she thought she had broken -- offering a few moments of contented sucking before she came fully awake.

A sudden noise (boom? screech? scraping? footsteps?) erupted. Nearby.  Lucy's thumb fell from her mouth with a wet plop as she tumbled out of bed to investigate. Had it come from her mom's room? It had sounded close enough. Was her mom okay?  Maybe she shouldn't open her door. What if...?

"Mom!" she screamed through the door.

I'd like to know more about this little girl. Why does she think her life is ending? Or is it just changing? A good beginning... makes me curious!

Barb
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Barbe on August 17, 2006, 12:51:49 PM
Cathy, I have to take it all back! I just reread your first line, and I assumed (dangerous, that) little Lucy knew of her impending death. That's not what you wrote. So just scratch my post... sorry. I'd like to work on it a little more but am out of time right now. In the meantime maybe you can give us a few clues about what has gone before this blurb. I still think there's a story there!

Barb
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Post by: Lilguido on August 18, 2006, 12:11:08 AM
Firstly, wow, what a great idea this folder was.

Secondly, please be gentle..lol.. I'm more of a poetry guy but I do have a novel I work on. Medieval fantasy. Here goes.


Short blasts of labored breath steamed from the ebony stallion's nostrils and collided against the cold winter night air. Its rider, clad in black leathers and hooded greatcloak, spurred his mount sharply, causing it to rear as they began a reckless decent down the treacherous mountainside.

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Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 12:22:06 AM
Cathy
    I guess your first liner was more provocative to me than I thought because I have looked and hoped to see some response from you about what the death is/will be/. REally caught up in what it is about.
     It's just so very atypical first liner. A child facing death. Heavy unless we are all assuming wrong things.
Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 18, 2006, 12:41:28 AM
Aella is right, Cathy...we're hooked...it worked.

Liguido, yes, this is a great folder.  I am amazed at some of the wonderful ideas to start posts...I could stay here all day...and never get any work done.

Thanks for listing the genre.  I think you should say you are a poet/fiction writer.

At first I thought the second sentence was longish. Then I decided it fit feeling heavy, in that I think of the fabrics & building materials of that period as heavy, which is how some of the word choices felt. It feels thick on my tongue to read it, again feels like a thick forest or undergrowth. I have never read a medieval fantasy (seen a few movies set medieval).

Well, that made little sense. But, the piece felt right to me. It is very visual, which I liked.

Nadine
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Post by: Billy Tea on August 18, 2006, 01:32:56 AM
I like it as it is. Only thing bothers me is that, the noise is sudden where the reluctant withdrawal of her thumb is a conscious decision. So there is a conflict of a nervous reaction and involuntary withdrawal or the noise is not loud enough to frighten her but enough to stimulate her curiosity. Either way works but not together. So perhaps a very short sentence to describe her reaction to the noise , followed by her physical reaction. It frightened her, or it made her curious. She withdrew her finger............ Short sentences make big impacts in such a great start.
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Post by: Cathy C on August 18, 2006, 09:26:48 AM
Hi Nadine L, Aella, Barbie and Billy Tea.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions. :-*

Guess There's nothing for it but to go back and re-write the whole first para (AGAIN!!)  ;D

Quote
Cathy
    I guess your first liner was more provocative to me than I thought because I have looked and hoped to see some response from you about what the death is/will be/. REally caught up in what it is about.
     It's just so very atypical first liner. A child facing death. Heavy unless we are all assuming wrong things.
Aella

If you would like Aella, I could PM you a little bit more of it?

Once again, thanks guys.

CATHY C
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Post by: writing is hard on August 18, 2006, 10:04:06 AM
Hi all, here's my opener:

The timing of the raid could hardly have been improved.  A thick, blue overcast was puffing overhead with the coming of sundown, spreading gracelessly across the sky; and children, at last check, were in public abundance.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Lin on August 18, 2006, 10:23:59 AM
Hi there,

I felt the opening sentence was good and then suddenly it became too descriptiive and I felt I needed some more action!! 

The timing of the raid could hardly have been improved with the coming of sundown. Children were in abundance.........................then more action then describe the scenery perhaps briefly.

I know this cuts down your first line a lot, but I needed to know more about the raid I think.

Lin
Moderator

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 10:34:28 AM
Cathy, Yes, I would like more . Why don't you post 500 in the POST PLACE.

Re raid: I liked the beginning sentence a lot - was prepared for fear, intensity. The children part broke that. I didn't know if it was supposed to be even more "sinister-" doom is coming but the children are out. I guess, in short, I liked the sound of the words, but the second sentence lost meaning for me and I floundered. Aella
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Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 10:40:49 AM
Old Fantasy. I would write a slick/intellectual/jaded New Yorker type story that was about a writer who could do nothing but write great lines.
   Over and over she put down these riveting first lines, and then, plop, nada. I never could figure out how to end it. Perhaps because she was a first line writer and could not come to end.
   Odd, after all this writing here, I suddenly remember that. At the time I thought it a simply splendid idea. Then decided it would lack
enough plot to keep anyone interested.Unless, I made it short short. Aella Maybe a penchant for first lines is a minor form of poetry making. I find first lines pop into my head at an alarming rate. The vast majority I nod to and keep on my way. Sometimes write one down. But generally I consider them some aspect of the creative me blowing off steam and it's just interesting in the way a rainbow or colorful street slick in the rain is interesting.
          Aella
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Post by: Elodie-Caroline on August 18, 2006, 12:50:21 PM
This is from my first 'novel'

Antoine De Rochefort, the Detective chief inspector of the Paris Police force, came strolling out of the large imposing doors of the Ministèrie de l’interieur building with a sad and wandering glance at the large crowd of reporters and onlookers gathered there. He wouldn‘t be giving them what they desperately wanted to sell their newspapers yet though, the big story, if he ever did, after all, just where would he begin anyway?
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Post by: Nelodra on August 18, 2006, 03:08:17 PM
I think I'll have go at it, too.


Amra sneaked noiselessly through the dark corridors of the imperial palace.  She was almost there. Hopefully she wouldn’t run into the guards now, or all would be lost, and she’d be a hostage to her husband for months to come. She opened the door to the library just wide enough to let her slide through; then closed it again and stood waiting, listening, her heart pounding in her throat. Thankfully, all she heard was silence.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 03:31:05 PM
Elodie,
    Your beginning is exactly the kind of detective I pick up/the ambience of France/etc.
You totally had me until the phrase "desperately wanted to sell their newspapers" I know I'm not doing it verbatum, and then that following sentence, I got jumbled.
  If I were reading in novel on plane, do dah, I'd just skip over it. I don't get it.

We know he's going to announce something. he is rather broodingly disenchanted and jaded about these kind of press conferences. Ha. I love him. But then his interior thought about what could/will happen next,I don't get at all.
I love the description.

 I would read on, hoping your character clarified what his problem was.
           I think this is good. Why don't you post more. Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 18, 2006, 04:28:14 PM
Elodie,

Consider if you need either of the "large" (they seemed redundant or superfluous to me -- yeah, I did that on purpose!). I'm not sure about strolling & sad, strolling seems more lighthearted, but I really like the tone of the word.

Otherwise, I think you are on your way with this piece.  IMO.

Nelodra,

Maybe sneaked and noiselessly are the same thing?  "...almost there", maybe find a better word for "there" as "almost free" "almost outside" "almost safe" or any other variation more specific than "there" without giving away too much info...IMO

This is also a good start...I want more.
____________

So far, of the posts on this thread that I've had time to read, I've been hooked.  This is exactly what June did a year ago, she hooked me on an excerpt from her ms by posting it for review, and now I own a signed copy of her book!

All, please let me know when your books are released.  There are some very talented writers on this forum, and I WILL buy your books...'cuz, I'm dying to know what comes next...

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: CarrieSheppard on August 18, 2006, 05:41:05 PM
A short story concept that has come into my head, and here's my opener.  Do I bother to write the rest?!

“Can’t you smell it mummy?” the child cried.
“No dear, you are imagining things.” Mother replied.

In fact, mother told me that I was imagining things so often that in the end I believed her.  I believed I had the most imaginative nose ever born!


Carrie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Elodie-Caroline on August 18, 2006, 07:37:39 PM
Thank you very much Aella :) That was the first thing I was writing two years ago, after very many years of only writing the odd poem here and there. I haven't really revisted it for a long time, as I'm working on something else at the momnt. But I will take what you said onboard.
Actually, he isn't going to make any kind of annoucement, he's going to go home and ponder on his life and what led him to where he is now.

Nadine: thank you very much also :) Like I said to Aella, it's the first story I'd written for years, thirty to be exact! lol. But yes, I guess strolling is a bit lightheated, sort of sounds like Summer eh, maybe ambling would do better? I'll look in to my Thesaurus and see which word would suit his mood better. He's in a really bad way over what's happened in his life, and from his own making too.

Ellie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 08:55:54 PM
Nelodra,
   In your piece, which I like, the second sentence (I think) where she says almost THERE. Where is there. Specific is generally better than general. Amost to library. to hall, to point the guards won't see her. ????????????

I would delete last sentence.
Glad you posted. Is this a real beginning or are you playing. I have been tempted to just write one for fun. This whole idea was brillant, Lin's I guess.Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 18, 2006, 09:04:37 PM
First lines of something I've played around with writing:----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I want to make it clear, for me,   why I stayed with Patrick, the abusive husband, the alcoholic, the Vietnam Vet who woke screaming and ready to kill.
     
     I could have left. I had a good-paying job.  We had no children. So why stay? Writing this  book will help me, perhaps, to better understand.

     I loved him, of course.
 
     And we were more than alcoholic/codependent wife. More than some damn psychiatric diagnostic statement.  Or I think we were. Or am I lying to myself again.

     It is time to write and see if there are answers.

     Aella

   
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 18, 2006, 09:11:18 PM
Elodie,

Actually, I like strolling...can just see it.  The word I'd question is "sad."  Otherwise, I really like the whole of it.

Carrie,

You can guess my answer -- YES! Keep writing, always keep writing.  Writers shouldn't stop writing, even if a dozen people tell them to stop.

Only two things (maybe): Name the child, I think.  It makes him/her less distant (more personal), and tells whether it is a boy or girl, unless there is a reason you are saving that info for later, which is something I often do.  The other small matter is, consider removing the first "that."  It caught my attention that there were two "thats" and the word has a bit harsher sound to the letter combinations than some words. I'd probably just remove the first one and leave the second.

___________________
The word "that" isn't the best example of this, but not only the meaning of a word, but the phonetic sounds of it can help set the tone in a reader's mind. Earlier Elodie used "Strolling" and if you listen to how it sounds, is sounds easy going.  Whereas, Cathy's "plop" sounds like the word to use for a thumb coming out of the child's mouth. Panic with the hard sound ending, fits the meaning of the word for use in writing, with its staccato sound, it sounds quick and on edge.  Poets and song writers are especially good at this word choice stuff.

I'm no expert on writing...just passing on things I've learned.  There are millions of right ways to write.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nelodra on August 19, 2006, 04:38:46 PM
Nelodra,

Maybe sneaked and noiselessly are the same thing?  "...almost there", maybe find a better word for "there" as "almost free" "almost outside" "almost safe" or any other variation more specific than "there" without giving away too much info...IMO

Nadine

Thanks, Nadine. Your comments are appreciated.
Sneaked and noiselessly the same thing? You mean like snow being white? Probably, but bot sure... One could sneak and still make some (hopefully small) noise, accidentally. I'll think about the "almost there". That's the trouble with translations, the real thing is almost always better  :(
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nelodra on August 19, 2006, 04:42:46 PM
Nelodra,
   In your piece, which I like, the second sentence (I think) where she says almost THERE. Where is there. Specific is generally better than general. Amost to library. to hall, to point the guards won't see her. ????????????

I would delete last sentence.
Glad you posted. Is this a real beginning or are you playing. I have been tempted to just write one for fun. This whole idea was brillant, Lin's I guess.Aella

Aella,
I should really do something about the "almost there" then, shouldn't I? And yes, I think I will delete the last sentence. Somehow it doesn't feel quite as good as the rest.
Yes, it's the real beginning. What makes you think I would be playing? I wrote this story in Dutch first, and am in the process of translating/rewriting it in English. It was intended to be just a short story, but I think I should probably turn it into a novel...
Thanks for taking your time to comment on my first paragraph. :) 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nelodra on August 19, 2006, 04:45:12 PM
A short story concept that has come into my head, and here's my opener.  Do I bother to write the rest?!

“Can’t you smell it mummy?” the child cried.
“No dear, you are imagining things.” Mother replied.

In fact, mother told me that I was imagining things so often that in the end I believed her.  I believed I had the most imaginative nose ever born!

Carrie

Carrie,
I like what you've got here, and thin k you should write the rest. It could be the beginning of a wonderful story.
I esp. like the "I had the most imaginative nose ever born"
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: CarrieSheppard on August 19, 2006, 05:51:50 PM
Thanks Nelodra.  The rest just came pouring out anyway - about 2,500 words of a slightly unusual ghost story. Just need to refine and the most important thing, sharpen the ending.

Thanks for the positive feedback, I needed a lift.

Carrie  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: aellaholcomb on August 19, 2006, 08:10:47 PM
Nelorda,
    I'm sorry if I sounded rude by saying "playing." I don't remember exactly why I said that - probably because sometimes I do write paragraphs.poems, slices of description just for fun and with no goal in sight and usually toss them.
   Anyhow. I really hope I wasn't rude. Didn't mean to be. Aella
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nadine L on August 19, 2006, 08:14:57 PM
Nelodra,

Yes, I can easily see this as a novel...one of my short stories turned into a trilogy, so be careful...

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nelodra on August 20, 2006, 05:50:35 AM
Nelorda,
    I'm sorry if I sounded rude by saying "playing." I don't remember exactly why I said that - probably because sometimes I do write paragraphs.poems, slices of description just for fun and with no goal in sight and usually toss them.
   Anyhow. I really hope I wasn't rude. Didn't mean to be. Aella

Don't worry, I didn't think you were rude, but I was just wondering. After all, it coul d have been something in my writing that made you feel so, and in that case, I'd like to know.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Nelodra on August 20, 2006, 05:51:57 AM
Nelodra,

Yes, I can easily see this as a novel...one of my short stories turned into a trilogy, so be careful...

Nadine

O, dear!
I'm going to have to be really careful then, won't I.  :D
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on October 27, 2006, 03:27:38 PM
Children's Fiction: Untitled.

Opening Paragraph:

Joshua liked to visit his grandfather’s house. It was tall and grey and solid-looking, extended down the centuries with new floors added on top of the old ones and ending in the servant’s quarters in the attic. At the very top it had a flat roof, just like a castle. The house was part of an old terrace situated halfway up a hill, in the old part of the city. Grandfather’s was the oldest and tallest of all the buildings, and whenever he visited, Joshua risked getting a crick in his neck, looking straight up to the ‘battlements’, keeping a wary eye out for archers or cauldrons of boiling hot oil. As his grandfather always said ‘you can never be too careful in this day and age’.


I know it's not in Lyn's rules, but could readers also review the blurb?, thanks.
Back cover blurb:

Joshua is a perfectly ordinary five year old, living with his mum in their flat in London and looking forward to his weekend visits to his dad and his dad’s new family. Every afternoon after school he accompanies his mother to his grandfather’s old house. While his mother prepares the old man dinner, Joshua sits at the old man’s knee listening to his tall tales of travel and adventure. A perfectly ordinary life, until the day when his grandfather loses something, and Joshua finds it....



- Naomi
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JMJ on October 28, 2006, 12:02:57 AM
NaomiM:

Children's Fiction: Untitled.

Opening Paragraph:

Joshua liked to visit his grandfather’s house. It was tall and grey and solid-looking, extended down the centuries with new floors added on top of the old ones and ending in the servant’s quarters in the attic. At the very top it had a flat roof, just like a castle. The house was part of an old terrace situated halfway up a hill, in the old part of the city. Grandfather’s was the oldest and tallest of all the buildings, and whenever he visited, Joshua risked getting a crick in his neck, looking straight up to the ‘battlements’, keeping a wary eye out for archers or cauldrons of boiling hot oil. As his grandfather always said ‘you can never be too careful in this day and age’.


I know it's not in Lyn's rules, but could readers also review the blurb?, thanks.
Back cover blurb:

Joshua is a perfectly ordinary five year old, living with his mum in their flat in London and looking forward to his weekend visits to his dad and his dad’s new family. Every afternoon after school he accompanies his mother to his grandfather’s old house. While his mother prepares the old man dinner, Joshua sits at the old man’s knee listening to his tall tales of travel and adventure. A perfectly ordinary life, until the day when his grandfather loses something, and Joshua finds it....

Naomi,  yes you're opening paragraphs worked for me except for the second sentence which seemed a bit too long.  It was fine until ... extended down the centuries ... then I had to re-read it a couple of times.  For me, this sentence didn't quite flow right. 

The blurb as a whole is good and would make me buy the book.  Perhaps it's worth having another look at the 3rd sentence.  Would 'old man's dinner' be better?  In addition, it might be better to replace the second 'old man' with something else - maybe 'on his grandfather's knee' or just 'his knee'. 

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PaulW on October 28, 2006, 05:17:49 AM
Children's Fiction: Untitled.

Opening Paragraph:

Joshua liked to visit his grandfather’s house. It was tall and grey and solid-looking, extended down the centuries with new floors added on top of the old ones and ending in the servant’s quarters in the attic. At the very top it had a flat roof, just like a castle. The house was part of an old terrace situated halfway up a hill, in the old part of the city. Grandfather’s was the oldest and tallest of all the buildings, and whenever he visited, Joshua risked getting a crick in his neck, looking straight up to the ‘battlements’, keeping a wary eye out for archers or cauldrons of boiling hot oil. As his grandfather always said ‘you can never be too careful in this day and age’.


First the blurb Naomi - it read fine but you need to change "the old man dinner" to old man's dinner. The first sentence is perhaps a little long but it reads well. If kids are to read it rather than adults I'd split it in two.

Ok, the opening para. It definitely grabbed my attention. I agree with JMJ that the second sentence isn't quite right. I'm not sure that it's too long, it just doesn't flow quite right. I think it's because of the 'extended down the centuries bit - as it's a bit ambiguous whether you mean it in an abstract way - i.e. it had been there through the centuries, or had physically been extended. (the latter half of the sentence resolves it but I'd already skilpped out of the sentence by then.) Perhaps just adding something to resolve that - like.

"It was tall and grey and solid-looking, and had been extended down the centuries with new floors added on top of the old ones and ending in the servant’s quarters in the attic."

The rest of the para reads really well - I love the way you capture Joshua's mind-set perfectly with the archers and cauldrons :)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on October 28, 2006, 07:55:31 AM
Thanks JMJ & Paul, great advice.
A couple of real D'oh! moments there, I can't count the number of times my eye has skipped over the 'old man' bits, and mea culpa, I'm always putting in long sentences.
Will make the changes you suggest,

- Naomi
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bobby digital on October 28, 2006, 11:17:25 AM
Ante up in Harlem(working title)

OPening paragraph:

His head’s down his heart’s pounding. Struggling to keep his composure as bullets rip and crash into everything that surrounds him. With each ricochet he flinches, to guard his face from the blown out glass. And nervously cracks a faint smile as he wonders, just how, he’s landed himself in such a vicious predicament.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on October 28, 2006, 11:50:00 AM
His head’s down his heart’s pounding. Struggling to keep his composure as bullets rip and crash into everything that surrounds him. With each ricochet he flinches, to guard his face from the blown out glass. And nervously cracks a faint smile as he wonders, just how, he’s landed himself in such a vicious predicament.

I think it works. A couple of wayward commas, and you might consider deleting all the s's and the odd word here and there to tighten it up:

His head down, heart pounding, struggling to keep his composure, bullets rip into everything that surrounds him. With each ricochet he flinches to guard his face from the blown-out glass. Nervously cracking a faint smile, he wonders just how he managed to land himself in such a vicious predicament.



 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bobby digital on October 28, 2006, 12:42:49 PM
Hmm without sounding to arrogant I think it works better: His head's down. His heart’s pounding. Struggling... as opposed to His head down, heart pounding, struggling…
 
But I do value and respect your opinion Naomi
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JMJ on October 28, 2006, 12:48:49 PM
bobby digital.  I agree.  Your original version simply lacked punctuation but your revised edition is perfect.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JMJ on October 28, 2006, 12:51:19 PM
Here's my first attempt:

When I was 13 half the girls in my class were fainting over at the least opportunity.  Or so it seemed at the time.  For most of them it was just a phase they were going through.  For me, it changed my life - past, present and future - forever. 

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on October 28, 2006, 07:28:08 PM
No, you're right Boddy. It's just a matter of punctuation.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on October 28, 2006, 07:57:17 PM

When I was 13 half the girls in my class were fainting over at the least opportunity. Or so it seemed at the time. For most of them it was just a phase they were going through. For me, it changed my life - past, present and future - forever.



Only changes I'd make is deleting 'over' (an alliteration), and I think there is supposed to be a comma between '13' and 'half'.
Good hook with the 'changed my life....' I'd read on to find out why.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: scottslittlebrat on October 29, 2006, 05:23:55 PM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.

I interpreted this to mean she has already taken the life of her unborn child by having an abortion and now she's feeling guilty.....guilty enough to kill herself for doing it.  I only read the first response so maybe there are others who have interpreted it the same way I did.  I do think it's a good start and would get the reader's/publisher's attention.  It just needs some punctuation/grammar touching up.  "Jennifer Jones sits in her bedroom with a gallon of vodka, her prescription sleeping pills and some barbituates.  She wonders if it's enough to do the job.  She's been doing this same routine for a year now....wishing she had the nerve to take her own life.  After all, she took the life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb."

Now I guess I'll go back and see what everyone else said.  I have a feeling I'll be reading this thread all night because it's a long one  :) Maybe I'll even post something.





Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: scottslittlebrat on October 29, 2006, 06:40:18 PM
First Lineers:Aella
   
    I hadn't expected the goodbyes to be so hard. After all, I'd been waiting for this departure for years.

    Mother followed  me around the house crying. "You'll be home by Christmas, you won't like it up there with all those Yankees."

    I never could look my mother straight in the eye after what had happened between us. So, I looked carefully over her shoulder and said coldly, "I want this, Mother. I'll love it."

Hi there Aella.  I'm trying to get back into writing some more, especially after the great responses I got from you and others after my first post.  I wanted to comment on your "first liner" post which may have been there for months but I didn't read any of this thread until today.  I agree with the others about the conflict between the first sentence and the fact that there were obvious problems between her and her mother.  I've got a suggestion for you.  How about this?

"Mother followed  me around the house crying. "You'll be home by Christmas, you won't like it up there with all those Yankees".  I hadn't expected my mother to take this so hard.  After all, I'd been waiting for this departure for years, and she knew it. 

I never could look my mother straight in the eye after what had happened between us. So, I looked carefully over her shoulder and said coldly, "I want this, Mother. I'll love it."

It definitely got my attention.  In fact, I pictured my own mom when I read it because it sounds so much like something she would've said to me and my sisters.  Are you sure you're not my sister?  ;)


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Ann on October 30, 2006, 09:03:40 AM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.

Hi Lynne-lynn.  This is my first review here.  Please, take what is useful and discard the rest.
I read your opener last night and have been mulling ...

I find this opener very intriguing.  I became very conscious of the 'props' and setting and felt they could be made more use of in this story:  the vodka, presciption, barbiturates.  A couple of points on the props - a gallon of vodka would be about 6 or so bottles?  You mean to imply 'lots of' vodka of course.  She would only be able to drink about a bottle, especially if she's going to be swallowing pills with it, so maybe there'd only be one bottle.  A prescription of sleeping pills - do you mean a piece of paper or the pills themselves?  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe barbiturates haven't been subscribed for many years now.  Perhaps you could use a  known brand name or just say, anti-depressants.

I think the story opening is brilliant in that you've instantly presented the main character and the problem and it's a big one.  I already want to know if and how she's going to overcome it.  I am already wondering, perhaps, if she is a Christian and is going through a crisis of conscience, or faith or both. The props in this scene could be used to hint at this.  If this were the case:  for instance, she's in her bedroom with a bottle of alcohol, some pills.  I see them on a table.  If she is a Christian, maybe she's wearing a cross or crucifrix, has taken this off and it's on the table with the bottle and pills.  Or maybe the bottle's not a bottle of vodka (which is clear), but a bottle that will reflect her face back at her.  Her face will be distorted in the bottle, hinting that she's got a distorted view of her life that's to be overcome.  If she's wearing a cross, maybe that's reflected back at her from the bottle, also distorted (which might suggest that her faith or conscience is distorted).  The pills might be quite large and flattish.  A bottle of liquid that looks reddish, a cross, a flat white pill on a table:  that's a bit like the 'props' used for Holy Communion.

I'm  just running wild with some possibilities here, but it does make me think about the role of appropriate props in stories.  What would Lord of the Rings be without the 'One Ring', for example? So I've got something back from doing this review already!  Thanks for that! 

As I say, please take what's useful and chuck the rest.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sleepycat on November 05, 2006, 03:45:04 PM
First paragraph of a short story.

By the time the police found Casey, she had been missing for over ten hours.
   She lay on her left side. One arm was flung up by her head, her little fingers curled like a half-open flower. With the other she clutched a fluffy white teddy to her chest. She was wearing pink checked pyjamas with plastic ladybird buttons, and her hair was carefully brushed back off her forehead. 
   ‘She looked so peaceful,’ one of the officers said later. ‘I just wanted to leave her like that, forever.’
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 05, 2006, 03:51:39 PM
Liked it. The peacefulness of the scene came across well. Although to grab my interest to read on I would expect to read something shocking about the scene in the next paragraph.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: DougD on November 07, 2006, 05:16:11 PM

By the time the police found Casey, she had been missing for over ten hours.
   She lay on her left side. One arm was flung up by her head, her little fingers curled like a half-open flower. With the other she clutched a fluffy white teddy to her chest. She was wearing pink checked pyjamas with plastic ladybird buttons, and her hair was carefully brushed back off her forehead. 
   ‘She looked so peaceful,’ one of the officers said later. ‘I just wanted to leave her like that, forever.’


I was intrigued by your opening, sleepycat. May I make a couple of suggestions. It sounds like you want your reader to see a peacefully sleeping child with one eye, and a terrible murder scene with the other. The shock of discovering a murder scene is something you want the reader to discover. Always remember this cardinal rule: "Show, don't tell."

Here's how I'd take a stab at it --

Casey lay on her left side, her head cradled by her left arm, her cherubic fingers curled like a half-open flower. She snuggled a fluffy white teddy bear to her chest. She was dressed in her favorite pink-checked pajamas, with the plastic ladybird buttons. Her hair was carefully brushed back off her forehead. The three-year-old's  eyes were closed. "She looks so peaceful," said the man leaning over her, "that I hate to disturb her."

The officer's heart went cold as he pointed out the ugly bruising around the child's neck to his partner. A ten-hour search had ended with the gut-wrenching discovery of her body in the abandoned warehouse.

In the first paragraph you paint a touching scene of a sleeping child. All seems well. Then, in the next paragraph, you contrast that with the grisly scene of her death. The contrast grabs the reader!

Hope this gives you an idea or two.   :)

Doug

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sleepycat on November 09, 2006, 12:38:40 PM
Quote
It sounds like you want your reader to see a peacefully sleeping child with one eye, and a terrible murder scene with the other.
That's spot on - that's exactly what I aimed for.

Quote
Always remember this cardinal rule: "Show, don't tell."
Well, sorry, but I thought that's what I was doing. What this beginning deliberately doesn't tell you is that she isn't actually dead. She hasn't been attacked. There's another explanation for the opening scene that I didn't want revealed till the end.

But I'm glad it made you think she was dead. That was the plan - so thank you! :D
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: DougD on November 09, 2006, 07:31:30 PM

What this beginning deliberately doesn't tell you is that she isn't actually dead. She hasn't been attacked. There's another explanation for the opening scene that I didn't want revealed till the end. But I'm glad it made you think she was dead. That was the plan - so thank you! :D


OK, then you did a good job! You had me fooled. And now you have me intrigued as well. I've got to hear the rest of the story.   :)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on November 09, 2006, 08:38:38 PM
I am new here, and this idea of getting feedback on the first line of my book is interesting. Let's see what you all think.

David turned with a whip at every creak and scrape that broke through the darkness of the house. The air was stale and stifling—streaked with the gold and magenta light that crept off the setting sun and into the desolate living room.

What do you think about it?

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: DougD on November 10, 2006, 12:51:35 AM

David turned with a whip at every creak and scrape that broke through the darkness of the house. The air was stale and stifling—streaked with the gold and magenta light that crept off the setting sun and into the desolate living room.


'turned with a whip' sounds kind of awkward in my ears. I'd suggest using a stronger word than 'turned,' too ('jerked,' maybe?). And I've never heard a living room being described as 'desolate.' That being said, I think you have the beginnings of a great story. Your character is terrified, alone in a dark and scary house (maybe not?). What more do you need for a spooky tale? Another note, in my ears 'gold' and 'magenta' are pretty colors. If this is a spooky story you might want to select colors that connote more fear, i.e., blood red, burnt orange, etc.

Doug
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 10, 2006, 05:37:19 AM

David turned with a whip at every creak and scrape that broke through the darkness of the house. The air was stale and stifling—streaked with the gold and magenta light that crept off the setting sun and into the desolate living room.


I like the 'beat' of the prose, but there are some inconsistancies of the 'it was a dark and story night' type. I'm with Doug here, 'whip' makes me think of the noun not the verb. You could say 'jerked his head' or 'whipped round' to bring some movement into it. I think you can have a 'desolate' living room, but gold is a warm colour. Silver, black, grey, blood red/crimson/scarlet bring an edge of desolation to a scene. 'Broke through the darkness' I like but in this context it is a bit of a mixed metaphor because 'dark' has no sound or substance. And it is not 'dark' because you go on to say the room is streaked with 'magenta and gold'.
But, that's not to say that all these points should be changed. Just saying, keep it simple.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 10, 2006, 11:31:33 AM
OK, here goes -

'Edna McInnis' soul had left the building.

Edna, once so full of vim and vigour had been a vital, if not cantankerous member of Sunnyside Rest Home. A vinegary little Scottish woman with a strong opinion on everything from the state of dinner to the state of the Nation.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 10, 2006, 02:06:26 PM
Sounds a lot of fun. A hoot, as my granny would say.  :)
Are all the v's deliberate?
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ann on November 10, 2006, 02:29:42 PM
First paragraph of a short story.

By the time the police found Casey, she had been missing for over ten hours.
   She lay on her left side. One arm was flung up by her head, her little fingers curled like a half-open flower. With the other she clutched a fluffy white teddy to her chest. She was wearing pink checked pyjamas with plastic ladybird buttons, and her hair was carefully brushed back off her forehead. 
   ‘She looked so peaceful,’ one of the officers said later. ‘I just wanted to leave her like that, forever.’


I'm writing this having read other responses, so I am aware that Casey is not dead, apparently, at this stage in the story. It is reminiscent for me of the film Sixth Sense.  Full of herrings - red ones of course! By the end of the first sentence, I 'know' that Casey is dead (wrong).  I don't know why I need to know she is lying on her left side.  Maybe the side she is lying on is important?  I like:  One arm 'was flung'.  It suggests (to me) that someone else flung it there other than Casey = violence.  'Flung' is a very apt word, I feel, suggests vigour and again, maybe violence or an act by the child of self-defence (wrong again).  The 'half-open flower'suggests the child is approaching puberty, therefore her approximate age.  The pink pyjamas - brilliant selection of 'props'.  This short piece of writing has me emoting all over the place and the hair standing up on the back of my neck.  Who are you?  Shakespeare?  I am definitely going to plagiarise this.  (Joke).

   
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 11, 2006, 10:25:55 AM
'Edna McInnis' soul had left the building.

Edna, once so full of vim and vigour had been a vital, if not cantankerous member of Sunnyside Rest Home. A vinegary little Scottish woman with a strong opinion on everything from the state of dinner to the state of the Nation.

Did you really mean "if not contankerous" or were you intending to say "even if cantankerous"? 
Since you go on to describe her as having strong opinions on everything across the board I suspect it is the later.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: allyrose on November 11, 2006, 11:39:32 AM
She sounds like a real fiesty old lady, and I would want to read more about her and her views.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: scottslittlebrat on November 11, 2006, 11:54:36 AM
OK, here goes -

'Edna McInnis' soul had left the building.

Edna, once so full of vim and vigour had been a vital, if not cantankerous member of Sunnyside Rest Home. A vinegary little Scottish woman with a strong opinion on everything from the state of dinner to the state of the Nation.

 I don't think "even if cantankerous" sounds better than "if not cantankerous" but maybe you could try something like this....."and downright cantankerous".  She really does sound fiesty so I think it's a good start that would catch the interest of a publisher or reader.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 11, 2006, 12:24:36 PM
Quote
'Edna McInnis' soul had left the building.

Edna, once so full of vim and vigour had been a vital, if not cantankerous member of Sunnyside Rest Home. A vinegary little Scottish woman with a strong opinion on everything from the state of dinner to the state of the Nation.

I think 'if not cantankerous' works in this context, although there should be a comma after cantankerous.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: scottslittlebrat on November 11, 2006, 01:39:54 PM
Yep Naomi, I agree.  It was fine the way it was written to begin with.   ;)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 12, 2006, 01:21:26 PM
Thanks so much for your comments, I have had a good hard look at it and will play around with it a little. Thanks naomi, I did intend all the V's, hope it works. Although a lot of the story takes place in an old people's home where the heroine works, it is not really about old people, but to highlight death - it's a thread that runs throughout. If nobody minds i've put the rest of the paragraph in...

Edna McInnis' soul had left the building.
Edna, once so full of vim and vigour had been a vital and downright cantankerous member of Sunnyside Rest Home. A vinegary little Scottish woman with a strong opinion on everything from the state of dinner to the state of the Nation, who loved nothing more than a good 'knees-up' at the monthly Tea Dance. She took all in her Celtic stride as she sprayed her fellow pensioners with minestrone whilst pointing out the meals obvious shortcomings.
Angie gently brushed Edna's downy hair, soft as a newborn babes'. It barely covered the old lady's scalp, mottled now with the pinks and browns of age like an explorers map of some alien planet. Perhaps her favourite 'tea cosy' hat would be better, for aesthetic purposes, thought Angie sadly, as Edna would never feel 'a draught through that bloody window' or 'the damp in me bones' again.

Thanks, Hxx
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 12, 2006, 01:32:56 PM
If nobody minds i've put the rest of the paragraph in...

I for one don't mind a bit.  Rather, I'm glad you did.

It now reads smooth and leaves me wanting to keep reading.  Good work.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 12, 2006, 02:11:08 PM
Thanks so much Country4gal - i've just been hopping around the site and read on another thread that you're writing a vampire story and have been researching bloodletting - I spent a couple of months doing just that for my 'creature of the night' story, then scrapped it all as my research was 'showing' and even bored the pants off me, athough Ifound venupuncture etc, incredibly interesting, my close 'critics' fell, rather ungraciously I thought, asleep >:(
H xx
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 12, 2006, 04:57:58 PM
You're welcome H.

When I was researching for my vampire, I just punched in "ancient blood letting devices" in Google and received a load of materal.  Much more than I expected. 

H, showing is good, don't understand why you were bored.  Unless that was all you filled it with that is.
A mixture of showing, telling and dialogue (which handled correctly can do both) works well generally.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 13, 2006, 10:51:53 AM
Hi country4gal (Alice)? I know i'm being nosy here, but are you from the US?
At first I had the heroine, who by now was beginning to suspect her new boyfriend wasn't being totally honest about his whereabouts at night  ::) visiting her local library and discovering loads of info on bloodletting, I put this down as if she was reading it off the screen - big mistake on my part. I've now incorporated some of the stranger facts through another character. This is working better and i've also written a chapter as backstory, if that makes any sense... I know i'm confused already, sorry...
H xx
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 13, 2006, 11:16:07 AM
Hi country4gal (Alice)? I know i'm being nosy here, but are you from the US?

I don't think that's nosey at all H.  Yes, I'm in the USA.  I often, okay, usually put Texas first though.
Now if you had asked my weight . . . That would have been nosey.  :D

At first I had the heroine, who by now was beginning to suspect her new boyfriend wasn't being totally honest about his whereabouts at night   visiting her local library and discovering loads of info on bloodletting, I put this down as if she was reading it off the screen - big mistake on my part. I've now incorporated some of the stranger facts through another character. This is working better and i've also written a chapter as backstory, if that makes any sense... I know i'm confused already, sorry...

The only thing you confused me about was why you think it was a mistake to show her as reading the information off the screen.  Sounds believable to me. 
Glad things are working better for you.  Isn't it nice that we can easily move things around from one place in the story to another without having to type the whole things over again.  ;)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 13, 2006, 11:24:08 AM
Hi, I appear to be chasing you around the threads today instead of writing  :-\. The only bit of Texas i've seen was Houston airport last year when, for some bizarre reason, my hubby decided we should change flights there on the way to Florida!!!! Took 11 hours :o
Have you been published? I'm interested, as recently I read in the Writing Magazine that publishers in America were showing an interest in Vampire chick lit - which sounds like a horrible turn of phrase, but my story is about a 30 something woman who becomes entangled with a faux human. I did try the idea out online for 'publish america' who only wanted a one paragraph synopsis - they didn't bite...
H xx
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 13, 2006, 04:23:54 PM
Hi, I appear to be chasing you around the threads today instead of writing  . The only bit of Texas i've seen was Houston airport last year when, for some bizarre reason, my hubby decided we should change flights there on the way to Florida!!!! Took 11 hours  

I lived in Houston for about three years - many years ago.  Since that time it has mushroomed in size tremendously and I avoid it whenever possible.  Eleven hours to change planes is outrageous.

Okay, to be fair I have to admit Houston has some wonderful aspects.  Their zoo which is fantastic (saw a new born giraffe there once - most awkward and cute thing I may have ever seen.  Also NASA which has tours that are informative and awe inspiring.  Just don't take the tour in mid summer.  Heat stroke time.

Have you been published? I'm interested, as recently I read in the Writing Magazine that publishers in America were showing an interest in Vampire chick lit - which sounds like a horrible turn of phrase, but my story is about a 30 something woman who becomes entangled with a faux human. I did try the idea out online for 'publish america' who only wanted a one paragraph synopsis - they didn't bite...

Unfortunately I haven't been published as yet.  That could be because I haven't sent anything out in ages thought.  >:(
A one paragraph synopis . . . geeze, did they limit the size of the paragraph too?  Talk about keeping it short, sounds like they are seriously trying to do so. 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bugaboo on November 14, 2006, 10:56:32 AM
I find the synopsis the most scary part at the best of times so reducing your whole novel to a short paragraph is, to say the least, a bit taxing. I'm concentrating on agents now who ask for a two page or more synopsis and three chapters. Still wondering about that prologue though ???
We're considering a holiday on the West Coast this year (we did this a couple of years ago and loved San Fransico and Yosemite) however, my husband wants to visit the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree Desert during the kids summer holidays (July/August) but have been told that its prohibitively hot :o if so when do you think would be the best time to visit - sorry, I seem to have mistaken this for a travel agent website for a moment...:)
Is your novel about a vampire, and if so when is it set?
H xx
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 14, 2006, 07:24:16 PM
I find the synopsis the most scary part at the best of times so reducing your whole novel to a short paragraph is, to say the least, a bit taxing.

I was once told to write a synopsis as if a friend had asked what your book was about.  Most likely, if a friend asked, you wouldn't go into much detail, just the main plot and a highlight or two.  Made sense to me then and still does.  But I'm sure others would disagree, so I guess the best answer would be, whatever works best for you and your story.

my husband wants to visit the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree Desert during the kids summer holidays (July/August) but have been told that its prohibitively hot  if so when do you think would be the best time to visit  


No probably about it.  During July and Aug. the temps will be in the triple digits during the day and doesn't get a lot cooler at night.  If you can manage it, Spring break would be a much better time to go.  You might need a sweater then, but at least you'll not have to worry about heat stroke or becoming dehydrated. 
It can be and often is done in the summer.  But for those not accustomed to the heat, I wouldn't recommend it.
I sometimes visit friends in AZ during the summer.  But they have A/C and a pool.   :D
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lingo South on November 15, 2006, 05:17:48 PM
We were literally falling out of the sky!  This 727 airliner was going down fast!  Plummeting through the clouds like a runaway roller coaster!  The passengers were almost in a panic as we bounced around and dropped through air pockets that brought our stomachs up into our throats and took our breath away at the same time.  We weren't crashing, we were landing!

This is the beginning of my first writing that is an adventerous trip that goes on for 10 days of unknown surprises and culminates in a hijacking on my way home.  I really do not know what I am doing, but have bought Nick Daws course to help and it just arrived today.  I would like to have honest feedback on this entrance. 

I hope I have posted this correctly...new to me.

Lingo South 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 15, 2006, 05:43:26 PM
Lingo, I could say something crass like 'does Nick's book include a warning about overuse of metaphors and exclamation marks?' but actually this section caught the mood perfectly, the beat of the piece felt exactly like a roller coaster ride on an airplane coming in for a bumpy landing, and I was gasping for breath at the end.
(Reminded me of a bumpy landing at Bristol airport on our return from honeymoon - never felt so releaved to be safely on the ground before or since!).

A maverick piece but I really liked it, Keep it up.

Have you considered signing up for NaNoWriMo? - aim to write a 50,000 word novel in a month: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on November 25, 2006, 11:07:21 AM
Prickecake and Guma

Believe is or not - this is the start of a ghost story.  Too technical an intro???


LDIR was the first station to broadcast direct injection radio.  The trials were successful, and the ear implants harmless and – it has to be said – now seen as a status symbol.

Based on the South Bank of Canary Wharf, in the mega-complex of the Glass Bridge, their broadcast radius was just eight miles – but within those eight miles they took in 90% of the top financial institutions in the country.  And LDIR was launched to broadcast business news – hitting their target audience with regular bulletins on the fast moving international finance world – hitting quicker than the internet, than email, than phone alerts, than any other media had yet to come up with.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 25, 2006, 02:06:28 PM
Without knowing more Carrie, I'm not sure if it's too technical or not. 

It certainly doesn't give away the fact a ghost is going to appear sooner or later.  And for me, I would have to say this opening doesn't exactly 'grab' my attention.  Maybe if you added at least one character, even if a minor one, to the mix it would give me something to wonder about other than a radio station.  But that's just me.  I'll be interested to see what others think.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on November 25, 2006, 03:29:16 PM
OK - I agree.  How's this revision of the first para

LDIR was the first station to broadcast direct injection radio.  The trials were successful, and the ear implants harmless and – it has to be said – now seen as a status symbol.  But this innovative technology was going to lead, eventually, to something that no one could have anticipated. 

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lingo South on November 25, 2006, 10:27:02 PM
Hi Carrie

Who am I to tell you, but as a reader the second is better...the detail is not needed to begin a suspense....
This one begins to leave you anticipating...More interesting, more moving.

Lingo South
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Out-lander on November 25, 2006, 11:05:31 PM
Hi guys.  This is a possible new opening for my novel as I was not happy with the original. Its about eighty words so not too big and I need to know if it projects a feeling of hopelessness of being trapped.
------------

  Mnoop clenched his fists with all his strength, but the shaking continued. He lowered his face into his trembling hands, bodying jerking, tears falling as the hopelessness of his situation washed over him. He tried to remember how he had managed to end up in this hell hole. How had his life, his existence, come to revolve around working for that b@&*ard Opi?  But it was pointless thinking such things; it changed nothing, there was no escape, no escape.

-------------

Any thoughts, suggestions or changes are more than welcome.

Many thanks for your time and consideration.



Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 26, 2006, 05:15:12 AM
Quote
Mnoop clenched his fists with all his strength, but the shaking continued. He lowered his face into his trembling hands, bodying jerking, tears falling as the hopelessness of his situation washed over him. He tried to remember how he had managed to end up in this hell hole. How had his life, his existence, come to revolve around working for that b@&*ard Opi?  But it was pointless thinking such things; it changed nothing, there was no escape, no escape.

Hi Out-lander

This is good.
I think it just needs tweeking here and there. The following are only suggestions, feel free to ignore them.

My first impression was a lot of words ending in -ing. If you want a fast pace, and convey a sense of tension I would change these to -ed words, and use shorter sentences - But that is just a general point and may not be relevant here.

Not sure you need the with all his strength part, because you have already given that impression with the word clenched, also suggest deleting managed as that is a wish-washy word and implies it was his fault, and delete body jerking which seems out of place here unless he is being tortured, and you have already mentioned that he is shaking.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ann on November 26, 2006, 08:30:04 AM
Prickecake and Guma

Believe is or not - this is the start of a ghost story.  Too technical an intro???


LDIR was the first station to broadcast direct injection radio.  The trials were successful, and the ear implants harmless and – it has to be said – now seen as a status symbol.

Based on the South Bank of Canary Wharf, in the mega-complex of the Glass Bridge, their broadcast radius was just eight miles – but within those eight miles they took in 90% of the top financial institutions in the country.  And LDIR was launched to broadcast business news – hitting their target audience with regular bulletins on the fast moving international finance world – hitting quicker than the internet, than email, than phone alerts, than any other media had yet to come up with.

Hi Carrie

Here is my two centimes worth of crit.

I like this first opening better than your second.  For me, it sets the scene - efficiently - gives me a 'flavour' of the story.  Already I'm seeing, smelling and tasting the setting.  I like the aspect of space you've introduced. It's paradoxical, which I like:  tiny, in planetary terms - only eight miles - yet vast, in terms of 'business space'.  It illustrates straight off, how while radio may intrude into only a small 'real' space - it in fact has the power to pervade the 'spaces' of thousands, even millions of lives. And I know from your second version that you're going to introduce another or other dimensions (ghosts).  I'm enticed in version one - I know something is going to happen through this power that radio wields - maybe - and will read on. In your second version , all that is edited out and already I'm guessing that a ghost or ghosts are going to be channelling themselves through the ear implants via the radio station.  I might be wrong in this, but the point is, I found myself protesting at version two - I wasn't allowed to find out where I was, 'have a look round', in the second.  If writers are really legalised voyeurs, so are their readers!

I think you could de-implant 'it has to be said' and it would be 'status symbols' (plural). 

I'd like to read this story when it's finished, so as far as I'm concerned - vis-a-vis version one, it's a success!

Ann
 :)






Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on November 26, 2006, 09:08:26 AM
Thanks Ann.  I'm still playing with it.  No, the ghosts don't appear through the implants... but nice guess.

Ta for the grammar tip too - still not edited this yet - it's only half written as yet.

Liked your website by the way, but the music link didn't work  :-\

Cheers
Carrie
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ann on November 26, 2006, 10:05:10 AM
Thanks Ann.  I'm still playing with it.  No, the ghosts don't appear through the implants... but nice guess.

Ta for the grammar tip too - still not edited this yet - it's only half written as yet.

Liked your website by the way, but the music link didn't work  :-\

Cheers
Carrie

Well I hope you will finish this story so I can find out where your ghosts are going to turn up! 
(I haven't got my music page going yet - that's a job for next year).

 :)Ann


Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on November 26, 2006, 10:51:31 AM
Quote
Well I hope you will finish this story so I can find out where your ghosts are going to turn up! 


Oh yes, it'll be finished - unlike my main WIP - which keeps getting interrupted by stuff like this.  And songs. And poems.. the old brain seems to be on overdrive.  Now if I can just moderate quantity with quality I'll be ok.

Carrie
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ann on November 26, 2006, 12:16:03 PM


Oh yes, it'll be finished - unlike my main WIP - which keeps getting interrupted by stuff like this.  And songs. And poems.. the old brain seems to be on overdrive.  Now if I can just moderate quantity with quality I'll be ok.

Carrie

Well, as for quantity, I'm looking for an army of zombies so I can use their bodies (to write down my stories, of course).  Maybe I should try the House of Commons.  As for quality, well, I haven't found a solution to that (evidently)!  Good luck!

 :)Ann
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 26, 2006, 01:06:59 PM
LDIR was the first station to broadcast direct injection radio.  The trials were successful, and the ear implants harmless and – it has to be said – now seen as a status symbol.  But this innovative technology was going to lead, eventually, to something that no one could have anticipated.   

Carrie, sorry it took me so long to get back; but I agree, this is a better opening. 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 26, 2006, 01:34:39 PM
Quote
LDIR was the first station to broadcast direct injection radio.  The trials were successful, and the ear implants harmless and – it has to be said – now seen as a status symbol.

Based on the South Bank of Canary Wharf, in the mega-complex of the Glass Bridge, their broadcast radius was just eight miles – but within those eight miles they took in 90% of the top financial institutions in the country.  And LDIR was launched to broadcast business news – hitting their target audience with regular bulletins on the fast moving international finance world – hitting quicker than the internet, than email, than phone alerts, than any other media had yet to come up with.


Hi Carrie

My only query is whether LDIR has a full name? If may help the reader to visualize the company better if you start with its full name, then continue with the acronym in the rest of the novel.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Out-lander on November 26, 2006, 02:44:14 PM
Hi Out-lander

This is good.
I think it just needs tweeking here and there. The following are only suggestions, feel free to ignore them.

My first impression was a lot of words ending in -ing. If you want a fast pace, and convey a sense of tension I would change these to -ed words, and use shorter sentences - But that is just a general point and may not be relevant here.

Not sure you need the with all his strength part, because you have already given that impression with the word clenched, also suggest deleting managed as that is a wish-washy word and implies it was his fault, and delete body jerking which seems out of place here unless he is being tortured, and you have already mentioned that he is shaking.


NaomiM, many, many thanks for your crit.  I always pressumed that words ending in 'ed' poetrayed as already having happened. What i was going for was present tense, ie, it was happenening as you read it. I see your point about the 'all his strength' statement, and will change it accordingly; oh, and the 'managed' part as well. I appreciate all your points and will revise accordingly.

Again,  many thanks.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 26, 2006, 04:33:04 PM
Quote
I always pressumed that words ending in 'ed' poetrayed as already having happened.

Interesting point, Out-lander, I had not thought of it that way, and I don't think it necessarily portrays a past event - I was interested enough to try it out below - but I am sure there are other MWC members who will disagree.  ;D
I was just lookiing at it in terms of how the prose flowed.

1) The girl watched the old man lying on the bed and counted each breath in and out. She breathed a sigh of relief. He was still alive.

2) Watching the old man lying on the bed, the girl counted each breath in and out; breathing a sigh of relief, she knew he was still alive.

To my ear they both seem to be 'in the present', but the -ing join the parts together making a longer sentence. It depends on whether you want  longer sentences or, by changing it to '-ed' words, rack up the pace by breaking it up with full stops and shorten the sentences.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: pojoy1029 on November 27, 2006, 12:07:31 AM
What a good idea! Here's the first few lines of my in-progress novel:

"We're waiting for Grandmother to arrange our futures! I promised myself I'd never do that again," Susan groused. They were sitting in the library waiting for Mr. Harcourt, Grandmother's lawyer.

The three of them had come to her funeral. Not out of obligation. Nor respect. They came simply to make certain she was dead....


Would you want to read more? Why? Why not? Any input welcome.

Joy
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: pojoy1029 on November 27, 2006, 12:23:39 AM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.


It sounds like a good idea for a book or short story, but I feel you give us too much information at the very beginning. I like the idea of past tense also. A gallon of vodka? That's enough to kill her without anything else!

Jennifer Jones sat in her darkened bedroom, mind-numbing Vodka beside her on the table, thinking the same thoughts and drinking herself into a stupor as she had for the past year. She'd thought, if she got drunk enough, she could swallow the sleeping pills and barbituates end her miserable existence. She'd taken the life of her unborn child; why couldn't she manage to take her own?

Just some suggestions; as with all suggestions, they are yours to use or toss. Hope they help.

Joy
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on November 27, 2006, 02:01:52 AM
Carrie,

I like the second one better, too.  I like the word choices and that the technical stuff isn't right up front, but coming, nonetheless. Loved "Status symbol; trials were successful" both hint at the scientific/tech and human side of the story. The anticipation factor rates highly here (for me).

Out-lander,

Humm.  Yes, I'd say you have the hopelessness and trapped bid down.  Felt like the next sentence was..."he banged his head on the wall repeatedly." I do want to read on, but also I'm not sure I am up to reading about a hopeless situation...does that make sense?  Maybe if I felt the next sentence was, "no escape, except possibly, if everything was just right..." something with a glimmer of hope even if it involved a struggle with unlikely odds of success.  Nicely done, though.

pojoy1029,
I really like the last line, which of course probably needs the preceding lines for the set up.  If this continues to have this level of character disobedience to the dictates of society...politely, but honestly disobedient...then, I'm in to learn more about grandmother and family...and probably glad she wasn't my grandmother.

I'm not as keen on the second one. The writing is fine and sets the mood. You'd have to swiftly move away from suicide and abortion...neither of which I would read about for recreational reading...to keep me reading.  Quite honestly, I probably wouldn't get past this part.  My profession deals with rather serious topics, so this is probably not my novel of choice.  However, that is just me.  Some people really like this level of intense reading.

That's it for me. (Probably plenty)  ;D

Nadine
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Out-lander on November 27, 2006, 09:58:34 AM
To my ear they both seem to be 'in the present', but the -ing join the parts together making a longer sentence. It depends on whether you want  longer sentences or, by changing it to '-ed' words, rack up the pace by breaking it up with full stops and shorten the sentences.

MaomiM -

I most certainly see your point and thanks for the examples they work perfectly. I will need to work with it some more

Humm.  Yes, I'd say you have the hopelessness and trapped bid down.

Nadine L -

Thanks for your response. Our protaganist is certainly in a dire situation.  I have included the next few lines to see if its what you expected. It carries on directly from the last part.

-------------
These thoughts brought a fresh wave of sobbing, trembling anguish. He jammed the heels of his hands into his eyes and rocked on the box he was sitting on. A low moan escaped him as he wished himself away. His mind curled into a foetus as he imagined far away places, so warm, so sunny and pleasant. No one to beat him, no one to keep him awake for days, forcing him to work without food, without water.
   He found himself in the bad place, the comfortable darkness of his mind. The place where the easy answers lay. It seemed so simple. All it would take was a sip of cooling fluid, a minute’s discomfort, and he would be free. But no! That was not the answer. There was still a way.
--------------------

Many thanks to all who have taken the time to read this.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 27, 2006, 12:25:33 PM
Quote
These thoughts brought a fresh wave of sobbing, trembling anguish. He jammed the heels of his hands into his eyes and rocked on the box he was sitting on. A low moan escaped him as he wished himself away. His mind curled into a foetus as he imagined far away places, so warm, so sunny and pleasant. No one to beat him, no one to keep him awake for days, forcing him to work without food, without water.
   He found himself in the bad place, the comfortable darkness of his mind. The place where the easy answers lay. It seemed so simple. All it would take was a sip of cooling fluid, a minute’s discomfort, and he would be free. But no! That was not the answer. There was still a way.

I'm afraid I'm not one for prolonged outpourings of angst. I liked the 'foetus' bit and the phrase 'comfortable darkness of his mind', but did get a bit annoyed by the All it would take was a sip of cooling fluid, a minute’s discomfort, and he would be free. But no! That was not the answer. It's never a good idea to admit there is a simple way out, if the reader is empathising with the character they will wonder why he doesn't take it, unless you are referring to suicide, in which case you should emphasis the point.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on November 27, 2006, 02:39:12 PM
Naomi,

I thought the reference was to suicide.  Not one of the topics I chose to read.  The danger in suicidal characters is if a suicidal reader get the wrong idea...some people don't need much of a push over the line. It's not my cup of tea to risk that danger.

Nadine
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 27, 2006, 03:38:02 PM
Quote
The danger in suicidal characters is if a suicidal reader get the wrong idea...some people don't need much of a push over the line. It's not my cup of tea to risk that danger.

I've got nothing against writing about suicide - Nick Hornby's Long Way Down probably deserves it's position in the bestseller lists. But, like you, it's not something I would ever choose to read.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Out-lander on November 27, 2006, 03:47:33 PM
The reference was to suicide. However, as its not a subject matter I spend any time reading about, my attempt at showing his level of desperation may not be very good.  i will rethink this and may remove it all together.

Many thanks for your comments they are very much appreciated.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on November 27, 2006, 05:12:30 PM
Out-lander,

Maybe just start a bit earlier than this scene...and bring us to this point rather than start us here...even if you only back up a few hours.

Would that work?

Nadine
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Out-lander on November 27, 2006, 07:50:57 PM
Out-lander,

Maybe just start a bit earlier than this scene...and bring us to this point rather than start us here...even if you only back up a few hours.

Would that work?

Nadine

Nadine

Its the very begining of the book.  Those are actually the opening lines.  You see, Mnoop is an engineer who is being held captive and brutalised into maintaining the station is is held captive on.  originally the opening was this...

-----------

‘Click’, nothing.
‘Click, click’, nothing.
‘Click, click, clickclickclickclick’, nothing.

“Damn it!”

Mnoop was certain or at least as certain as he could be that the wiring behind the switch panel was OK. He had not actually checked it recently, but hoped it was and in his mind’s eye he could see the sparklingly clean connections all happily joined together: so it should work, shouldn’t it?

‘Click, click, clickety, click’    Engineer’s empathy be damned.


-----------------------

...but after reading some of the advisories on these forums. I did not think that the click click opening had enough of a hook, so I tried a different approach, the one previously discussed.

If you want I can post some of chapter one in the other forum so you can see where it leads.

What do you think?

Many thanks.


Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on November 28, 2006, 04:07:58 PM
Out-lander go ahead and post more of the chapter.
I liked this clicking start to the chapter, but would only work if it was a comedy. In the context of a brutilized human, it was probably best to cut it.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on December 01, 2006, 10:09:34 AM

Enough was enough; I had procrastinated for far too long. Wasting my life away, always putting things off until tomorrow, but tomorrow somehow never came. It was ideal then that I was living in sunny Spain, I had the perfect excuse; every thing here was manana, so the saying goes. I was sick of looking at my misserable haggard face every morning and in the mirror, seeing only a trace of the old Diane.


I enjoyed the breeziness and pace of these opening lines. A very good start.

Although they do work in this context, my only concern would be what an agent would think of having 3 metaphors-type phrases in the first paragraph.
Procrastinated for far too long
tomorrow somehow never came
everything here was manana

Possibly choose between 'procrastination' or 'tomorrow', but that's just a suggestion, and I don't really see that it matters.
You might want to watch out for cliches and metaphors is they are present on every page, and have a bit of a pruning session.

:)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrew Watt on December 02, 2006, 11:43:39 AM
Enough was enough; I had procrastinated for far too long. Wasting my life away, always putting things off until tomorrow, but tomorrow somehow never came. It was ideal then that I was living in sunny Spain, I had the perfect excuse; every thing here was manana, so the saying goes. I was sick of looking at my misserable haggard face every morning and in the mirror, seeing only a trace of the old Diane.

Works pretty well, I think.

See if you like any of the changes in the following:

"Enough was enough. I had been wasting my life for too many years now. Always putting things off until a tomorrow that never came. I had my excuse, of course, living in sunny Spain, where everything was manana. But I was sick of looking at my miserable, haggard face, seeing in the mirror only a trace of the old Diane who had been so full of hope. I knew I had to step out of my comfortable rut. The only question was, did I have the courage to do it?"

Andrew
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dizi_Di on December 05, 2006, 05:38:53 AM

Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, one too many metaphor. I just wanted to give impact to the nothingness  of my life at that time but it can work just as well with less.

Thanks again Diane
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Dizi_Di on December 05, 2006, 06:03:38 AM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

perhaps start with,  Where the hell was that punchin the chest........  or another word for hell as you bring it in later. Hell I hate Hollywood.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dizi_Di on December 05, 2006, 06:36:53 AM
First paragraph of a short story.

By the time the police found Casey, she had been missing for over ten hours.
   She lay on her left side. One arm was flung up by her head, her little fingers curled like a half-open flower. With the other she clutched a fluffy white teddy to her chest. She was wearing pink checked pyjamas with plastic ladybird buttons, and her hair was carefully brushed back off her forehead. 
   ‘She looked so peaceful,’ one of the officers said later. ‘I just wanted to leave her like that, forever.’

      her little fingers curled like a half-open flower  I loved this line as it instills inocence of the victim.
I agree, if the next part was some ghastly detail, I would definately read on.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jermy565 on December 09, 2006, 01:39:21 AM

"We're waiting for Grandmother to arrange our futures! I promised myself I'd never do that again," Susan groused. They were sitting in the library waiting for Mr. Harcourt, Grandmother's lawyer.

The three of them had come to her funeral. Not out of obligation. Nor respect. They came simply to make certain she was dead....


The opening dialogue did not intrigue me, although it would if it wasn't the opening sentence. But that's just my taste, I did, however, want to read more after the line, "They came simply to make certain she was dead..." I wanna know the backstory of the grandma now, I wanna know what happens to Susan and whoever else the story is about! But I don't think that it was clear enough whether these are children waiting to learn about their custody, or adults waiting to know about what was left them in a will or if they would be left pennyless. Not that you can make things that clear in a first line, but I didn't catch anything when I read the first line. So I had to reread it to formulate an impression. I think I would want to read the rest though.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jermy565 on December 09, 2006, 02:02:39 AM
Tell me what you think of this!

The chilled November air lay stagnant on Richard Black's neck, as his bloody, dirty, bare hands peeled away the dirt from the earth with a panicked clumsiness that racked his frail body.
That's when a very strange thing happened. The woman’s body lying next to him suddenly woke up.
All of a sudden, his head was filled with thoughts. All of a sudden, his mind was filled with fear. All of a sudden, the most dark, most disturbing moment of Richard's life became... well, awkward.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dizi_Di on December 09, 2006, 03:53:05 AM
Tell me what you think of this!  or this

The chilled air lay stagnant on Richard Black's neck. His blooded, dirty  hands peeled away  the earth with a panicky  clumsiness that racked his frail body.
That's when a very strange thing happened. The woman’s body lying next to him suddenly woke up.
Richard's head filled with fear. His mind full of thoughts.  The most dark, most disturbing moment of Richard's life,  became... well, awkward.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on December 09, 2006, 07:53:07 AM

The chilled November air lay stagnant on Richard Black's neck, as his bloody, dirty, bare hands peeled away the dirt from the earth with a panicked clumsiness that racked his frail body.  

Jermy, I liked the beginning sentence - it captured my attention right off the bat.


That's when a very strange thing happened. The woman's body lying next to him suddenly woke up.

I think this sentence would have more impact if it were reworded.  Don't tell us something strange happened, show us.

Something along the lines of:
He was focused on digging, struggling to get the hole deep enough. Little else mattered to him at the moment
'What was that?' he wondered, taking a quick look around.  Deciding his nerves were getting the better of him, he started to resume his labor. But his attention was drawn to a slight movement and he took a better look.
The woman's body next to him, exactly were he had left it. Or was it exactly as I left it? He took a closer look wondering if the right arm had been in that position when the body slid from his grip.
He was about to turn back when he hear a faint groan. 

All of a sudden, his head was filled with thoughts. All of a sudden, his mind was filled with fear. All of a sudden, the most dark, most disturbing moment of Richard's life became... well, awkward.

Jermy, generally the word 'sudden' should be used sparingly at best.  Again, showing would work much better than telling.

That said, I think you have a good visual going at the start and if you can rework the rest of it to keep up the tension and suspense. And from the writing in the beginning, I have faith that you can do well all the way through. 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on December 09, 2006, 01:32:00 PM
I read the first few post, but not all of the thread. If the rules changed in the middle somewhere, sorry for missing it. This is under 75 words though. Opening to my NaNo novel I did this year.

-------------

Jeremy eyed the colorfully wrapped present under the tree. He had eagerly waited over a month, hoping the present laying there contained the most sought after game this Christmas season: the Mind Game. A new virtual game billed as the most realistic to date. It had sat under the tree, flirting with him, taunting him to sneak over and rip it open.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on December 09, 2006, 01:55:36 PM
Quote
Jeremy eyed the colorfully wrapped present under the tree. He had eagerly waited over a month, hoping the present laying there contained the most sought after game this Christmas season: the Mind Game. A new virtual game billed as the most realistic to date. It had sat under the tree, flirting with him, taunting him to sneak over and rip it open.

Simple, direct. Fine as far as I can see :)
What age group & genre is it aimed at?
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on December 09, 2006, 02:45:29 PM
YA space opera.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on December 09, 2006, 03:17:17 PM
YA space opera.


Ah good, I was thinking teen sci-fi as I read it. Close enough :)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jermy565 on December 09, 2006, 11:00:07 PM
That's when a very strange thing happened. The woman's body lying next to him suddenly woke up.

I think this sentence would have more impact if it were reworded.  Don't tell us something strange happened, show us.

All of a sudden, his head was filled with thoughts. All of a sudden, his mind was filled with fear. All of a sudden, the most dark, most disturbing moment of Richard's life became... well, awkward.

Jermy, generally the word 'sudden' should be used sparingly at best.  Again, showing would work much better than telling.

That said, I think you have a good visual going at the start and if you can rework the rest of it to keep up the tension and suspense. And from the writing in the beginning, I have faith that you can do well all the way through. 
Quote

Thanks for the input, I love the way you reworded my sentences, you are good! I understand what you mean when you say that I should show, rather than tell, what happened, but I like the idea of instantly hitting the person with what happened just as suddenly as my character was hit instead of allowing them to take it in through description. That said, I do agree that telling the reader something strange happened is redundant and excess. They will know something strange happened when they realize the woman awoke.

I have a bad habit of using word repitition to emphasize some sort of emotional rythm like I did with "sudden". I wonder if that is one of those things that is annoying to the reader and I haven't picked up on it.

Well, now I'm all excited about editing this now! Thnx!
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on December 09, 2006, 11:38:21 PM
Repetition like that could work in certain types of stories and styles, but not frequently and it has to be done well to fit with the context. Maybe a literary story could use that, where they dabble in the experimental and more poetic prose.

But in your standard story, it is generally going to be redundant and to some, yes, annoying. I try to avoid that word myself. It is like telling the reader what they should experience before they experience it. Better to show the MC's reaction to a "sudden" event. Like they jump, or gasp, or something.

I do like editing. I didn't think I would, but it is so exciting to see a story come to life as you add in more vivid descriptions, verbs, get rid of redundancies. My novel from last year has tons of redundancies in it, as I didn't know anything about that then, and boy was I redundant! Live and learn.

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on December 10, 2006, 09:30:32 AM

Thanks for the input, I love the way you reworded my sentences, you are good! I understand what you mean when you say that I should show, rather than tell, what happened,  

Jermy, I'm glad you found anything helpful in my critique, but I think I forgot to say: Use what you find useful and discard the rest.  I try to remember to mention that because I don't want to 'write' someone else's story in my own words.  But I'm happy to help when ever possible.

You have a good start and I look forward to seeing more.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: lhrowley on December 15, 2006, 10:07:12 AM
Ok. I was debating whether to look at other posts in this thread or post my own first. I'm glad I looked at some others first - there are some very talented writers here!

Here is the first paragraph of the novel I'm working on. Comments and criticisms appreciated!

Sunday morning: A time for the devout, the repentant, the self-righteous, and the unwillingly-dragged-along to take their places within the tidy landscape of hymnals, carefully-pressed gingham dresses, and cunningly disguised gossip. No matter where you worked, who you had cursed at in traffic, or what had compelled you to boot the neighbor’s dog back over the privacy fence, you could appear pious simply by showing up for an hour and muttering “amen” at appropriate intervals.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dizi_Di on December 15, 2006, 11:01:28 AM
This is my type of book, I can feel it. I think its a little over done, (others here are better at edditing than me)  but I love the first sentence, although a little long.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on December 15, 2006, 09:26:04 PM

Sunday morning: A time for the devout, the repentant, the self-righteous, and the unwillingly-dragged-along to take their places within the tidy landscape of hymnals, carefully-pressed gingham dresses, and cunningly disguised gossip. No matter where you worked, who you had cursed at in traffic, or what had compelled you to boot the neighbor’s dog back over the privacy fence, you could appear pious simply by showing up for an hour and muttering “amen” at appropriate intervals.

This would keep me reading if for no other reason than to see where you are going with it.

Aside from that, I found most of it well written.  For me, the exception would be "the unwillingly-dragged-along".  It reads a little awkward to me. 

On the other hand, I really like "within the tidy landscape of hymnals,".  Very neat and tight phrase.
 
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: vmccarthy5 on January 05, 2007, 06:41:44 PM
My first time on here so bear with me-
I hope this does it!

The Fur on my face was damp and sticky, that is what I remember most about my first few hours, A warm surface roughly rubbing parts of me I didn’t even know were mine. Other warm hairy bodies pressed up against mine kicking and nudging me around. Most of my first few days went like this.
 :)
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on January 06, 2007, 03:46:25 AM
The first line grabbed me then I kind of felt rather cossetted and wrapped up in hair and and warmth.   I felt this was fine but perhaps you could just pan out the warmth a little to expand to a further couple of paragraphs and not allow the reader to feel too much too soon.  I was keen to find out more about the other bodies who were they? The warmth kind of stifled me a little.

What I read sounds like you have feeling, and yes, the desired effect was to want more, and and I think I did but not sure.

Lin
Moderator

Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: steven_lambert_474 on January 06, 2007, 12:29:28 PM
the best opener to any novel i have read is that from Stephen King's IT: "the terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years- if it ever did end - began, so far as i know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain". Now i don't need to tell you how good King is, but that opener is classic King
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: honglokli on January 06, 2007, 04:32:10 PM
Hey this forum is a great idea...

I have something...

I was standing beside the buffet cart. It stayed there the entire journey, the server didn't attempt to serve drinks. The whole place was just crammed with people; those without seats blocking places where the cart could go. The couple who got the best standing only room were deep in coversation (I confess, I did listen in to the converstaion). In my weak attempt at my defense they were talking loud enough for me to be distracted from reading the paper.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: g andrew on January 11, 2007, 06:01:22 AM
I don't feel competent to comment on any of the other posts, but I'd like to submit my own...

Here's the opening of a fantasy novella I'm writing:

Ted Hapag held the Knight of Shamrocks for one last moment, propped against the tips of his fingers in poor balance. Feeling the card's greasy back and shabby sides, he was glad there were no telltale markings. At last, he let it go. The other players gasped.
Title: Re: Sticky: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on January 11, 2007, 06:21:36 AM
Quote
Ted Hapag held the Knight of Shamrocks for one last moment, propped against the tips of his fingers in poor balance. Feeling the card's greasy back and shabby sides, he was glad there were no telltale markings. At last, he let it go. The other players gasped.

I liked the surprise value of discovering the Knight was a card and not a real person, although I would have understood it better if it was just a 'King, Queen or a Jack'.
'In poor balance' doesn't quite sound right, but I can't think of an alternative right now.
Other than that I saw nothing wrong with it.

:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jeanette on January 12, 2007, 11:25:39 AM
Hi guys, just have to jump in! Here's my effort:

The blast of snow was like an explosion. It lifted her like ashes in the wind. The shock of it took Ria by surprise, and she gasped, inhaling snow. It was carrying her sideways down the mountain. She couldn’t breathe. She remembered her training: try to swim out of it!
She moved her arms uselessly in front of her, body twisting, snow filling her mouth and nostrils. The avalanche carried on, careless of the insignificant smear of colour carried in the blinding white.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on January 12, 2007, 01:36:27 PM
The blast of snow was like an explosion. It lifted her like ashes in the wind. The shock of it took Ria by surprise, and she gasped, inhaling snow. It was carrying her sideways down the mountain. She couldn’t breathe. She remembered her training: try to swim out of it!
She moved her arms uselessly in front of her, body twisting, snow filling her mouth and nostrils. The avalanche carried on, careless of the insignificant smear of colour carried in the blinding white.



Good. Just a few stray words you could edit out: A few suggestions below.

An explosion of snow lifted her like ashes in the wind.

The shock took Ria by surprise. (not sure you really need this because you also say 'she gasped' which shows she was surprised ansd shocked).

 She gasped, inhaling snow. It was carrying   carried her sideways down the mountain. She couldn’t breathe. She remembered her training: try to swim out of it!  - there are a lot of 'she's in this section, can you delete one?

She moved her arms uselessly in front of her, body twisting, snow filling her mouth and nostrils. The avalanche carried on  (repeated word) continued, careless of the insignificant smear of colour carried in the blinding white.  - love this bit!

Good :)

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: suziew on January 12, 2007, 03:36:12 PM
Here's my beginning - would appreciate your comments

The sound of childish laughter floated lazily through the warm summer air, promising fun for all.
“Leonie needs lots of other children to play with,” said Sara, “If she’s ever to forget.”
“Forget,” mumbled Martha to herself. The old woman rocked gently in her chair on the patio. She plucked at the daisy chain wilting in her lap: remembering other summers.

Thanx
Suz :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jeanette on January 12, 2007, 05:30:04 PM
Thank you NaomiM, that is far tighter. Cheers for your input  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on January 12, 2007, 07:35:53 PM
The sound of childish laughter floated lazily through the warm summer air, promising fun for all.
“Leonie needs lots of other children to play with,” said Sara, “If she’s ever to forget.”
“Forget,” mumbled Martha to herself. The old woman rocked gently in her chair on the patio. She plucked at the daisy chain wilting in her lap: remembering other summers.

Lovely.
The only bit that fell flat was Martha's response: “Forget,” mumbled Martha to herself. , but I have no suggestions for an alternative. I wouldn't want you to change the rest of it - The old woman...other summers. - which was the best bit.

Naomi :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: suziew on January 13, 2007, 05:38:02 PM
Thanx for the comment.
Do you think "Umm" would be better than "forget"?
 :-\
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on January 13, 2007, 05:48:34 PM
Hi Suziew and sorry for jumping in. :-\

I'd keep the 'forget' because it tells us there is an underlying story to be told.

But I think it needs to be expanded, without giving any of the 'story' away.

Not knowing where this is going this is my input:


"Forget,” muttered Martha. "chance would be a fine thing/ how could any child forget that." The old woman rocked gently in her chair on the patio. She plucked at the daisy chain wilting in her lap: remembering other summers.

Agree with Naomi - the last line is lovely although, to tie in with this 'secret' about Leonie maybe she should say:

remembering other, happier summers. :-\

hope this helps

Cathy C



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on January 13, 2007, 06:08:05 PM
Wrote a short story in one shot last night - following a sudden 'idea'.  What's the opener like ... does it hook you folks?  Hooks are my weakest point...  :-\

If I told you I was responsible for the death of my brother and my children, you’d think I was a terrible murderer. 

You see, when I first met Jason I lived at home with Dad.  Jason and his mates came round to do a job, laying tarmac for a new drive.  We lived in this big house, me, my brother and my dad.  Mum ran off years ago.

Anyway, I guess you want to know how I ended up like this – awaiting trial for the murder of my own kids.    But I’d better tell the whole story, ‘cos I can see you want all gory details – but you don’t actually care, do you?  You’ve made your mind up.  I’m guilty. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on January 13, 2007, 06:20:19 PM
Carrie,

The first line would definitely 'grab' me - fantastic.

But... (How’d you know that was coming up? ;D_)

You need more of a 'link' between the first para and the second. (At least to my mind. :-\)

You need to bring Jason in at the very beginning - or at least explain why you're bringing him in.

Example:

If I told you I was responsible for the death of my brother and my children, you’d think I was a terrible murderer, wouldn't you? But really, it was all down to Jason. 


Although, not knowing the story I could be completely off base :P
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: N.Mott on January 13, 2007, 06:58:19 PM
Thanx for the comment.
Do you think "Umm" would be better than "forget"?
 :-\

I think it's more the 'mumbled' bit that jars, rather than the 'forget'.
I don't think you need to spill the beans, as it were, just have a little more emphasis on 'forget',
e.g.
"Who could forget our little babe," Martha murmured to the dairy chain, wilting on her lap.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on January 14, 2007, 09:45:27 AM
spot on as ever Cathy.  I'll work on linking it better.

For classisits, its a rework of Jason and Medea.

With Jason as the baddie.

Carrie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on March 17, 2007, 06:36:29 PM
I think this is a good thread, and once again I'd like some feedback on a story I've just started.  So - would a publisher want to read more??

I was by the frozen peas when Judith came up to me.

”Hello dear, how are you?”

She had that sympathetic look in her eyes, the slightly frightened look that people give you when they know you’ve been through bereavement and your answer could be anything from the platitudinal ‘Fine’ through to ‘Shit’ followed by bursting into tears.

I, of course, gave her the ‘fine’ response, as expected and now well rehearsed. I’d tried the ‘shit’ answer and not got very far.  Funny how people react differently to you once your husband has died.

“You don’t look it.” She said.  “You look like shit.”
I laughed – I actually laughed.  First time in months.
“Well, I feel like shit, but people don’t usually want to hear me say it.”
Judith smiled.  She wasn’t someone I knew well, the parent of another child at the same school as my son, but she was someone I had always liked in a distant sort of way.
“We should get the boys together, you should come round.”
Well, she’d been honest, so I would be too.
“But they don’t actually like each other.”
She raised her eyebrows, but wasn’t offended.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on March 17, 2007, 07:47:05 PM
Carrie,

I like the basic premise.  A few thoughts.  As always it's your tale, to tell your way, but...


I was by the frozen peas when Judith came up to me.

Judith caught me by the frozen peas   (More immediate perhaps, and the recently bereaved do tend to live in their own tight little world, easily 'caught' by surprise.)

”Hello dear, how are you?”

She had that sympathetic look in her eyes, the slightly frightened look that people give you when they know you’ve been through bereavement and your answer could be anything from the platitudinal ‘Fine’ through to ‘Shit’ followed by bursting into tears.

Her eyes had the shifty frightened look I'd come to know so well recently.  The 'I want to help, but what the hell can I say?' look.  (Drop the lengthy explanation just for now. Show not tell?)

I, of course, gave her the ‘fine’ response, as expected and now well rehearsed. I’d tried the ‘shit’ answer and not got very far.  Funny how people react differently to you once your husband has died.

I took the easy option, sparing my still raw feelings, "Fine, Thanks."

“You don’t look it.” She said.  “You look like shit.”

I laughed – I actually laughed.  It seemed shockingly loud, surprisingly embarrasing.  And so damned wrong.[/color

“Well, I feel like shit, but people don’t usually want to hear me say it.”

"I feel like shit, but who wants to hear me say it?"

Judith smiled, relief in her eyes. I hardly knew her, just another parent at my son's school, but she somehow seemed more approachable than any of my old friends.

“We should get the boys together, you should come round.”
Well, she’d been honest, so I would be too.
“But they don’t actually like each other.”
She raised her eyebrows, but wasn’t offended.

(Would I be right in guessing Judith, and maybe her son, have been there themselves and know how it feels?  This is what I had in mind when thinking about the possible adjustments.)

Would I read more?  Probably.

Gyppo


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on March 17, 2007, 08:07:18 PM
Thanks Gyppo.

Cx
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: charlie on March 18, 2007, 04:37:00 PM
I think this is a good thread, and once again I'd like some feedback on a story I've just started. So - would a publisher want to read more??

I was by the frozen peas when Judith came up to me.

”Hello dear, how are you?”

She had that sympathetic look in her eyes, the slightly frightened look that people give you when they know you’ve been through bereavement and your answer could be anything from the platitudinal ‘Fine’ through to ‘Shit’ followed by bursting into tears.

I, of course, gave her the ‘fine’ response, as expected and now well rehearsed. I’d tried the ‘shit’ answer and not got very far. Funny how people react differently to you once your husband has died.

“You don’t look it.” She said. “You look like shit.”
I laughed – I actually laughed. First time in months.
“Well, I feel like shit, but people don’t usually want to hear me say it.”
Judith smiled. She wasn’t someone I knew well, the parent of another child at the same school as my son, but she was someone I had always liked in a distant sort of way.
“We should get the boys together, you should come round.”
Well, she’d been honest, so I would be too.
“But they don’t actually like each other.”
She raised her eyebrows, but wasn’t offended.


This say's gripping to me Carrie it has an unusual mix that sugests it is going to be funny and tragic all in one. I would read on.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jeanette on March 18, 2007, 06:00:48 PM
Hi guys. Here comes my effort:  :)

The blast of snow was like an explosion. It lifted her like a feather in the wind. The shock of it took her by surprise, and Ria gasped, inhaling snow. It was carrying her sideways down the mountain. She couldn’t breathe.
Swim out of it!  She remembered, moving her arms in front of her, turning her body into the flow, trying to clear the snow from her face and keep upright. The avalanche carried on, ignorant of the presence of a smear of colour in the pure white. The avalanche slammed her hard into the rising edge of the ridge, raising her up like a powerful wave. She gasped at the impact, pushing out desperately with her left hand, searching for an airspace. Her hand was pushed back to rest just in front of her face, her right arm trapped at her side. She couldn’t reach the beacon in her pocket. Above and beyond, the snow rushed on into a slow and reluctant silence. And then, it’s tantrum over, the mountain grew quiet once more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 19, 2007, 09:30:40 AM
The Chief Steward sat with his crotchet work on his knee.  He was watching a movie.   The other officers and crew sat silently, but the Chief had seen the movie before and at the moment he remembered when the cat sprang out from behind the curtains, he was ready to pounce with his knitting!!

I thought the first line was brilliant.  :D I'm not sure about the last line, thought, what it means. I haven't read through all the 19 pages so I don't know if this has been explained before.  ??? 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: charlie on March 19, 2007, 09:52:00 AM
Allie I think that one was Lin's example.
Hi guys. Here comes my effort: :)

The blast of snow was like an explosion. It lifted her like a feather in the wind. The shock of it took her by surprise, and Ria gasped, inhaling snow. It was carrying her sideways down the mountain. She couldn’t breathe.
Swim out of it! She remembered, moving her arms in front of her, turning her body into the flow, trying to clear the snow from her face and keep upright. The avalanche carried on, ignorant of the presence of a smear of colour in the pure white. The avalanche slammed her hard into the rising edge of the ridge, raising her up like a powerful wave. She gasped at the impact, pushing out desperately with her left hand, searching for an airspace. Her hand was pushed back to rest just in front of her face, her right arm trapped at her side. She couldn’t reach the beacon in her pocket. Above and beyond, the snow rushed on into a slow and reluctant silence. And then, it’s tantrum over, the mountain grew quiet once more.


The Idea was good and you would want to read on to find out What happens to her but I didn't really feel her panic.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 19, 2007, 10:08:34 AM
Oh, I get you, Charlie. It wasn't meant to be commented on? Well, I'll go take a look at some of the others.  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: charlie on March 19, 2007, 10:12:43 AM
His face set and unsmiling showed no sign of nerves although his heart felt as though it was trying to thump it's way out of his rib cage. he wondered not for the first time wheather he was doing the right thing.

charlie. x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: charlie on March 19, 2007, 10:14:47 AM
Check the dates at the top of the posts and bring yourself more up to date.

Charlie. x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 19, 2007, 10:18:57 AM
Are we not allowed to comment on any of those further back? I just went back and found one I liked but when I posted it didn't come up on the board.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 19, 2007, 12:23:20 PM
I would make some changes see what you think  Does this sound better or not?  I hope this helps

It was ten years since Angelina Pallister lost her sister and she promised herself never to follow in her footsteps. Her mother had told her "Get a life, have some fun" Maybe she should listen to her family, put the past behind her and move on.

Determined to stay on the path of righteousness, tonight she failed to keep that promise. Semi -conscious and pale, she felt herself being transported in an ambulance, its blue light strobing in the night.   Where they were taking her, she was unsure, all she heard were the words "Concord and ER”. Ah! yes, the Concord hospital.   There were voices and shouting, music played from the rave at the club. Then her life turned black like  the red button on her mobile phone, when pressed, all communication ceased.


Well its not perfect but do you think it sounds more exciting?

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 12:25:13 PM
Thanks Lin. Angelina didn't lose her sister, since she's introduced on the second page. Angelina's brought into the hospital from being date-raped, and in a coma. The rave wasn't at a club, but outside UNH.  I hope it's okay to post multiple first liners here.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 19, 2007, 12:30:17 PM
Ok I realise I dont know the story, but I thought the structure of the sentences may help you to boost the mystery and if a publisher is going to read this as a first liner, then this is what you need to make them want to read more.   Best not to post too many one liners as not everyone, including myself will see them.  Post one at a time get some comments and then post another when you are happy with the first lot of comments...  Hope this makes sense

All the best

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 12:38:41 PM
Thanks Lin. I've posted eight today. I'll do the last two tomorrow. I have to get it out of my mom's Hard Drive. Sorry. I didn't know. But I keep your thoughts in check to make it stronger. It does make sense. I did post another topic at  the writing circle today too.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 19, 2007, 02:30:56 PM
The point I made in the post that didn't come up was that I thought it was first lines that were to be critted, not the whole opening. If you look at some of the openings on here the first line on its own wouldn't grab you, or wouldn't even classify as an opening.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 02:42:18 PM
I got confused. I thought it was first liners as in lines and not openings. But I saw others, which were more than one line. If it was liners, I would've had all eight on one post, and the last two on the other.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 19, 2007, 02:47:09 PM
Ok let me set the records straight.

This is supposed to be the first and opening line of the first chapter in your novel.   The whole concept means that if a publisher reads the opening line, would he want to read more?

So if you post say the first paragraph of your first page in your book, are you leaving me wanting more?

Ok hope this clarifies what is required

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 02:50:17 PM
Thanks Lin. If it was opening lines, I would post all on one post, since all opening lines are less than 76 words. I guess you don't want me to do it again? If so, I can do that . . . if I've known sooner. :-)  For some opening lines like Mastermind and The Rave, I had to cut the opening paragraph into half, since it was over 100 words. Where do you find the emoticons?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 04:39:43 PM
Lin, I'll be doing the first lines of all of my novels (except two) on one post, and delete them when I'm done. Since you've clarified it's first lines and not opening paragraphs, I'll be doing it over, if it's okay. Sorry about the confusion. I put my comments in parenthesis on what I think of them.)
 

 Without a Trace:  Sloan Kilson woke up to the abrupt sound of her beeper. (I like this.  :)  )

After  Midnight:  KYRA O'MALLEY AND GARRICK  STEVENSON never expected their past would catch up with them.  (This is good.   ;)  )

Invincible:   FOR MOST OF HER LIFE, she was in hiding, and, was living on the run. (This is good.  :-* )

Mastermind: An unidentified slain corpse was found in a puddle of blood. (This is good.  :D )

The Rave:   Angelina Pallister didn’t want to end up like her old sister did, almost ten years ago.  (Good.  I keep your comments Lin for future reference.)

ATD: Operation Smokescreen:  She watched him from a distance.  (I think it's good.)

I accidentail forgot to copy the one for Where Danger Follows. It's the same for ATD. Oops. Here's one for Where Danger Follows:   Jangling door bells startled me. (Not bad.)

That's all I have for now. I have two more that I'll post on Wednesday. Feel free to comment on these. I'll comment on others too.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 19, 2007, 04:55:25 PM
Mrryhrt, I love the opening line of your novel. You've set the scenery perfect like Gone With the Wind. Shartarian is an interesting name for a character. Origin? The way you described the scenery caught my attention. Where's the title? Of course I want to read more. I thought I was right thee seeing the sunset in front of me.
Okay, I'll bite. Here's my first bit:

The setting sun streamed through a thin canopy of colored leaves, giving the illusion of warmth.  Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath.  Surely life couldn’t get any better than this.
Quote
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CarrieSheppard on March 19, 2007, 06:00:09 PM
Quote
This say's gripping to me Carrie it has an unusual mix


Thanks Charlie.  Actually - er - its going to be the kind of story I won't be posting on here!  Ahem.   ::)

I may even give it a happy ending (just to break from my usual tradition).

Carrie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 09:44:41 AM


Sat in a car parked up on Saint Helen's Road, Michael Dark thought about what it would take to kick a man to death.




Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 09:52:40 AM
Lynne, here's my comment.
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.
Quote

Sits, not sit's. Delete '. The hook is one long run-on sentence. Insert period after barbituates and capitalize S. Insert semi-colon and delete comma after job. The second sentence is good. This needs to be refined. It's okay. Spellcheck and proofread.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 09:55:05 AM
University Girl, below is my comments.
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 
Quote

Use singles for inside emphasis, doubles for outside. Personally I rather not start chapters with dialogue. That's just my preference. Delete period after ? The second sentence is a tad long. But it's not bad.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 09:56:45 AM
Sounds good Uni Girl. Sort of grabbing.

Here's my effort..

So I'm dead. Sucks really. But it's not like I didn't deserve it, well, that's what some people say anyway. I'll get them back though, let me show you how.




Whatcha think?

This isn't bad. It's short and succinct and snappy. I think it might  grab my attention.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 09:58:43 AM
 
Hi Guys,

If I can nip back to mrryhrt's post, here's my version of it; though I'm still not sure it's a strong enough 'hook'...

Sinking below the horizon, the setting sun nevertheless gave an illusion of warmth. Watching the scene through the thin canopy of coloured leaves, Shartanian eagerly anticipated each icy breath; surely life couldn’t get any better than this?

I will say I'm not 100% happy with the seni-colon; I think it reads better than two completely seperate sentences, but I'm not sure it's grammatically correct...

Dave.
Quote

Dave, this is even better. You used the semi-colon right. Keep up thet good work.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 10:00:14 AM
Back again...

And here's a little offering of my own. For those of you who have read this opening before, I apologise for being boring; but having learned (I hope) quite a lot from the forum in the few months past, I offer this latest version of my opening for your appraisal:

Flinching, the rider slammed into what felt like yet another solid wall of water; a curtain of rain driven by wind that was funnelled towards the head of the pass by the steep mountainsides defining the valley. She would be facing it head-on for the next four miles. Bullet splashes of rain blurred her visor as she controlled the urge to ride faster; to even try that would be lunacy in these conditions.

Ta,

Dave


Dave, this was great. Nice work. No further comments.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 10:47:15 AM

She had never dissected a body before.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 10:57:01 AM
She had never dissected a body before.


This is an interesting first line Allie. I think you can elaborate a little bit further, like a cadaver or a corpse. Not bad.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 11:09:28 AM
She had never dissected a body before.


Nice line.  I can see what you're going for, though I cannot help but think: why is a novice dissecting a body?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 11:43:25 AM
Well, there you are, Simond, you're wondering already about it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 11:46:50 AM
Well, there you are, Simond, you're wondering already about it.

So, why is she?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 11:59:18 AM
Well, I've only got as far as the first line so far (I'm a slow writer), so I'm still wondering myself.  :) If you think you can make a story out of please feel free. I'd be interested to see what happens.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:03:45 PM
Okay. What kind of genre are you aiming for? Give us some details like characters, location, etc. Maybe we can do a round robin of writing this together under your  name Allie.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:05:33 PM
Ok, here goes.... :-\

Wrote this about 5 years ago - the start to my first book (that sounds good, does't it. ;D)

At the time it felt like a best-seller...  Now I'm not so sure.... :-\

Caitlin felt the dream long before it appeared; felt it but, as always, was powerless to stop it. Her heart began to pound, blood rushing through veins and arteries at an alarming rate. She struggled to wake. But the only thing her desperate thrashing served to do was tie her up more firmly in the sheets until in the end, her body, like her mind, was caught and held in the dream’s rigid grasp.

It began, as it always did, with a face in a mirror. Her face!

CATHY C

This is great Cathy.  I like it. Does anyone want to comment on my seven? I miss your crits Cathy.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:05:54 PM
Well, I've only got as far as the first line so far (I'm a slow writer), so I'm still wondering myself.  :) If you think you can make a story out of please feel free. I'd be interested to see what happens.

Sure thing.  The only reason I can see for somebody to dissect a body for the first time is if they were a student at medical school.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:08:17 PM
i'll try something, remember this is not the real beginning but the pre-lude:

In pended with this intense notion of sadness ever since, well ever since I was six actually. It was a conundrum never seen before and never seen again. Why I was this way, what set this off? No one knows no one wanted to know. Until the day, I found out that I could never love, simply because my love was no more. Then everything fit together, why I had an inability to love, why I could not open up, simply why I was alone for al these years. This is I; I had no choice, no way out.

x
polexia

I think you can rephrase or rewrite the first line. Maybe reverse it. It's not a good hook for a prelude. But this is a good start for a romance told in first person Polexia.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:09:24 PM
Sure thing.  The only reason I can see for somebody to dissect a body for the first time is if they were a student at medical school.
I would have to agree with Simond. Like someone who wanted to be a medical examiner or coroner.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:13:19 PM
I would have to agree with Simond. Like someone who wanted to be a medical examiner or coroner.

Yeah, or a mortician or pathologist.  I get the feeling an Anglo American collaberation may prove difficult regarding of terminology and procedure.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:17:05 PM
I agree with you here Simond. Like Maura Isles from Tess Gerritsen's books or Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell.You might have to do research on that.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:19:34 PM
I agree with you here Simond. Like Maura Isles from Tess Gerritsen's books or Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell.You might have to do research on that.

Hey, what about Sam Ryan?  Maybe you need to do the research? ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:21:27 PM
Did you mean Allie or me? Sam Ryan? Who's the author?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:25:42 PM
Did you mean Allie or me? Sam Ryan? Who's the author?

I meant you, dear.  Sam Ryan's a character from a TV show called Silent Witness that is based on novels by Nigel McCrery.  Ryan, like Allie, is Irish.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:27:41 PM
Okay. I do my research. But that first line was for Allie's book. I've posted my seven already. I have two more left, Simond. I never heard of Silent Witness.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:30:01 PM
Maybe we can do a round robin of writing this together under your  name Allie.

I thought we were writing this together?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 12:33:29 PM
Yes we are. But I let you do the research on medical examiners. I have no clue on where to start. It's just you me and Allie. Who else? Who want to start? What's your first name Simond? I'm Kris.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: simond on March 20, 2007, 12:37:57 PM
I'm Simon.  Nice to virtually meet you.  I always think the fewer cooks the better.  In real life I work for a college in the UK and my only knowledge of medical practice comes from research I conducted for my crime novel. What do you do in real life?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 01:08:06 PM
I'm unemployed and looking for work. I guess we can arrange it. Email or PM me the details for this novel in mind. We need a title, characters, research, Allie to chip in, location and setting, etc. We can work out the details before we write. We also need a genre Simon?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 02:12:59 PM
I don't know what's happening to my posts. I posted my ideas as to why the girl is dissecting the body and they haven't come up. It must be something I'm doing. I'm a complete nontechie. I'll have to try to remember them.

I said that she could be dissecting an animal's body rather than a human's
She could be looking for jewels hidden in the body (having taken it from a graveyard)
She could be cutting it up to make it easier to hide the fact that she'd murdered it
She could be an alien trying to find out what humans are made of
 :o
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 02:16:02 PM
Good ideas. She can be a pre-vet student, wanting to be a veternarian.  For number two, she could be a medical examiner working with the cops. For number three, she could be the murder of animals like jewel or drug smuggling. For number four, we're got science fiction here. Simon, what do you think? Which one do you want to work with Allie? Nontechie?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 04:32:27 PM
 Here's my crit. Hope this helps.
Topic Summary
Posted on: Today at 17:28:52Posted by: cheriker 
Insert Quote
OK, here's mine.  Be firm but kind.


It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day?

But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.


Reply from Lin

I liked this it grabbed me but I do think you should put the last paragraph together with the first para.   eg

 


It was not the sort of day one would imagine for a funeral.  The sky should have been heavy with clouds.  It should have been pouring rain.  Instead, the morning sky was a clear, China blue, a hue that could only be found in Carolina in the early spring.  How was it possible to bury her father on such a radiant day? But then no one besides Emma knew he'd been murdered.

I wanted more

Lin

This is good. I would have to agree with Lin on her suggestion. I loved how you set the scenery for this picture. You're off to a good start.



 

 

Quote
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 04:51:08 PM
I actually wrote a poem on this idea once. How's that for the universal mind, no new ideas, etc.?  :)


A Fine Day

It should have been raining.
It always is in the movies -
Very useful for hiding the mourners’ tears.
It should have been raining,
But the day was fine and dry,
So I smiled and pretended it was the sun
Making my eyes water,
Acted as if this were an ordinary day
And I just somehow happened to come here
Mistaking it for a park.
I could easily have done that, you know.
There were children, even though they were a bit subdued,
As if tired out from playing.
And the flowers were all so beautiful,
Even though they, too, were dying. 
It should have been raining,
The very sky should have been crying.
But instead
There was only the cold, cold sunshine
Pouring desolation on my head.



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 04:54:11 PM
Allie,
I actually wrote a poem on this idea once. How's that for the universal mind, no new ideas, etc.?  :)


A Fine Day

It should have been raining.
It always is in the movies -
Very useful for hiding the mourners’ tears.
It should have been raining,
But the day was fine and dry,
So I smiled and pretended it was the sun
Making my eyes water,
Acted as if this were an ordinary day
And I just somehow happened to come here
Mistaking it for a park.
I could easily have done that, you know.
There were children, even though they were a bit subdued,
As if tired out from playing.
And the flowers were all so beautiful,
Even though they, too, were dying. 
It should have been raining,
The very sky should have been crying.
But instead
There was only the cold, cold sunshine
Pouring desolation on my head.




Quote

This isn't bad for a poem. Have you published any poetry? I have here and there since 9/2005.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 05:09:42 PM
I have, Kris, when I was younger. I'm busy gathering a collection now.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 05:11:14 PM
Hey, they just gave me another star. What can I get with that?  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 20, 2007, 05:15:53 PM
Cool Allie. I have no idea. Good for you. Poetry book or chapbooks? I had no luck selling mine last year.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on March 20, 2007, 07:59:42 PM
Hey, they just gave me another star. What can I get with that?  :)

It lets you move diagonally (between the queues) in Mucky D's, but they still put that hideous gherkin thing in your cheeseburger whether you want it or not ;-)

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 20, 2007, 08:06:23 PM
We don't have a Mucky D's over here, Gyppo.  :) Is it some sort of McDonald's-type place?

And what's a chapbook, Kris?

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on March 20, 2007, 08:25:54 PM
We don't have a Mucky D's over here, Gyppo.  :) Is it some sort of McDonald's-type place?


Oops.  Family nickname for McDonalds ;-)

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on March 20, 2007, 08:30:08 PM
Me again. I'm often amused by the adverts which appear at the bottom of the page on MWC, and they way they usually bear some connection to the subject of the thread.

But...

I mention McDonalds and up pop a series of adverts for grief counselling services.

Coincidence?  I think not!

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 21, 2007, 06:02:47 AM
I'm one of those people who never notice ads, unless I am doing so unawares subliminally. But I must look now to see if I can notice some interesting correlations.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: angelscribe on March 21, 2007, 03:27:27 PM
Lynne-Lynn,
1ST TIME WRITER

Lexi wakes with" hot fire" in the pit of her belly you would think with all the sucking and bumping last night the "fire" would be gone by now. Last night I went to a gay bar and met this big booty chick who works at a local firm, Delete period, insert comma I have seen het her at lunch Cafe De'Els. Insert space. What a night.  First sentence is a run-in.  Insert a semi-colon after belly, comma after bumping and night.

She rolls over, looks at Lamont missing comma, insert her husband of 8 eight years with a temporay temporary feeling of disgust 'no delete ' or is it saddness. sadness insert ? Oh well what delete space ever it is, it's just not important enough cause I'am I'm or I am still hornny horny from last night" delete quotes and pretty sore  Insert period, capitalize I it was my first time wearing a Strap-on lowercase s you would have thought I did a 20k marathon. Shit Missing ! Insert. where is my vibrater Missing ? Insert. maybe If I hit one more nut I could focus on "Lamont " and the Kids. Lowercase K

Quote

This is okay. But there's so many grammar/punctuation errors that make it sloppy reading. Proofread and spellcheck for errors. If you sent this out, to be honest, it'll be rejected since it's not polished. Have someone read it out to you or you can do it yourself. I wouldn't mind see a rewrite of this.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: angelscribe on March 21, 2007, 03:35:48 PM
Geoff, here's my two cents worth.
 
An extract from my revised first chapter:

A FARANDOLE FOR THREE

The June sunbeams coursed through the leaves of the ancient oak trees, whose branches almost formed a canopy over the lane, projecting a dappled pattern on the bonnet of the red Peugeot. I drove with my former comrade, Luther Pawnov besides me. That pattern took me back to those shadows of the same trees cast by the moonbeams on the bonnet of the grey Kubelwagen nearly fifty years before.
 


COMMENT FOR GEOFF

Im not sure whether this was too descriptive in the first line, its a beautiful description but I rather felt it wasn't getting to the point quick enough for me.  Maybe "whose branches formed a canopy over the lane" isnt necessary.  I felt it was too long to catch my attention.  And "The pattern took me back" could be changed to "I recalled a time, fifty years before,  when the shadows of the same trees were cast by moonbeams on the bonnet of a grey Kubelwagen.  I think that sharpens the image.

Just another way of putting it, but in this respect perhaps its more to the point and grabs my attention sooner.  What do you think?   Just some ideas to throw around.   You do write well though, its very good.

Lin
Moderator
Quote

This is nice. I would have to agree with Lin. (Does anyone want to comment on mine?)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 22, 2007, 06:36:28 PM
Okay, here's the first paragraph of my book:

David jerked around at every creak and scrape that whispered out of the darkest corners of the house. The air was stale and stifling—streaked by dusty shafts of light that poured off the setting sun. He moved watchfully—trying to ignore the few remaining pieces of sheet-draped furniture that dotted the large living room.

That's it. What do you all think?

thanks
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 22, 2007, 06:53:24 PM
I think 'jumped' would be better than 'jerked around'. But otherwise not bad. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 22, 2007, 07:47:28 PM
I think 'jumped' would be better than 'jerked around'. But otherwise not bad. :)

Thanks for the advice, but I think "jumped" would be too confusing, making readers think he actually jumped. I know it sounds stupid, but in past versions of the MS people were confused (in forums) about certain phrases that said one thing, yet, in their eyes, implied another.

"Jerked" offers up the image of him whipping around nervously (whipping was also tried before--too confusing according to feedback). "Jerking" is something anyone who has ever been afraid of the dark, can relate to--especially children. Who am I kidding--I am a grown up and I'm afriad of the dark. I would be jerking, whipping, AND jumping, if I was alone in a dark, abandoned house.

Thanks for the feedback:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 07:15:44 AM
I would have to agree with Allie.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on March 23, 2007, 07:34:12 AM
I think 'twitched' without using the 'around' would avoid the argument entirely, but every writer must use their own 'voice'.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: albo on March 23, 2007, 07:42:46 AM
I'm not sure what would work better but I'm not keen on 'jerked' either. I'd prefer jumped - to me it'd make perfect sense, David is jumpy so he jumps!

On another note, don't you love the 'ump' family of words? Mump, bump, rump, hump...

maybe it's just me.

Al
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 08:10:22 AM
I think it's okay to use those words.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 23, 2007, 08:25:50 AM
Thanks for all your advice. Keep it coming. It great to have some place to turn for support from others like oneself.

Here's what I dpn't understand. The first chapter of my book is only five pages (not too long for an opening that introduces the main character and shows what his life has been like before the main story kicks off. That is not a slow start. By the time the character gets to where he's going, you already know  a lot about him, so you can appreciate what's happening to him.

And yet, I am having such a difficult time getting an agent. Sorry for the ramble. I know this is not the category to be posting this in.

Thanks again for the words of advice everyone offered:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 08:37:49 AM
You're welcome. Contact me ccff22290 with a PM. Maybe I can help you out on getting an agent with some advice.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 23, 2007, 08:58:53 AM
To Angelscribe. I sent you a msg. Thanks for the help. I look forward to hearing from you:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 09:12:36 AM
I've sent you a reply back. I can give you what I know Cindy.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 23, 2007, 11:07:47 AM
I think it would be a bit strange if you had no trouble getting an agent. Either you'd be some kind of genius or else I'd worry about the quality of the agent. Having trouble getting an agent or publisher seems to be par for the course. It's part of the apprenticeship. I certainly wouldn't let that put me off.  There is a lot of useful advice around about how to approach agents, and it would probably be well worth your while doing a bit of research or reading a book on just this aspect of your chosen career. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 11:09:49 AM
I would have to agree with Allie.  There should be a forum thread here about getting published-agencies, publishers, queries, synopsises, etc. Maybe we can start one at The Writing Circle forum section. :-)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Allie on March 23, 2007, 11:12:01 AM
Good idea, Kris. You're sure there isn't one already? Maybe there was an old one. But it should be stickied, I think.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 11:17:35 AM
Thanks Allie. I can check. If not, we can start one to help Cindy and others out.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 23, 2007, 11:39:21 AM
The Authors Reseource centre should have information on this

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 11:42:45 AM
Thanks for sharing this information Lin. Maybe we should check it out.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 02:34:32 PM
Here's my last two first liners of two old WIPs novels. Please let me know what you think of my nine novels, old or new. I'm currently working at 5 at a time, (mostly 4 at a the moment).

Don't Trust Anyone-     JERI LYNN PALMEROY, and her best friend for twenty-one years, Marnie Blayne, had planned their  summer vacation perfectly. (This might be a bit weak.)


Gone... For Good-    I DIDN’ T THINK that I’ve gone too far, way too far. (This is good.)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 23, 2007, 06:13:07 PM
You guys are all so great. I have been trying to get an agent for about two years now. It is so hard. I got another rejection to day. I don'tunderstand. My letter is pretty good, and I do the research on the agents I approach. I always make sure they cover the genre and other incidentals that fit what I write. So what's the big????

Thanks everyone:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 23, 2007, 06:15:25 PM
I've sent you a reply back. I can give you what I know Cindy.

To Angelscribe. Where did you send the msg? my email is ccff22290@yahoo.com. Can you send it there? Anyone else who can help out can do the same as well. I am so grateful to you all for wanting to help me and others like me who are trying to get their foot in the door.:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on March 23, 2007, 06:20:44 PM
Hey guys, I posted my query letter  here. Check it out on the Review My Work section. You'll see my ccff22290 username. It's called Query letter advice. Check it out and tell me what you think. I can really use the help.

Thanks
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 06:55:22 PM
We're here for you Cindy. I promise to take a peak at it tomorrow afternoon.  8)

Cindy, I sent you the message via PM here at MWC. I'll send it to you at your Yahoo website. Hope you can do the same for me later.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 23, 2007, 06:57:26 PM
Cindy, I've sent you an invite with your email address from Yahoo 360 to be my friend.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 24, 2007, 05:16:30 AM
Hi guys,

Could I ask you pretty please to stay on topic here - Merci!!  Use the PM or Chat room if you want to swap e-mail addies etc.

Ta

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 24, 2007, 07:07:09 AM
Sorry Lin. I try to stop on topic to give Cindy advice about  agents.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Bubbles on March 24, 2007, 12:19:08 PM
Hi Everyone, I've been away so have not kept up with everything as I should have, but thought I'd post these few lines of a novel I tried to complete a few years ago.  (It has stalled, now.)


Ink, that's what the smell reminded her of.  It was as if she'd unscrewed a bottle of red Quink and poured it over her hands, but the memory of those peppery, ozone top-notes of schoolday fountain pens stopped there.  This liquid had darker undertones, meaty, rich.  As she pulled her palms apart, their glutinous soft suck was the only sound in the room.  She raised her hands to her face and pushed them, still hot and viscous, upwards into her hair in an act of annointment.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Bubbles on March 24, 2007, 12:20:44 PM
Crumbs, sorry, just read that it should have been ONE LINE.  Sorry folks, but I do get carried away!  Will make sure I read slowly next time.
Bubbles.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: angelscribe on March 24, 2007, 12:22:45 PM
Bubbles, I think it's okay. Other entries looked like an opening paragraph than line. I'll be doing my revised one next week. Yours is good. Not bad.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Hmmm on July 17, 2007, 01:51:52 AM
Author: Myself. First paragraph, first chapter. [NB. This is a radio announcement, it's clear in the third paragraph. Posted second paragraph because it's only one line.]

The World Liberation Government is pleased to announce in its first Strategic Quarterly Moving Forwards Report the cancellation of the Internet for the safety of all World Citizens. The policy of continuous improvements, moving forwards and downsizing people's stress has been implemented ahead of schedule for the benefit of all stakeholders. It would not be an unwise decision if we all remain silent together to remember the tragic disappearances of our citizens who owned and operated their own websites and email accounts.

The WLG's Autothinker Undersecretary for Strategic Moving Forwards explains...

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on July 17, 2007, 04:07:08 AM
First impressions for me on this one

Although it was technically very correct, I felt the following line was a bit heavy going for a first liner.

The policy of continuous improvements, moving forwards and downsizing people's stress has been implemented ahead of schedule for the benefit of all stakeholders

Hope this helps, maybe you could simplify this to make it sound less techinical and more involving

Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on July 17, 2007, 04:52:34 AM
This is the opening paragraph of my middle-grade (9-12 yrs old) novel. Let me know what you think. If you like it, check out my posting in Review my work that I posted called, "Last revision. Feedback desperately needed on this. Very short chpt"


I'd like to know what all you wonderful people think of it (the paragraph, and hopefully the chapter. The chapter is very very short, only a few paragraphs. So if anyone could find the time, I look forward to the feedback.


Opening:

The man lifted the crying baby from the tree-carved crib, unable to bring himself to look down at the mother's lifeless accusing stare. He made a desperate escape from the family's home, leaving behind a trail of trouble. No time to run. With a quick Spell, he levitated off the ground, and flew away, heart thrashing.


So what do you all think of it?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on July 17, 2007, 05:09:30 AM
I felt there were too many letter C's in the first sentence.(crying, Tree-carved crib)   Trail of trouble was cliche and too many T's
Heart Thrashing gave me a vision of the heart outside of the body.

Perhaps this may help, just an example of how you can make your opening line more positive.

Raising the baby from the wooden crib, the man was unable to bring himself to look down at the mother's cold lifeless stare.

He spoke, casting a spell. (Maybe some dialogue here) Levitating off the ground, he disappeared, flying into the distance , the baby in his arms, his heart pounding.

I hope this helps.

Lin
Moderator

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on July 17, 2007, 05:19:53 AM
CC,

This is a bit literary, which of course I like right away. I like the alliterations. Perhaps, the beginning of the last line needs a bit of work. I like Lin's idea of the muttering of a short spell here, but only if you can come up with something short and perfect. "Spell" is not a proper noun; no caps. I still think this is perfect for an adult audience who will appreciate the flavor of your word choices and groupings. Perhaps, that is one of the rejection problems. What the heck, query it a couple of times as adult fantasy and see what you get in response.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on July 17, 2007, 06:35:26 AM
Thank you both.

Lin, I appreciate your advice, but there are a few things I should point out. The crib is not simply made of wood--it is a crib carved out of a tree, as the parents have a tie in with nature and the woods (it is a magical crib). Also, I don't really think making the opening more positive is the right move. It is supposed to be a dark scene, and there is nothing positive about darkness. And I think the 'Cs" give the prose of that section more umph and rhythm. And the mother's stare must be accusing, not simply lifeless and cold. Accusing has more impact, and as the book is written, the "accusing" factor is important. But thank you.

Nadine, I thought about the adult market, but for now it's still heading towards either YA or MG. Also, I have a virtual encyclopedia of spells I've created for this series. Maybe I will use one, so thank you both for that tidbit.

Thank you for the feedback.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ccff22290 on July 17, 2007, 06:42:36 AM
How about this version (a few changes made)

The man lifted the crying baby from the tree-carved crib, unable to bring himself to look down at the mother's lifeless accusing stare. He made a desperate escape from the family's home, abandoning everything he had ever stood for. No time to run. With a quick spell, he levitated off the ground, and flew away, heart thundering.


Does this work better?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on July 17, 2007, 06:43:06 AM
I think I was looking at this from the point of view of the publisher reading it for the first time.   The example I gave may not have been factually correct but I hoped it would provide an example of how you could change your sentences around.  That's all.  
 

Lin
Moderator
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Hmmm on July 17, 2007, 06:45:48 AM
First impressions for me on this one

Although it was technically very correct, I felt the following line was a bit heavy going for a first liner.

The policy of continuous improvements, moving forwards and downsizing people's stress has been implemented ahead of schedule for the benefit of all stakeholders

Hope this helps, maybe you could simplify this to make it sound less techinical and more involving

Lin

Thank you Lin. I'll take that advice throughout all my chapters, writing carefully and slowly instead of banging out 10,000 words a day and then trimming and editing.

Appreciated very much,

-- Praetorian
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Hmmm on July 17, 2007, 06:52:12 AM
Lin, how about this?


The World Liberation Government is pleased to announce in its first Strategic Quarterly Moving Forwards Report the cancellation of the Internet. This is for the safety of all World Citizens. The policy of downsizing people's stress has also been implemented ahead of schedule for the benefit of all stakeholders, by adding Calmazepam to the world's water supplies.

Let us remain silent together to remember the tragic disappearances of our citizens who owned and operated their own websites and email accounts.

The WLG's Autothinker Undersecretary for Strategic Moving Forwards explains...

Edit: Spokesthinker was a mistake. It had always been autothinker, with a concept in the novel of autothink. It's derived from the verbal diarrhoea that Orwell writes about in his essay "Politics and the English Language" in which it comes out so easily that your words think your thoughts for you.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 17, 2007, 07:37:26 AM
How about this version (a few changes made)

The man lifted the crying baby from the tree-carved crib,
I'm not just being contrary, but tree-carved crib just doesn't sound right.  Was it carved by a tree?

Okay, I've read your explanation and know what you mean but surely it reads better with the 'carved' first, and in this case, seeing as it's magical wouldn't it be bettter to specify the wood?

A hand carved Rowan crib (or magical wood of your choice) could perhaps help set the scene a little better.  Only one more word but a lot more information.

But, as always, everyone has to tell a tale in their own way.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Elodie-Caroline on October 10, 2007, 09:02:01 AM
I'm sorry that this is a little long... I'm shipping this around agencies at the moment and my beta-readers all loved it and said it was definitely a page turner  :)


Elodie

Samantha woke with a start as the telephone rang on her bedside table. She focused in on the clock as she groped around for the receiver. It was only six-fifteen am, who could it be at this time of the day? ‘Yes?’
   
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on October 10, 2007, 10:49:51 AM
Good opening, Elodie, however, "woke with a start" is an awful cliché. I'd get rid of it, after all, you don't want to give an agent an excuse for rejecting your submission in the first sentence. I would also avoid following one sentence that contains "as" directly with another containing "as". So, maybe something like this:

Samantha woke as the telephone rang on her bedside table. She focused in on the clock and groped around for the receiver. It was only six-fifteen am, who could it be at this time of the day? 'Yes?'
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Elodie-Caroline on October 10, 2007, 01:51:03 PM
Thank you very much Foxy, your version looks much better than mine. It's strange isn't it, no matter how often you go over your own work, you never seem to see the flaws until someone else points them out  :)



Elodie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on October 11, 2007, 01:01:46 AM
Hi Everyone,

This is an interesting topic.
I guess I'll put my writing out there.
This is one of the beginings I was toying with.
Don't know if I'm going to use it as a prologue or for my first chapter.
Or maybe the jacket liner.


Jonathon Marconi came to Santa Cruz for a reason, to get his life back together. Three months passed since his wife, Sara died. She was killed by a drunk driver when she was coming home from work. It was his brother, Adrian, a police officer for the Bridgeport PD, who notified him of Sara’s death. Jonathon was in New York City that day and didn’t have time to drive the three hours back to Bridgeport, so he used his helicopter to get home.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on October 11, 2007, 01:24:37 AM
The dream had seemed real, even if it contained several impossibilities. Alan lay contemplating it with his eyes still closed. Perhaps he was dreaming this moment because something was dangling over his head, he could sense it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: kieah on October 11, 2007, 09:31:10 PM
Jonathon was in New York City that day and didn’t have time to drive the three hours back to Bridgeport, so he used his helicopter to get home.

I like it all except this last line...it doesn't flow well in my mind.

I thought something like this
'Three hours away in New York at the time, he hadn't had time to drive home'
but then it hit me that that means his brother must have
1. told him by phone (how awful)
2. driven to NY first (wasting 3 hours)
3. lived in NY and was notified by Bridgeport police to tell Jonathan as they knew he was in NY (too complicated therefore unlikely -simplest explanation and all that).

Anyway just something that niggled and took my brain away from the story.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: kieah on October 11, 2007, 09:38:50 PM
Perhaps he was dreaming this moment because something was dangling over his head, he could sense it.

Fantastic - I was interested in the beginning and the totally hooked with the
Quote
something dangling over his head
part.  I loved how
Quote
he could sense it
...so we don't even know if it is really there.

However
Quote
he was dreaming this moment
???  It felt awkward like it was a mistake, like it should have been 'at this moment' even though I know you cant use that there (sorry I don't know if that makes sense).
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: kieah on October 11, 2007, 09:55:04 PM
Anyway Hi, I'm new and this thread really caught my attention.  I read it all the way through (took a while because with a little baby I'm a little time poor) and loved so many of your openers!

Back in the day, in my young naivety I thought when I settled down, had kids and became a SAHM I would have all this free time to work on my writing. HA!

It hasn't worked that way but I am trying to make time now or I will never get started...so here is the opener to my first real effort (started about 5 years ago), its the prologue.

Dark.  Along the horizon they stalk.  They are known by many names, and in this land it is ‘The Horde’.  They are not men, and no-one has lived long enough to fathom what kind of creature they are.  Little is known, only that they are nomads.  A never-ending tide of death - that sweeps the land as a tsunami devouring every soul in sight.  There is no hiding; no negotiations.  They are The Horde and they have swept down upon this land*.  The wind carries a stench of rotting flesh before them; behind lies nothing but bones.

* I'm unsure here if I should try to find another word or introduce the countries name here, as it is I'm not too happy with the feel of the use of 'land' for a 3rd time.

Thanks for your input in advance!
Kieah
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: quilter on October 12, 2007, 11:37:46 AM
"That was the best day of my life.I love you for being my love.."he said.                                                                     She replied with a smile.                    "Will you marry me?"                           Her smile faded away slowly.Suddenly,she stood up and started walking towards the waters,making him go numb and curse himself under his breath for having said that..                                                                                  "i'll be yours until death do us apart"The reply startled him pulling him back to life.She was aware that this,was the right time to don a bridal outfit,but what she was unaware was that death will certainly do them apart,quite sooner than they both could imagine...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on October 17, 2007, 02:32:30 AM
Quilter,

I liked the beginning half. The later part seemed to give too much away. I know this type of foreshadowing is typical. but telling me so soon that one of the main characters is likely to die, told me too much. I wouldn't miss that last, very long and complicated sentence.

You've got it on spot with the first part, though. IMO. I loved that she was walking away and he was kicking himself, then the unexpected, yes. Masterful.

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lilguido on October 19, 2007, 04:16:33 AM

Dark.  Along the horizon they stalk.  They are known by many names, and in this land it is ‘The Horde’.  They are not men, and no-one has lived long enough to fathom what kind of creature they are.  Little is known, only that they are nomads.  A never-ending tide of death - that sweeps the land as a tsunami devouring every soul in sight.  There is no hiding; no negotiations.  They are The Horde and they have swept down upon this land*.  The wind carries a stench of rotting flesh before them; behind lies nothing but bones.

* I'm unsure here if I should try to find another word or introduce the countries name here, as it is I'm not too happy with the feel of the use of 'land' for a 3rd time.


Heya Kieah,

I liked your opening very much. Not a critic by any stretch of the imagination, but I will offer my thoughts. I do understand your concern about the multiple uses of the word 'land', as I often find myself in similar situations. It seems to me you do have a few choices that, imo, wouldn't destroy the feel or meaning of your work.

They are known by many names, and in this realm it is 'The Horde'.

or perhaps go ahead and introduce the country with the first instance of 'land'

They are known by many names, and in this land, <insert country name>, it is 'The Horde'.

The second instance of 'land' is fine I believe, I would not change it.

It might be a bit difficult to try and work the name of the country into the third instance, unless you change the order of the last couple sentences.

There is no hiding, no negotiations. The wind carries a stench of rotting flesh before them, behind lies nothing but bones. They are The Horde and they have swept down upon <country name>

Which would allow you a lead in into a description of the country, if that is your intent.

Anyway... there's my two cents. Hope to read more of your work,

-Lilguido
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bob414bob on October 19, 2007, 05:38:29 AM
Okay here's mine.



Eysha jerked awake to a shrill scream, followed by a dull thud. Throwing aside her deer hide covering, she leapt up, straight into her mother's arms.
  “Hush!” Solar hissed, clamping her hand over Eysha's mouth.
Wide-eyed, Eysha glanced toward the door flap in time to see her father grab his spear and run outside. Solar relaxed her grip on Eysha's face.
  “It's a raid,” she whispered. “We must hide.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: polexia on October 19, 2007, 07:06:45 AM
this is a short-story that i'dd finish in the shortest time yet, and am working-out some smaller details..., please give feedback:

Sunday was her special cold coffee morning; it was special because it was the only day that she did not make new coffee. She justified that as a way to distinct that day – meaning Sunday - from non-sense or any other structure. The stale and murky substance filled her system and drowsed with it any feelings created trough-out the week. The cat licked her shoes – shoes she kept in the refrigerator – cleaning of the remainder of Saturday night’s dirt. All of which was now gone. A mere dust particle ready to be re-absorbed by the kind of institution that does those – re-absorbing of particles - things.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hellbunnie on October 19, 2007, 11:27:06 AM
Eysha jerked awake to a shrill scream, followed by a dull thud. Throwing aside her deer hide covering, she leapt up, straight into her mother's arms.
  “Hush!” Solar hissed, clamping her hand over Eysha's mouth.
Wide-eyed, Eysha glanced toward the door flap in time to see her father grab his spear and run outside. Solar relaxed her grip on Eysha's face.
  “It's a raid,” she whispered. “We must hide.”

It certainly caught my attention. As long as you remember to flesh out on characters before diving into the plot so the reader stays informed, I think it'll be great. :D

this is a short-story that i'dd finish in the shortest time yet, and am working-out some smaller details..., please give feedback:

Sunday was her special cold coffee morning; it was special because it was the only day that she did not make new coffee. She justified that as a way to distinct that day – meaning Sunday - from non-sense or any other structure. The stale and murky substance filled her system and drowsed with it any feelings created trough-out the week. The cat licked her shoes – shoes she kept in the refrigerator – cleaning of the remainder of Saturday night’s dirt. All of which was now gone. A mere dust particle ready to be re-absorbed by the kind of institution that does those – re-absorbing of particles - things.

I don't think nonsense is really meant to have structure...err, right? You give many details in this beginning paragraph, but make sure each one is absolutly essential. Also, you need to proofread this paragraph, as there are some general grammar and spelling mistakes. "Drowsed with it"...what are you trying to say there?

Hope it helps. (:

Aaannddd here's the first bit of my novel for NaNoWriMo. It's actually the first bit of the prologue, as I can't actually write the novel till November (though I reaalllly want to):

The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Tracy D on October 19, 2007, 02:53:45 PM
"'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!'"

I love the first sentence.  The only thing that I would change about the paragraph is that I would take out the "I wasn't stupid."  I don't get that one phrase in the context of the paragraph.  In fact, it seems to somewhat contradict the "I had settled..." 

Sincerely,
Tracy D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: polexia on October 20, 2007, 08:26:31 AM

It certainly caught my attention. As long as you remember to flesh out on characters before diving into the plot so the reader stays informed, I think it'll be great. :D

I don't think nonsense is really meant to have structure...err, right? You give many details in this beginning paragraph, but make sure each one is absolutly essential. Also, you need to proofread this paragraph, as there are some general grammar and spelling mistakes. "Drowsed with it"...what are you trying to say there?

Hope it helps. (:

Aaannddd here's the first bit of my novel for NaNoWriMo. It's actually the first bit of the prologue, as I can't actually write the novel till November (though I reaalllly want to):

The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.

of course, that is the main point; actually nonsense means it has a bad or incoherent structure, but it is vital for the rest of the story (which deals with a Ruby, who changes constantly but actually is doing the same over and over again) these detailed accounts in the beginning are meant to illustrate that or act as a metaphor with the same point.
regarding grammar and spelling: i usually have a friend from mine from oxford read something trough before i send it to a publisher-type.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hellbunnie on October 20, 2007, 08:40:13 AM
I just meant that, taken in the entire phrase ("non-sense or any other structure"), it looks like nonsense is being described as "structured", which to me gives the impression of organization, which nonsense is not.

I'm not saying that it's wrong...if it does accurately describe what you want, than okay, but I say there should be a less awkward sentence you could replace it with.

And, as long as your friend from Oxford hasn't proofread this paragraph of yours yet, then okay. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: polexia on October 21, 2007, 10:22:57 AM
I just meant that, taken in the entire phrase ("non-sense or any other structure"), it looks like nonsense is being described as "structured", which to me gives the impression of organization, which nonsense is not.

I'm not saying that it's wrong...if it does accurately describe what you want, than okay, but I say there should be a less awkward sentence you could replace it with.

And, as long as your friend from Oxford hasn't proofread this paragraph of yours yet, then okay. :)

i understand that it way all seem a bit awkward a way to structure s sentence; i just seem to like this way of telling a story, in this case it already eludes to the basis of the story...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hellbunnie on October 21, 2007, 10:27:23 AM
i understand that it way all seem a bit awkward a way to structure s sentence; i just seem to like this way of telling a story, in this case it already eludes to the basis of the story...

...I thought it was bad for the basis of the story to elude the sentence...? Now I'm confused.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: polexia on October 21, 2007, 10:38:09 AM
...I thought it was bad for the basis of the story to elude the sentence...? Now I'm confused.


i mean that the sentence represents a state of mind - the state of Ruby, by which she doesn't want to be bound, and needs some oddities to give her a sense of normality - and a mode in the story - in that all change but somehow stay the same, by that it doesn't make sense, doesn't appear necessary but is a structure all the same - you can take it further and further than this. but at the end of the day it is just a sentence......you must be more confused now...sorry for that....
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hellbunnie on October 21, 2007, 10:59:44 AM

i mean that the sentence represents a state of mind - the state of Ruby, by which she doesn't want to be bound, and needs some oddities to give her a sense of normality - and a mode in the story - in that all change but somehow stay the same, by that it doesn't make sense, doesn't appear necessary but is a structure all the same - you can take it further and further than this. but at the end of the day it is just a sentence......you must be more confused now...sorry for that....

A sentence is just a sentence, a story just a story--why bother?

If the message in the sentence is that important to you (and it sounds like it is), then you should probably work to clarify it better, no?

Either way, let's not hijack the thread, lol
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: EBMILLER on October 22, 2007, 05:53:49 PM
Here is my first paragraph:         ???

He had not feeling; he had not reason; he had only hate. Bradley stood in a cold room; though he did not know it. Covered with beads of sweat and bloody water. He smiled at himself in the mirror. Hate in his heart and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: tmcs on October 23, 2007, 05:42:12 AM
I'm new here and I liked this idea of first liners. Here is mine please give what ever opinion you can, every bit helps.

Maria watched the sun slowly drop behind the mountain. Her camera in place she waited for the exact moment to capture the perfect sunset photo. The different shades of pinks and yellows reminded her of the evening sky three years before on her wedding night.   This was the exact spot that her and Kyle had come to escape the madness of there wedding reception. They had sat on this very bank and watched the sun set and rise. They were one, happy and ready to start a whole new life together, forever. Now she was here again, watching the sun set, alone.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on October 23, 2007, 09:53:38 AM
Here is my first paragraph:         ???

He had not feeling; he had not reason; he had only hate. Bradley stood in a cold room; though he did not know it. Covered with beads of sweat and bloody water. He smiled at himself in the mirror. Hate in his heart and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes


Some things didn't make sense to me.

Quote
He had not feeling; he had not reason; he had only hate.
- I'd make them seperate sentences. Gives them more impact.
- I'd also change the 'not' to no - as not feeling and not reason are a strange way of saying something and don't make sense.

Quote
Bradley stood in a cold room; though he did not know it.
- The semi colon should be a comma as they can not stand as two seperate sentences.
- How does bradley know it's cold, if he doesn't know it? ;D Presuming you are writing from his PoV (point of view) - show us how he knows, perhaps his breath mists in the cold air.

Quote
. Covered with beads of sweat and bloody water.
- this is not a sentence - what is covered with sweat etc? Introduce the subject into the sentence, or change the previous sentence(s) to accomodate this part in one longer sentence.

Quote
He smiled at himself in the mirror.

- Smiling at himself seems odd placed here as it is. Why would he smile? He has hate in his heart, and a tear is forming.

Quote
Hate in his heart and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes
- nicely worded.
- I'd be tempted to say 'swelling tear betrayed' - mixed tense but flows better imo. Others may disagree.
- missing full stop/period.

There is lots of potential in this opening line. Something happens so with polish it could start something interesting.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on October 23, 2007, 09:56:33 AM
Being critical, I'd have to point out that hate is a feeling.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hellbunnie on October 23, 2007, 12:42:37 PM
I wanted to say that but was fearful of being mauled. XD Hate is the strongest feeling with love, I thought.

Aaannnd my line was skipped over. :'( So I'll try again.

The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on October 23, 2007, 12:44:28 PM
It's interesting, that seems to be what people aim for.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: EBMILLER on October 23, 2007, 12:59:23 PM


original:
He had not feeling; he had not reason; he had only hate. Bradley stood in a cold room; though he did not know it. Covered with beads of sweat and bloody water. He smiled at himself in the mirror. Hate in his heart and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes

changed:
He had not feeling. He had not reason. He had only hate.

Bradley stood in a cold room, though he did not know it. His skin, covered with beads of sweat and bloody water.
He smiled at himself in the mirror. Hate in his heart, and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes.




Does this sound any better? Please let me know. How does it flow compared to the original? Bradley is my antagonist, and I introduce him first. He is unable to feel pain, thus, "Bradley stood in a cold room, though he did not know it." actually makes sense. This is explained in the following paragraphs, I wanted to word it this way, so that you are enticed to read on.
 
Thanks for the advice

I think I will keep it "betraying" though, I don't know why. It just works for me. other suggestions I have implemented.

The sentence "Hate in his heart, and a swelling tear betraying his emotionless eyes." makes sense, because his eyes are emotionless, not his heart, and the tears reflect that... right. at least thats how I thought it came across to me.


Thanks, more comments would be great!!!


E.B.Miller
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on October 23, 2007, 01:05:53 PM
The reformatting certainly gives it better sonics. The line break separates
Quote
He had not feeling. He had not reason. He had only hate.

Which I didn't think belonged with the rest of the text.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: EBMILLER on October 23, 2007, 07:48:11 PM


The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.

Wow, I want to read!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chillies on October 30, 2007, 04:04:13 AM
The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.

Hellbunnie, this is a great opening paragraph. Just one tiny quibble: the first sentece reads (The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it.) Surely that should be (had there been anyone to see it) missing out the alive. Quite clearly there was someone alive cowering in the cave, hence he did not see it.

chillies
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Roisin on November 05, 2007, 08:45:16 PM
I've always hated writing that dreaded first paragraph...

     “Stupid locksmith…”

     Curses drifted upward into the bleak sky above, where early morning sunlight was struggling to break through the dense layer of clouds. The meager rays pushed at the grey mass, but to no avail. The metropolis, like a great beast, slumbered.


(Not quite the whole paragraph, but I wouldn't want to go over the word limit, now would I?  ;))
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Roisin on November 05, 2007, 08:47:58 PM
The sunset would have been spectacular had there been anyone alive to see it. Unfortunately, the only breathing witness cowered in the cave’s corner, head cradled in grimy hands. His body shook, though whether from fear or the tremblings of the earth it was difficult to tell.


I agree with chillies on this one; I suggest you take out 'alive'. Other than that though, I think it's a great hook. It gives the reader a taste of what's going one while pulling them back to read more. Good job.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 20, 2007, 08:33:50 AM
"You can't tell anyone I'm alive."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:05:20 PM
Quote
"You can't tell anyone I'm alive."

I agree - I'd pick this book of the shelf.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:06:16 PM
Perhaps I should give them 60,000 friends.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:08:30 PM
Go for it! :P
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:12:52 PM
Constructing a novel from those words would be interesting, I thought about it for the new project, it would fit.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:21:34 PM
You haven't written it!!!!!

No fair!!!!


CHEATER! ;D

Seriously, Ollie - you gotta write the rest of the story.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:26:17 PM
OK but I'd have to have it in a prologue to fit with my current novel project. Or have tons of flashbacks [I hate flashbacks] leading to the current place in the story, the line destroys all the conflict because the reader will know what's going to happen later.

So I'll have to construct a new novel around the line.
Which is what, I see now, I must do.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:34:39 PM
Quote
OK but I'd have to have it in a prologue to fit with my current novel project. Or have tons of flashbacks [I hate flashbacks] leading to the current place in the story, the line destroys all the conflict because the reader will know what's going to happen later.

I'm sure that makes sense to you. ???

Quote
So I'll have to construct a new novel around the line.

Then do it. DO IT!!!! ;D

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:35:22 PM
I shall do as you ask.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:37:15 PM
 :-*
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:39:03 PM
I have no way to respond to that, so taking a cue from the politicians, I shall talk until the point of the conversation has been forgotten, or just to have something to say.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:41:35 PM
Or, you could lose some incredibly 'sensitive' data - whatever works for you. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:44:52 PM
I have lost sensitive data before, thankfully it wasn't mine.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:48:10 PM
Then you are, indeed, a Politican ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:51:44 PM
No, I'm just a simple country, hey can we have the national anthem in the background, please... that's better. No, I'm just a young boy from the country side who wants, to, make, a, difference.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on November 21, 2007, 09:53:38 PM
It's not the National Anthem you want - it's a hay stack and a REALLY big pitch fork. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 21, 2007, 09:55:14 PM
Westminster, I'd find more needles than hay. If hay is meant as a metaphor for an honest person.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on November 22, 2007, 05:04:40 AM
Stay on track guys - thanks Lin x x x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 22, 2007, 08:28:13 PM
Sorry Lin.
I shall have to come up with another opening to make this thread piracy justified.
Later...

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on December 02, 2007, 04:15:44 AM
This might get us back on task, or not!  ;D

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/killer_first_lines.htm

Nadine
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 03, 2007, 05:20:38 PM
OK

I've not contributed for ages to this thread.


Lucky leapt from the plane. Listening for the tell-tale sound of a flapping parashute, caught him nothing but the shreaking, whistle of air.

"Damn!" He felt the vibration as he spoke, but the words were stolen by the wind.

He pulled the rip-cord for the backup 'shute.

His speed continued to increase.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on December 03, 2007, 07:13:32 PM
I like this, WB - immediately draws me in.

Not only am I wondering if Lucky survived but I want to know the reason why his parachute didn't open (Do I detect the whiff of foul play? ;D)

Couple of comments:

Quote
Lucky leapt from the plane. Listening for the tell-tale sound of a flapping parashute, caught him nothing but the shreaking, whistle of air.

I'd be inclined to put the first two sentences together - they make more sense that way. :-\

Lucky leapt from the plane, listening for the tell-tale sound of a flapping parachute. A shrieking, whistle of air was his only answer.

And I'd add a bit here.

Quote
He pulled the rip-cord for the backup 'shute.

Nothing happened.

His speed continued to increase
.

Don't know why, for some reason that line just popped into my head when I read your excerpt. :-\

I'd read on - well done




Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 04, 2007, 03:08:39 PM
Yeh Cathy.

I feel it needs something, I just don't want to put the obvious, so I left it out hoping for inspiration, only had perspiration so far. :P

Thanks for comments. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolf on December 04, 2007, 03:24:37 PM
Hi, I am new here and thought this might be a good place to get my feet wet - opening line to my current work in progress:-

It's eyes, two pools of midnight in the dead of winter, stared back.

Cheers.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 04, 2007, 06:08:10 PM
Welcome to MWC.

Introduce yourself in the thread provided btw. ;)

Nice and emotive. ;D

Just one thing,

Quote
It's eyes, two pools of midnight in the dead of winter, stared back.

'It's eyes' should be "Its eyes".

His, hers and its have no possesive apostrophe.:)

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vivienne on December 05, 2007, 01:38:27 PM
   Here's the first 75 words of a novel which will probably never see daylight although I've written about  15 000 words:



As she clicked her way across the cobbled yard carrying a suitcase much too heavy for her slight frame, Violette heard the snap of her stiletto heel breaking off.  “Well, that serves me right for wanting to make an elegant first impression”, she thought, regretting the francs unnecessarily spent on shoes she was hardly going to wear in her new job, “especially with the eyes of Monsieur le Maire still burning holes in my back.”







Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 05, 2007, 06:40:32 PM
I like parts of it, however the part about carrying a suitcase too large for her frame is kind of cliched and is also an oxymoron: she is carrying it so it can't be.

Thoughts may be italicised although not all writers do, but not enclosed in speech marks.

Quote
“Well, that serves me right for wanting to make an elegant first impression”, she thought, regretting the francs unnecessarily spent on shoes she was hardly going to wear in her new job, “especially with the eyes of Monsieur le Maire still burning holes in my back.”
- the two parts that are thoughts don't exactly follow on for me, as though the second set of thoughts are influenced by what followed 'she thought'. Yet that seems to be normal prose, not thoughts?

If I was starting as you have, I'd be tempted to have s short first sentence, perhaps even very shory. Not entirely sure what sort of story you intend, but I'd play around with different beginnings until you get something you want.

Try showing the readers, not telling. Show them its heavy, large. Don't tell them. ;)


Crackkk.

Violette cursed her new shoes - now useless.

Removing them, she struggled with the large suitcase, and could already feel a line of sweat tickling its way down her spine.

"Damn it!"

She could feel Monsieur le Maire watching her, and could imagine his sneering smile, happy at her mishap. She would soon be the one smiling, Violette promised herself.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Omni on December 05, 2007, 07:43:48 PM
Thoughts may be italicised although not all writers do, but not enclosed in speech marks.

Yeah, they can be in speech marks. It's not the convention, but I've seen it done in published works more than once.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on December 06, 2007, 07:01:33 AM
I've only ever seen one 'stiletto heel break' but the poor lass concerned was carrying a suitcase and she went straight down onto the railway platform with a sickening thud.  A couple of us helped pick her up and she was quite dazed for a while, with ripped and bloody holes in the knees of her stockings/tights and badly grazed palms where she'd instinctively tried to save herself.

That to me seems far more likely than Violette's almost gentle self-recrimination.  I can believe in her thought processes, but only a little while later, after the event.

But I'm only speaking from what I saw, just the once.  Perhaps there are countless legions of sylph-le women who can move with gazelle-like grace in stilettos whilst lugging a suitcase and not fall over when one snaps unexpectedly.

However, you have managed to convey quite a bit about Violette, her personality, and indeed appearance in those few words, so please don't take this as a criticism of your writing.  It's just that the 'action' seems a tad unrealistic to me.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vivienne on December 06, 2007, 01:40:01 PM
Thanks for your thoughts everybody - they're printed off for consultation when I'm ready to tackle it again.

The comment from "writer's block" about not being sure what sort of story it's going to be is very to the point - neither do I. I think that's the basic problem. I want it to be a literary historical novel, but it sometimes reads like a Mills and Boon.

Vivienne
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gayle on December 06, 2007, 05:36:55 PM
I've had this project fermenting in my brain for several years now but only recently figured out how and where to start it. What do you think?

     My lungs refused to move.
     Our math teacher was demonstrating integers on the chalkboard but his words were getting lost in my pain. I counted the seconds, trying to inhale as I waited for my lungs to start moving again. One. Two. Three. Four...my sudden intake of breath made a couple of my classmates look in my direction. Fantastic. The high school gossip mill was going to be raging by the time I got to the cafeteria.
     It wasn't the first time my lungs had failed to do what I had told them but it was the first time it happened in public.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 06, 2007, 05:46:45 PM
Thanks for your thoughts everybody - they're printed off for consultation when I'm ready to tackle it again.

The comment from "writer's block" about not being sure what sort of story it's going to be is very to the point - neither do I. I think that's the basic problem. I want it to be a literary historical novel, but it sometimes reads like a Mills and Boon.

Vivienne

I've tried a few mills&boon some were so dire i didnt get far, a few I actually enjoyed (regency romance) so the standard of writing varies.

I recommend to people they try all kinds of books, didn't seem fair of me to suggest that if I wasnt going to do it myself:)

Sometimes popular well known authors start with such works published by mills and boon, so to dismiss all of a particular type because of that could possibly be short-sighted.

Incidentally, my mother is a big fan of Nora Roberts, who has 150plus NYT best sellers, she has been bublished by Mills and Boon. :o
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 06, 2007, 05:48:14 PM
Thanks for your thoughts everybody - they're printed off for consultation when I'm ready to tackle it again.

The comment from "writer's block" about not being sure what sort of story it's going to be is very to the point - neither do I. I think that's the basic problem. I want it to be a literary historical novel, but it sometimes reads like a Mills and Boon.

Vivienne

Whilst I remember, hope you find the comments helpful, even if you don't agree with em.

And,

Sometimes it's best to leave something alone for a while, even if that while is many years.

Very important: start something else.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 06, 2007, 05:50:14 PM
I've had this project fermenting in my brain for several years now but only recently figured out how and where to start it. What do you think?

     My lungs refused to move.
     Our math teacher was demonstrating integers on the chalkboard but his words were getting lost in my pain. I counted the seconds, trying to inhale as I waited for my lungs to start moving again. One. Two. Three. Four...my sudden intake of breath made a couple of my classmates look in my direction. Fantastic. The high school gossip mill was going to be raging by the time I got to the cafeteria.
     It wasn't the first time my lungs had failed to do what I had told them but it was the first time it happened in public.

Yup, looks promising. Nice opening line, catches our attention. Following sentence amplified the first sentence without explaining it, so we (or at least I ;) ) are intrigued.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on December 06, 2007, 06:05:27 PM
Caught my attention alright ;-)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PaulW on December 06, 2007, 07:10:43 PM
Same here - that's a really good start Gayle - grabbed me and held me there.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gayle on December 06, 2007, 10:36:59 PM
Thanks Writer's Block, Gyppo, and Paul! Now if I just keep up that pacing for the next 400 pages I'll be laughing.  ::)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Writers Block on December 07, 2007, 03:25:11 PM
Thanks Writer's Block, Gyppo, and Paul! Now if I just keep up that pacing for the next 400 pages I'll be laughing.  ::)

Bah, 399 should do it. :P

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 28, 2007, 06:00:38 AM
He sat staring at the banana, pondering its decision to be an Allan Arbus impersonator.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ancient Woodland on December 28, 2007, 06:57:29 AM
The ugly grey scout ship winked into existence at the edge of the system. It was not accompanied by any pyrotechnics, nor had it retained any real velocity. Hawkings’ drives don’t work that way. It simply appeared without fuss, one moment there was vacuum and the next there was six thousand tonnes of rather beaten up looking starship.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spud on January 02, 2008, 09:45:10 AM
Sounds like a good thread. here's mine.

  In a moment everything changed.  No longer the sound of the terrifying artillery barrage that boomed over their trench, peppering the landscape, (not thirty yards away from them) with dirty great big craters, shaking the ground on which they stood, and themselves to the core.  But now silence, apart from the sound of the bitter wind which whistled over the top of the trench, blowing with it the fine sleety snow that had started falling earlier that morning, when Albert was on his watch.  And the odd crack of fire, coming from sniper riffles on both the German and Allied sides.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on February 12, 2008, 09:10:57 AM
Quote
In a moment everything changed.  No longer the sound of the terrifying artillery barrage that boomed over their trench, peppering the landscape, (not thirty yards away from them) with dirty great big craters, shaking the ground on which they stood, and themselves to the core.  But now silence, apart from the sound of the bitter wind which whistled over the top of the trench, blowing with it the fine sleety snow that had started falling earlier that morning, when Albert was on his watch.  And the odd crack of fire, coming from sniper riffles on both the German and Allied sides.

I'm intrigued, sorry for not saying earlier.

This isn't a first line but I want to test it out, please note that the MC is walking away from the action.

Whack, thud, they screamed.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on February 12, 2008, 01:37:53 PM
Yes it was good, I did want to keep reading.   I think the line in brackets could be modified, I felt the brackets took the reader away from the flow.  The words dirty great big could be changed as well perhaps, I never like the words great big together.  Riffles should  be rifles.

To give this more punch I feel you could use more punchy words and changing your lines around a little to flow easier.

Your version
In a moment everything changed.  No longer the sound of the terrifying artillery barrage that boomed over their trench, peppering the landscape, (not thirty yards away from them) with dirty great big craters, shaking the ground on which they stood, and themselves to the core.  But now silence, apart from the sound of the bitter wind which whistled over the top of the trench, blowing with it the fine sleety snow that had started falling earlier that morning, when Albert was on his watch.  And the odd crack of fire, coming from sniper riffles on both the German and Allied sides.

I would have written this like so.

In a moment everything changed. No longer the sound of the artillery that boomed over their trench, there was now an overwhelming silence. Craters and peppered landscape from grenades which had shaken the ground only moments before, gave way to icy wind, whistling above their heads and  with the falling sleet, wet and cold, Albert shivered on his watch. He laid low as the occasional crack of a sniper on both German and Allied sides.....................  (whatever you wish to put here)

I wondered how you felt about this - it certainly does have spirit, but if I was a publisher I think I would want to see something a little more punchy.  Sometimes we write too much when less creates more impact.

Good luck with this.

Lin x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on February 13, 2008, 11:11:10 AM
The movie industry becomes dull when you've seen the glue holding the smiles in place.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on February 13, 2008, 11:07:14 PM
Quote
Whack, thud, they screamed.

Did they scream whack & thud or are these the sounds of bad things happening that made them scream?

Whack!  Thud!  They screamed.

Quote
The movie industry becomes dull when you've seen the glue holding the smiles in place.

Ya think?  If you're seeing the glue, the industry certainly would have become transparent.  Yeah, I guess that would be kinda dull.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on February 14, 2008, 05:28:33 AM
You're only saying that because I towed your car.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: oreenscott on February 14, 2008, 05:56:09 AM
Okay I'll try

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 

I'm confused.  A punch in the chest sounds like violence, abuse.  Melting of my limbs sounds like swooning.  All the films etc. . . I'm not so sure that's what the films say.  Hell, I hate Hollywood doesn't feel like the ending of this paragraph.  I think you are trying to say you settled for someone you didn't love in the romantic, Hollywood way, and the relationship leaves you wanting more because Hollywood claims you should want something else.  If that is what you are saying the topic might be a grabber, but the paragraph, in my opinion needs work.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jojohnson on February 14, 2008, 06:46:46 AM
Here'smy first lines of a story I've had kicking about in my head for a while now...

'Sounds like a twat to me' scoffed Kat, who was sitting on the window sill muching Wotsits.
'You say that about every bloke I meet' sighed Jeannie feeling despondant. Her love life had always been the brunt of everyone else's jokes. She couldn't help it if she attracted the worst of the left overs that no-one else wanted.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on February 14, 2008, 08:06:14 AM
Yes yes, I did like this it got me straight into the story.  Dont forget the typo on Munching.. I think despondant is  despondent.

I did like the idea of her love life being the brunt of everyone's jokes.   It painted a picture in my head.   Also the munching of the Wotsits.

Well done, if I was a publisher I would want to read more.

Lin x x x



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on March 22, 2008, 10:04:50 PM
Is this what I did before memory 1?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 23, 2008, 12:15:35 AM
Quote
Is this what I did before memory 1?

Interesting, Ollie.  Sounds futuristic.  The thought of an android, perhaps?  Actually, that would work as the opening paragraph.

Here's my humble offering:

Max Moxie thumbed the hammer of the Smith & Wesson .38 and let it drop on an empty chamber.  The mechanism was smooth and the balance was perfect.  A car turned at the corner, its lights dully reflecting off the well-oiled barrel.  Just a tool of the trade, Max thought, sliding the revolver back into the pocket of his trenchcoat and stepping back further into the shadows.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: annilor on March 23, 2008, 11:21:53 AM
Great idea, how about this one:

SHE read what she had written in her diary.

‘I have received threatening phone calls but could not place who was speaking. I fear for my life.’   

Jane Horswell was a professional 30-year-old art dealer, and had recently become involved with Peter Bench the local gallery owner. She knew that he was married, but what the hell, life is short. She worked hard to make her money and she enjoyed her life style.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on March 23, 2008, 11:34:30 AM
I like it, Don, I know exactly where I am and what I'm going to get from the story. The paragraph flows well and is easy to read.

If I was going to suggest changing anything--and this is only a suggestion--I'd drop the Just a tool of the trade line, because you've already shown us he's a pro by describing the gun's mechanism and well oiled barrel etc. To me that does enough, but that's only my opinion, others may feel differently.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 23, 2008, 11:49:53 AM
Excellent advice from a fellow noir writer.  How's the book coming, Patrick?  I dropped "of the trade" and it sounds much better.  I have a murder and a beating in the first thousand words, and then things turn violent.  This is so much fun. :) 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on March 23, 2008, 01:07:54 PM
Quote
Interesting, Ollie.  Sounds futuristic.  The thought of an android, perhaps?  Actually, that would work as the opening paragraph.

Amnesiac hobo, actually.
Thanks for taking a look.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on March 23, 2008, 03:02:30 PM
The story sounds great, Don, I hope you post some of it here...definitely not enough noir on these boards.

Work on my book has stopped again, temporarily, while I try to find an agent or publisher for my completed novel.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 29, 2008, 06:55:11 PM
You've certainly created some tension, Solitaire.  I would absolutely read further, if for no other reason than to find out what the relationship is between the conductor and the pianist. 

I would get rid of the all-caps style in the first line of dialogue.  Yes, the conductor is upset but you could arrange it differently.

The conductor's face flushed crimson.  "You are pounding that keyboard like a bloody mechanic."

Members of the ensemble etc...

There was a story in Ploughshares last year called Eleanor's Music that featured a similarly tense scene between a musical director and a member of the chorus.  Your scene, I think, offers more possibilities but this story might be worth a lookup and a read.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on March 29, 2008, 07:31:55 PM
Don--

The pianist in this bit is the protagonist in the piece I posted for comment on the Review my work site tonight.

Thank you for the input. 

Solitaire
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: pastrami on March 30, 2008, 07:49:27 AM
Great start Solitaire.  ;)

Bang straight into it. That's how I like it.

I agree with Don,the first line should not be caps.

Not sure about "pianist rose". How about "pianist stood." Just a thought? :-\

pastrami
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 15, 2008, 01:02:22 AM
At the sound of the conductor’s furious voice the members of the ensemble fell silent, the notes of the Rondo of Mozart’s Twenty Third Piano Concerto faded; there was not a sound in Jones Hall until the pianist rose and the legs of the piano bench scraped against the wooden boards of the stage floor.

It's a nice opening, plenty of tension. I'm a little concerned about this sentence though, it feels too long.

If you put a full stop after "faded" there's a much more definite punch about it. It also means that a change like this can be made.

Jones Hall fell silent until the pianist stood, the bench legs scraping against the stage.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on April 15, 2008, 08:11:36 AM
As a former musician, I think your open sounds great,  Solitaire.  The book surely will be too. :)

I spent some time the other day in bookstores reading opening lines. Contrary to what the writing books say, half the openers weren't all that exciting. I have a love-hate relationship with hooks. So many sound so contrived, then the next paragraph or page or even the whole book don't measure up to that first line.

I think storytelling is crucial, the ability to immerse the reader immediately into another world. I just don't get this with the jarring opening lines so many people seem to feel are important. I want a writer to weave a tale around my mind, not grasp me by the shoulders and shake me.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Omni on April 15, 2008, 09:18:12 AM
I spent some time the other day in bookstores reading opening lines. Contrary to what the writing books say, half the openers weren't all that exciting.

Opening lines don't have to be exciting. An opening needs to hook and there are many ways to hook your reader. A hook is just as likely to be subtle and intriguing as exciting. In my opinion it's often the exciting ones that don't hook, or come across as a cheap trick that ultimately lets the reader down. But that's me, and different readers get off on different things.

Omni
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Janeylou on April 17, 2008, 10:01:01 AM


What could have drove Frank Webster over the edge? A mild mannered person, content with his work and respected by many. Yet here, in the garage of his home, he stands over the lifeless body of his wife Sheila, with bloodied knife still in his hand.  Motionless, he contemplates their years of married life and the events that led up to this very second whilst her blood stains the newly re-laid grey cement flooring.

Very interesting, I'd want to read more...one little niggle though.  Shouldn't it be "What could have driven Frank Webster over the edge?" And the newly re-laid grey cement grates a little.

Janeylou x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on April 18, 2008, 08:39:53 AM
These are the first lines of a short story titled "Insurgent"

Would a publisher want to read more?   
 

Mosul.  Early Patrol.  The first light of a jaundiced desert dawn streaks the cracked minaret of the neighborhood mosque.  Tom hawks, spits on the ground and rubs it into the grit with the toe of his boot, then he stands motionless.  He sees no one on the narrow cobbled street but he knows they are there.  A hundred sets of soulless black eyes watching from the windows and through the warped wood of the doors and fences.   


Solitaire

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on April 18, 2008, 01:26:31 PM
Hi Solitaire,

I got the message immediately.  It was very good. I'm sure if I was a publisher I would want to read on and I could have done if you had been able to write more.   Its such a modern topic and worthy of reading.   

Lin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on April 18, 2008, 07:03:52 PM
Thanks for the reply, Lin--

When I read the intro to the thread I thought just the first 75 words were to be posted.  Here is a bit more:

 Mosul.  Early Patrol.  The first light of a jaundiced desert dawn streaks the cracked minaret of the neighborhood mosque.  Tom hawks, spits on the ground and rubs it into the grit with the toe of his boot, then he stands motionless.  He sees no one on the narrow cobbled street but he knows they are there.  A hundred sets of soulless black eyes watching from the windows and through the warped wood of the doors and fences. 
 
Tom takes a cautious step, then one more.  At the curb a crumpled piece of paper rustles, instinctively he cocks his head and moves his hand on his rifle.  It’s only a rat taking refuge beneath a flyer calling for men to join the militia.  Tom spits again, directly on the rumpled paper and looks up at the spire of the mosque tower.


A few more wary steps, then he sidles up to the wall of a shuttered street-corner shop.  Chances are that if he tries to cross the street without checking every direction, he’ll be a dead man.  A creaking noise to his left makes him freeze, and he wills himself not to breathe until he hears the sound of liquid splashing to the ground.  Slop bucket.  This sure wasn’t home . . .
 

Thanks again--

Solitaire 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Roisin on April 19, 2008, 02:07:15 AM
“You can’t tell anyone I’m alive.”

The woman’s voice crackled as the reception faded. Private Investigator Danny Avery leaned forward in his chair, pressing the phone to his ear. He shifted his considerable bulk and the chair squeaked in protest.

“Hello? Miss? Are you still there?”

There were a few seconds of silence before she responded. “Yes, yes I’m here. Sorry, I had to…distance myself from someone.”

Danny frowned, creasing his pale, freckled brow. “Are you all right, Miss? If it would make you feel safer, you can come up to my office and-“

“No! No, I can’t be seen there. Listen. I haven’t got much time. A package will arrive with the morning post tomorrow. Everything you need is included. Now, I really have to go.”

“Wait, Miss? Hello?”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on April 19, 2008, 06:06:25 AM
Hello Roisin--

Welcome back.  I looked at your profile and read about the review that caused you to stop and re-think things.  Sobering.

Are these the first lines from your re-work? 

I think they are good, would definitely draw me into continuing to read. 

One question--is Danny Avery your hero?  If so, you might want to change the second paragraph to begin with Private Investigator Danny, etc. and putting the sentence about the reception after it, as below. 

“You can’t tell anyone I’m alive.”

Private Investigator Danny Avery leaned forward in his chair, pressing the phone to his ear. The woman’s voice crackled as the reception faded.  

He shifted his considerable bulk and the chair squeaked in protest.  “Hello? Miss? Are you still there?”

There were a few seconds of silence before she responded. “Yes, yes I’m here. Sorry, I had to…distance myself from someone.”

Danny frowned, creasing his pale, freckled brow. “Are you all right, Miss? If it would make you feel safer, you can come up to my office and-“

“No! No, I can’t be seen there. Listen. I haven’t got much time. A package will arrive with the morning post tomorrow. Everything you need is included. Now, I really have to go.”

“Wait, Miss? Hello?”



Just a thought.   Solitaire. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on April 19, 2008, 12:09:04 PM
Here are the first few lines / paragraph of something new that I started yesterday.


This is Third Sator, Stark, of the scout ship ‘Scent Trail’. I’m not sure if this damn thing is recording or not, but I think so and can only continue on the assumption that it is. My chronometer shows that it has now been two day’s since the crash, of which I’m the only survivor.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on April 19, 2008, 02:50:15 PM
Here are the first few lines / paragraph of something new that I started yesterday.


This is Third Sator, Stark, of the scout ship ‘Scent Trail’. I’m not sure if this damn thing is recording or not, but I think so and can only continue on the assumption that it is. My chronometer shows that it has now been two day’s since the crash, of which I’m the only survivor.


For what it is worth, Andrew,

I immediately thought of the "Captain's Log, Star-Date" spiel from Star Trek. 

I read some science fiction, but I don't think these first lines would lure me in. 


My opinion, of course, Solitaire. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on April 19, 2008, 03:01:25 PM

For what it is worth, Andrew,

I immediately thought of the "Captain's Log, Star-Date" spiel from Star Trek. 

I read some science fiction, but I don't think these first lines would lure me in. 


My opinion, of course, Solitaire. 

Yep, that's it exactly, Solitaire.   ;D

Hmmm... I guess i'll need to vamp it up a bit once it's finished.  ;)


Andrew
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Solitaire on April 19, 2008, 03:16:04 PM
Here are the first few lines / paragraph of something new that I started yesterday.


This is Third Sator, Stark, of the scout ship ‘Scent Trail’. I’m not sure if this damn thing is recording or not, but I think so and can only continue on the assumption that it is. My chronometer shows that it has now been two day’s since the crash, of which I’m the only survivor.

You might consider something like:

Third Sator Stark of the (name of the intergalactic organization) scout ship Scent Trail sat slumped amid the wreckage of what had once been the ship's helm. 
His chronometer . . .etc. 

. . . and go on from there. 

I'm a big fan of crashes, I'd like to know what happened. 


Solitaire




 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on April 19, 2008, 04:14:49 PM
The way this idea came to me was of Stark recording entries in the flight recorder... so it would all be in his voice as spoken.

I'll try finishing it like that... and then change it around to see which way works better in the long run...


Thanks Solitaire.  :)


Andrew
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Roisin on April 20, 2008, 12:04:03 AM
One question--is Danny Avery your hero?  If so, you might want to change the second paragraph to begin with Private Investigator Danny, etc. and putting the sentence about the reception after it, as below. 

Hm.. that is a good idea; nothing major but changes things quite a bit.
thank you for your thoughtful input, Solitaire


Cheers,
Roisin
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 20, 2008, 10:27:47 PM
“You can’t tell anyone I’m alive.”

The woman’s voice crackled as the reception faded. Private Investigator Danny Avery leaned forward in his chair, pressing the phone to his ear. He shifted his considerable bulk and the chair squeaked in protest.

“Hello? Miss? Are you still there?”

There were a few seconds of silence before she responded. “Yes, yes I’m here. Sorry, I had to…distance myself from someone.”

Danny frowned, creasing his pale, freckled brow. “Are you all right, Miss? If it would make you feel safer, you can come up to my office and-“

“No! No, I can’t be seen there. Listen. I haven’t got much time. A package will arrive with the morning post tomorrow. Everything you need is included. Now, I really have to go.”

“Wait, Miss? Hello?”

You could've asked before you stole my line.
I asked nicely before I "borrowed" a line from Gyppo.

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=3138.msg117082#msg117082
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Roisin on April 21, 2008, 12:52:26 AM
I stole your line???

Oh my goodness; I had no idea. apologies!!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: wildlegends on April 21, 2008, 10:02:05 AM
Ok, here's the opening paragraph to my novel PRISM - Exiles:

"Consider this. You are just an ordinary person, with nothing special to set you apart from the crowd. You have no unique skills or talents. You live a mundane life in an ordinary house in the suburbs of a run-of-the-mill town. You may be eighteen or eighty, and immersed in no-ones problems but your own. Then one day your world is turned upside down. You find yourself suddenly thrown together with five hundred other souls, severed from the life you once knew. Gone are the securities of technology, resource, and amenity that you once took for granted. In their place are hardship, uncertainty and fear. Now you must fend for yourself. So ask yourself this – how would you fare?"

Thanks,
Nigel.

http://www.lulu.com/nigeledwards  (http://www.lulu.com/nigeledwards)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 21, 2008, 01:27:01 PM
Quote
Oh my goodness; I had no idea. apologies!!
Apology accepted, I didn't mind you taking the line, I was kinda cheesed that you hadn't asked.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: S-wo on May 13, 2008, 05:29:01 PM
to wildlegends, I think you're paragraph certainly gets the reader's attention and makes him think. There's really not too much one can do in the first paragraph, but I believed that you have done it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: wildlegends on May 14, 2008, 03:10:12 PM
Many thanks, S-wo, I appreciate your appreciation  ;D

Here's hoping lots of other people will feel likewise, and actually buy the book!  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on May 14, 2008, 03:15:34 PM
Here's the edited opening lines of my latest opus:

Jed Lamborghini woke up one morning to find he was living in the Wild West, in his bed.
He lit a consolatory Turkish cigarette and mused on his fatalistic destiny.
He looked down at his clothes; a sheriff's badge, spurs (not the football team),
a big hat, and those funny leather trousers the Village People used to wear.
Jed was momentarily befluxed, but then he remembered the reason for his Western dilemma:

 'It must have been caused by those Satanic time-travel rituals I performed.'
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 14, 2008, 04:14:46 PM
This is the opening paragraph of 'An Occasional Warrior' that I wrote sometime ago.

“BAM!”  Although there was a model O silencer on his 9mm Browning, it was the loudest shot he had ever heard.  As if it were moving in slow motion, the bullet left the barrel and slammed into her head above the left eye.  It exited the upper back of her head and entered the wall above the headboard, followed by skull fragments, gray matter and blood, leaving a reddish mist floating above her head.  He could see the disbelief in her eyes in the second her body hesitated before slumping down in the bed.  She was dead.
J
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on May 14, 2008, 07:59:34 PM
I like the para, J and would read more because it sounds like my kind of story but...and isn't there always one. :(

I want to know who's talking, right from the off.

You have the situation (boy, have you) but I think you need a name in here, right at the fore:

Quote
“BAM!”  Although there was a model O silencer on his 9mm Browning, it was the loudest shot Jake Curtis  had ever heard.

I'm using the name Jake just as an example, you will have your own, but now that he has a name we want to know more about him, like:

Why did he have a 9mm Browning in the first place, and the fact that he has a model O silencer tells us immediately that he's someone not to be messed with.

Quote
As if it were moving in slow motion, the bullet left the barrel and slammed into her head above the left eye.  It exited the upper back of her head and entered the wall above the headboard, followed by skull fragments, gray matter and blood, leaving a reddish mist floating above her head.  He could see the disbelief in her eyes in the second her body hesitated before slumping down in the bed.  She was dead.


Again, I want some emotion here - not necessarily the girls name (Although that would help, knowing who she is would make her death have that much more impact and would get rid of all those 'hers' :-\)

But what I really want to know is how her death affects 'Jake.'

Is she important to the story, an old love, enemy? Does her death put him in even more danger or maybe it's just a sign of a plan gone wrong???

I would also leave out the 'bam!' - it's not necessary - you say it all in the next line.

I know this sounds like a  lot, but honestly, I wouldn't comment if your para didn't 'call' to me.

I would read the book from just this short piece. I'd just like to see it... stronger. :-\



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 14, 2008, 08:28:03 PM
Cathy C.
Maybe the rest of the opening scene will help explain why I used the word ‘Bam‘. It wakes him up. I look forward to seeing what you think of the whole scene. The next scene flashes back two weeks explaining what lead up this night.
Thanks for your help
JH
Hundo sat up in bed with the sound of his scream still ringing in his head.  He pushed himself up and leaned against the headboard for a minute before reaching for a cigarette.  He took a long drag and held it before blowing it out in a circle.  It was the same nightmare he’d had every night since returning five days ago. Why didn’t I just believe Tommy and turn down the mission?...  No!  I had to prove him wrong.  He blew another smoke ring and watched it drift upward.
“Fuck!”  He jumped out of bed, walked into the living room and poured four fingers of brandy.  He gulped it down, then threw the glass against the wall, shattering it.  He stalked into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror.  For a second he thought of hitting his image.  Instead he uttered, “fuck” again under his breath.  He threw the cigarette in the john. Gotta quit these things, they’re killers.  He laughed at the irony.  He took a pill from an army prescription bottle and washed it down with water from his cupped hand, then went back to his bedroom and dropped onto the bed.  He had to get some sleep if he was going to his friend’s New Year’s Eve party.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on May 14, 2008, 08:43:54 PM
He sounds like a man haunted by nightmares of things he has done, J.

I do like your style of writing - a lot - but you were asking about a first para interesting a publisher.

I stand by my answer - I think a publisher would want more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 14, 2008, 08:56:21 PM
Cathy c.
You are right. I do not believe a publisher reads past the first few lines then decides to toss it or read on.
Thanks
JH

  Although there was a model O silencer on his 9mm Browning, it was the loudest shot Hundo Lane had ever heard.  As if it were moving in slow motion, the bullet left the barrel and slammed into her head above the left eye.  It exited the upper back of her head and entered the wall above the headboard, followed by skull fragments, gray matter and blood, leaving a reddish mist floating above her head.  He could see the disbelief in her eyes in the second her body hesitated before slumping down in the bed.  Michelle was dead.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on May 14, 2008, 09:22:20 PM
Much better, now I am really intersted to know who Hundo is and what he is up to, and more importantly, who Michelle  was and what she had to do with his life.

You've got me asking questions already and it's only the first para - well done
 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 15, 2008, 11:16:57 AM
this is something I think could go somewhere. what do you think?
J

Ski parked as close to the run down trailer as she could. There were discarded useless rubble everywhere. When she unfolded her long body from the little red sports car, you knew the short red dress she wore was it. She stepped through the open door of the trailer kicking empty beer cans out of the way to have somewhere to stand. Picking up a broom, she swept a path to the couch where Jake slept. She poked him in the ribs hard several times with the broom handle.
“What!” Jake yelled rounding over, holding his side.
“You live in this sis pool, Jake?” Ski threw to broom to the floor then pushed her high heel in his belly button. “I been here five minutes and already feel sorry for myself.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on May 16, 2008, 05:42:18 AM
Well I read this and the first thing that hit me was the word "SHE"  I didnt think it was as flowing as it could have been.  Ski and She are two closely sounding words and I would have chosen a different name.  Try this and let me know what you think about it - Lin x

Sky parked as close to the run down trailer as she could.  Unfolding her long body from the little red sports car, as if she were a model in a TV advert, she walked proud in her new outfit.  Stepping through the open door of the trailer, kicking discarded beer cans out of the way, she eventually found a place for her feet. Picking up a broom, she swept a path to the couch where Jake slept among the rubble, eventually poking him in the ribs, hard, several times with the broom handle.
“What!” Jake yelled rolling over, holding his side.
“You live in this cesspool, Jake?”
Sky threw to broom to the floor then pushed her high heel in his belly button. “I've only been here five minutes and already  I feel sorry for myself.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 25, 2008, 11:58:19 AM
Lin,
Of course you are right. This is an idea that was running around my head for a few days. Her name can be anything, she can be anything, she could be a sister, lover, x-lover or a hit woman sent to kill Jake. Like I said it could go anywhere. What do you think? I think if she were a hit woman sent to kill him is interesting. The idea I had about the short dress was it was all she had on and it gave her freedom of movement. I haven’t learned how to show this sort of thing instead of telling it. What do you think of this:

Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer. She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming. Unfolding her long body from the little red sport car, she stood smoothing her short red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was. The dress stopped at mid-thigh.  She stood looking at the dump Jake called home. Oh, Jake, how far you’ve fallen, she thought. When Geraldine took the first steps toward the trailer, you knew the short red dress was the only thing she wore that restricted her movement.  She half walked, half jumped over empty gallon wine jugs, beer cans and an old overturned rusted grill. Stepping through the open door of the trailer, kicking discarded beer cans out of the way, she eventually found a place for her feet. Picking up a broom, she swept a path to the couch where Jake slept among old newspapers and beer cans. She eventually poked him in the ribs, hard, several times with the broom handle.
“What!” Jake yelled, rolling over, holding his side.
“You live in this cesspool, Jake?” Geraldine threw the broom to the floor, then pushed her stiletto heel into his belly button. “I've only been here five minutes and already I feel sorry for myself.”
“What the hell you want, Gerry?” Jake sat up, pushing her foot off. He tried to rub the sleep from his eyes.
“Benny wants to see you.”                                     
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 08:04:40 AM

Ok folks, I've written three different openings for my novella; are any of them suitable, you think?
__________________________________

ONE

 The cat and the girl. Both were white, both had mouths the colour of blood mixed with water.
Curious how the young woman on the railway platform had reminded Callum Ferguson of the
long-dead creature...He couldn't remember its name, but he recalled its death vividly - his first kill.
The cat had watched as Ferguson's penknife blade jabbed teasingly at its face, until he drove
it swiftly into the neck. It had stopped struggling, and the boy licked the blood from his wounded hand.
He felt a sense of triumph. Then he took his time, and learned how the cat had worked.

 His gaze wandered back to the young girl on the other side of the track, patiently waiting
for a train, glancing at her compact. 'Like alabaster smeared with blood', he thought,
her white skin enlivened by cherry lipstick. She turned to catch him in the act of staring,
but now his eyes focused on the timetable above her; he was a past master at appearing guiltless.
Feeling foolish and not a little vain, the girl resumed her pose, and Ferguson resumed the study
of her face.

 The cat; the girl; Christ, His wound weeping blood and water as he hung lifeless on the cross;
knife; mirror; spear; a trinity of of his own; these thoughts sped through his excited mind.

_________________________

TWO

 Emerging from the darkness of the driveway, Salvatore House confronted Callum Ferguson.
Light from two tall, slim windows lent it the appearance of life, of relevance, but all was truly
dead here, and nothing more so than Ferguson's ambitions. The outside of the house was quite
bland, much to his disappointment – upon first glance, there was little to make one think of the
stories attached to it. Then a hand touched his shoulder...

_________________________

THREE

 She had taken his face. Callum Ferguson's heartbeat swiftened, and he raised his hand
to wipe his forehead. He began to whimper - His fingers touched cold bone, and the holes where
his eyes had once been. With one last effort to retain his sanity, his hands reached beneath the
blankets for a reassuring touch of skin, but there was none. His body was dead, he was blind,
but still he saw her - she laughed, she taunted him as she wore his face...

 Everyone has nightmares, but some haunt us all our lives. For Ferguson, this one, and others like it,
were the Great Unexplained Mysteries of his childhood. Everyone has those too, and his was truly
inexplicable to him: a friend of his grandmother's, she'd often taken care of him when he was around
five years old. She had scared him, without even meaning to, he'd somehow figured that she was a
witch, and that he had been abducted by her. He recalled her, in his mind's eye, at a littered dressing-table,
making up before a mirror, and brushing the hair around her horns; yes, in his memory, the nameless woman
had small horns on her head. Sheer childish silliness, but that's how he remembered her, and the memory
had shaped his dreams ever since.


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 10, 2008, 02:25:57 PM
Hi Steve

Version One is my favourite but its still not bold enough. Try deleting the first two sentences and start with . . . Curious how the young woman etc . . .


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 03:32:57 PM
Thanks, Mr O :)
Still have the feeling that none of the 3 are much cop though...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 10, 2008, 03:48:12 PM
Tricky isn't it? I guess we all have the same problem. I still haven't sorted out my opening yet . . . . and so it goes on. ???
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 03:49:49 PM
My problem is that my openings sound like prologues and my prologues sound like openings, mate ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 10, 2008, 03:54:39 PM
I actually preferred your original, I didn't see much wrong with it in the first place. Truly.

If you insist on changing it, then put your writing aside, pop down to Waterstones and read a load of openings from your fave authors. Sadly I do that all the time. It really pisses off the staff in the shop and I'm not sure it works, but I do it anyway.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 03:58:05 PM
Good thinking, chief.
I'm just trying to avoid a contrived opening, one that kinda screams at the reader/browser: 'I wrote this weird opening because you're a brain-dead twonk whose attention I need to lasso within three words.'  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 10, 2008, 04:02:41 PM
Hey¬! I like being lassooed with three words.

No, you're right. I sometimes feel like a performing seal trying to impress an agent. I haven't tried LYING yet. That's next.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 04:07:58 PM
I think that the main problem I have is...me ;D I prefer to write 1st-Person POV stuff.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 10, 2008, 04:55:35 PM
AHHHHHHH writers lie!!!
I'm shocked shocked
Steve with the first one you know you lose the cat lovers.
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 05:03:24 PM
Too true, Mr Mull ;D

I was trying to hint at the old adage that serial murderers often torture animals, in childhood.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 10, 2008, 05:05:20 PM
I think that the main problem I have is...me ;D I prefer to write 1st-Person POV stuff.

Then do so.  And do it so well that people have to read it.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 10, 2008, 05:11:26 PM
I'm just trying to avoid a contrived opening, one that kinda screams at the reader/browser: 'I wrote this weird opening because you're a brain-dead twonk whose attention I need to lasso within three words.'  ;D

Stop worrying about what the readers may think you thought about them.  You're selling them a story, not your soul.  if the story's good enough they won't even notice the man who wrote it.

Seriously.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 10, 2008, 05:14:16 PM
Then do so.  And do it so well that people have to read it.

I'd love to, Mr G, but seeing as my main protagonists end up dead, it's a little difficult.
And I don't want to go down the road of using a 'journal' to tell the story in retrospect, as it were :(

Stop worrying about what the readers may think you thought about them.  You're selling them a story, not your soul.  if the story's good enough they won't even notice the man who wrote it.

Yep, good advice, mate, thank you :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 10, 2008, 05:19:03 PM
Ah, the dead narrator problem ;-)    Not insurmountable, but it doea always seem contrived.  Acceptable in a short story, but not so much in a novel.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rewh2oman on July 10, 2008, 05:21:39 PM
but seeing as my main protagonists end up dead

you must have some supporting characters? there in lies your answer.

...russ
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 10, 2008, 05:24:54 PM
Ah . . . that difficult first line.

What about the other 100,000 words? What do you do if they're all gob-shite as well? :P
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 10, 2008, 07:03:17 PM
Ah . . . that difficult first line.

What about the other 100,000 words? What do you do if they're all gob-shite as well? :P

Statistically that's pretty unlikely.  But if so, you write another and better book.  If you are still consistently writing gob-shite after several hundred thousand words then perhaps writing really isn't your thing.

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 11, 2008, 03:29:22 AM
Quote
If you are still consistently writing gob-shite after several hundred thousand words then perhaps writing really isn't your thing.

My favourite quote on MWC to date. Thanks Gyppo. Perhaps we should pass this on to a number of published authors I could mention (and I'm sure you know a few as well).  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 12, 2008, 06:49:51 AM
Ok I am toying with the idea of making this my opening paragraph to The Meek Inheritance. Is it ok or total crap? :-\

Water cascaded through the half open windows.  Dark murky torrents, sucking in fish, rats and reeds, at least, that's what she wanted to believe.  Resting her gaze on the terrified face, swallowing, spluttering, gasping for air, unable to move in his watery four wheeled tomb, she tilted her head, fascinated. The bulge of his eyes and gulping mouth put her in mind of the Bream, Gudgeon and Chub her dad showed her when she was small. 'He was a good dad, unlike you, he deserved kids.'
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 12, 2008, 07:12:13 AM
I think this is a great & dramatic opening, it really works for me.
Personally, I would italicise the word 'deserved', but then, I italicise everything, so ignore me ;D ;D
Great stuff, Ma. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 07:57:17 AM
Great opening.
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 12, 2008, 03:13:11 PM
You think? Ok I will try running with it
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 03:19:36 PM
Starting a new book and wondering if this para has the 'oomph' I need. :-\

Thoughts anyone?



The dream came again tonight.
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 12, 2008, 03:27:19 PM
Ok I am toying with the idea of making this my opening paragraph to The Meek Inheritance. Is it ok or total crap? :-\

Oooh.. Very strong start there... has grabbed my attention, and I don't read these genre of stories. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 12, 2008, 03:29:41 PM
Starting a new book and wondering if this para has the 'oomph' I need. :-\

Thoughts anyone?

While this start has me curious...  It hasn't grabbed me by the head and demanded that I read more...   :-\
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 12, 2008, 03:35:57 PM
Starting a new book and wondering if this para has the 'oomph' I need. :-\

Perhaps it is the inquisitive side of me but I would want to read on. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 03:48:58 PM
Quote
While this start has me curious...  It hasn't grabbed me by the head and demanded that I read more...   


Darn it! But more or less what I thought. :'(

Any ideas for improving it, Andrew?

Quote
Perhaps it is the inquisitive side of me but I would want to read on

Thanks, Ma - guess it's your usual in the bar then? ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 03:56:32 PM
The dream came again tonight the same person, doing the same thing.  
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!

Cathy C. just a thought.
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 12, 2008, 04:12:51 PM
Darn it! But more or less what I thought. :'(

Any ideas for improving it, Andrew?

The way it sounded to me, was as if the character was sighing and moaning lackadaisically. I don't know if that is what you were after or not.

The only thing I can think of is to make it obvious the dream disturbs her  (if it does)  or excites her ;D in the first sentence.   Assuming she's a her.

Quote
That damn dream came again last night!

or

Quote
That wonderful dream came again last night.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 04:25:21 PM
JH, I can see where you are going, but it doesn't quite 'feel' right. :-\

Quote
The only thing I can think of is to make it obvious the dream disturbs her  (if it does)  or excites her  in the first sentence.   Assuming she's a her.

Hee hee, this is where it becomes plain that I expect my audience to be mind readers - I'm always doing that. :-[

Yes, it is a her and yes, the dream disturbs her. (In a bad way, in case you were wondering. :P)

I don't know why, but I had that classic opening: "Last night I dreamed I went to Mandalay again," in my mind. (Jeeze, I hope I spelt that right)

Oh well, back to the drawing board. :(

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 12, 2008, 04:29:24 PM
"Last night I dreamed I went to Mandalay again," in my mind.

Blimey! That's you me and Steve 08 this week.  Rebecca has a lot to answer for.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 04:34:25 PM
Doesn't she just! >:(


Tell you what, Ma - let's go see Bones - betcha he has never heard of her, and if he has, he will be much too scared to say anything. (After all, he knows we have FF's croc.  ;))
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 04:36:03 PM
The dream came again tonight.
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!
The sweat began to soak the pillow.
Cathy C. just another thought.
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 05:02:33 PM
Quote
The dream came again tonight.
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!
The sweat began to soak the pillow.
Cathy C. just another thought.
JH

Now you've given me something to think about - getting in that, while she is happy enough to face the dream because of its beginning (which has to do with her parents), she is still afraid.

Thanks JH - something to 'play' with. :-*
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 05:32:44 PM
Quote
The dream came again tonight.
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!
The sweat began to soak the pillow.
Cathy C. just another thought.
JH

Now you've given me something to think about - getting in that, while she is happy enough to face the dream because of its beginning (which has to do with her parents), she is still afraid.

Thanks JH - something to 'play' with. 

Then she must be an orphan living in an orphanage or with people that treat her badly.
The dream ends with her parents being killed and she wakes up drenched in sweat afraid and alone. Having no friends not knowing what will happen to her next.
Yet another thought. ;D
JH 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 05:51:19 PM
Quote
Then she must be an orphan living in an orphanage or with people that treat her badly.

Wrong, posh girls school.

Quote
The dream ends with her parents being killed and she wakes up drenched in sweat afraid and alone. Having no friends not knowing what will happen to her next.

Wrong, the murder (maybe, haven't decided yet) of 4 of her school mates.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 06:10:35 PM
Ouch! one should not try to tell another's story. :-[
However it sounds good. I like murder thrillers.
Jh
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 06:13:53 PM
Quote
Ouch! one should not try to tell another's story

No, appreciate the input - really helps.

Quote
I like murder thrillers.

Me too. ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 06:23:09 PM
I am working on one now (14 chapters) called? Murder On Marsh Island. for now. But it's far from a boarding school.

JH ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 06:24:08 PM
Go on... I dare you... post some. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 06:57:01 PM
It's just a draft and where would you want this draft posted? You know that's a dare that should not be given a writer.
JH ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 06:58:55 PM
Quote
You know that's a dare that should not be given a writer.

Na nanana.... Go on, dare ya! :P

Post the first para here, or put a chapter on the Review Board.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 07:13:41 PM
OK this is the first opening par. If not this then the next post.
JH :)

Sheriff Frank Jedidiah Lightfoot stood looking out his office window on the fourth floor of the Glynn County Detention Center.  He could see the Sidney Lanier Bridge as well as the old docks on the South Brunswick River.  To the east, he could see St. Simons Island and Sea Island and to the north, Marsh Island.  Sea Island was very exclusive residential, having only the famous Cloister Resort to attract outsiders, and Marsh Island was purely residential.  St. Simons had shops and restaurants of all kinds.  He liked that.  His lady friend managed one of the finest restaurants on St. Simons.  Today marked the six month anniversary of his election as Glynn County sheriff.  He had put together a six month plan and had hit the ground running; however, he had at best accomplished only about twenty percent of what he intended.  The County Board of Commissioners had blocked him more than not, refusing his request for more funds to develop a real forensic lab and bring the department into the 21st Century.  He had also requested funds to enlarge the detention center because, even with housing four to the cell, he was still spending over $50,000 a month boarding prisoners in surrounding counties.  He was beginning to question his decision to take the job as chief Deputy Sheriff three years ago, as well as his decision to run for Sheriff.  He did not feel he had the County Board's full support and, in fact, he did not.  A few wanted him to fail as sheriff.  He was not a hometown boy.  He wondered what could possibly happen to make the situation with the board worse.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 07:15:39 PM
This may be the opening:
JH ;D


“Sheriff?”  The South Georgia twang of one of his deputies interrupted his reverie.
Frank pushed the talk button on the intercom.  “Yes, Peewee?”
“I just got a call from the manager of the Marsh Island Golf Club,” Peewee said.
“About what, Peewee?”  Frank fully understood why his predecessor insisted he sign an agreement to keep his two nephews, Peewee being one, on as deputies in return for his support.
“There’s a naked body on the ninth green.”
“A dead body?”
“As a mackerel,” he said.
“Have the nearest unit secure the crime scene and have my car brought around.”
“Herman’s waiting on you out front.”
“Thanks, Peewee.”
“You bet.”  Peewee smiled to himself.
Sheriff Lightfoot stood up, pulled open the bottom drawer of his desk and took out his pistol belt.  Well, I guess I know what could get worse.”

Which one do you like.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Xerika on July 12, 2008, 08:21:01 PM
Definitely the second version, JH, even though someone said recently on MWC that you should never start a novel with dialogue. Don't really understand why not personally.

I remember reading an article years ago about how not to start a novel. I can't remember all the points now but I know it said something about not mentioning the weather or the time of day. To be fair to the author of the article, he/she then went on to mention some anomalies like the opening sentence to Orwell's '1984': "It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." (I think that's the correct quote but I just went to check my copy and realised some b***er's nicked it.)

Rules, eh.

Just for the hell of it, here's a link I just noticed to 'The Worst Opening Lines of Books' at http://www.joke-archives.com/oddsends/worstopeninglinesofbooks.html (http://www.joke-archives.com/oddsends/worstopeninglinesofbooks.html).
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 12, 2008, 08:40:53 PM
thanks X the second one is the forth para in the opening. I have been thinking the same that it should be the opening. AAAAH yet another rewrite!!!
JH ::) ::) :'( :'(
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on July 12, 2008, 08:52:27 PM
Darn it, while I have been working on this Xerika has posted. :'(

Anyway - here's my take.


JH, I like the first intro better - although you need to pare it down. ;) (There is nothing there that you can't put in later.)

The dialogue in the second 'opening' is great and can easily be slipped in. Example:

Sheriff Frank Jedidiah Lightfoot stood looking looked out his office window. Today marked the six month anniversary of his election as Glynn County sheriff. He had put together a six month plan  He'd had a plan, hit the ground running; however, he had (,) at best (,) accomplished only about twenty percent of what he (had) intended.  Not totally his fault, he knew.The County Board of Commissioners had blocked him more than not, at every turn; refusing his request for more funds to develop a real forensic lab and  to bring the (his) department into the 21st Century.  Now  he was beginning to question his decision to to take the job as chief Deputy run for  Sheriff. Not only did he not have the Board's full support, he knew that more than one good citizen was looking on eagerly, wanting him to fail. Not being a hometown boy didn't help.   He wondered what could possibly happen to make the   his situation with the board worse. Then the intercom buzzed.
“Sheriff?”  The South Georgia (n) twang of one of his deputies interrupted his reverie.








Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nadine L on July 13, 2008, 02:08:08 AM

The dream came again tonight. Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!


I changed the set up to put the second sentence with the first, however, it is the last sentence that makes me want more. What could be worth the annoyance of a reoccurring dream? mmm, makes me wonder.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 13, 2008, 07:28:15 AM
Quote
The dream came again tonight.
     Even knowing how it would end, I welcomed it as I would an old friend; with open arms and a delicious sense of anticipation, because the beginning… Ah, the beginning was worth it!



Cathy, is this more of a nightmare than a deam?
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 13, 2008, 07:36:24 AM
Cathy, Thanks I feel there maybe to much backstory in the first few para. so here they are please take a look let me know what you think and anyone else who can help an old boy from South Georgia. I know we are getting away from one liners but all of us can not write: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
JH

Chapter 1
Sheriff Frank Jedidiah Lightfoot stood looking out his office window on the fourth floor of the Glynn County Detention Center.  He could see the Sidney Lanier Bridge as well as the old docks on the South Brunswick River.  To the east, he could see St. Simons Island and Sea Island and to the north, Marsh Island.  Sea Island was very exclusive residential, having only the famous Cloister Resort to attract outsiders, and Marsh Island was purely residential.  St. Simons had shops and restaurants of all kinds.  He liked that.  His lady friend managed one of the finest restaurants on St. Simons.  Today marked the six month anniversary of his election as Glynn County sheriff.  He had put together a six month plan and had hit the ground running; however, he had at best accomplished only about twenty percent of what he intended.  The County Board of Commissioners had blocked him more than not, refusing his request for more funds to develop a real forensic lab and bring the department into the 21st Century.  He had also requested funds to enlarge the detention center because, even with housing four to the cell, he was still spending over $50,000 a month boarding prisoners in surrounding counties.  He was beginning to question his decision to take the job as chief Deputy Sheriff three years ago, as well as his decision to run for Sheriff.  He did not feel he had the County Board's full support and, in fact, he did not.  A few wanted him to fail as sheriff.  He was not a hometown boy.  He wondered what could possibly happen to make the situation with the board worse.
“Good morning, Frank.  How about coffee?  You had your forty cups yet?”  Chief Deputy Sheriff Germaine Wilson said, setting a cup of coffee on the sheriff’s desk.
The sheriff looked at his chief deputy, then back out the window.  “Thanks, Germaine.”
“Oh, Lord, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.”  Frank moved over to his desk, took the cap off his coffee and took a sip, then sat down.  “This is good.”
“Man and sheriffs cannot live on Peewee’s coffee alone.”  Germaine sat across from Frank.  “Now, what’s wrong?”
“What makes you think something is wrong?”
“You only call me Germaine when you are worried about something.”
“Do I?”
“All the way back to when we were at Fort Campbell.”
“That goes back.”
“Fifteen years.”
“Well, Gerry, you are right.  The County Board has turned down my request for an increase in our budget again.”
“Don’t let it get you down.  We’re doing all right.  People are beginning to notice the job you are doing,” Chief Deputy Wilson stood up and put on his dark glasses.  “I hear you’re interviewing a forensic Blockedyst from the Army.”
Sheriff Lightfoot handed Linda Lopez’s resume to him.  “Already have.”
“Damn, this is impressive.  If she looks this good, hire her.”  Gerry handed the resume back.
“She’s taking the exam tomorrow.”
“Good.  My shift started ten minutes ago.  I’ll be in sector 3 if you need me.”
The sheriff nodded his head as his chief deputy left.
**********
“Sheriff?”  The South Georgia twang of one of his deputies interrupted his reverie.
Frank pushed the talk button on the intercom.  “Yes, Peewee?”
“I just got a call from the manager of the Marsh Island Golf Club,” Peewee said.
“About what, Peewee?”  Frank fully understood why his predecessor insisted he sign an agreement to keep his two nephews, Peewee being one, on as deputies in return for his support.
“There’s a naked body on the ninth green.”
“A dead body?”
“As a mackerel,” he said.
“Have the nearest unit secure the crime scene and have my car brought around.”
“Herman’s waiting on you out front.”
“Thanks, Peewee.”
“You bet.”  Peewee smiled to himself.
Sheriff Lightfoot stood up, pulled open the bottom drawer of his desk and took out his pistol belt.  Well, I guess I know what could get worse.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: josiebee on July 15, 2008, 05:28:01 AM
Morning

Well I have really enjoyed reading these openings and wondered if anyone had a few minutes to read one of mine?


The train came to a screeching halt at Kirrin Station.  Among her fellow passengers Ellie stepped off onto the platform with a feeling of apprehension, a frisson of excitement– and one less shoe than she had boarded with. How on Earth did that happen?

Thanks for any comments

jo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Angelness on July 16, 2008, 01:23:47 PM
So, I started a new story a few days ago. The man is a Vampire, and he's supposed to be mysterious. This is more of a Prologue than anything; you're not really supposed to know who he is. Yah. Anyway, the rest of the Prologue is several pages long, but what do you think of the first paragraph?

The sun’s clutches over the sky faded as the rosy pink hues gave way to the solid darkness of night. The moon was little more than a sliver in the sky, the stars dimmed by a heavy layer of clouds when the footsteps finally gave away his presence. Leather boots landed lightly on the dirt path, leaving little indication that their owner had ever passed. His deep emerald eyes glinted slightly in the darkness as he approached the single farmhouse at the end of the path. His eyes narrowed to slits as he walked up the handmade, wooden steps leading to the front door. He knocked once with the firm brass knocker, sending a single echo throughout the old fashioned home, alerting its single inhabitant.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 18, 2008, 11:04:16 AM
She was standing there naked with a 9 mm in her hand and the body was there covered in blood. Next question?

JH :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SteveJ on July 18, 2008, 11:08:25 AM
It'd be a lot more effective like this, Mr Mull ;D ;D ;D

He was standing there naked with 9 mm in his hand.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on July 18, 2008, 11:10:42 AM
less effective like this;

Quote
he was standing there with a 3mm in his hand
.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 18, 2008, 11:15:18 AM
U-m-m-m what you don't see is the knife in her other hand!!
Jh
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on July 18, 2008, 05:52:12 PM
Behave yourselves, Lads ;-)

If he's only got 9 millimetres in his hand she's probably already used the knife ;-)  Even 9 centimetres isn't anything to write home about...  That's the trouble with these modern metric units, even the youngster don't visualise them as they speak.

More seriously...

She was standing there naked with a 9 mm in her hand and the body was there covered in blood. Next question?

It doesn't need the 'there'.  Also, it doesn't sound like an opening line unless it's meant to be quoted speech and the speaker is answering a question.

Example:  "She was standing there naked with a 9 mm in her hand and the body was covered in blood. Next question?"  Jimmy was already pig sick of answering the same question, but he knew he'd hear it many more times before he was allowed to sleep.  Why hadn't someone else opened the door instead of him?

(But this is probably miles away from what you are trying to achieve.)

Gyppo
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 18, 2008, 06:27:42 PM
Ok,OK I gave up.

she was standing there naked holding a nine inch knife in one hand and gods knows what in the other, the dead man was there covered in blood. Next question?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on July 18, 2008, 06:30:39 PM
Gyppo. I was trying to do a one liner. But I like what it started on a Friday this is just the thing to start the week-end.
JH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 20, 2008, 05:35:03 PM
This snippit came to me this morning and wouldn't stop nagging until I'd got it down...




High over the swirling planet the ship's hull began to sing. The cabin a sounding box for vibrations beyond human hearing, although John could feel them against the palms of his hands. The Humming Bird was kissing high atmosphere.

The gas giant was shrouded in broad bands of bold colours. There was no break anywhere, a vast plain that stretched to the far distant convex horizon. The cloud cover looked firm enough to walk on.

John knew it was an illusion; a landscape of vapours as insubstantial as his dreams of interstellar travel.
The ship's singing lowered in tone. Down from the super-sonic into the range John could hear. A scream of tortured gas ripping past just outside the skin.

He moved the stick gently, and felt the ship respond. Not vacuum anymore! He banked slightly and brought them back level. His eyes danced across the gauges; the air-speed indicator crept below MACH-10 and John activated the scoops.

Dip-ships are considered ugly by some; a large delta-shaped lifting body with gaping scoops jutting from the belly, making them look like early jets. But to John, they are a sleek testament to form following function.

Hot gasses rammed through the scoop and into the holding tank briefly. From there they were separated, the Deuterium and Helium-3 fed into high pressure storage and the remaining hydrogen and other gasses released, or fed into the ever hungry engines keeping the Humming Bird aloft.



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bates61 on July 21, 2008, 03:08:01 PM
A knock at the door woke me, my mother answered; I heard her scream out.

“Oh, my god! It’s David, isn’t it?”
 
I threw back the covers, leapt out of bed and rushed to the stairs, from the landing at the top I could see my mother bent over with her head cupped in her hands. I saw a back lit silhouette in the doorway. As I got closer, the silhouette turned into a clean-cut man dressed in a dark blue suit holding out an army ID card saying, “Can I come in please Mrs. Williams?”

He looked at me, but made no comment on the fact I was wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts. “Who might you be?” he asked.

“I’m Robert Williams.” I replied.

“I think you better help your mother inside, sit her down and put the kettle on.”

He introduced himself as the family’s officer and began to explain.

“I’m sorry to have to be the one to bring you this news, Mrs. Williams, but your son David, was shot and killed yesterday whilst on a routine patrol of south Armagh in Northern Ireland.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 21, 2008, 03:12:52 PM
High over the swirling planet the ship's hull began to sing. The cabin a sounding box for vibrations beyond human hearing, although John could feel them against the palms of his hands. The Humming Bird was kissing high atmosphere.

The gas giant was shrouded in broad bands of bold colours. There was no break anywhere, a vast plain that stretched to the far distant convex horizon. The cloud cover looked firm enough to walk on.


Hi Andrew
As you know sci fi is not my thing but I think this is a very good start mate.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 21, 2008, 04:07:28 PM
Hi Andrew
As you know sci fi is not my thing but I think this is a very good start mate.

Thanks Ma...   this just wouldn't let me rest until it was written out...   dunno when or where I might use it though  :-\
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 21, 2008, 04:09:01 PM
Thanks Ma...   this just wouldn't let me rest until it was written out...   dunno when or where I might use it though  :-\

how about now as a start of a new story. ;D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 21, 2008, 04:12:32 PM
how about now as a start of a new story. ;D ;D

LOL  :D :D :D

amongst the starts of all the others too...  let alone trying to finish the short stories as well   :-\ :-\ ;D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ninny on July 22, 2008, 04:26:09 PM
Quote
amongst the starts of all the others too...  let alone trying to finish the short stories as well

That's okay Andrew, just give up the day job!! ;D ;D  Then we get to read your stories all day long! ;D
No, wait, that would mean I would have to give up my day job too! ::)
Well maybe you'll live to be 456 years old! ;D  Or you could use your time machine to go into the future where all your books have already been written and bring them back with you!! ;D  (My mum always used to say that I had a way of working things out in the end)!! ;D ;D

Your Welcome!!(I've been into the future in the machine and you're going to be singing my praises!!) ;D ;D

Ninny x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on July 22, 2008, 04:53:31 PM
Thanks Ninny, but I already tried that and my future self stopped me saying something about plagiarism and time loops... ::) :-\


 ;D :D ;D :D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: johnnyh2 on July 22, 2008, 09:18:40 PM
Once, when I was nine, I blew up a cow with an industrial air pump. I tried it in its mouth first, but I couldn't wiggle the tube down. Silly cow kept coughing an' chewing the rubber. So I tried down the other end, which worked brilliantly. I'm not ashamed. I pretended to be ashamed at that juvenile court thingy - but I wasn't really. In fact, in me 'ead, I was proud. When the judge said I was depraved, stupid me, I started laughin'. An' the more I laughed, the crosser he got, till I thought he'd explode like that ol' cow done. My name is Gloria Groans, an' I don't like girls with long hair.

The opening lines to, The Twinkling Green, my first attempt at writing a novel. It's an 80,000 word adventure story for kids aged 8-12. It's all but finished, only, I've been wondering about ... 1001 things actually, including, changing the opening.

Perhaps this is a better start.

In the living room of number 56 Bolton Avenue, the blood was still fresh on the carpet. Gloria had tried her best to mop it up with a sponge and a bowl of soapy water, but the more she scrubbed, the futrher the blood spread, till the stain was as pink as her slippers.

Are these sentences too long for comfort?

Any and all opinions on my 'openings' would be ever so welcome.

Thanks, Johnny
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: StrayDog on August 09, 2008, 02:11:30 PM
In the living room of number 56 Bolton Avenue, the blood was still fresh on the carpet. Gloria had tried her best to mop it up with a sponge and a bowl of soapy water, but the more she scrubbed, the futrher the blood spread, till the stain was as pink as her slippers.
- -

Start straight off with her scrubbing.
I'd stay to show you how, but you'll learn more if you do it yourself.

Hints
What is she thinking?
What is she saying?
What is she doing?
When do her parents get home?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Poncia on August 09, 2008, 10:55:15 PM
I haven't had much time lately, but while browsing the topics I was very happy to come across this one.
I've got about 65 pages and it's fragmented in a number of scenes that need cohesion.
This is one of the openings I've been considering. I like the very first sentence, but I'm not sure if I'm 'in love' with it and therefore want to make it the opening of a novel. Do you want to know more about this character?

Before there was Internet, there was Antoinette. Even as the sharpest tool in the shed, her career options were limited. ‘Rosie the riveters’ taught her that chalkboards, typewriters and bedpans were for future wives. She wanted to be connected, wanted the switchboard. After twenty-five years of service, she died the day man landed on the moon.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated,
Jim
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MaxieNZ on August 10, 2008, 06:01:10 AM
Joining this thread. :)

YA fiction.

MIDNIGHT CROW

     It was fortunate the majority of Ashwood were asleep the morning the midnight crow flew into town. If not, then old Doc Harvey may have had a few more patients than normal and this would not have pleased him at all.

     If asked, some would say fate arranged for Jim Duley from Hillberry Farm to be the solitary witness. On the other hand, perhaps he’d noticed because Jim was like that — he noticed things. 

     In town early to deliver produce to Rooney’s Bed & Breakfast, Jim felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck at the precise moment he lifted the basket of eggs from the back of his truck. Carefully replacing the basket so his hands would be free if needed, he turned… steady grey eyes narrowed he scanned the horizon.

     From the depths of the dawn it flew. Long, slow beats pulled it up and over the church spire before circling the town square only to rise and settle atop the cross. In this part of the country, crows were common and considered a pest. However, this crow was as far removed from common, as Ashwood was a town of pure souls. Its sheer size; if not its brilliant sapphire eyes proclaimed it as being something out of the ordinary—something to take notice of.
The Midnight Crow has history. If legends were to be believed, the Midnight Crow created history.

*Dons her thick skin*
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 10, 2008, 08:43:22 AM
Joining this thread. :)

YA fiction.

MIDNIGHT CROW

     It was fortunate the majority of Ashwood were asleep the morning the midnight crow flew into town. If not, then old Doc Harvey may have had a few more patients than normal and this would not have pleased him at all.

     If asked, some would say fate arranged for Jim Duley from Hillberry Farm to be the solitary witness. On the other hand, perhaps he’d noticed because Jim was like that — he noticed things. 

     In town early to deliver produce to Rooney’s Bed & Breakfast, Jim felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck at the precise moment he lifted the basket of eggs from the back of his truck. Carefully replacing the basket so his hands would be free if needed, he turned… steady grey eyes narrowed he scanned the horizon.

     From the depths of the dawn it flew. Long, slow beats pulled it up and over the church spire before circling the town square only to rise and settle atop the cross. In this part of the country, crows were common and considered a pest. However, this crow was as far removed from common, as Ashwood was a town of pure souls. Its sheer size; if not its brilliant sapphire eyes proclaimed it as being something out of the ordinary—something to take notice of.
The Midnight Crow has history. If legends were to be believed, the Midnight Crow created history.

*Dons her thick skin*


Textbook!.... in my humble opinion. Send me the book!!! A very good and attention grabbing opening. Immediatly establishes character, setting and plot and a hook just in the first line! Superior. Excuse my over enthusism but I really do think you nailed this one and I simply can't find any part with a problem.

Here is mine, feel free to be ruthless:

Shaarierra fell backward onto the freezing snow as the burning pain in her head blinded her. The high mountains were flooded out of her vision by a blinding white light which slowly faded as her new surroundings were revealed. She was on a small island in a mighty blue river.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: zoomary on August 10, 2008, 10:47:03 AM
Here's my attempt:

Within a quarter mark I would be dead. At least that was the priest’ intention. Not that I was aware of that, or much of anything else for that matter. My thoughts scattered as easily as thistle down in a high wind as I huddled against the mast of the Depet class ship and fought down nausea.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 10, 2008, 04:42:04 PM
Here's my attempt:

Within a quarter mark I would be dead. At least that was the priest’ intention. Not that I was aware of that, or much of anything else for that matter. My thoughts scattered as easily as thistle down in a high wind as I huddled against the mast of the Depet class ship and fought down nausea.

I like the first sentence but the rest are a little too disjionted from another and don't flow naturally and a publisher will pick that up pronto. I thank the problem maybe too many fullstops in too little words more of those "as" and "while" type words may help. hope I hav been helpfull. Please remeber to review mine as well! It is in the post above yours!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Poncia on August 10, 2008, 05:10:20 PM

Shaarierra fell backward onto the freezing snow as the burning pain in her head blinded her. The high mountains were flooded out of her vision by a blinding white light which slowly faded as her new surroundings were revealed. She was on a small island in a mighty blue river.
I read this a couple of times and couldn't quite grasp what appealled to me and what I found distracting. Then it occurred to me:

I like the visualizations, but you seem to say a lot in each sentence. I don't know where she is from the start. Yes, she's in snow, but on the mountain? Then the physical pain/blinded/blinding white light. A lot seems to happen in the first two sentences.
It's a bit too descriptive in the sense that you also switch from freezing snow/ burning pain; the mountain/ flood, island and water in next sentence.
I do want to know more, but first there are a number of questions here in these three sentences.

There are a number of elements that make me wonder what's going on with her!

Kind regards,
Jim
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 10, 2008, 05:18:47 PM
Thanks... I really need to rewrite my whole first chapter before I post anything again but oh the time! When will I have the timeeeee!!!!!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Poncia on August 10, 2008, 05:28:56 PM
Thanks... I really need to rewrite my whole first chapter before I post anything again but oh the time! When will I have the timeeeee!!!!!

Mine was just ONE opinion!

That's not necessarily true. You can post along the way. Review other people's works and pick up more tips along the way. I don't know how long you've been here, I'm relatively new, but there are a number of things that other members put out there as works in progress. We're all in either the same or similar boats.

Jim
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 10, 2008, 05:33:55 PM
Oh don't worry. See, more than one reviewer has made more or less the same comments about the same piece of writing so it is really time i improved it rather than just posting the same old thing over again and getting more or less the same comments back. i'm afrais i'm a bit of a procrastinator.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MaxieNZ on August 10, 2008, 08:29:56 PM
Thank you, ByronArthurClark :)

I have 18,000 words thus far.

Your opener...

We as readers, do not know, Shaaierra. Therefore, to begin your story with her name and an action we do not know the reason for (as it relates to her), creates a disjointed introduction. Who is she? Why would she have this pain. You  do not want to give the reason for the pain so early in the piece, so you need to zero in on what is around her and let the reader get to know her.
Okay, it is a new story and of course the reader does NOT know Shaaierra, but most will understand pain and shock.



Shaarierra fell backward onto the freezing snow as the burning pain in her head blinded her. The high mountains were flooded out of her vision by a blinding white light which slowly faded as her new surroundings were revealed. She was on a small island in a mighty blue river.

Utilising as many of your words as possible, I offer the following...

    * Blinded by the burning pain in her head, Shaaierra fell backwards into the snow. Her nebulose sight glued to the far mountains, she struggled against the pain. A brilliant white light flooded her vision-fear touched her soul. Eyes shut tight, Shaaierra lay there, waiting for her heart to steady. She knew she had to move or die. She waited...
  The curious lack of cold tugged at her mind, inching into the fear. Reluctant lids rose, then popped wide.  A vast river surrounded a small island-she was on it. How was this possible? *

I have used a fair bit of licence here and you should not copy what I wrote (why would you!). We/I still do not know Shaaierra, but do know there is magic of some kind, she is curious yet has a will to survive and there is either a "baddie" or some medical reason in the story.

My two cents. :)
Maxie

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 11, 2008, 11:22:14 AM
Thank you for your help MaxieNZ. ;D Some really useful ideas there! 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: StrayDog on August 22, 2008, 09:42:31 PM
Many bad things have been written about me, mostly by me under another name but this is the truth.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on August 22, 2008, 10:02:11 PM
Quote
Many bad things have been written about me, mostly by me under another name but this is the truth.

I like it.  It reads like Multiple Personality Disorder on steroids.  What part is truth?  What part is paranoia?  Will we ever know for sure? 

Is there more where this came from?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: StrayDog on August 22, 2008, 10:04:12 PM
I like it.  It reads like Multiple Personality Disorder on steroids.  What part is truth?  What part is paranoia?  Will we ever know for sure? 

Is there more where this came from?

Perhaps, it's under consideration.
But I've got to figure out which project I'm working on now before I even consider starting another.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 02, 2008, 03:08:16 PM
This particular start has been languishing for over 3 years... one of these days I'll get back to it...  :-\


John Cram smiled contentedly to himself as he piloted his shuttle pod towards the ‘Starfarer’. The ship resembled a large silver teardrop, beautifully streamlined even though it floated serenely in the vacuum of space. He watched the shuttle bay doors slide smoothly aside before him, and then deftly nudged the pod into the bay with small movements of the controls before he engaged the docking clamps to hold it securely.
With a sigh of released tension, he unstrapped himself from his seat and floated free for a moment before guiding himself over to the airlock and beginning its cycle. John floated from the airlock into the stark white corridor beyond. He floated along the corridor towards the command centre and remembered how he had joined the project eight years before.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on September 02, 2008, 03:18:40 PM
This is great Andrew. Just one thing I'd LOVE to do for a change.... For once I'd like these sliding doors to groan and squeak, and judder coz they need a good service... They always glide across so effortlessly don't they?

I guess my attempts at sci-fi would end up as comedy. That's guaranteed. :D   
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 02, 2008, 03:24:35 PM
Probably Orph...  they glide silently coz it's space... a vacuum and no sound travels in a vacuum... ;D

Of course.. it also helps that the Starfarer is brand new ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 02, 2008, 03:40:49 PM
Found another one that's languished just as long...   :-\


The late summer day’s sun warmed the sleepy afternoon from a cloudless blue sky while Jostan took time out of his busy schedule to relax in the peaceful surroundings of his gardens. He knelt on the close cropped grass beside the fragrant herb beds, pulling out the sparse weeds and tending to the herbs with unhurried motions. The drowsy buzzing of large honeybees was the only sound accompanying Jostan as he gently weeded the soil between the plants, and trimmed them where needed.
He was dressed in plain brown work clothes stained with hard use, and in truth he looked more like one of the garden staff than the King doing his best to forget about his upcoming betrothal. His betrothal to Princess Orlinia, daughter of King Ulrich of the West Country, as a foundation of an alliance of their two kingdoms.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Orpheus on September 02, 2008, 03:49:05 PM
 I see.... You know a lot about.... space and stuff..... 8) I'm thinking one of us needs to get out more. Besides, I've got a vacuum in my house and it makes loads of noise. ???
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 02, 2008, 03:53:47 PM
I see.... You know a lot about.... space and stuff..... 8) I'm thinking one of us needs to get out more. Besides, I've got a vacuum in my house and it makes loads of noise. ???

LOL  I am a mad scientist ;D   I should know about space and "stuff"  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: luvwriting on September 02, 2008, 06:33:33 PM
An interesting start to a novel, Andrew. At the end of it I was caught between two visions. One of a retired bank? manager weeding his nicely manicured herb garden - the close cropped grass, in particular, made me think of ride-on lawn mowers - and the second, rather incongruous, image of a Medieval king weeding a boarder.
I honestly can't tell you if a publisher would want to read on or not, so I'm afraid my comments are probably not of any use to you.


luvwriting
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 03, 2008, 11:35:56 AM
An interesting start to a novel, Andrew. At the end of it I was caught between two visions. One of a retired bank? manager weeding his nicely manicured herb garden - the close cropped grass, in particular, made me think of ride-on lawn mowers - and the second, rather incongruous, image of a Medieval king weeding a boarder.
I honestly can't tell you if a publisher would want to read on or not, so I'm afraid my comments are probably not of any use to you.


luvwriting

Thanks luvwriting ;D

What about the SciFi one I posted a little earlier?
http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=3138.msg216107#msg216107
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: luvwriting on September 03, 2008, 12:47:03 PM
Oh, you've put me on the spot now :) Ok, (deep breath):

The image of the spaceship docking, set the scene very well. I know up front that this is SF.

Um, now the bad news.

Quote
He watched the shuttle bay doors slide smoothly aside before him, and then deftly nudged the pod into the bay with small movements of the controls before he engaged the docking clamps to hold it securely.

With a sigh of released tension, he unstrapped himself from his seat and floated free for a moment before guiding himself over to the airlock and beginning its cycle. 


These two sentences are a bit long. For the first paragraph I would prefer to see shorter sentences to set a pace that will sweep me into the story, before slowing down and settling into a steady rhythum.

I found myself balking a little when I reached the last few words of the final sentence:

Quote
...and remembered how he had joined the project eight years before.


At this point I'm thinking I'm in for a lecture full of facts which I'm going to have to try to remember because they are sure to be important to the plot.
You've done something similar on the other novel opening:

Quote
His betrothal to Princess Orlinia, daughter of King Ulrich of the West Country, as a foundation of an alliance of their two kingdoms.

- that is a lot of information to swallow in one chunk.

Instead, in the opening paragraphs, I'd prefer to be asking myself "why's he done that?"; "What's going to happen next?"; "Where's he going"; "Who's that?"....questions that will keep me reading to find out the answers. 

Um, hope that helps.  :-\


luvwriting
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 03, 2008, 03:57:54 PM
Yes thanks, luvwriting.

Those two particular stories have sat in my slushpile for a long time...   they really need dusting off and giving a good edit before they see the light of day... ;D   that was when i was trying to fill every sentance with shining prose... and failing miserably ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on September 10, 2008, 12:40:13 PM
Geno stood about three-feet-tall, pretty average for this part of town. His oversized ears, eyes, and shiny red nose were nothing unusual either, but one thing about Geno made him different to his neighbours … for a cartoon he could be a real bastard.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 01:24:47 PM
Geno stood about three-feet-tall, pretty average for this part of town. His oversized ears, eyes, and shiny red nose were nothing unusual either, but one thing about Geno made him different to his neighbours ... for a cartoon he could be a real bastard.


It makes me want to read more, Foxy :) The only change I can suggest is a slight change of punctuation:

His oversized ears, eyes, and shiny red nose were nothing unusual either. But, one thing about Geno made him different to his neighbours: for a cartoon he could be a real bastard.



luvwriting
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Matt Walker on September 10, 2008, 03:40:14 PM
Here's the start of one of my novels:


‘You don’t have to drive so fast, Frank.’ Tanya Barrotti shot her husband a reproachful look.
 
   Frank Barrotti didn’t make any sign that he’d heard. He gripped the steering wheel, knuckles glinting bone-white, mouth drawn in a kind of sly grin. Rain thundered against the windscreen.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on September 10, 2008, 03:52:36 PM
Geno stood about three-feet-tall, pretty average for this part of town. His oversized ears, eyes, and shiny red nose were nothing unusual either, but one thing about Geno made him different to his neighbours … for a cartoon he could be a real bastard.

Foxy
It has got me hooked :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: KatieKryptonite on September 10, 2008, 04:15:59 PM
Walkio,
  I thought that the description was a little dramatic ("knuckles glinting bone-white...") in contrast to Tanya's rather mild statement. From the way you describe Frank I would have expected her to scream something at him rather than shoot a "reproachful look". Also, I don't think that you should say that Frank's knuckles were "glinting" white. To me, "glint" sounds like a sparkle, or a quick flash of light, like something metallic, unless of course he is an android!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: J-me on September 10, 2008, 05:07:11 PM
The bases were loaded.  I stepped into the batter's box.

"Whoa!  A pudgy munchkin!" the catcher yelled.

"What's your problem?" I asked.

"Your coach must be hard up for clean up batters to use a chubby runt like you."

"Watch and take notes, Buffalo Breath," I replied.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 05:29:37 PM
Here's the start of one of my novels:


‘You don’t have to drive so fast, Frank.’ Tanya Barrotti shot her husband a reproachful look.
 
   Frank Barrotti didn’t make any sign that he’d heard. He gripped the steering wheel, knuckles glinting bone-white, mouth drawn in a kind of sly grin. Rain thundered against the windscreen.


I agree with creativechemist, Frank's reaction is a little over dramatic in the circumstances.
I would suggest picking one description out of the 'bone-white knuckles', 'sly grin', or 'thundering rain', to go with 'gripped the steering wheel'.


luvwriting
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 05:31:51 PM
The bases were loaded.  I stepped into the batter's box.

"Whoa!  A pudgy munchkin!" the catcher yelled.

"What's your problem?" I asked.

"Your coach must be hard up for clean up batters to use a chubby runt like you."

"Watch and take notes, Buffalo Breath," I replied.

Good one :) although I wasn't sure what 'clean up batters' meant. How about just having "Your coach must be hard up to use a chubby runt like you." on that line?


luvwriting
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on September 11, 2008, 04:40:51 AM

It makes me want to read more, Foxy :) The only change I can suggest is a slight change of punctuation:

His oversized ears, eyes, and shiny red nose were nothing unusual either. But, one thing about Geno made him different to his neighbours: for a cartoon he could be a real bastard.


Thanks for the encouraging comment, luvwriting, and for the suggestion about the punctuation, however, I think I'll leave it the way it is.


Thanks for your comment too, Ma. I'm glad you liked it.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: J-me on September 11, 2008, 10:10:22 AM
Thanks luvwriting

I appreciate your comment on my first liner.

J-me
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 10, 2008, 04:10:15 AM
The dim light in the restaurant gave my date a mystical, smoky look. I could see the waiter bringing my peppered steak when someone shot me. Shame, I was really hungry.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on November 12, 2008, 11:10:22 PM
The dim light in the restaurant gave my date a mystical, smoky look. I could see the waiter bringing my peppered steak when someone shot me. Shame, I was really hungry.

This is fantastic; I'd read it ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on November 12, 2008, 11:20:45 PM
"Fire!" he screamed, "Fire!"

He ran throughout the building, catching his foot on dislodged rubble in his haste. As he fell for the umpteenth time, he was filled with the certainty that, however hard he tried, he would not leave this building. He would remain here, lying in some deserted hallway, the charred remains of the walls his coffin.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 13, 2008, 01:36:00 AM
I like yours too, it's got a lot of pop.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on November 13, 2008, 01:39:17 AM
My favourite opening line has to be The Crow road...

Quote
It was the day my grandmother exploded.

but it goes on...

Quote
I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach

Just brilliant.

This is one of my ideas...

Things started to go wrong for me when I locked Katy Marks in my office for 3 hours.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 13, 2008, 01:41:28 AM
Quote
Things started to go wrong for me when I locked Katy Marks in my office for 3 hours.
I'd be interested in seeing where you go with this.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on November 13, 2008, 01:47:18 AM
It's a line that appears later in the opening chapter of this post http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=17516.0 and if I have the balls I may even make it the opening line.  :o
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on November 13, 2008, 02:10:39 AM
I like yours too, it's got a lot of pop.

cheers, mate
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hobbitlan on November 13, 2008, 01:20:27 PM
Wow - Such a great topic!

This is the opening 50 words of a memoir I am writing about my father.

Working title: "Mass for the Dead"

---

Like moss covering the scattered bones of long-dead corpses, my father’s death settled over me. No more abusive outbursts, no more drunken ravings. Just a blessed end to the social incontinence by which this man, once the heroic measure by which I judged all men, had come to be known.

 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 13, 2008, 01:57:02 PM
I've added another line to the lines I posted a few days ago.

The dim light in the restaurant gave my date a mystical, smoky look. I could see the waiter bringing my peppered steak when someone shot me. Shame, I was really hungry. If I hadn't reached for another piece of bread, my brains would've ruined her Couture dress.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 14, 2008, 06:09:34 PM
Quote
The dim light in the restaurant gave my date a mystical, smoky look. I could see the waiter bringing my peppered steak when someone shot me. Shame, I was really hungry.

Good one!


Quote
The dim light in the restaurant gave my date a mystical, smoky look. I could see the waiter bringing my peppered steak when someone shot me. Shame, I was really hungry. If I hadn't reached for another piece of bread, my brains would've ruined her Couture dress
.

Nah, not so good cos now youve got two hooklines. Might work if you deleted the earlier one: shame I was really hungry.



Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 15, 2008, 01:44:50 AM
I'll catch it in the second draft.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 15, 2008, 07:08:47 AM
Quote
Like moss covering the scattered bones of long-dead corpses, my father’s death settled over me. No more abusive outbursts, no more drunken ravings. Just a blessed end to the social incontinence by which this man, once the heroic measure by which I judged all men, had come to be known.


Are blessed end to the social incontinence and once the heroic measure by which I judged all men two of your darlings?
It starts with a good similie. Then its straightforward enough. But then gets a bit dense with those two darlings. It looks like your trying too hard.
Dont know if thats any use. Just my thoughts on it, so feel free to ignore them.


Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on November 17, 2008, 11:31:19 AM
I'm struggling for a first line in the first line of my novel Finding Zoe Dawes.  Here's one i'm considering...

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: reddsh on November 17, 2008, 04:18:37 PM
It's subject to change, but my novel currently opens with:

It was three months after her nineteenth birthday when Kaylin Janson finally decided to leave home.  She had contemplated moving out for years, but she never felt that the time was right.  Until now. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on November 17, 2008, 07:22:46 PM
Sonofdenis -

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.

Now that is a good opening line.  The 'peanuts and infidelity' link is a keeper.


Redd -

I would get rid of 'She had contemplated moving out for year, but' and leave the rest.  She's only nineteen.  Fifteen months ago, she was a minor.  All minors contemplate leaving but most don't.  If this is going to be your opening line, you might want to play with the wording to get a better hook. 

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: reddsh on November 17, 2008, 08:10:54 PM
Redd -

I would get rid of 'She had contemplated moving out for year, but' and leave the rest.  She's only nineteen.  Fifteen months ago, she was a minor.  All minors contemplate leaving but most don't.  If this is going to be your opening line, you might want to play with the wording to get a better hook. 



Thanks!  I knew there was something kind of awkward about that.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on November 18, 2008, 04:56:09 AM
Yes I agree on the above comments.  I haven't been in this thread for some time even though I was the original poster.

I felt it was rather "ordinary"  I have seen this kind of opening line so many times before, you need a hook to hang the publishers on"  I felt it needs something more eg. "get in there and show them a little bit of mystery combined with a strike to the heart"  Change the words around and maybe you got it!

I look forward to reading your book. The character Kaylin Janson you could make Kaylin Janssen to make it sound more interesting.  From that name you can bring in a Norse background and an interesting story, but as you have already written your story then maybe you don't need this.  A name can also bring interest in a hook, that's all Im saying really. 

I'd like to see your story synopsis some time.

OS



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: reddsh on November 18, 2008, 02:15:17 PM
Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Orangutansaver!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 18, 2008, 03:10:07 PM
Quote
Sonofdenis -

One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.

Now that is a good opening line.  The 'peanuts and infidelity' link is a keeper.


don86usa

I agree with that. The first line has far too many C words, and not always sounds wishy washy. Keep the good bit.


Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on November 18, 2008, 04:28:25 PM
Cheers don8686868...cheers ROFL.  I suppose I have flowered up the essential line.  How about...

"...in conclusion," said the coroner, "peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 18, 2008, 06:07:14 PM
Cheers don8686868...cheers ROFL.  I suppose I have flowered up the essential line.  How about...

"...in conclusion," said the coroner, "peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."


I dunno if you should start a novel with ...in conclusion. Sounds a bit final. I'd leave the coroner until the end of the sentence - preferably start a new sentence with him, like...

"Peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes." The coroner took his glasses off and polished them on a sleeve.
"Is that your final word on the matter?" asked Mr Justice Palsover.
"It is, Sir," said the Coroner.



Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: imnotsorry on November 18, 2008, 10:09:03 PM

I dunno if you should start a novel with ...in conclusion. Sounds a bit final. I'd leave the coroner until the end of the sentence - preferably start a new sentence with him, like...

"Peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes." The coroner took his glasses off and polished them on a sleeve.
"Is that your final word on the matter?" asked Mr Justice Palsover.
"It is, Sir," said the Coroner.



Rod :D

Actually, I think your original line was best the way it was. Unless you aren't going for that "wishy-washy" feel. The fact that the coroner uses "certain" twice and then says "not always" gives him character and voice. If it isn't the right one, then change it. But so far, I think the coroner is one of those strange awkward fellows that is really quite brilliant but only comes off as rather bizarre.

And the "In conclusion" beginning is nice. It's unique. And it makes the reader want to know how the hell this wacko reached such an absurd conclusion.


Here's the start of a novel I'm working on:
"   The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it.  It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
   She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.
   “I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand."


Let me know what you think. And if you picked up on the metaphor (be honest). Eventually the idea of pride and independence will become central in the book.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 19, 2008, 04:01:51 AM
Yeah, imnotsorry's probably right. You could just cut it down a little:

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case," said the coroner, "is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."



Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 19, 2008, 04:06:49 AM
The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it. It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
I'm not sure you need all this.

The sun forced its way through the blinds, making shadow bars across Sophie's face.

She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.
This intro to Tammy doesn't feel right to me because Sophie is in bed but she wakes up instantly to squint at her new roommate, how does she even know Tammy is her new roommate?

“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.
And this, Tammy's waiting by her bed to introduce herself, it feels unnatural to me.

The sun forced its way through the blinds, making shadow bars across Sophie's face. Someone shook her, she turned and squinted at them.

"Hi, I'm Tammy, your new roommate."

I'd like to continue this scene a little, if you don't mind.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on November 19, 2008, 04:12:30 AM
Thanks.  The more I think about the more I like the idea of starting a novel with the line ...in conclusion.  We shall see.

Quote
The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it. It forces its way into the room through change to something like penetrates the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.

Not bad.  Too many uses of 'it' and a little clanky in places.  Is the metaphor 'the sunshine inprisons'.  If so, why?  Interesting, but why?  The sun has no shame is a cracking intro.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ROFL on November 19, 2008, 04:12:41 AM
Sorry, maybe Im just thick but I didnt pick up on the pride and independance theme you got going somewhere in there.


The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it.  It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
   She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.  
“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.

I think you need a character description thats more unique to this individual - whats special about her appearance that makes her different from any other auburn haired, freckle nosed girl? The golden brown eyes is a good start.

Also this line is confusing:
“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.
I think you should use the girl, rather than she to make it clear which girl is which.



Rod :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: imnotsorry on November 19, 2008, 08:38:07 AM
The sun is the metaphor I'm talking about. It always shines, even when something tries to block it or ignore it. If you'd like to see the scene continued, I posted it as CH1-Sorority Girl in this thread. I ended the chapter with:

"And Sophie laughs. Genuinely.
   Abruptly, she claps her hand over her own mouth, as though she is worried that, like sunshine through closed blinds, some light could slip through her fingers."

Also, Sophie isn't waking up. She is just walking into her new dorm for the first time, which becomes rather evident as the scene continues to unfold.  :)

Thanks for responding!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: imnotsorry on November 19, 2008, 08:41:44 AM
I'd like to continue this scene a little, if you don't mind.

Here is the link to the thread in which I post the entire first chapter. It's kind of long, so I don't know if you want to only read part or skim or whatever. I'd really appreciate the feedback! (But I understand if it's too long)

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=17609.0
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on November 19, 2008, 09:03:09 AM
Saw the opening chapter earlier, nice stuff.

Ok, from the stuff posted on this thread, it seemed as though she was asleep. The whole sunshine thing and the squinting.

But then when it continues and she isn't sleeping, it sort of jars there. The reader has to has to change what they thought was happening to what is happening.

I'll continue this in the other thread so this one can get back to other peoples opening lines.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: imnotsorry on November 19, 2008, 09:36:48 AM
Saw the opening chapter earlier, nice stuff.

Ok, from the stuff posted on this thread, it seemed as though she was asleep. The whole sunshine thing and the squinting.

But then when it continues and she isn't sleeping, it sort of jars there. The reader has to has to change what they thought was happening to what is happening.

I'll continue this in the other thread so this one can get back to other peoples opening lines.

Awesome, thanks!  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: reddsh on November 22, 2008, 11:37:48 PM
I rewrote the first chapter.  Here's my new opening:

Mr. Handsome, that seat better not be taken, thought Kaylin Jansen as she eyed her desired seat: the one next to the best-looking young man on the train.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Smellieellie on December 11, 2008, 06:13:48 PM
(Great idea for a topic :))

Edward, the name shattered through my brain like broken glass. Cutting me, deeper and deeper. He held no mercy, no salvation, no rescue from this curse that hung over me. I threw the picture across the room. The glass frame hitting the wood panelled skirting, breaking into a thousand unfixable pieces.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on December 11, 2008, 10:03:06 PM
Reddsh - You used the word seat twice in the same sentence.

Mr. Handsome, [Redundant.  You state that he's the best looking man.] Tthat seat better not be taken, thought Kaylin Jansen as she eyed her desired the seat: the one next to the best-looking young man on the train.

Same wording but smoother.  If Mr. Handsome is her pet name for some guy she doesn't know, you can work it in later.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: reddsh on December 11, 2008, 11:35:24 PM
Don86usa,

Thank you for your critique.  :)  Mr. Handsome is in fact the character name (a minor character), so that will remain.  But thank you for the other corrections, they are much appreciated.

How is this for a rewrite (plus the rest of the paragraph):

Mr. Handsome, that better not be taken, thought Kaylin Jansen as she eyed the seat next to the best-looking young man on the train.  His bleached blond hair and oversized sunglasses grabbed her attention immediately.  It was a relatively short ride to the center of Philadelphia, but she was going to make every minute worth it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ginge1388 on December 12, 2008, 04:52:49 AM
Hi, Just found this topic :)

Is this any good?

----------

Owyn ran his fingers through his mousey brown hair as yawned. According to the alarm clock on his bedside table it was half past seven. Just five more minutes he thought to himself as he rolled over. He had been having an amazing dream about distant lands, strange people and magic.

----------

Dave.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on December 12, 2008, 05:23:03 AM
Owyn ran his fingers through his mousey brown hair as yawned. According to the alarm clock on his bedside table it was half past seven. Just five more minutes he thought to himself as he rolled over. He had been having an amazing dream about distant lands, strange people and magic.


Owyn ran his fingers through his mousy hair.  He yawned and looked at the clock "My God its half past seven already" Just five more minutes. He closed his eyes and rolled over. Still dazed from an amazing dream he returned his thoughts to distant lands, strange people and magic.

How about this version?  Im trying to practice show and not tell here - I'm doing this for me too!!

I still think this could have more impact if you put in more about who Owyn is. Perhaps what he was or wasn't wearing in bed.   Did he not want to get out of bed because he was cold ? Why didn't the alarm clock go off?  What did the alarm clock sound like - did it wake him too quickly out of his dream.

Just some ideas

Lin x x x x x

Lin x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 20, 2008, 11:31:33 PM
Either shorten this or start with something bigger.
Have him wherever he's supposed to go when he wakes up, and then thrust him as quickly as possible into the magical adventure he'll no doubt have.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PretzelGirl on December 21, 2008, 05:06:25 AM
Here's mine:

The water bubbled over the rocks and over Aodhan’s bloody hands. He immersed them deeper until the water washed away the substance, creating pink foam before it dispersed away downstream. He rubbed one hand over the other, enjoying the coolness of the liquid and the varying pressures and speeds at which it flowed.

thanks!
I'd review others, but it's already been done for the latest posts.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on December 21, 2008, 07:11:21 AM

The water bubbled over the rocks and over Aodhan’s bloody hands. He immersed them deeper until the water washed away the substance, creating pink foam before it dispersed away downstream. He rubbed one hand over the other, enjoying the coolness of the liquid and the varying pressures and speeds at which it flowed. [/b]

Just a suggestion feel free to ignore me. I don't think you need 'The' on the first sentence. I also think you need a bit of a reword to get rid of two following sentences starting with 'He'.  Perhaps another word for one of the 'water' maybe torrent. ??? Maybe just ...coolness of the flowing stream, sea, ocean or whatever.

Not good at this sort of thing but hope it helps and not hinders.
I would read more.
Ma :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: fire-fly on December 21, 2008, 07:48:37 AM
The water bubbled over the rocks and over Aodhan’s bloody hands. He Immersing them deeper until the water washed away the substance, creating pink foam before it dispersed away downstream. He rubbed one hand over the other, enjoying the coolness of the liquid and the varying pressures and speeds at which it flowed.

Maybe something like above?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: twisted wheel on December 21, 2008, 08:18:57 AM
Jose De Rosa ran from school, satchel swinging freely from his shoulder and shirt tied around his waist. He wore just a plain white vest to allow his body to breathe in the summer heat. No more school. Now he was a young man and could do what he wanted. A smile crept across his face as he turned towards the school building for one last look.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: fire-fly on December 21, 2008, 02:54:46 PM
Hey Wheeler,

I like this, makes me want to read more mate. Now I want to know what he has planned for the future.  ;D ;D After the sentence 'No more school.' would it be better to use a ; rather than a . do you think or am I way off with the use of this cute little thing?  ???

Liked it anyway mate.  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: larafaraway on December 21, 2008, 03:31:53 PM
Jose De Rosa ran from school, satchel swinging freely from his shoulder and shirt tied around his waist. He wore just a plain white vest to allow his body to breathe in the summer heat. No more school. Now he was a young man and could do what he wanted. A smile crept across his face as he turned towards the school building for one last look.

Great opening-- two suggestions though. Maybe you use the word "school" too many times? And also, your characterization of Jose jarred me because the way you describe him in the first couple of sentences led me to believe he was a little boy and halfway through you tell us he's a new graduate.

How about something like this?


Jose De Rosa broke into a sprint, satchel swinging freely from his shoulder, shirt tied around his waist. He wore only a plain white vest to allow his body to breathe in spite of the heavy summer heat. No more school; he was a young man now and could do what he wanted. He slowed his stride and a smile crept across his face as he turned towards the school building for one last look.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Juff on December 22, 2008, 02:23:42 PM
Jose De Rosa ran from school, satchel swinging freely from his shoulder and shirt tied around his waist. He wore just a plain white vest to allow his body to breathe in the summer heat. No more school. Now he was a young man and could do what he wanted. A smile crept across his face as he turned towards the school building for one last look.

I liked this but I felt that the imagary didn't quite work for me.  There seems to be a contradiction between the vision of this boy running and then a smile creeping across his face.  Do smiles creep across your face when you run?  Maybe they should flash?

Here's my starter for ten.  It is actually written by my wife - we are writing about the last few years which has involved here being widowed on 9/11  (another option for an opening line;  'My wife was widowed on 11 september 2001'.) and adopting children in Brazil.  Here we go;
I was in Heathrow's departure lounge downloading a photo of my new son. Standing in front of a computer, waiting to see his face for the first time as if I were waiting to see my balance at a cash machine. Even though I'd known about Daniel for well over a year, I never thought I'd get to meet him.

Juff
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: larafaraway on December 22, 2008, 05:28:36 PM
Jose De Rosa ran from school, satchel swinging freely from his shoulder and shirt tied around his waist. He wore just a plain white vest to allow his body to breathe in the summer heat. No more school. Now he was a young man and could do what he wanted. A smile crept across his face as he turned towards the school building for one last look.

I liked this but I felt that the imagary didn't quite work for me.  There seems to be a contradiction between the vision of this boy running and then a smile creeping across his face.  Do smiles creep across your face when you run?  Maybe they should flash?

Here's my starter for ten.  It is actually written by my wife - we are writing about the last few years which has involved here being widowed on 9/11  (another option for an opening line;  'My wife was widowed on 11 september 2001'.) and adopting children in Brazil.  Here we go;
I was in Heathrow's departure lounge downloading a photo of my new son. Standing in front of a computer, waiting to see his face for the first time as if I were waiting to see my balance at a cash machine. Even though I'd known about Daniel for well over a year, I never thought I'd get to meet him.

Juff


Definitely made me want to read more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on December 22, 2008, 07:23:53 PM
   Clad only in a loose t-shirt and cut-off denim shorts Katherine strolled barefoot along the pristine shoreline.  As always, she was up before dawn to watch the crimson orb as it parted the velvet curtain of night and brought the purity of each new day.  Crouching to sift the diamond-like crystals of sand through her hands, she smiled as the gentle breeze caressed her features.  Glancing westward, she reflected inwardly as to whether there more particles of sand on the beach or stars in the heavens.   

   Posting stuff for critique is a whole new venture for me but I've decided to venture forth into unexplored territory.  Have at her folks!  I look forward to your comments, both good and bad.  I would greatly appreciate anything you decide to throw at me.  Chris
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 23, 2008, 01:28:31 AM
Banarnian, start with something happening. Shorter sentences, fewer descriptive words and more things happening.
Did I mention having things happen?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on December 25, 2008, 11:20:53 AM
Clad only in a loose t-shirt and cut-off denim shorts Katherine strolled barefoot along the pristine shoreline.  As always, she was up before dawn to watch the crimson orb as it parted the velvet curtain of night and brought the purity of each new day.  Crouching to sift the diamond-like crystals of sand through her hands, she smiled as the gentle breeze caressed her features.  Glancing westward, she reflected inwardly as to whether there more particles of sand on the beach or stars in the heavens.


Maybe this might be useful to help you bring action and less description into the opening lines

  Strolling barefoot along the shoreline, Katherine loosened her wet t-shirt from the waistline of her shorts. The crimson of the morning sun warmed her soul and the gentle breeze caressed the tension in her face. Crouching to her knees she sifted the sand through her fingers like the grains of time.  Were there more particles of sand here than all the stars in heaven?

Not sure if this sounds OK, but I learned that too much description can ruin the first lines, Ive had a lot of changes to make for my first para.  I think I got it just about right now.

Happy Christmas

Lin x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: s0ulreav3r on December 25, 2008, 02:01:24 PM
Jennifer Jones sit's in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills and some barbituates she wonder if it's enough to do the job, she has been doing this same routine for a year now. Wishing she has the nerve to take her own life, like she took life of her unborn child who was living and growing in her womb.

Here's the grammar mistakes that I would fix:

As Jennifer Jones sits in her bedroom with a gallon of Vodka, her prescription of sleeping pills, and some barbiturates, she wonders if it's enough to do the job. She has been doing this same routine for a year now, wishing she had the nerve to take her own life, like she took the life of her unborn child who had been living and growing in her womb.

Besides that, which in reality is very important, but not as important as your portrayal of mood and setting, I think these lines suck readers in. I find that I'm asking myself what exactly were the events prior to this moment in time that made the character do what she is doing, as well as what is she ultimately going to do about it.

So, like I said, the story comes first and foremost. There are editors and computers that can fix the rest. I will just say for myself that I value my grammar important because it distracts the reader from what IS really important: my story...

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Juff on December 25, 2008, 04:03:20 PM
Lynne-Lynne,
I would actually take soulreav3r comments a step further - although of course this would be getting away from your own style.  How about;

Jennifer Jones sat in her bedroom with her vodka, prescription of sleeping pills and some barbiturates.  She wondered if it was enough to do the job - as she had wondered so many times before. She has been doing this same routine for a year now, wishing she had the nerve to take her own life.  As she had taken the life of the unborn child who had been living and growing in her womb.

I had slightly mis-posted my original posting so here it is again.  It is the first paragraph from our (my wife and I) memoir about the last few years;

I was in Heathrow's departure lounge downloading a photo of my new son. Standing in front of a computer, waiting to see his face for the first time as if I were waiting to see my balance at a cash machine. Even though I'd known about Daniel for well over a year, I never thought I'd get to meet him.


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on December 26, 2008, 11:12:50 AM
First off, thank you both Ollie and Lin for your very helpful suggestions, I really do appreciate them.  I've made some changes along with what you have taught me and hoe that this new entry might make more of an impact.

  Katherine shrieked as she was caught off guard by the crashing surf hitting her.  Her mind had wandered and she had failed to notice the closeness of the waves.  Clad only in cut off jeans and a loose blouse, she was soaked through.  As always, she had risen early to see the dawn.  She had always been fascinated by the crimson orb parting the velvet curtain of night.  Sifting the diamond-like grains of sand, she laughed lightly as the warming breeze caressed her.  The few remaining stars gave her reason to ponder; were there more grains of sand on the beach or stars in the heavens?

With apologies, Ollie, my story begins with a young girl wandering across a beach.  There is some action a bit later on but I wanted to create a bit of a more relaxed atmosphere first.  I still appreciate your ideas though.  Thanks!  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: twisted wheel on December 26, 2008, 11:16:07 AM
firefly. larafaraway (great name by the way) and juff - thanks for the comments.  8)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on December 30, 2008, 10:17:05 AM
   Here's yet another project I've been working on.  I've done so many re-writes that its making my head and hands hurt.  As always, any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

   Despite the sub zero temps, Jack stepped out on to the patio for the much needed cigarette.  He'd only just lit it when the concussion from the blast slammed him into the wall.  Stunned, he picked himself up and gazed around.  Debris rained down all over and an aroma of burnt flesh permeated the area.  Screams broke into his consciousness as patrons from the cafe joined him to see the cause.  At a nearby bus depot the flaming hulk of one of the inter city buses told a story in itself.  Jack shivered uncontrollably as he realized it was the one from which he had disembarked only moments earlier.

   Thanks in advance and have a fantastic New Year everyone!  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on December 30, 2008, 11:26:36 AM
Hi NP
I am not sure if this helps mate but here it is for what it's worth. The word concussion doesn't seem right to me mate. Any way these are just suggestions feel free to ignore them. Sounds very good though matey. :)

Despite the sub zero temperature, Jack stepped out on to the patio for a much needed cigarette.  The impact from the blast slammed him against the wall just as he lit the end. Stunned, he picked himself up and scanned the area.  Debris rained down in all directions and the aroma of burnt flesh permeated the air.  Screams broke through his consciousness as patrons of the cafe jostled to see the cause. At the nearby bus depot the flaming hulk of one of the inter city buses told a story in itself. Jack shivered then shook when he realized the wrecked bus was the one he had disembarked moments earlier.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on December 30, 2008, 03:01:19 PM
Hey there Ma!  :D

   Thank you very much for your input.  It gave a bit of a different angle to think about and I really appreciate the positive feedback.  This story is a bit of a challenge but it's one that I will be working on very hard over the next few months.  :D

   Anyway, I reflected on what you suggested and here's what I've come up with:

   Despite the arctic blast that greeted him, Jack stepped onto the patio for a much needed break.  He'd just lit his cigarette when the blast flung him back against the door.  Shocked, he scrambled to get upright and look for the source.  Debris rained in all directions and an aroma of burnt flesh permeated the area.  Screams broke through his consciousness as fellow patrons from the cafe joined him, jostling for a better view.  At the nearby bus depot the flaming hulk of one of the inter-city buses regaled a story in itself.  Brushing some glass shards from his balding scalp and checking for blood, Jack found himself shivering uncontrollably.  He realized with a jolt the bus was the same that he had disembarked from a short time earlier.

   Thanks again and I hope this works a bit better.  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 30, 2008, 03:07:19 PM
the flaming hulk of one of the inter-city buses
the flaming hulk of an inter-city bus

 regaled a story in itself
ditch regaled, sounds so pretentious and jarring.
not sure what you should replace it with.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on December 30, 2008, 03:14:17 PM
Thanks, Ollie.  Those are excellent points.  Perhaps I should have stuck with the original "told a story in itself" ?  Your submission of 'an' as opposed to 'one of the' also makes more sense.  How does the story grab you so far though?  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 30, 2008, 03:20:41 PM
Not long enough
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on December 30, 2008, 03:26:19 PM
Hi NP I prefer your first opening sentence but maybe with a 'much needed nicoteine fix.' Then you can use cigarette in second sentence

As this is your first para I feel you need to make the words as strong as possible so maybe reword the 'He'd' and 'Brushing' sentence starts.

To me a smell fills the atmosphere not an area. I could be wrong though.

Hope I am not confusing the issue mate.
Ma :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on December 31, 2008, 07:44:48 AM
OK, not sure if I'm going to do anything with this, but if not, it's still good practise.
How about this:

It happened without warning. No thunder or lightening, no tingly feelings, nothing. I was there. Just like that. While my eyes were still getting used to the semidarkness, the smell of incense and burning candles filled my nostrils.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Plain_Jane on January 03, 2009, 09:11:12 PM
Quote
It happened without warning. No thunder or lightening, no tingly feelings, nothing. I was there. Just like that. While my eyes were still getting used to the semidarkness, the smell of incense and burning candles filled my nostrils.

Nelodra, I really liked this. It's very different, which I love. I'm a sucker for these kinds of beginnings that are very vague, yet not confusing. Good job.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 04, 2009, 04:32:45 AM
Thanks, Plain.

I'm a little over 3000 words into that story now. I guess I'm gonna work it into a novella or something...  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on January 05, 2009, 08:54:12 AM
   Well, I've been playing with this over the weekend and I'm going to make another attempt at it.  Thanks in advance to anyone commenting and helping.  :D

   Stunned, Jack picked himself up from the wall against which he had been flung.  Debris rained in all directions and screams broke through as fellow patrons joined him in the chilly night air.  His half smoked cigarette lay on the ground nearby  and he found himself pondering it for a moment as he looked around.  Stooping to retrieve it, he awe struck as he took in the scene across the street.  At the bus depot the flaming hulk of an inter-city bus told a story in itself.  As he brushed broken glass and other materials from himself, Jack realized with a jolt that it was the same bus that he had disembarked from mere moments earlier.  Sirens broke into his reverie and, as he was pushed by those around him, Jack looked for an avenue of escape.


   As I mentioned earlier, this is only a beginning.  I'm still not sure where this will lead but I do appreciate the help with it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on January 05, 2009, 09:05:36 AM
I wonder...

Cars streamed past Café Express. A cooling breeze from the river, like a glam, slowed the exhaust fumes. It built like a shimmer moving towards the crossing.

Steve jabbed the button again, “Turn green, you bastard.”

Finally, the Green Man began to walk but didn’t get anywhere.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 05, 2009, 09:19:26 AM


Cars streamed past Café Express. A cooling breeze from the river, like a glam, slowed the exhaust fumes. It built like a shimmer moving towards the crossing.

Steve jabbed the button again, “Turn green, you bastard.”

Finally, the Green Man began to walk but didn’t get anywhere.

Hi Ollie

Most of this is very good I feel, but the bit I underlined doesn't catch me. Just my view mate others may disagree. :)

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 05, 2009, 09:23:19 AM
   Well, I've been playing with this over the weekend and I'm going to make another attempt at it.  Thanks in advance to anyone commenting and helping.  :D

   Stunned, Jack picked himself up from the wall against which he had been flung.  Debris rained in all directions and screams broke through as fellow patrons joined him in the chilly night air.  His half smoked cigarette lay on the ground nearby  and he found himself pondering it for a moment as he looked around.  Stooping to retrieve it, he awe struck as he took in the scene across the street.  At the bus depot the flaming hulk of an inter-city bus told a story in itself.  As he brushed broken glass and other materials from himself, Jack realized with a jolt that it was the same bus that he had disembarked from mere moments earlier.  Sirens broke into his reverie and, as he was pushed by those around him, Jack looked for an avenue of escape.

I am not as taken with this start mate. Perhaps if you put all three down on the screen underline the bits that are strong on all three then merge it mate. If  you want me to show you what I mean let me know.
Ma :)


   As I mentioned earlier, this is only a beginning.  I'm still not sure where this will lead but I do appreciate the help with it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on January 05, 2009, 09:50:16 AM
It's a new addition to the opening, when posting time came, I began to doubt it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: CollegeGuy on January 05, 2009, 10:25:10 PM
Here's the opening line im working with now... trying to bring about a sense of raw feeling. The story is about a boxer, so i just want some basic feedback on what you felt after reading it and whether or not it's worth sticking with. Thanks!


   When you earn a living with your fists and blood, nothing comes easy. You can only hope you earn it more with your fists than your blood.


~~CollegeGuy~~
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on January 15, 2009, 11:08:54 AM
When you earn a living with your fists and blood, nothing comes easy. You can only hope you earn it more with your fists than your blood.
CG, it's a decent enough opening. Interested on seeing where you take it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laertes00 on January 16, 2009, 07:33:26 AM
Ohh, what a fun topic. I may as well join, and see what people say about the intro to my story...

“Sure, we cut your hands off for stealing something as measly as candy. Let us keep hearing complaints and we shall do that AND send you to prison. Shut up and enjoy the free health care plans we offer you, ungrateful pricks. Move to another nation if you can’t take it… and you, at the very back! I saw you! Someone shoot him, now! I AM THE EMPEROR HERE!”

And then I describe him, his ways, his empire, and blah blah blah...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 16, 2009, 10:22:41 AM
Okay Not sure ???


 The mound of soil trickled, then as the shoring gave way, slid in a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot slipped through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, in an attempt to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the hole collapsed. God help me.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on January 16, 2009, 10:26:27 AM
:o :o

You killing me him off at the beginning Ma?? :o
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 16, 2009, 10:28:08 AM
Noooooooooooooooo Baby  ;D ;D ;D Looks as though I am but no. lol
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on January 16, 2009, 11:37:53 PM
Let's see how far I've come. This is the one and only original opening to Cafe Express, from February 6th 2006.

Steve took the ticket but he hated riding the bus, he had no other way of traveling.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: fire-fly on January 17, 2009, 05:00:53 AM


 The mound of soil trickled then, as the shoring gave way, slid in a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot slipped through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, in an attempt to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the grave collapsed. God help me.

The first sentence doesn't flow right for me Ma. I don't know if you need to get rid of some commas especially the first one or put it after trickled maybe. The one after ladder slows his action down a bit much. and after body I would lose it as well. After leg; maybe would suit.

It is a tense filled paragraph and I do like it a lot, very foreboding to say the least.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 05:19:00 AM
Nah I'm not too impressed either mate. ;D ;D Comma's should go in the bin.  ::)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 17, 2009, 05:40:19 AM
“Sure, we cut your hands off for stealing something as measly as candy. Let us keep hearing complaints and we shall do that AND send you to prison. Shut up and enjoy the free health care plans we offer you, ungrateful pricks. Move to another nation if you can’t take it… and you, at the very back! I saw you! Someone shoot him, now! I AM THE EMPEROR HERE!”

It's a good enough opening, but for goodness sake, get rid of those capitals. They scream amateur.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 17, 2009, 05:57:44 AM
The mound of soil trickled then, as the shoring gave way, slid in a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot slipped through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, in an attempt to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the grave collapsed. God help me.

I don't quite get the first sentence, I'm afraid, Ma.
The "then" doesn't seem to make sense.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 06:02:51 AM
Nope definitely naffed it up Nel  ;D ;D

I was trying to get across that the mud was only a gentle spill, but a warning, before the shoring gave way.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Juff on January 17, 2009, 06:07:19 AM
Hi Ma,

I liked the scene setting but would have done it slightly differently.  perhaps like this;

The mound of soil trickled down.  Then, as the shoring gave way, the wet soil gathered pace and slid into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder but his steel boot smashed through the rotten coffin lid.   When he twisted his body, deperately trying to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the grave collapsed. 'God help me'.

As for me, we (my wife and) I have decided to start our memoir at a different point.  This is how Anne is thinking of starting it;

My life took a turn that would bring me to Daniel on 9/11. The day is particularly prominent in my life because it is not only the day my first husband died but also the day I met my second husband.

Any comments welcome.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 06:13:58 AM
Thanks for your suggestion Juff. Much appreciated. ;)

Wow! That sounds like it is going to be a powerful memoir mate. :) I would read more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 07:02:07 AM
Any better??   ??? ???

The mound of soil trickled, then, as the shoring gave way, slid like a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot smashed through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, in an attempt to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the hole collapsed. God help me.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 17, 2009, 07:13:36 AM
Reads much better to me, Ma.

I might be tempted to place a second comma after the then, so it would read like this:

The mound of soil trickled, then, as the shoring gave way, slid like a wet deluge into the grave.

but that's your call. I'm not claiming to be a punctuation expert.  ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 07:28:13 AM
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I hate punctuation  :'( :'( :'(

hehe. Okay Nel I will take your word for it and alter it :) :).
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 17, 2009, 07:47:59 AM
NOooooo!

For goodness sake don't just take my word for it and alter it.
Didn't I just tell you I'm not an expert.

Please, ask someone who really knows the rules. I'm just a dumb brunette.  :-[
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Josef Litobarski on January 17, 2009, 10:41:25 AM
Breaking the rules, I know...  :( More than just the first line - but I couldn't help myself!

She dropped from the high white cliff to the dark sea below. She fell quickly, and when she struck the surface the waves folded over her and she slipped downwards through the murk, down into the aquatic world which stands beneath. Here, moonbeams cut down from above, piercing the gloom and holding up the vaults of this night-time realm like pillars in some shadowed hall. Matter sparkled in these moonlight columns; a billion tiny silver particles drifting in the currents, bursting into luminosity, twinkling as they crossed the beams then fading once more into darkness.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on January 17, 2009, 11:38:10 AM
Josef, this is a very visual piece, but I do believe you can improve it with a little 'tightening'.

These are simply suggestions to use or not as you feel best.

I do like it and hope you give us a peek into anything that came before or that comes later.


She dropped did she fall or did she jump? 'dropped' doesn't give the reader much information.from the high white cliff to the dark sea below. She fell quickly, and when Unless she had a parachute handy, or was bouncing off bolders on the way down, it would be assumed she fell quickly. As she struck the surface, the waves folded over her and she slipped downwards through the murk,Suggest you use a full stop here and start a new sentence with 'down'. down into the aquatic world which stands beneath. Here, 'Here' is not needed, you have successfully lead the reader with you into the deep. moonbeams cut down from above, piercing the gloom and holding up the vaults of this night-time realm like pillars in some shadowed hall.Although I can understand you may love the last part of this sentence, it does flow well, but it also distracts from the path of the woman's fall that we have been following. Matter sparkled in these moonlight columns; a billion tiny silver particles drifting in the currents, bursting into luminosity, twinkling as they crossed the beams then fading once more into darkness.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Josef Litobarski on January 17, 2009, 11:48:22 AM
Thank you for your criticism, Country4Gal, it's really good to hear well thought-out criticism from other people!

Quote
'Here' is not needed, you have successfully lead the reader with you into the deep.

I found this suggestion particularly useful. I hadn't thought of writing as leading the reader's "eye" around physically. Grazie!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on January 17, 2009, 12:10:06 PM
Ma, I'm coming to this late and you have already had some good suggestions. But I couldn't resist trying my hand at it.

Use or not as you think best - as always.

Your original:
The mound of soil trickled, then as the shoring gave way, slid in a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot slipped through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, trying to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the hole collapsed. God help me.  


Soil piled in haphazard mounds above and along the edges, slithered down the sides. The shoring gave way sliding in a wet deluge into the excavated grave. Drew hurled himself at the ladder. He slipped, one steel toed boot crashed through the rotted coffin lid. He struggled; twisting and turning, in an effort to free his trapped leg. To late. The walls crumbled, pelting him with clods of mud.

God help me.   
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 01:09:31 PM
As it stands at moment.

The mound of soil trickled, then, as the shoring gave way, slid like a wet deluge into the grave. Drew hurled himself towards the ladder, but his steel boot smashed through the rotten coffin lid. When he twisted his body, in an attempt to free his trapped leg, the wall at the top of the hole collapsed. God help me.


Hi Alice thanks, for your advice. I tell you what the problem is. A grave re-opening in this country would be 9ft deep. To dig it out they would put braces cross ways at two foot intervals. Being as it is so deep there would be staging at just over the 1st mans head height. He would throw the earth up onto this stage and the 2nd man would transfer to a pile at one end only of the grave. Every now and then, he would get to clear the mound with a digger. It is raining and also being this is an old graveyard it would have old drainage holes coming into the grave.

So as not to kill Drew I need only the top brace to cave in, this would cause enough of landslide to kill him, but if help is available all is good.
The top man has not done his job properly by not clearing the excess and the weight, weather and drains all contribute to the accident.

Fancy having another go now mate? :) I would appreciate it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 17, 2009, 02:19:52 PM
Hmmmm. It is an interesting start for me. I would want to read more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on January 17, 2009, 02:38:03 PM
I tell you what the problem is. A grave re-opening in this country would be 9ft deep.

Around here a burial is referred to as being "six feet deep."
But now you have me wondering if another three feet might be dug to allow room for the coffin. I'll have to check that out.

I've been at several grave side burying a burial, but wasn't worried about how deep it was at the time.

I'll copy what you've said and have another look at it.  Thanks for the added information.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on January 17, 2009, 02:39:37 PM
It is for a family plot mate. Allowing for 3 eventual coffins.

Oops! Sorry Gondorian, Thankyou :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kerrbeark on January 18, 2009, 02:01:41 PM
Now I will be the first to tell you my punctuation sucks!  Lord I am trying to read and learn but its never been one of my strong points for sure.  So feel free to hack away at my less than shining skills :) 


Here is the first line or beginning of the Prologue to my Romance Novel.  A short paragraph to give the reader a taste of what's inside to come. 

This part of the story begins by telling the reader about the Heroine's biological father (the heroine doesn't know she is his daughter) committing suicide after losing everything.  He writes a letter and that unravels all the secrets of the two families in the book.  Before killing himself he hides the letter inside his journal and locks it away hence locking away all the secrets and mysteries that are laced through out the book (these are the sub plots with the main plot obviously being the love between the hero and heroine since its a romance).  OK I hope thats explained correctly.  Here are my 50 words :)


Merrick Ashcroft was staring death in the face.  He had lost everything; his title, his lands, his wife and stillborn child, and his true love, Carolyn, though she belonged to another in name only.  “You will always be mine sweet Carolyn.”



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Katinka on January 19, 2009, 09:21:13 PM

‘But how can Poppa breathe in there?' Olivia thought as she watched damp dirt settling over the rose she had tossed onto the coffin lid. The last time she saw his face, he seemed asleep in the satin-lined box, surrounded by flowers the likes she’d never known existed. The smell of roses and softly played hymns at the chapel had lifted her heart almost to happiness because it was all arranged so prettily for Poppa. She knew he was pleased to see so many people come to his funeral, but  now he was alone, enclosed in the box and sinking into the ground.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on January 19, 2009, 10:21:14 PM
Katina, both the words and the sentiment flow smooth.

You presented a clear picture of what Olivia was thinking and feeling.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keanog on January 27, 2009, 10:59:47 AM
Here goes its a plot in progress i have worked through the main chararcter who he is, what he does and how he got here, but does it sound like it would work?

Greg Stutzman feels alive inside as he sits at his writing desk, unravelling his silk black tie and openeing the first button of his ashamedly expensive shirt, in a lightheaded reverie of the evening that was, the music, the laughter and such beautiful carefree creatures, lfting his pen he muses to himself, such as shame one of them has to die.

What do you think, would you want to read on?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kerrbeark on January 27, 2009, 11:51:23 AM
Yes I personally was hooked by your last line...such a shame one of them has to die.

That immediately got me thinking:  Who are these "carefree creatures?" Does one of them die in real life?  Does he kill them with his pen?  In that I mean does he use these characters and kill them off in his story?  What type of story is he writing?  A biography? A work of fiction?  What era is it?  Is he a known writer or is this his first time penning a seductive murder mystery?    Are his books, if he is a known writer, telling of the future?  In that I mean, does his writing somehow come to fruition?  Do the character/s he kills off in his book actually die in real life within a month of the book being published?

So many interesting questions come to mind.  Personally I would like to know the answers to those questions I posed and more!  I would suggest, dependent upon your plot/subplots/genre/era that you do your best to answer those questions for your reader because its likely others will ask those same questions and getting that validation is partly why we read.  Tying up loose ends, as it were, are what we need to understand as we read. 

I say bravo!  Best of luck to you and please post more (if its not posted and of course if its written LOL) and let us know where we can find it. 

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keanog on January 28, 2009, 04:11:45 AM
Thank you for your reply, glad it got the reaction i was looking for , the story will def answer these questions and more, think you will be suprised by the out come of it, i love a story with a twist at the end! Will keep you posted.

Ocean
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on January 28, 2009, 07:20:53 AM
keanog

Greg Stutzman feels alive inside as he sits at his writing desk, unravelling his silk black tie and openeing the first button of his ashamedly expensive shirt, in a lightheaded reverie of the evening that was, the music, the laughter and such beautiful carefree creatures, lfting his pen he muses to himself, such as shame one of them has to die.

The thought is engaging, but...
you created a 61 word run-on sentence.

Perhaps a period or two would break it up. Reverie of the evening doesn't work. One goes into a reverie ABOUT something [but, that may be an Americanism]
I had to read "silk black tie" twice because I really wanted it to be a "black silk tie" but again, that could be an Americanism. And no matter what, the typo has to go   ;)

See if the following feels tighter.

Greg Stutzman feels alive inside as he sits at his writing desk, unravelling loosening his black silk tie and openeing the first button of his ashamedly expensive shirt. He relives the evening, the seductive music, the lighthearted laughter, and such beautiful, carefree creatures. He lifts his pen and muses, such a shame one of them has to die.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keanog on January 29, 2009, 02:19:32 PM
ooh yes i love the way that flows i see what you mean about black silk tie, that really works and i knew i wasnt happy with word unravelling either.

I dont know about the reverie part because it is about something (the evening) is that not right?

Nice work, very smooth and thanks for the comments, will def be more careful about the typos!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on January 29, 2009, 02:27:04 PM
Reverie definition
n.
A state of abstracted musing; daydreaming.
A daydream: “I felt caught up in a reverie of years long past”

His reverie is about the evening past, or concerning the evening

if you substitute the word "daydream" and see how it works and then revert to "reverie"

reverie wasn't wrong, the "of" felt out of kilter to me.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Zuluboy on January 30, 2009, 02:45:31 PM
His parents waited for him, deep traces of concern etched across their faces. He loaded his backpack into the trunk of the waiting car, slammed it shut and turned to face both Mother and Father. There were no more words left to share. They had all been spoken in the months preceding this day and each body, mind and spirit were utterly exhausted.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Nelodra on January 30, 2009, 02:52:24 PM
The first three sentences work for me.

The last one doesn't. I would recommend ditching it. It's passive, and doesn't really tell us anything new.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on January 31, 2009, 07:20:57 AM
His parents waited for him, deep traces of concern etched across their faces. He loaded his backpack into the trunk of the waiting car, slammed it shut and turned to face both Mother and Father. There were no more words left to share. They had all been spoken in the months preceding this day and each body, mind and spirit were utterly exhausted.

Is this an opening line?

I think it needs some reason for the parents looking concerned when you start the story.  Why were they waiting for him?  To me this is a paragraph which perhaps should lead on from the reason.  You need to show some stronger impact to the first line.  Say why this is happening don't keep the reader guessing too much.  Some writers tend to think that they can "hide" the reason behind their words.  My personal opinion is show the reader most of it and keep someback for the mystery.  Maybe 60% show and the rest not show.  To me this is 75% NOT show.  Readers need a reason and then the mystery comes later with a solution. Tell me more about the genre and some background.

I have the feeling this is not an opening line??

I'm not sure but "mother and father" probably doesn't need capitals, it depends on your story line. Maybe " faced  anxious parents "or some alternative.


I agree with Nelodra, it doesnt say much especially to a publisher reading the opening para. 

Do some more and then re-post again - have another go.  I need to know more about the story as well but not in a synopsis, but within the body of the para.but keep it short, sharp and simple.   Show more don't hide it.

Good luck

Lin x

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: nswperson on February 01, 2009, 05:30:49 AM



Elizabeth lay sprawled on her bed staring at the ceiling. She was contemplating her eighteenth birthday party that was to be held that evening. Her musings were of a nice warm summer evening in the spacious back yard, lit with billions of God’s stars and complemented by fairy lights supplied by Aunt Jessica and Uncle Jim.

She was a fairly popular girl, and the party would be a welcome event for the fifty or so invited guests.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 01, 2009, 09:32:04 AM
She was a fairly popular girl, and the party would be a welcome event for the fifty or so invited guests.

The thing that jumped out at me was the modifier used above. It weakens the sentence. Personally, I would delete it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on February 01, 2009, 11:15:45 AM
For NSW


Elizabeth lay sprawled on her bed staring at the ceiling. She contemplated her eighteenth birthday party. A warm summer evening in the yard,  the fairy lights and her soaring popularity with the boys. 


I think this has more impact!!

Good luck

Lin x


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Zuluboy on February 01, 2009, 02:20:34 PM
Truth. Where would I find It and what would It sound like? Truth chose to reveal Itself to me one day, in the smile of a middle-aged African man, when I was seated on the roadside, lost and alone in a country I had never previously imagined, with no idea of what direction to move in search of food and a bed to rest upon. This is both my story and yours. My Walk in Truth will draw you into yours. Walk with me, please.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 01, 2009, 03:54:44 PM
Truth. Where would I find It and what would It sound like? Truth chose to reveal Itself to me one day, in the smile of a middle-aged African man, when I was seated on the roadside, lost and alone in a country I had never previously imagined, with no idea of what direction to move in search of food and a bed to rest upon. This is both my story and yours. My Walk in Truth will draw you into yours. Walk with me, please.

Zulu, I think you have a good story to tell and I enjoy trying to follow the trail you are leaving for us.

But if you could make parts of it more active, use more "show" and less "tell", it would better allow the reader to get the real feel of the journey.

If you will excuse me for rearranging, altering your words, I will attempt to show you what I mean.

_________

What now? I asked, as I sat on the side of an unknown road, in a strange country. I looked in both directions along the sandy road in the middle of the unknown; wondering which way would lead to the things needed to survive.

Help (I'm unsure about the following because I have no idea how important it is to your story "and the truth") came to me in the form in the smile of a middle-aged African man.

Some description of his surrounding, sand in his shoes, the smell of the air, what can he see as he looks around, would be good here.
_______


This is both my story and yours. My Walk in Truth will draw you into yours. Walk with me, please.

I can imagine this line finding a place of honor on the opening fly leaf of a book, but it feels out of place in the story itself.

I think I understand why you wrote the above. It feels like you want to entice the reader to continue reading. Unfortunately, in todays world that rarely works. You have to gain their interest in your story, write it so well that they can't bring themselves to pick up that bookmark, place it between the pages and close the book. Make them feel the need to keep reading because they can't wait to learn what happens next.

Asking them to read will rarely get them beyond the first page I fear.

I hope I'm not being too rough. I really do like your style, but that is probably because I grew up with two good story tellers in the family. Because of that, I can and do enjoy a good tale if the story teller knows what she/he is doing.

But there is a difference between a story teller and a story writer.

When the story is in black and white, the story teller looses the effect of their voice inflection, their facial expression and their body language.

When writing you story you need to make up for those missing things by making the story more active, which allows the reader to feel and see with their imagination.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Zuluboy on February 02, 2009, 10:09:57 AM
thanks Country4Gal. you've helped put into perspective what many have said, but which i could not understand in a practical and applicable way. you've really helped  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 02, 2009, 10:15:22 AM
You are welcome Zulu. But honestly, I am just passing on some of the help others have given to me when I needed it.

I do look forward to seeing more of your story. I have the feeling it will be worth the read.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: nswperson on February 03, 2009, 04:24:55 AM
To Country4Girl
and Orangutansaver

Thank you for your comments.  I appreciate them, and will consider these changes.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Katinka on February 14, 2009, 10:52:15 PM
                                        Far From Forever
                                              Chapter 1

   ‘But how can Poppa breathe in there?' Olivia thought as she watched damp dirt settling over the rose she had tossed onto the coffin lid. The last time she saw his face, he seemed asleep in the satin-lined box, surrounded by flowers the likes she’d never known existed. The smell of roses and softly played hymns at the chapel had lifted her heart almost to happiness because it was all arranged so prettily for Poppa. She knew he was pleased to see so many people come to his funeral, but  now he was alone, enclosed in the box and sinking into the ground. 
             “Oh come on, Poppa; let's go home now!” she said reluctantly following the tug of her grandma’s hand. She turned and glanced back at the yawning hole that had swallowed her beloved Poppa. Resigned that he would stay behind when he didn't reappear, she walked on, holding fast to Grandma's hand.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 15, 2009, 11:38:31 AM
Katinka, the only suggestion I have is a comma in the second paragraph, I've placed it in bold. I just felt it help separate her plea for Papa from the action.

The rest of it read smooth to me. I like it.

Smiles,
Alice

                                        Far From Forever
                                              Chapter 1

   ‘But how can Poppa breathe in there?' Olivia thought as she watched damp dirt settling over the rose she had tossed onto the coffin lid. The last time she saw his face, he seemed asleep in the satin-lined box, surrounded by flowers the likes she’d never known existed. The smell of roses and softly played hymns at the chapel had lifted her heart almost to happiness because it was all arranged so prettily for Poppa. She knew he was pleased to see so many people come to his funeral, but  now he was alone, enclosed in the box and sinking into the ground. 
             “Oh come on, Poppa; let's go home now!” she said, reluctantly following the tug of her grandma’s hand. She turned and glanced back at the yawning hole that had swallowed her beloved Poppa. Resigned that he would stay behind when he didn't reappear, she walked on, holding fast to Grandma's hand.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Katinka on February 15, 2009, 12:34:36 PM
 ;D Thanks, Alice.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 15, 2009, 01:08:09 PM
You are very welcome. I enjoy your writing.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheSecondOne on February 16, 2009, 10:11:39 PM
~40 words

Rioters stopped at "the line" surrounding Wyvern Corp., one of the city's megacorporations. Half of them held baseball bats and the rest carried wrenches. Some wrench-holders rode on top of pickup trucks with homemade napalm canisters tossed in the back.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PretzelGirl on February 16, 2009, 10:15:11 PM
Quote
Rioters stopped at "the line" surrounding Wyvern Corp., one of the city's megacorporations. Half of them held baseball bats and the rest carried wrenches. Some wrench-holders rode on top of pickup trucks with homemade napalm canisters tossed in the back.

Having "the line" in quotes tripped me up, so did the "Wyvern" part, and megacorporations is vague.
The rest is all telling. I can't really see the scene, this sounds like a recount.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheSecondOne on February 16, 2009, 10:34:13 PM
Thanks for the comments, PretzelGirl. I'll need to rework it. Btw, is that a counter in your signature or just a regular pic?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on February 17, 2009, 07:32:05 AM
How about this?

Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer; she did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PretzelGirl on February 17, 2009, 07:34:37 AM
Lionheart: it's a counter

JHMull, there should be a semi-colon between "trailer" and "she". I can't find anything else much wrong with it
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on February 17, 2009, 07:42:38 AM
Thanks Pretz, it is done. ::) :-[ :-*
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on February 17, 2009, 07:50:16 AM
Say Pretz, the line:the exquisite corpse shall drink new wine. Does that mean the corpse has become an undead?
I'm in the middle of writing a book which has them in it.  One as a guardian angel.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: PretzelGirl on February 17, 2009, 07:56:02 AM
I don't frankly know WHAT it means  :)
It's a famous poem by a bunch of surrealist writers who wrote a word/phrase without knowing what anyone else wrote and then put it together. Originally it came up as "the exquisite—corpse—shall drink—the young—wine." and then eventually reworked to "the exquisite corpse shall drink new wine".
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: kaaoru on February 17, 2009, 03:47:05 PM
Oh, well...It's being a long time since I last logged in the forum. But a nice idea came to my mind, and so i wrote a sort-of introduction, already with 7 or 9 paragraphs. I will post the first one here.

(Please keep in mind, i'm from Brazil, and im not sure how the school works there. Also, this text was originally written in portuguese, im doing the traduction as i post it here)

     4:55 PM. In front of me, the computer screen showed MSN chats with my friends.

     Our group started in the 8th grade, but it was only in the high school that we became close friends. I was new in the school, and didn't show any trace of nervousness, as I never did. Right in the first day, I came upon an old friend, with whom I studied for two years. He came to the school the year before, and was surely one of the 'founders' of our group. His name, Gustavo; but he was commonly called Ban. Only months later did I discover the origin of his nickname.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Thekherham on February 17, 2009, 04:29:43 PM
All right, I'll give it a try:


Where do I begin? There is a logical answer to that question, but somehow I think logic dictates that I begin beyond the boundaries of my birth. This autobiography should begin with my parents, for they were the ones who bore me and shaped me, and if it were not for their existence, Thekherham, and consequently, his whistling dragon, Kykherhenha, would not exist.


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jpenname on February 17, 2009, 04:33:13 PM
Ok, here goes (plug my nose and jump in!)

It was just after midnight when Dr. Frank heard the banging on his door.  He lay awake for a moment staring at the darkness so thick that opening his eyes made little difference. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 17, 2009, 04:44:32 PM
Ok, here goes (plug my nose and jump in!)

It was just after midnight when Dr. Frank heard the banging on his door.  He lay awake for a moment staring at the darkness so thick that opening his eyes made little difference. 

I see you are new here. Welcome to MWC.

There is a little rule about writing that many novices (at least to the forum) haven't yet incorporated into their writing. The rule?

Show, don't tell.

How does Dr. Frank know it is just after midnight? (just a little question from me, not anything of great import) However, and I'm not the best show rather than tell person on the boards. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

Dr. Frank's eyes jarred open as the sound of pounding entered his consciousness. He peered around the room where the only source of light was the clock throwing off a red glow announcing 12:03 AM. He shook his head to help clear the sleep and glared toward the door, to no avail.

Not really any good prose there. But I tried not to tell the story, but instead show it. Dr. Frank suddenly awake (unless your story had him not yet asleep, then some other imagery would be needed) and the dark room oppressive with only the clock, giving a time.

I struggle with this concept myself, and hopefully others will be along to further explain, better explain, the idea.

I offer only a suggestion as to form. I'm not trying to rewrite your opening.

So now, who is Dr. Frank, why is someone pounding on his door at midnight?    ;D
So the lead is good, it makes me want to know more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jpenname on February 17, 2009, 05:23:01 PM
SpChick,

Thanks for the feedback.  I had thought of that as being a potential sticky point.  You've confirmed my suspicions. The exact time is not essential, I just need to portray the idea that he knows it is not a normal hour to be awakened.  No electricity, so no lighted clocks, but I'll find a way to rework it.  Thank you a ton for taking the time to read it!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 17, 2009, 05:42:21 PM
You are welcome. I wish I could be more helpful.  :D

When you've got it reworked, post it again. Please.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: patti on February 18, 2009, 09:44:26 AM
Okay. This is my first line. Please don't be too harsh. I haven't develped that thick skin yet that Wolfe was talking about.

"There are some things in life that are never easy. Take for example, duvet covers. You stand at the foot of the bed with a fresh cover in hand just knowing you are about to wrestle with it until you are red in the face and the sweat is trickling down your cheeks and dribbling onto the bed. But that one time, that one very rare time, that the duvet cover goes on really easily. What happens? You stand back, smugly congratulating yourself, only to discover you’ve put the bloody thing on inside out."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 18, 2009, 09:58:46 AM
Okay. This is my first line. Please don't be too harsh. I haven't develped that thick skin yet that Wolfe was talking about.

"There are some things in life that are never easy. Take for example, duvet covers. You stand at the foot of the bed with a fresh cover in hand just knowing you are about to wrestle with it until you are red in the face and the sweat is trickling down your cheeks and dribbling onto the bed. But that one time, that one very rare time, that the duvet cover goes on really easily. What happens? You stand back, smugly congratulating yourself, only to discover you’ve put the bloody thing on inside out."


this made me smile.
I would like to know what else is not easy and would give it a go.

I'm not a novelist and so, I'm not the best to critique things. But I am a voracious reader and this tickled my fancy.

I'm not sure what part of the globe you are writing from, and so perhaps "dribbling" is the correct word. It jarred my American ears/eyes. I would have thought it dripped or dropped or something. Only thing *I* saw that was out of whack.

Patti [yes, that is really my name and really how I spell it]
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 18, 2009, 10:15:00 AM
Hey Patti. This is me to a tee. :)

I am not sure if this will be a story or satirical piece so I can't really go from what you have on here. But I did laugh. I have even ended up inside the flippin' duvet cover. Well done

Developing the thick skin I know is hard, but if you think about your words on screen as a jigsaw puzzle that you are trying to build in the best way possible. Nobody can resist passing a jigsaw without trying to help put a new piece in place.

Criticism is not aimed at the builder of the jigsaw, but at the construction itself. Try and split the two You and your jigsaw. Then you will really open yourself up to learning. We are all learning new things each day on here albeit at different stages. :)

Ma
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on February 18, 2009, 10:58:17 AM
Okay. This is my first line. Please don't be too harsh. I haven't develped that thick skin yet that Wolfe was talking about.

"There are some things in life that are never easy. Take for example, duvet covers. You stand at the foot of the bed with a fresh cover in hand just knowing you are about to wrestle with it until you are red in the face and the sweat is trickling down your cheeks and dribbling onto the bed. But that one time, that one very rare time, that the duvet cover goes on really easily. What happens? You stand back, smugly congratulating yourself, only to discover you’ve put the bloody thing on inside out."


Hi Patti

This was the best piece of opening text I've read in a long time.  How many of us have tried to do this.  I normally turn my duvet cover inside out to begin with, but I did struggle for many years until I discovered the right way to do it!! 

Go for it, if the rest of your book is like this - I shall bang on the publisher's door for it to be on the bookshelves before Christmas!!  Just maybe change the word dribble -

Well done

Loved it

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: patti on February 18, 2009, 11:26:49 AM
LIN/ma200/SPChick

Thank you, everyone. That was the opening line of my (almost finished) novel which is an adaption of the screenplay that I produced when studying screenwriting. I was advised to turn it into a novel as apparently a screenplay from a new screenwriter is impossible to sell. Your kind comments and constructive words of advice have given me the confidence to get it finished and start sending out some query letters. 

Big thank you to you all.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on February 18, 2009, 12:14:25 PM
Okay, it's been a very long time since I've even come close to putting down the bottle of meds and actually submitting something in to one of these forums.  I'm usually having far too much fun in the other forums but one of my resolutions for this year is to actually submit more.  Thusly, having said that, and having slashed my arms enough times with the sharp edges of rejection notices, I hereby submit the following to the masses in much the same format as the Ceasars tossing Christians to the lions many eons ago.  Please, leave kindness at the door.  I'm chained to my chair and my frothing at the mouth should not deter you from giving me the cold hard truth.  (Besides, I do still have a full time job if this writing thingy doesn't work out.)

Category: Fiction   Genre: Mystery   Working title: No Nemesis


   That Joaquim "Jokie" Reynolds met such a strange end was not what shocked anyone.  What mattered was that he had met his end to begin with.  Jokie was one of those rare folk who seemed ageless and harmless.  Not known in any way to the police or to any of the darker pockets of society, the snuffing of his life made no sense whatsoever.  Particularly, in the fashion and at the time of day in which his remains were discovered.

Okay, gang, that's all for now.  Have fun with it and I'll be by later to pick up the shreds.  :)

p.s.  Thanks in advance for everything!

Chris 
 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 18, 2009, 12:51:31 PM

   That Joaquim "Jokie" Reynolds met such a strange end was not what shocked anyone.  What mattered was that he had met his end to begin with.  Jokie was one of those rare folk who seemed ageless and harmless.  Not known in any way to the police or to any of the darker pockets of society, the snuffing of his life made no sense whatsoever.  Particularly, in the fashion and at the time of day in which his remains were discovered.
 

Chris, I'm beginning with the whole disclaimer about me and lacking the wits to adequately do the show and tell crap.
But this seems to me to be tell.

I have learned to despise, loathe, hate, shun at all possible costs the word THAT.
I have learned to attempt to delete each and every "that" in my writing and see if it needed or superfluous. To start an entire novel with my nemesis [pun intended] is a little jarring to my underdeveloped sensibilities.

Joaquim "Jokie" Reynolds was one of those rare folk who seemed ageless and harmless. How he met such a strange end was not what shocked anyone. What mattered was he had met his end to begin with.  Jokie was not known in any way to the police or to any of the darker pockets of society, so the snuffing of his life made no sense whatsoever.  Particularly, in the fashion and at the time of day in which his remains were discovered. That is a sentence fragment, but is too long for a sentence fragment. And yes, I know I used the word that.  :P

Even more confounding was the the time of day and the fashion in which his remains were discovered. [I still don't like that, but at least it has a subject and predicate.]

I would be interested in knowing what happened to the seemingly harmless man. Not sure how to help with the technical aspects. I wish I knew more and could help more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on February 18, 2009, 05:18:25 PM
Hey!
This paragraph was made up at about 11 o'clock at night, because it just all came flooding out. So, I don't know whether I want to use it for my first chapter yet.
I'm up for harsh comments, so don't be hesitant!  ;)

For the past year now, everyone has been gossiping about the headlines on all of the newspapers around town. The black writing on the front page seemed to repeat itself over and over every month, although the towns-people never lost their anxiety when they glanced at it: Murderer on the loose… Those words stained every paper and lingered in everyone’s mind. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 18, 2009, 05:49:40 PM
Quote
For the past year now, everyone has been gossiping about the headlines on all of the newspapers around town. The black writing on the front page seemed to repeat itself over and over every month, although the towns-people never lost their anxiety when they glanced at it: Murderer on the loose… Those words stained every paper and lingered in everyone’s mind. 

Off hand, not knowing where you might be taking this, I have a suggestion.

Start with;  Murderer on the loose…

Maybe follow first with: The black writing on the front page seemed to repeat itself over and over every month,

The work the rest of the paragraph around it.

This way it's like a jab to the belly; exactly what a headline is designed to do, grab attention immediately.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on February 18, 2009, 05:54:01 PM
Thanks so much, Alice!
I knew that it didn't sound right somehow. But, if I did play around with it more, do you think that it will work for an opening?
How does this sound...?

Murder on the loose…
   The black writing on the front page seemed to repeat itself over and over every month, although the towns-people never lost their anxiety when they glanced at it. For the past year now, everyone had been gossiping about the headlines on all of the newspapers around town. They were frightened of those words which stained every paper and lingered in everyone’s mind.

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jericho on February 18, 2009, 06:27:11 PM

She always kept the window closed, but still.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 18, 2009, 06:45:36 PM
Emma's version
Murder on the loose…
   The black writing on the front page seemed to repeat itself over and over every month, although the towns-people never lost their anxiety when they glanced at it. For the past year now, everyone had been gossiping about the headlines on all of the newspapers around town. They were frightened of those words which stained every paper and lingered in everyone’s mind.


Below I've tried to make it a little tighter, more like you would expect to see in a news article. I'm not saying it needs to read link a new article, but think about the short sentences, lack of adjectives and adverbs generally found in such articles.

I know you're too young to remember Dragnet, but there was a Sgt. Friday that was always saying "The facts ma'am, just the facts." I think that is what is called for with a beginning like this.

I'm sure you could do the same, but with your own words.

Just keep in mind that you're starting off with a head-line.

Murderer On The Loose . . .
     The black head lines were repeated every month. The towns-people's anxiety increased daily.   
     For the past year the headlines were the main topic of conversation. People all over town had taken to locking their windows and doors.

If you have a story to go along with such a headline, I think it would make a good opening.

I would like to see you edit this again, keeping it tighter.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on February 19, 2009, 07:46:29 AM
Murderer On The Loose . . .
     The black head lines were repeated every month. The towns-people's anxiety increased daily.   
     For the past year the headlines were the main topic of conversation. People all over town had taken to locking their windows and doors.

Thanks again, Alice.
Yeah, this sounds much better, thank you!
I'll have a little play around with it and i'll post it to see what you think.
Thanks!

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on February 19, 2009, 09:33:10 AM
I have learned to despise, loathe, hate, shun at all possible costs the word THAT.
I have learned to attempt to delete each and every "that" in my writing and see if it needed or superfluous. To start an entire novel with my nemesis [pun intended] is a little jarring to my underdeveloped sensibilities.

Joaquim "Jokie" Reynolds was one of those rare folk who seemed ageless and harmless. How he met such a strange end was not what shocked anyone. What mattered was he had met his end to begin with.  Jokie was not known in any way to the police or to any of the darker pockets of society, so the snuffing of his life made no sense whatsoever.  Particularly, in the fashion and at the time of day in which his remains were discovered. That is a sentence fragment, but is too long for a sentence fragment. And yes, I know I used the word that. 

Even more confounding was the the time of day and the fashion in which his remains were discovered. [I still don't like that, but at least it has a subject and predicate.]

Thanks for that, Alice, I do appreciate it and am revising.  I hope to put up something better later today.  Wanted to stop by and thank you though.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 19, 2009, 09:41:41 AM
NP, while I would like to take credit for that, I think it was Patti. I didn't look back to make sure, just going by my faulty memory which can, at times, be chancy.  ;)

I have learned to despise, loathe, hate, shun at all possible costs the word THAT.
I have learned to attempt to delete each and every "that" in my writing and see if it needed or superfluous. To start an entire novel with my nemesis [pun intended] is a little jarring to my underdeveloped sensibilities.

Joaquim "Jokie" Reynolds was one of those rare folk who seemed ageless and harmless. How he met such a strange end was not what shocked anyone. What mattered was he had met his end to begin with.  Jokie was not known in any way to the police or to any of the darker pockets of society, so the snuffing of his life made no sense whatsoever.  Particularly, in the fashion and at the time of day in which his remains were discovered. That is a sentence fragment, but is too long for a sentence fragment. And yes, I know I used the word that. 

Even more confounding was the the time of day and the fashion in which his remains were discovered. [I still don't like that, but at least it has a subject and predicate.]

Thanks for that, Alice, I do appreciate it and am revising.  I hope to put up something better later today.  Wanted to stop by and thank you though.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 26, 2009, 11:06:52 AM
Different start point. What do you think? :-\

Unable to contain his fury Drew Porter slammed the front door of his thatched cottage. In one fluid movement, he vaulted over the rustic wall at the side of the garden. Conifers, Rowena insisted he plant along the verge, stood at attention like guards defending a fortress. Blind rage embroiled him. He stomped and kicked the plants into the road. One resilient bush sprung back to position - defiant against his booting. He reached down yanking it by the roots and hurled it up Church lane. “Bitch, bitch, bitch.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Smellieellie on February 26, 2009, 12:50:46 PM
Hey, would this work for an opening line?
Be as mean as you like :D


Edward, the name shattered through my brain like broken glass. Cutting me, deeper and deeper. He held no mercy, no salvation, no rescue from this curse that hung over me. I threw the picture across the room. The glass frame hitting the wood panelled skirting, breaking into a thousand unfixable pieces.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 26, 2009, 01:13:11 PM
Different start point. What do you think? :-\

Unable to contain his fury Drew Porter slammed the front door of his thatched cottage. In one fluid movement, he vaulted over the rustic wall at the side of the garden. Conifers, Rowena insisted he plant along the verge, stood at attention like guards defending a fortress. Blind rage embroiled him. He stomped and kicked the plants into the road. One resilient bush sprung back to position - defiant against his booting. He reached down yanking it by the roots and hurled it up Church lane. “Bitch, bitch, bitch.”

Just a suggestion to tighten up a bit.

Drew Porter slammed the front door of his thatched cottage and vaulted over the rustic wall next to the garden.

Rowena had insisted he plant conifers along the verge and they now stood like guards defending a fortress.


Ma, at this point I have a problem. Around here, a conifer is an evergreen tree like a pine, yew, ceder or redwood. Any one of these trees, if large enough to appear as if they were guards defending a fortress, would also be too tall and well rooted for him to be able to stomp and kick them into the road. In fact, he would need a shovel to dig or at least, a saw to cut them down in order to demolish them. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 26, 2009, 01:17:24 PM
See here Alice we have dwarf conifers that grow to a maximum of 18 inches in height. Perhaps I better change the plant. uhm! They grow very upright. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 26, 2009, 01:31:00 PM
Different start point. What do you think? :-\

Unable to contain his fury Drew Porter slammed the front door of his thatched cottage. In one fluid movement, he vaulted over the rustic wall at the side of the garden. Conifers, Rowena insisted he plant along the verge, stood at attention like guards defending a fortress. Blind rage embroiled him. He stomped and kicked the plants into the road. One resilient bush sprung back to position - defiant against his booting. He reached down yanking it by the roots and hurled it up Church lane. “Bitch, bitch, bitch.”

Now, Ma, you know me and the Show and Tell portion of Kindergarten class. I just never really get it. But isn't the red sentence telling what the rest of the paragraph is showing?

Alice's first line combining the two sentences read easier. The "unable to contain his fury" doesn't seem like a good way to start a book. It's a parenthetical phrase or something like that.

I don't think there should be a comma after Conifers and it would read smoother as
The conifers Rowena  etc. and not need any extra punctuation.

Hope this helps. But since I have not even been able to buy a clue in the Discount section of Wordsmiths R Us,
Well, I still hope it helps.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 26, 2009, 01:38:22 PM
See here Alice we have dwarf conifers that grow to a maximum of 18 inches in height. Perhaps I better change the plant. uhm! They grow very upright. Any suggestions?

Perhaps simply designating them as "dwarf conifers" would do the trick.

 ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 26, 2009, 01:40:42 PM
Hey, would this work for an opening line?
Be as mean as you like :D


Edward, the name shattered through my brain like broken glass. Cutting me, deeper and deeper. He held no mercy, no salvation, no rescue from this curse that hung over me. I threw the picture across the room. The glass frame hitting the wood panelled skirting, breaking into a thousand unfixable pieces.

Disclaimer: I am not anywhere even remotely close to an expert. Please take what I say with that in mind.

"Cutting me, deeper and deeper." This is a sentence fragment. I have nothing against using them as a de facto rule, but I don't think I would do so right at the beginning of a book.

"The glass frame hitting the wood panelled skirting, breaking into a thousand unfixable pieces." A second sentence fragment. Gerunds seem to be getting in your way.

Edward, the name shattered through my brain like broken glass and cut deeper and deeper. He held no mercy, no salvation, no rescue from this curse hanging over me. I threw the picture across the room. The glass frame struck the wood panelled skirting and broke into a thousand unfixable pieces.

I would prefer something other than "shattered" although I know you are keeping with the broken glass theme. Skittered or rattles, or something like the sound of broken glass. Shattered feels wrong used in this sense.

It would help if you could tell us what genre you are working with here. I can't tell by your opening lines.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 26, 2009, 01:49:41 PM
Quote
It's a parenthetical phrase or something like that
Don't be filthy. ::) ;D

The wall isn't next to the garden, it is the garden wall mate at the side of the property. On the other side is grass verges with plants in a row. There is no pavement just a curb lining the road. Coo! dunnit get complicated. ;D This is quite normal in country villages.

Okay if I get rid of the first phrase I am left with a name start, but that is supposed to be a no no. Waaaaaaaa :'( I don't want to play this game no more. ;D

I was trying to show his temper was getting worse and he needed to release. Oops! ;)

Alice that could work, do you think I should say miniature guards maybe?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on February 26, 2009, 02:34:02 PM
The echoes from the slammed door reverberated as Drew Porter stormed down the path leading from his thatched cottage.  In one fluid movement, he vaulted over the rustic wall at the side of the garden. The conifers Rowena insisted he plant along the verge stood at attention like guards defending a fortress. He stomped and kicked the plants into the road. One resilient bush sprung back to position - defiant against his booting. He reached down yanking it by the roots and hurled it up Church lane. “Bitch, bitch, bitch.”

Ma, how's that?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 26, 2009, 02:47:59 PM
Hehe Patti. I more or less started with that lol. ;D I was also happier with that too, but instead of echoes I had  The framework shook. I like yours better. ;D I will add a little and see how I go. Thanks for your help.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 26, 2009, 02:57:42 PM

Alice that could work, do you think I should say miniature guards maybe?

Sure. Or maybe even toy guards depending on the character and your needs for the story of course.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on February 26, 2009, 03:24:21 PM
Thanks Alice. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jaydigitek on February 27, 2009, 01:14:31 AM
This sounds like fun.

 "Three fingers of the 'Livet over ice If I may kind Sir.Preferably in a glass un-used by previous patrons of the day,the Heathens if you will." 

   A bit pushy I admit,,but this was to be a glorious day of debauchery and I felt it imperative to be firm with the man from the on-set of this ordeal.He must be made aware of the seriousness of the issue at hand.Not to mention the task that lie in wait for the coming week.

          "A Stumble Down Bourbon Street",check it out in Review my Work thread.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: dynodreamer on February 27, 2009, 02:37:59 AM
"Dogs!" Someone was here.Another section near his right heal began falling off. He craned his neck awkwardly trying to determine the direction of the sounds below. Rolling rivers of sweat irritated his rock damaged legs while his shoulders were succumbing to the effects of dynamic tension. Why had he not taken seriously the warnings they’d given him about Crumble Rock passage. The name alone sat in his consciousness as a no brainer. No local wanted anything to do with the challenge, and his hindsight would now serve to point out why. Fingers cramping with the strain of maintaining a life sustainable grip he hugged the faulty facing  again wincing. “Help, help me! Up here. I’m up here! “ he managed to gasp,  slightly louder than a whisper. No one was there but the coyotes. He had hoped for nothing … and it looked like that’s exactly what he gained.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jaydigitek on February 27, 2009, 10:42:35 AM
Dynodreamer~

Hey I really liked your opening! Makes me want more, do you have this story posted anywhere? I'd love to check it out.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheSecondOne on March 03, 2009, 10:13:56 PM
Here's my rewritten first line of my techno-thriller. Please comment.

It was hot. The heat from the ground sent waves into the humid air. It was so hot that sweat drops would seep out of a person who stood still and evaporate the instant it made contact with the atmosphere. The police were exposed to this weather for nearly an hour.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: pb on March 04, 2009, 08:35:42 AM
i would definitely keep on reading; can you post more somewhere?

it might be sligthly clunky eg it was SO hot that sweat WOULD seep OUT OF A person.

having said that i'm not sure exactly what i'd do instead of that!!

also maybe open with the police line.

it osunds right up my street anyway
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on March 04, 2009, 09:02:16 AM
After a short hiatus here's my next attempt at an earlier story....


   Joaquim 'Jokie' Reynolds deserved a better fate.  At the very least, he should have been spared the ignominy of the local loose tongued society.  Such as it was the discovery of his body by one of the founding members victimized him a second time.  His corpse, barely cold, was already being hotly debated when the coroner's van arrived.  The blowing snow from the overnight storm offered neither comfort or clue to those investigating with a better moral intent . 


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on March 04, 2009, 07:02:48 PM
Here's my rewritten first line of my techno-thriller. Please comment.

It was hot. The heat from the ground sent waves into the humid air. It was so hot that sweat drops would seep out of a person who stood still and evaporate the instant it made contact with the atmosphere. The police were exposed to this weather for nearly an hour.
Most of this is the same thing [the fact that wherever the story is taking place is hot] being repeated over and over.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keira on March 05, 2009, 09:04:40 AM
it is a kids sci fi novel

Chapter one
The Gathering of the Gang

Mel had sat in the garden for the best part of the morning Cass her mum had fussed every twenty minutes reapplying sun cream and making her drink far too much water that she now looked like a little blonde Buddha.

xxx
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: auddie on March 06, 2009, 04:08:56 AM
Mushy noodles are a big pet peeve of mine. It's as if the cook was too busy counting the breadcrumbs in his bellybutton to pay attention to the meal.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keira on March 06, 2009, 10:47:06 AM
eh you mushy noodleing me
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keira on March 06, 2009, 10:54:22 AM
I need mushy noodeling thats why im here but really you want to keep reading eh?  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: auddie on March 06, 2009, 11:32:39 AM
haha the innuendo never even occurred to me til just now  :P
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keira on March 06, 2009, 11:46:38 AM
 now im really lost innuendo?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: keira on March 06, 2009, 04:14:05 PM

now you gota work with me here this is my first book and i have been charging of towards chapter 17 by hand in notebooks and really only telling the story i now need to write it!

Ch.1
gathering of the gang

Mel was starting resemble a little blonde Buddha willing and waiting underneath a big old palm tree mostly for Dharma, a  remarkable Antiquarian and Ley Hunter who also happened to be her grandmother.

not perfect but better
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: auddie on March 06, 2009, 04:38:06 PM
i like the image. how about a period after palm tree? it rounds out the image of mel under the tree and gives it a little time to sink in before you move to plot.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 06, 2009, 04:39:03 PM
Keira, I like it!

And would definitely want to read more, so good opening!

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on March 06, 2009, 04:56:28 PM
now you gota work with me here this is my first book and i have been charging of towards chapter 17 by hand in notebooks and really only telling the story i now need to write it!

Ch.1
gathering of the gang

Mel was starting resemble a little blonde Buddha willing and waiting underneath a big old palm tree mostly for Dharma, a  remarkable Antiquarian and Ley Hunter who also happened to be her grandmother.

not perfect but better

Not 100% sure what you are trying to show the reader about Mel, but this first line needs a little tightening...  Possibly something like this... Obviously, reword to fit your voice.

Mel resembled a little blonde Buddha waiting underneath the big, old palm tree. Waiting for Dharma and Ley Hunter, her grandmother.

I don't know what age group you are aiming this at. You mentioned it is to be a kid's SciFi novel. I'm wondering if "a remarkable Antiquarian" might be too old for your target audience? (would think so if you are aiming for under 11's)

After all that, it is an interesting start, and the chapter title clearly let's us know what to expect generally, and yet i'm still interested to see exactly how the gathering together happens. ;D

Keep it up. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 06, 2009, 06:13:47 PM
Hopefully this sounds like a good opening.
I don't know what the name of the chapter is going to be called yet, but I have an idea that it might be something like, Stalker.
Please tell me if you would read more. 

As I contemplated my life, in what seemed like only a few minutes, I suddenly heard the snapping of a twig in the woods behind me. My eyes shot open and I frantically searched the area, trying to find a cause to the sound I heard.

Thanks,
           Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: auddie on March 06, 2009, 09:19:19 PM
i think it has potential as a hook, but is a little wordy. my suggestion would be to revise and remove any unnecessary words.

also, is in what seemed like only a few minutes modifying the beginning or end of the sentence? If the beginning, maybe you could replace with a word like momentarily. If the end, I think its a little repetitive and takes away from the image of eyes shooting around the scene.

this is an interesting start in my opinion, but the wordiness bogs the reader down and keeps your hook from being as snappy and attention grabbing as i think it could be :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chillies on March 07, 2009, 03:10:26 AM
Quote
Joaquim 'Jokie' Reynolds deserved a better fate.  At the very least, he should have been spared the ignominy of the local loose tongued society.  Such as it was the discovery of his body by one of the founding members victimized him a second time.  His corpse, barely cold, was already being hotly debated when the coroner's van arrived.  The blowing snow from the overnight storm offered neither comfort or clue to those investigating with a better moral intent .

I think that's pretty good Narnian Prince. Personally I would have made one small change:

At the very least, he should have been spared the ignominy of the local loose tongued society - one of whose founding members discovered his body, thereby victimizing him a second time.

or something similar. However, I thought it was a great hook, and I would certainly want to read more.

chillies
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 07, 2009, 08:22:50 AM
Thanks!

It's supposed to be the beginning of a sentence, so I could change the wording around.
I do seem to have a problem with the words, however I haven't really had time to edit it at all. I just wrote it and thought it was a good idea at the time and never really looked at the wording. I just needed to know whether the whole concept of the idea was attention-grabbing.

Thank you!
Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Narnian Prince on March 07, 2009, 11:37:10 AM
At the very least, he should have been spared the ignominy of the local loose tongued society - one of whose founding members discovered his body, thereby victimizing him a second time.

or something similar. However, I thought it was a great hook, and I would certainly want to read more.


Thanks for this, chillies.  I really appreciate it.  I had considered what you wrote but was a bit apprehensive that some might consider the sentence to be too long.  I appreciate the help and encouragement though and will continue.  Thanks again.    :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on March 07, 2009, 02:33:19 PM
Hopefully this sounds like a good opening.
I don't know what the name of the chapter is going to be called yet, but I have an idea that it might be something like, Stalker.
Please tell me if you would read more. 

As I contemplated my life, in what seemed like only a few minutes, I suddenly heard the snapping of a twig in the woods behind me. My eyes shot open and I frantically searched the area, trying to find a cause to the sound I heard.

Thanks,
           Emma x x x

You don't always need a chapter title...  They can give away more than you intend... Unless you mean for the reader to guess what will happen from the chapter title. ;D

As a first line hook, this certainly works well enough. Bringing the reader swiftly into the story and engaging with a number of questions - Who is contemplating their life and why? And what or who is stalking them?
As Auddie mentioned, it could be tightened up and given even greater impact.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 07, 2009, 03:03:18 PM
Thank you so much, Andrew!

I think this is like my 6th draft on the first chapter! It took me a while to realise that I didn't need so much description and had to basically get to the point! I finally cut about 3 pages out of the first chapter to get to this point. All I need to do now is change the wording around a bit. I may get Lin (orangutansaver) to help me with that, because she helped me with my preface and it turned out pretty brilliant! She's a life saver!

Thanks everyone for helping me out. I feel much more confident now!
Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 16, 2009, 05:30:23 PM
Hey everyone!
I've redone my first paragraph of my first chapter, and just wanted to see what you all thought, because I value all your opinions! :D

As I momentarily contemplated my life, I could have sworn I heard the faint sound of a twig snapping from the direction of the woods behind me. My eyes shot open and I suddenly became very nervous, my breathing was way too fast and my heart was racing. I frantically looked around me, trying to find a cause to the sound I thought I heard.

Thanks! This is a great thread, but no one has visited it for a while, so I thought I would start it off again! :)

Speak soon!
Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 16, 2009, 06:47:28 PM
Quote
As I momentarily contemplated my life a bit of a fussy opening...read it out loud...it's a bit of a mouthfiul. Opening lines should be short, direct and easy on the head, I could have sworn I heard the faint  sound of a twig snapping from the direction of the woods behind me this is a great opening line. My eyes shot open and I suddenly became very nervous you're telling here - the following description conveys the charcters nervousness perfectly, my breathing was way too fast and my heart was racing. I frantically looked around me, trying to find a cause to the sound I thought I heard the source of the sound (maybe?)


You use a few claggy phrases and reduncies which bogs down what is, in essence, a short and sharp moment.  Try and convey the person's anxiety with short senctences and action verbs.

How about something like...

Quote
I heard a twig snap behind me.  I looked around the dense woodland, my heart racing and my breathing fast.  A movement behind the thick trunk of a larch.  The source of the sound?  I tripped and sprinted in the opposite direction.  I'll have to think about my past, present and future when I reach safety.

Not great, I know, but some tension is there and the reader is drawn in.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on March 16, 2009, 06:55:47 PM
Not great, I know, but some tension is there and the reader is drawn in.

Oh absolutely. Now I want to know why the writer is immediatey frightened? Are they running from something? Maybe they're on the run... from prison, perhaps.

That's a very good hook.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 16, 2009, 07:05:59 PM
Emma, I was already to post a reply then saw sonofdennis suggestions.

They are so close to what I would have recommended. No point in repeating.  Just remember, easy on the adverbs and adjectives, short sentences for a greater impact.

I know you can do it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 16, 2009, 07:10:03 PM
Quote
Now I want to know why the writer is immediatey frightened

..and this is the key to good story telling - as long as the technicalities are in order, if you build the tension by (as c4gal says) using short sentences, easy on boggy words and phrases, then it doesn't matter that you're not writing to JM Ceotze standards. Just draw the reader in by feeding their intrigue.

Use the KISS technique - keep it simple, sailor!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: alienauthor on March 16, 2009, 07:23:02 PM
This is the first paragraph of a novel I'm currently writing


Kory knelt behind the sage and gasped for air as he peered into a blue-black dusk that hadn’t come as quickly as he hoped for.  His eyes scanned the horizon.  First to the east, then west, and further ahead into the mountains. Could he could finally reach a neutral zone.  He dared not look behind for he knew no matter how far ahead he was, safety wouldn’t come until he reached Benjamin’s Pass.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 16, 2009, 07:31:44 PM
I usually despise the early morning mellee of the seagulls.  Screeching and fighting over scraps beneath the crustated beams of Teignmouth peir.  But not this morning.  This morning, with its dusky sky and crisp, fresh breeze, I felt lifted - supported by the gentle push of the tide advancing over the sandy beach.  Let them sing their war song.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 16, 2009, 09:18:42 PM
AlienAuthor -

This has potential but the sentences seem too long for the tension we are supposed to feel. I took the liberty of modifying this. I shortened some of the sentences to add intensity and bolded the changes.


Kory knelt behind the sage and gasped for air. His lungs burned as he peered into a blue-black dusk that hadn’t come as quickly as he hoped for enoughHis eyes[what else would he use?] He scanned the horizon.  First to the east, then west, and further open desert ahead into the mountains - . Could he could finally reach a the neutral zone by morning.  He dared not didn't look behind. for he knew no matter how far ahead he was, safety wouldn’t come until he reached Benjamin’s Pass.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 16, 2009, 09:26:27 PM
It's so easy with fresh eyes!  Why are we so blinkered when it's out own work?

(this isn't a first line BTW ... merely an observation)

 ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 16, 2009, 09:50:38 PM
Quote
Why are we so blinkered when it's out own work?

I'm sure the reason is similar to why our recorded voices sound so strangely different. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but when I do, I'll put it in a book and get rich. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 16, 2009, 10:29:41 PM
Sonofdenis -

Not sure I would want this to be an opener. An opening needs tension or danger or the threat of danger--something at risk. As you have it, it would make a terrific transition to a beach scene, even though sentences 2 and 3 are incomplete. I took some liberties here.

I usually despise the early morning mellee of the seagulls.  The Screeching and fighting over for scraps beneath the crustated beams [new word?] barnacle encrusted pilings of Teignmouth peir would normally annoy, but not this morning today.  This morning, with its dusky sky and crisp, fresh breeze, I felt lifted. [I need a reason here why you feel so good] - supported by the gentle push of the tide advancing over the sandy beach. Let them gulls sing their war song.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 16, 2009, 11:01:25 PM
Cheers don.  Helpful and interesting feedback.

Does an opening always need danger or threat?  Or even tension?  What I'm trying to set up is a/ as you say, a transition to a beach scene and b/ a question in the reader's mind - why does he feel so good?

The very next line is
Quote
"Which star is that one?"  Asked Lucy, pointing up at sky 
  which, I hope, would answer B.  He feels good for the simple reason he's with a woman!  As it's early in the morning the reader (hopefully) will assume they've been up all niight, and we all (hopefull) know what it's like to spend the night walking and talking with someone we fancy the pants off.

So my aim was not necessarily to create tension, but to create that air of early morning warmth and contentment we feel after a perfct night talking and walking with a perfect woman.  And then the story will lead into the tense bit ... which one is going to die!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 16, 2009, 11:13:55 PM
Well, death and destruction certainly fills the danger/tension requirement.  :)

The requisite tension could be as simple as him not being sure he's making a good enough impression. If he fails that, then there is the danger of losing the opportunity for a second date.

Have you ever been in a room with a girl and your tongue feels something between your teeth and you think: Crap, I hope that's not spinach? That can be big-time tension.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 17, 2009, 12:16:41 AM
I'm getting you now.  I remember something Wolfe said ages ago - every scene must have some conflict.  Be it world war three or the worm deciding which way to turn.

Cheers for that. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on March 17, 2009, 04:06:30 AM
*takes a deep breath*

Here's the opening paragraph from my gothic fantasy As Daylight Fades

The rain was lashing down. It fell in hard drops from a leaden sky, formed a veil of grey that around the clutch of black-clothed people stood at the edge of the pit. It had turned the piles of soil to mounds of mud. Water collected in large puddles, beaded the wooden box being lowered into the ground.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: fire-fly on March 17, 2009, 07:39:08 AM
Hi mate, check out this new thread posted by Wolfe, it may help you more than I ever could.  ;)

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=19880.0 (http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=19880.0)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on March 17, 2009, 08:16:30 AM
Being new, I don't know what qualifies that advice. Is Wolfe an editor?

Reading the first two paragraphs I could drop that / incorporate it elsewhere. It's only a first draft (or toilet paper, as a friend of mine refers to it as  ;D )

Under the shelter of a black umbrella Lunete Anaïs watched her father’s coffin disappear from view. She did not cry or lament – all her tears had been shed and now she was drained, numb with grief. In her hands she held a single white flower, the stem crushed in her tight-fingered grasp.

Is the second paragraph and in retrospect, no the first one isn't needed (well the first line, definitely not).

Thanks  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: fire-fly on March 17, 2009, 08:21:07 AM
Wolfe is an amazing member who helps so many writers on this site. He enjoys giving tips here and there but to be honest, I would not know if he is an editor, I have never thought to ask.

I do like that second paragraph you have posted Sci, I am not the best at critiquing though. Hopefully one of the others will see it and help. It got me wondering what would be next.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 17, 2009, 09:33:07 AM
If memory serves, Wolfe has been a working editor, but I don't believe he is earning a living editing currently. On the up side for us, his advise is worth a lot because he is sharing his experience and knowledge with us at no charge.

Thank you Wolfe.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 17, 2009, 12:20:04 PM
Thanks sonofdenis and Alice!
This was just an idea of an opening, so thanks for giving me the tips!
:D

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 17, 2009, 07:59:20 PM
It's amazing what a bit of good advice can do.  We all have the ability to write good stuff ... it's al about following the rules.  Take Wolfe's post yesterday http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=19880.0 in one post I've learned so much about how to open a story and, subsequently, make the story look professional.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 17, 2009, 11:00:52 PM
I don't want to look her in the eye.  I'll watch her as she looks out towards the sea; when we talk i'll face her but I'll stare at her feet. My eyes are my secret.  My shame.  I'm scared of what she might find in them.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: alienauthor on March 17, 2009, 11:04:39 PM
The reality of the existence of a dragon wasn't what concerned me, it was the oversize footprint in my yard! 8)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on March 18, 2009, 07:42:50 AM
I opened my as-yet-unnamed sci fi novel and winced (I am, apparently, obsessed with weather. Channelling John Kettley?). Anyway, after taking a sharp knife to the beginning, I now have this as the first paragraph:

Ella stood at the entrance to the hanger bay, cloak held tight against the wind-driven rain as she waited impatiently. The sky over Ballac was a leaden grey and the weak morning light made the rocky landscape appear even bleaker than usual, but the planet had not been chosen for its views – it was the distance from Confederation Territory that made the location important.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: alienauthor on March 18, 2009, 11:56:55 AM
I opened my as-yet-unnamed sci fi novel and winced (I am, apparently, obsessed with weather. Channelling John Kettley?). Anyway, after taking a sharp knife to the beginning, I now have this as the first paragraph:

Ella stood at the entrance to the hanger bay, cloak held tight against the wind-driven rain as she waited impatiently. The sky over Ballac was a leaden grey and the weak morning light made the rocky landscape appear even bleaker than usual, but the planet had not been chosen for its views – it was the distance from Confederation Territory that made the location important.


Sci Fae,  Two really small changes I would make personally.  The first line as such:  Ella stood by the hangar bay entrance,...
and remove "even" from sentence two.    It's a good beginning!
I'm a big Sci-Fi fan.  Look forward to seeing more. 8)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on March 18, 2009, 12:41:47 PM
Thanks AA. Will dothose little edits.

I'm editing the first scene right now, so I'll post it up later  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 18, 2009, 01:20:35 PM
I don't want to look her in the eye.  I'll watch her as she looks out towards the sea; when we talk i'll face her but I'll stare at her feet. My eyes are my secret.  My shame.  I'm scared of what she might find in them.

So, what you're saying is:

I refuse to look her straight in the eye for fear of what she may find hidden there. So I watch her instead, when we speak, I turn my eyes from her face.


I'm sorry SofD, but no matter how you rearrange this, it doesn't give me much reason to continue reading. I vaguely wonder why whoever the "I" is fears what she'll see in his/her eyes. But without more reason that that to keep me going, I would probably put this one back on the shelf at the bookstore.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 18, 2009, 01:23:02 PM
The reality of the existence of a dragon wasn't what concerned me, it was the oversize footprint in my yard! 8)

AA, since I seriously enjoy good dragon tales, I would probably read further, especially to learn more about the footprint.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 18, 2009, 04:09:21 PM
So, what you're saying is:

I refuse to look her straight in the eye for fear of what she may find hidden there. So I watch her instead, when we speak, I turn my eyes from her face.


I'm sorry SofD, but no matter how you rearrange this, it doesn't give me much reason to continue reading. I vaguely wonder why whoever the "I" is fears what she'll see in his/her eyes. But without more reason that that to keep me going, I would probably put this one back on the shelf at the bookstore.

Cheers Alice.  I think i've made 2 mistakes here - 1/ I wrote it whilst at work during a night shift and 2/ I merely wanted to get something on the forum.  It's rushed, ill-judged and unedited.  I know what i'm trying to get across but i've overcomplicated it and tried too hard.

Thanks for being honest...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 18, 2009, 06:14:35 PM
Cheers Alice.  I think i've made 2 mistakes here - 1/ I wrote it whilst at work during a night shift and 2/ I merely wanted to get something on the forum.  It's rushed, ill-judged and unedited.  I know what i'm trying to get across but i've overcomplicated it and tried too hard.

Thanks for being honest...

I'm glad you took it in that spirit SofD.  I know you can write better than that, I've read your work. So get back to it and give us something that will hook the reading into reading more.   :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 19, 2009, 12:37:26 PM

As I momentarily contemplated my life, I could have sworn I heard the faint sound of a twig snapping from the direction of the woods behind me. My eyes shot open and I suddenly became very nervous, my breathing was way too fast and my heart was racing. I frantically looked around me, trying to find a cause to the sound I thought I heard.

I like this!  At least the idea is right: openings don't get much more tense than pursuit of the viewpoint character.  I'm in the story immediately, already running and caring about not getting caught.  Or, at least I would be if it could be taken for granted for now that she actually wants to live, even if she doesn't!  I think you undermine the tension and impact by bringing that into doubt right at the top.

It must be critical to the story and the reader's understanding of the character's state of mind and where she's coming from; but if I could I'd lose the "As I momentarily contemplated my life" and introduce that a bit later on.  Then the opener should grab the reader by the throat.

At least that would be the temptation.  But I'm wondering if it would be unwise or unethical to mislead the readers like that?  Would it be OK if you put them straight a paragraph or so later on?  Difficult to judge without knowing what follows.

Maybe you'd be better off being sharper and more definitive in the opener - cutting to the chase, so to speak - than just trying to create a vague mood of fear and uncertainty, with "I could have sworn...." and "I thought I heard...."?

How about:

"I heard a twig snapping from the direction of the woods behind me. My eyes shot open, suddenly my heart raced and I was breathing way too fast. I frantically looked around me for the cause of the sound."

Also, I dropped the "I became nervous" because you've shown that already, so you don't need to tell it.

I think someone else has reviewed this already but I couldn't find it just now; so I hope this helps a bit more:)

And now I've rewiewed one, and it being my third in total, I can inflict my effort on everybody....

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 19, 2009, 12:51:29 PM
P.S.  Sorry Emma, I've only just noticed you're the same Emma whose other piece I reviewed a few weeks ago, that's why I didn't say hello.  So that's twice I've picked you out at random!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 19, 2009, 12:54:42 PM
Hey, Jed!
You're great! Thanks!

Yeah, I've edited it since then taking on some of the advice from sonofdenis. That really helped and I have taken out the "As I momentarily contemplated my life..." I realised that I could actually mention something about that later on. So I have cut to the chase straight away and I guess it does bring the reader in more. Here is the (hopefully) final opening:

I could have sworn I heard a twig snap in the direction of the woods behind me. My eyes shot open, my breathing was way too fast, my heart racing. Looking around the dense woodland, I tried to find a source to the sound I heard. But nothing was there.

I think that sounds much better, thanks to you and sonofdenis.
But, I'm a bit stuck on the, "But nothing was there." Does that sound right? Or should I put something like, "But I couldn't see anything." What do you think?

Oh and it's ok about not knowing who I was! Strange that you managed to pick me out both times, but good!  ;)

I'm still waiting to review some of your work, Jed! LOL
I bet you're a great writer, especially with the advice you give! :D

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 19, 2009, 12:55:55 PM
Cheers Alice.  I think i've made 2 mistakes here - 1/ I wrote it whilst at work during a night shift and 2/ I merely wanted to get something on the forum.  It's rushed, ill-judged and unedited.  I know what i'm trying to get across but i've overcomplicated it and tried too hard.

Thanks for being honest...

I'm glad you took it in that spirit SofD.  I know you can write better than that, I've read your work. So get back to it and give us something that will hook the reading into reading more.   :)

Demanding women ... my life is full of them!!

Cheers.  I'll do my best...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 19, 2009, 01:04:50 PM


I could have sworn I heard a twig snap in the direction of the woods behind me. My eyes shot open, my breathing was way too fast, my heart racing. Looking around the dense woodland, I tried to find a source to the sound I heard. But nothing was there.

A couple of questions. Is your protag lying down? Or is he walking around with his eyes shut? Do you see where I am coming from?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 19, 2009, 01:10:14 PM
Now you point it out, ma, it is a bit odd.  It could be replaced with a simple 'my head swung round,' or something.

And 'protag' eh?  You're soooo down with the kids...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 19, 2009, 01:14:15 PM
The character was meant to be sitting on a bench with her head back and had her eyes closed. But, I guess I could change it around.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 19, 2009, 01:21:53 PM

<snip>
Here is the (hopefully) final opening:

I could have sworn Cut the first 4 words for a more immediate show of fear. I heard a twig snap in the direction of the The following 3 words lets us know the direction. No need to say it twice. woods behind me. My eyes shot open, This phrase bothers me, I think because of the word "shot." Can you find a different way to show this? my breathing was way too too many descriptive words. How about something along the line of "came." faster, my heart racing raced. Looking around the dense woodland, I tried to failed to find a source to anything to account for the sound I heard. But nothing was there.
<snip>
Emma x x x

I see Ma has posted while I was working on this with some of the same suggestions (or at least, similar) I have.

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 19, 2009, 01:28:47 PM
Thanks, Alice.

That sounds much better! It flows more now, so thank you for helping me out!
:D

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 19, 2009, 01:52:50 PM
OK, here it comes, deep breaths and panic attacks.  Strewth, it feels like posing for a nude photoshoot for the first time.

This is my debut (if you don't count the mini-samples I posted when some kind Americans were trying to teach me their language in another thread) and, no doubt, baptism of fire.

If I had a pound for every time I changed this.... 

I need to get out more.  But here it is now:


A small, hooded, ragged girl with a dirty face the colour of dried mud, looked up at Jude as he leaned out of the window to see who was outside tapping on the door.  Her plaintive eyes stole his heart: they seemed to reflect the desolation of every abandoned child in the land from some forgotten time.  He struggled to reality-check himself: she was just a street kid; a beggar, or hooker, with sights set on his wallet.   [whoops, 79 words]


I think it's a bit soft as an opening hook: not enough at stake yet.  At best, maybe intriguing.  (I could open with a blockbuster action scene, but that would really be the back-story shortly before the story, and I'd have to write it in omniscient because the main characters aren't in it.)

Also, I'm reluctant to lose parts of it because this opener is trying to do four other jobs.  Yes I know, they count for nothing if you don't want to read any further.

But thanks if you take the time out to review it:)

 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 19, 2009, 01:59:39 PM
I heard a twig snap. In a flash I streaked off the bench and peered into the dense woodland. I swallowed hard in an attempt to stop the rapid thud in my chest.

Uhmm!! Not sure that helps :-\

Quote
And 'protag' eh?  You're soooo down with the kids...

When I have learnt to spell the whole word, can I play with the big guns? ;D ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 19, 2009, 03:29:26 PM
Hey, Jed!
I know how you feel about the panic attacks of posting your first piece of work. Don't worry, just take deep breaths!  :)

But, I liked it! It does actually grab my attention, even though it may not be one of those blockbuster openings. I can picture it quite well and that's because you've given imagery and not description.
It's quite good and I still want to read more! Hehe!

If you don't want the whole world (ie. this forum ;)) reading your work, then you could send some of your work to my personal email if you wish. We could be critique partners!  ;D And share our work, but that's only if you want to. My email address is on my profile.

Oh and thanks, Ma100. That did help! ;D

Emma x x x

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 19, 2009, 03:44:15 PM

Quote
OK, here it comes, deep breaths and panic attacks.  Strewth, it feels like posing for a nude photoshoot for the first time.

Ooo err!! *covers eyes* ::) psst!! Jed when I post I always feel as if I am showing my knickers.

Quote
If I had a pound for every time I changed this.... 

You and me both. :(

A small, hooded, ragged girl with a dirty face the colour of dried mud, looked up at Jude as he leaned out of the window to see who was outside tapping on the door.  Her plaintive eyes stole his heart: they seemed to reflect the desolation of every abandoned child in the land from some forgotten time.  He struggled to reality-check himself: she was just a street kid; a beggar, or hooker, with sights set on his wallet.   

Okay I don't mean this to be harsh and I hope you understand when I say it isn't working for me. First of all I find the use of colons and sem-colons distracting. Secondly too much character description for an opening and lastly the info about the abandoned kids can be brought in further in to your story.

Tell me does the Wide eyed street kid whip Judes wallet? Does he grab her as she runs away? An action would draw me in to the story description doesn't I'm afraid.

Opening lines are soooooo hard, I know. I muck them up all the time. ;)

Hope this helps
Ma


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 19, 2009, 04:13:45 PM
Quote
A small, hooded, ragged girl with a dirty face the colour of dried mud, looked up at Jude as  he leaned out of the window to see who was outside tapping on the door.  Now have 'A small, ragged girl looked up from the street' or somethingHer plaintive eyes stole his heart fullstop instead of colon : they seemed to reflect the desolation of every abandoned child in the land from some forgotten timeHe struggled to reality-check himself: she was just a street kid; a beggar, or hooker, with sights set on his wallet 'But there was something about her' and maybe he'd seen her before?  It's unlikely that he'd fall for her on first glance out of a window.  Maybe he saw her in the street that morning or something.   



So how about something like...

Quote
Jude leaned out of the window to see who was outside tapping on the door.  The small, ragged girl who'd bumped into him earlier that day looked up from the bustling street.  Her plaintive eyes and soft voice had briefly stolen his heart.  But she was just a street kid; a beggar, or hooker, with sights set on his wallet.  He knew this. 

He also knew that he had to speak to her.

Just a few ideas...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 19, 2009, 04:33:20 PM
From the same story as 'He couldn't look in her eyes' beginning...

   I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk much further.  I could feel my cancer screaming at me – my head swam, my legs were weak, the grinding in my belly was becoming unbearable.  I needed Blockedgesia and rest.  But I would carry on as long as Lucy wanted to keep walking.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 19, 2009, 06:34:40 PM
A small, hooded, ragged girl with a dirty face the colour of dried mud, looked up at Jude as he leaned out of the window to see who was outside tapping on the door.  Her plaintive eyes stole his heart: they seemed to reflect the desolation of every abandoned child in the land from some forgotten time.  He struggled to reality-check himself: she was just a street kid; a beggar, or hooker, with sights set on his wallet.   

Okay I don't mean this to be harsh and I hope you understand when I say it isn't working for me. First of all I find the use of colons and sem-colons distracting. Secondly too much character description for an opening and lastly the info about the abandoned kids can be brought in further in to your story.

Tell me does the Wide eyed street kid whip Judes wallet? Does he grab her as she runs away? An action would draw me in to the story description doesn't I'm afraid.

Opening lines are soooooo hard, I know. I muck them up all the time. ;)

Hope this helps
Ma


Well, if that was showing your knickers, they're a bit loud but unpretentious;)

Thanks for steering my thoughts towards a change of tack for the opening.

I'm working on a way I can open it in mid-convo where the big idea of the story is introduced.  Or just before, if I can at least entice your curiosity to read on. 

Funny, I didn't think of it as a description opening - something was happening to someone - a norm was being departed from.  And at least Emma noticed I was trying to create imagery.  (Not just random imagery - it has deep historical and legendary significance that becomes clear later on.)  But if it comes across as description it's an instant rejection, as Wolfe said.

So, I'm off to start again.... 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 19, 2009, 09:45:44 PM
Quote
Funny, I didn't think of it as a description opening - something was happening to someone - a norm was being departed from.  And at least Emma noticed I was trying to create imagery.  (Not just random imagery - it has deep historical and legendary significance that becomes clear later on.)  But if it comes across as description it's an instant rejection, as Wolfe said.

Jed, the reason for this being considered as 'description' is due to the fact there is no action going on beyond the knocking at the door and your POV character looking through the window.

If there was some dialog, some kind of action, say, him opening the door and talking to her; one or both of them actually doing something, then it would be active.

The knocking at my door woke me at 2:30 am. I stumbled out of bed, made my way down the stairs and peeked out to see who was disturbing my sleep.

Not a great example, but hopefully good enough for a quick example.

"Butch" I yelled through the closed door, "I told you never to came around here when you're drunk."

"Carl, come on man, it's cold out here.

I opened the door, but left the chain on. "Shut up you idiot. You'll wake the whole building. Just leave Go to your own apartment."

"I don't remember where it is Carl. And I need to pee."

Seeing him fumbling with his zipper, I shut the door and took the chain off. "Get in here." I said, grabbing his arm and pulling him inside.

I steered him down the hall and into the bathroom, all the while wondering how I was going to get him out again.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 20, 2009, 09:03:00 AM
At the risk of sounding like someone collecting an Oscar, I'd like to thank....

Emma for being so positive and supportive, liking what I wrote the first time, and offering to review my work by PM;

Ma for making the same offer and guiding me to write an opening with something rather different than before (see below);

Alice for explaining what she meant (actually my first 4-and-a-bit chapters are dialogue-heavy but with too much telling as they stand at the moment);

Sonofdenis for re-drafting.  Yes, "stole his heart" was too strong but I'm afraid it has to be love at first sight - or rather, the planting of the seed at first sight, that can only grow into love.  (Just as it was in The Thorn Birds and Poldark, in case you've heard of them.)


I found I just couldn't cut to the chase right at the top with the character I used the first time - she must impact on the POV character, initially, with all that mushy stuff you didn't like me opening with.  So I got round the problem by switching characters.

That's the great thing about writing fiction: you can make it up as you go along:)


So, here's the new opening.  I wonder what will be wrong with it this time?



 "Your photos are beautiful!  And naughty one also!", shouted a young female voice with a Ukrainian accent, which must have belonged to the hand that had just lobbed Jude's photograph wallet at him through the window.  "It fell out of your jeans pocket when you pulled them down behind those trees."

So she had seen him taking a pee.  He looked outside and saw a small girl in a fur coat, fishnet tights and a micro-skirt. [77 words]


OK, this is cheating, but, if you did want to read on, this is what comes next:


"Nice truck!  From UK!" said she.  "I learned English at model studio.  They treated us well."

"I can see and hear that", Jude observed.

"Studio made naughty photos for Internet but it closed down", she explained.  "Now we need someone to open new studio.  Streets are cold and being hooker is not safe." [130 words]
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 20, 2009, 11:57:43 AM
Jed, for me, this is much better. Two people interacting and we learn just enough about each to make us want to know more.  :)

I'll try to get back later for a more in-depth read.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 20, 2009, 12:08:59 PM
Jed this is better maybe if I give you this as suggestion. Obviously it's not the words you would choose but I hope you see what I am trying to show you :).

Jude jumped when the leather object whacked him in the chest. What the hell? He darted to the open window.

A young girl with a saucy grin pulled up the collar of her fur coat ' Your photos are beautiful. And naughty one also! ' Her accent was Ukrainian. ' It fell out of your jeans pocket when you pulled them down behind those trees. '

His cheeks burned when he realised she had seen him taking a pee.

Okay a coupleof things that you need to consider.  Is it cold? Hence the fur coat so why is a window wide open and vice versa if it's hot why a fur coat. ;)


The other thing is if he was so close to home why pee in the trees?

Hope it helps
Ma
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 20, 2009, 03:33:24 PM
Hey, Jed.

I agree with Ma and Alice. This does sound better and immediately draws your attention.
And I also agree with Ma on the issue of Jude peeing in the trees. I can see that you've used this for a way to get the Ukranian girl to bring him his wallet back. But, does he need to have been peeing? Maybe he was getting out of his car in the driveway and it slipped out of his jeans pocket. Or it could have been on the car seat and as he slid out, he knocked it onto the ground. Just a few suggestions.

I'm now intrigued in the story and want to know what happens next! This is definitely a good sign! ;D Although, I still did like the first paragraph that you posted, but I guess the new draft does work better.

Glad you took the criticism on board! And I also thank you for being positive and supportive in the work that I have posted, too! :)

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 20, 2009, 03:40:25 PM
Jed this is better maybe if I give you this as suggestion. Obviously it's not the words you would choose but I hope you see what I am trying to show you :).

Jude jumped when the leather object whacked him in the chest. What the hell? He darted to the open window.

A young girl with a saucy grin pulled up the collar of her fur coat ' Your photos are beautiful. And naughty one also! ' Her accent was Ukrainian. ' It fell out of your jeans pocket when you pulled them down behind those trees. '

His cheeks burned when he realised she had seen him taking a pee.

Okay a coupleof things that you need to consider.  Is it cold? Hence the fur coat so why is a window wide open and vice versa if it's hot why a fur coat. ;)


The other thing is if he was so close to home why pee in the trees?

Hope it helps
Ma



Yes it helps me not to miss anything from my list of all the things that now need explaining later.  Even the explanation of how the girl found the photo wallet could be pushed back, too, then I should be able to condense what I wrote in 131 words into 75.

Actually, your words are not that different to my draft before I re-wrote the opener for posting on here and then tried to change it.  I did have all your points covered in that draft:


Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday 22nd February 2004, approx. 6.30pm local time

[Original opener with the girl tapping on the door and the guy opening the window before he puts his head through it(!)]

"Nice truck", said she.  "Anglia!  You are from England?"

"Yep.  This is my first little trip to your country.  You speak English?"

"So-so.  Welcome to Ukraine!  This is yours!"  She lobbed something through the window which he caught in one hand and recognised as his small photograph wallet.  "It fall from you behind trees over there." 

That was where he had taken a pee a couple of minutes or so earlier and the wallet was in his jeans pocket. 

"Thanks!"  He felt his face turning red. 

Her face seemed to read his with a knowing smile.  "Your photos are beautiful!  And naughty one also!  Who make them?" she asked.

"I did." 
   
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 20, 2009, 03:47:31 PM
Ah ha I see he's in a truck. Now it will be clearer again. Hike your boots kid onwards and upwards. ;) ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 20, 2009, 04:44:28 PM
Here's a link to a good article on first lines http://writingfiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/great_first_lines?CFID=3548839&CFTOKEN=38604825
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
Post by: Writewayze on March 21, 2009, 05:45:33 AM
  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!' 
That would grab me!  ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? New opening
Post by: Jed Jones on March 21, 2009, 02:13:48 PM
Had a radical re-think:


Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday 22nd February 2004, approx. 6.00pm local time

"They destroyed our shop and home because my father organised Opposition campaign in election here", Katya explained.  "The war has started."

"No-one in my family has job now except me.  I support them at new apartment."

"As a hooker?  How old are you?" Jude asked.

"Thirteen.  I was model for two months.  Studio paid well; then closed down.  Now we need someone to open new one.  Streets are cold and being hooker is not safe." [75 words. Yay:) ]


Hope this doesn't exasperate you guys too much, who were kind enough to study my previous submission, only for me to tear it up.  Much the same details will need back-explaining, though.

But this new opening is tidier and more 'correct'.  That's if I'm right in believing that readers expect the problem you open with, to be resolved last in the story.  And the next problem you introduce should be resolved second-last, and so on. 

Also, that opener really encapsulates the main plot and sub-plot set in the USA (before the plots converge in a Y-shape).  That's almost the whole story, issues and themes, in 75 words. 

All that's missing is, the power of the media, what journalism is / should be all about (big theme) and the essence of the story - characters discovering what love is all about, and the moral maze where they're challenged and tested at every turn, etc.

Anyway, that's what to expect if you read my stuff:)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 21, 2009, 03:00:16 PM
That radical re-think was definitely a good one!
This sounds so much better and definitely gets the reader wanting to find out more.
It's a very good opening! Keep it up, Jed!

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Geoff Calver on March 24, 2009, 10:25:46 AM
Hey Jed,

I have to say that I really like the tight opening you have here. 75 words and intriguing. I found myself asking, "Where is this?" "Who's this woman?" "What war?" It made me want to read more and the dialogue seemed to give some insight into where this took place, too. I think that the lines at the top, "Odessa, Ukraine." Are barely even necessary because the way the woman speaks, I can almost picture Eastern Europe in my head. Great job!

Geoff
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 24, 2009, 10:50:51 AM
Tom sat at the front of the court, his hands on his knees and his shoulders hunched, as the coroner spoke of his wife’s death.  He wore a blank expression - at the start of the day he'd worried that his boredom would upset the family of his dead wife.  Now, as the verdict approaced, he was too bored to care what other people thought.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rlsquires on March 24, 2009, 12:15:48 PM
The Cassandra Chronicles - by Robert L Squires

Cas Kincade signaled for an aircab from the fortieth floor platform of her apartment complex. They usually buzzed around her building like a swarm of angry yellow jackets, but the android control center was offline again. Only a few human cabbies risked maneuvering the dangerous corridors of the NYC skyway for the outrageous fare they could charge on days like this. To make matters worse it was raining for the first time in weeks, turning the thick pollutive dust on the polycarbon dome to grey sludge.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Spell Chick on March 24, 2009, 12:34:47 PM
The Cassandra Chronicles - by Robert L Squires

Cas Kincade signaled for an aircab from the fortieth floor platform of her apartment complex. They usually buzzed around her building like a swarm of angry yellow jackets, but the android control center was offline again. Only a few human cabbies risked maneuvering the dangerous corridors of the NYC skyway for the outrageous fare they could charge on days like this. To make matters worse it was raining for the first time in weeks, turning the thick pollutive dust on the polycarbon dome to grey sludge.

I liked this. I know where and when the story is taking place, I can tell the automated society isn't all it's supposed to be.

I like SciFi and Fantasy
I don't write fiction. I don't clearly understand the whole show and tell and shun adverbs/adjective thing. I like descriptions that give me something to hold on to.

This sounds like a story I would find interesting.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 24, 2009, 12:56:41 PM
Tom sat at the front of the court, his hands on his knees and his shoulders hunched, as the coroner spoke of his wife’s death.  He wore a blank expression - at the start of the day he'd worried that his boredom would upset the family of his dead wife.  Now, as the verdict approaced, he was too bored to care what other people thought.

SofD,

This is a tough one for me. The only things it tells me is that his wife is dead and he is bored. He worried a tiny bit about upsetting her family, but apparently not much or for long.

I might deduce from this that he didn't care about his wife's death one way or the other. Or else, he didn't care about his life. 

I'm afraid neither one of those deductions would cause me to read much farther. 

Sorry.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rlsquires on March 24, 2009, 12:59:19 PM
Thanks! If you'd like to read any of the first three chapters (they are each short) please feel free to visit my web site and click on The Cassandra Chronicles. I'd appreciate your comments!

My site is www.robertlsquires.com

Rob
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 24, 2009, 01:03:17 PM
SofD,

This is a tough one for me. The only things it tells me is that his wife is dead and he is bored. He worried a tiny bit about upsetting her family, but apparently not much or for long.

I might deduce from this that he didn't care about his wife's death one way or the other. Or else, he didn't care about his life. 

I'm afraid neither one of those deductions would cause me to read much farther. 

Sorry.

No worries.  I've played about with opening of this for so long now i'm starting to think is there any legs in it anyway?  Maybe the courtroom simply doesn't fit in with the essence of the story.

Thanks anyway...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on March 24, 2009, 09:41:27 PM
Hey Jed,

I have to say that I really like the tight opening you have here. 75 words and intriguing. I found myself asking, "Where is this?" "Who's this woman?" "What war?" It made me want to read more and the dialogue seemed to give some insight into where this took place, too. I think that the lines at the top, "Odessa, Ukraine." Are barely even necessary because the way the woman speaks, I can almost picture Eastern Europe in my head. Great job!

Geoff


Nice of you to say so, Geoff:)  I'm trying to convey the style in which Ukrainians speak English, even when they speak it very well, while still making their speech clear to the reader.  There is no definite article in Russian or Ukrainian.  (The nearest word is eto - meaning this or that.)  Not being confident about when to use a or the, they tend to use neither. 

Otherwise, though, their speech is usually more gramatically correct than that of native English speakers.  They say it is rather than it's; and other little aspects of style give them away, which it seems you've noticed.

Sorry about the delay if you really wanted to read what comes next, but, changing the opening forced me to re-write the whole first scene, and bits from later scenes, bring one of the models to the front in place of a central character, etc etc.  Damn nuisance! but I hope it's an improvement.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 24, 2009, 11:41:06 PM
Okay, I'll post what I currently have.

               Ek-Tar, a perfect Garcan specimen, stands at attention along a long, straight roadside beside his fellow soldiers. From hoof to head he towers at six feet, seven inches. Beneath his slate-blue armor muscles ripple, razor edged claws tip long fingers curled around a war pike. It takes him has much physical strength as mental to hold its butt above the ground; as the weight of his burden suggests, this honor is not to be taken lightly.

76 words.  ;)

I don't think it is a good opening, there is no hook.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 25, 2009, 11:59:31 AM
Hey, Jed!

It's great that you know about the language well enough to use it confidently in your book! That means no one can argue with you on that one!  ;D LOL

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 25, 2009, 07:17:09 PM
I think this topic needs to live again. Anyone got a start they would like me to read?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sean on March 26, 2009, 06:23:47 PM
   
The pain of the first time pricked her still, the initial rape of soul forced upon her could never heal. She had fought, she had raged, she had lost. Her fury had called down every child of air above the eastern sea. The tempest had devastated the coastline for a thousand leagues.  Still, no matter the strength, nor aid given by kin or nature, the result was the same.

    RavenGuard-Sean Kobel . http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/Pyre/385962/ work in progress
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 26, 2009, 06:46:27 PM
   
The pain of the first time pricked her still, the initial rape of soul forced upon her could never heal. She had fought, she had raged, she had lost. Her fury had called down every child of air above the eastern sea. The tempest had devastated the coastline for a thousand leagues.  Still, no matter the strength, nor aid given by kin or nature, the result was the same.

    RavenGuard-Sean Kobel . http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/Pyre/385962/ work in progress


I like it, though, you used 'had' five times in a short period. It may be my OCD, but I don't like it.

Also, you are beginning with a back story, which(I have read) is a no-no. Although it is exciting, it is not what is happening now in the story. Maybe you should start with her obedience to the summoning? Then explain why.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sean on March 26, 2009, 09:10:00 PM
Removed the "hads" and changed it to present tense, thoughts?

The pain of the first time pricked her still, the initial rape of soul forced upon her could never heal. The rage, the helplessness, the loss all remained.. Her fury could call down every child of air above the eastern sea, but it wouldn't matter. The tempest could devastate all life for a thousand leagues.  Still, no matter the strength, nor aid given by kin or nature, the result would be the same.

    RavenGuard-Sean Kobel . http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/Pyre/385962/ work in progress
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 26, 2009, 09:32:51 PM
Could implies she cannot anymore, maybe use can instead? Wouldn't also implies past tense, maybe use won't?

I liked the tempest hitting the shore image, "The tempest she stirs can devastate the shores a thousand leagues.", may be better.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: BrockportFaith on March 27, 2009, 12:16:16 AM
Just trying to work on getting back into the fiction flow, but this is a piece I've been working with on-and-off for the past five or six years at least. Let me know what you think! Thanks!

   Michael Barret stepped out of his office, manila folder tucked under his right arm, when an AK-47 chattered down the hall and the wall next to his head showered him with shattered tile.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 27, 2009, 04:53:02 AM
Try this

Michael Barret stepped out of his office, manila folder tucked under his right arm, when an AK-47 chattered down the hall and the wall next to his head showered him with shattered tile.

Michael Barret stepped out of his office when a bullet from an AK47 ricoched down the hall hitting the wall and showering him with tiles. The papers, tucked under his arm,  were now scattered on the floor "What the...?" he said protecting his bruised head "Oh god I'm bleeding"


I think this is a bit more dramatic. 

I tried several times to post this and lost the information each time - my Zone Alarm is stopping me from posting on MWC so I have to sort it.I dont think it was as good as my last attempt!!

Good luck - Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 27, 2009, 08:32:15 AM
Okay, I'll post what I currently have.

               Ek-Tar, a perfect Garcan specimen, stands at attention along a long, straight roadside beside his fellow soldiers. From hoof to head he towers at six feet, seven inches. Beneath his slate-blue armor muscles ripple, razor edged claws tip long fingers curled around a war pike. It takes him has much physical strength as mental to hold its butt above the ground; as the weight of his burden suggests, this honor is not to be taken lightly.

76 words.

I don't think it is a good opening, there is no hook.

--

It seems mine was lost in the pages so I reposted.


Also, Lin x, copy the text before you post. Then paste it back in if you have a problem.  ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 27, 2009, 04:07:09 PM
Its OK I got a long term problem with Zone Alarm and I tried that but now I understand the problem I have to wait until my husband gets back because ZA just updated the security stakes last week and something has changed.

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 27, 2009, 04:19:41 PM
Try this

              Ek-Tar, a perfect Garcan specimen, stands at attention along a long, straight roadside beside his fellow soldiers. From hoof to head he towers at six feet, seven inches. Beneath his slate-blue armor muscles ripple, razor edged claws tip long fingers curled around a war pike. It takes him has much physical strength as mental to hold its butt above the ground; as the weight of his burden suggests, this honor is not to be taken lightly.

Ek-Tar, a perfect Garcan speciment stood at attention. From hoof to head he towered a good six feet seven inches. Beneath his slate-blue armour, muscles rippled.  Long fingers with razor edged claws curled around a war pike. He felt dragged along the floor hardly able to hold his butt above the ground (His point of View using "felt")

I didn't understand the last sentence.  I preferred this in the past tense but suggest you keep it simple and shorter sentences for impact.  There is too much telling in this though, you could try some dialogue maybe.  There is too much of you in there telling the story.  I think you were mixing up the tenses "curled around a war pike"  this is past tense.

I hope I got this right

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 27, 2009, 04:25:35 PM
You didn't. XD

By its, I meant, the butt of the war spike.

Also, should I use past tense? It is the present.

EDIT: Yes, I did mix up the tenses, thank you for showing me.

There is no dialogue in the beginning.. Maybe I should start with the humans?

That is a Garcan ritual going on, it is all telling.


Oh, and, should I not describe as much?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Geoff Calver on March 27, 2009, 05:48:30 PM
Agnes Huette woke to the sun shining through her windows. A kilometer away, in a tan-colored, stone farmhouse, the German commandant shaved. “We take hostages,” he said to the sargeant, who stood in the back of the room, adjusting his lapels. “We will have the General returned to us, no matter how many of them we may have to take hostage.”
   
“Or,” said the sargeant with a sneer, “how many we have to kill.”
   
“Yes. If it comes to it, I won’t allow a soul to survive. Filthy French.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on March 27, 2009, 06:10:17 PM
Agnes Huette woke to the sun shining through her windows. A kilometer away, in a tan-colored, stone farmhouse, the German commandant shaved. “We take hostages,” he said to the sargeant, who stood in the back of the room, adjusting his lapels. “We will have the General returned to us, no matter how many of them we may have to take hostage.”
   
“Or,” said the sargeant with a sneer, “how many we have to kill.”
   
“Yes. If it comes to it, I won’t allow a soul to survive. Filthy French.”


Hi Geoff. Two things worried me with this as an opening. Agnes, why would we need to know about her waking in the opening. If she is your pov she would not see the germans.

I would have a little reword and start from the German commandant.

Hope that helps not hinders mate. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on March 27, 2009, 06:15:53 PM
Hey, Geoff!

I liked it, but I love war books anyway. I can see that the rest of the chapter would sound very good, based on how those German soldiers would kill anyone or take hostages just to get what they want. And the fact that there was a woman there makes it more interesting.
You want to know if she would have the same attitude and behaviour as the German soldiers.

But, I do agree with ma100. I don't think that we need the woman being introduced so early. And seeing as she wouldn't have been able to see what the Germans were doing, I'm guessing that you're writing in third person? You could start off with the soldiers, then maybe in the next paragraph or so, mention that Agnes woke up to the sun shining. She could see the soldeiers walking out of the farmhouse through her window, after they had that talk at the beginning or something along those lines.

Keep it up! I'm sure the rest will be very interesting to read!

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on March 27, 2009, 06:22:42 PM
I can't remember if i've ever put these first lines in here or not... so here it is.. (possibly again ;D )



The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to rapidly snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles, causing me to hiss sharply.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 27, 2009, 06:43:20 PM
I liked the impact of this Andrew but what I didnt like was the use of the word hiss.  It is well known in creative writing that we don't hiss - its something snakes might do but not humans without looking a bit daft!  I'm only quoting from some recent text I read about writing fiction.  I wouldnt have thought it but then I read it twice more in two other books!!

Using first person certainly gives more impact, but that's a well known fact anyway.  Yes I liked it,

The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to rapidly snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles, causing me to hiss sharply.  

Yes it was good but maybe you could do with a little bit more punch in there. I dont think you actually need the last 5 words (causing me to...)  Put a full stop after needles and you got it, or change that sentence around a bit to get the meter right.  Otherwise good!

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on March 27, 2009, 06:59:56 PM
It's the kind of noise you make when you draw in your breath over your teeth due to a sharp pain.

I can always make it gasp or similar...  because he needs to make a noise at that point to be noticed by another ;D

how about...


The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles. I gasped sharply.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cathy C on March 27, 2009, 07:34:10 PM
Quote
The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles. I gasped sharply.



Andrew, you could make this so much tighter. :-\

A pounding headache roused me from my sleep. Its insistent, dull jabs, trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes, only to snap them closed again as the bright light lanced my cornea's. I gasped....

I've got to say; this doesn't work for me - it's not even close to your usual standard, sorry :'(
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 27, 2009, 07:51:43 PM
Andrew - Good way to have your protag wake up. Pulls the reader right into it and obviates the necessity of explaining why he's in a bad mood. First seven words seem redundant though. I would shorten the sentences. That would make the pain seem more intense.

The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused woke [roused sounds too gentle] me. from my sleep [Not needed. Of course you were sleeping if you were awoken or roused] with its insistent, dull [let the reader imagine]jabs, as if told me my brain was trying to escape my skull. [Good imagry] I opened my eyes to look around [What else would you do with eyes?] only to rapidly snap them shut. again as the bright light lanced into them [you used them in the last sentence] felt like needles, causing me to hiss sharply. [Rather than telling, I would go straight into dialogue with an appropriate curse.]

Kinda like what Cathy said. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on March 27, 2009, 07:55:28 PM
Thank you Cathy and Don :)  Strange Don.. I changed to this before seeing your reply...


A throbbing pulse pounded through my skull, forcing me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs. I opened my eyes to look around, only to snap them shut again as bright light lanced into them like needles, and gasped sharply.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on March 27, 2009, 07:59:25 PM
 Michael Barret stepped out of his office, manila folder tucked under his right arm, when an AK-47 chattered down the hall and the wall next to his head showered him with shattered tile.

An AK-47 chattering down a hall means that the gun is bouncing off the walls. A would be assassin would do well to keep the gun in their hands and fire the bullets.

Now, I've never been shot at, but I think mentioning the kind of gun loses some urgency.

Michael Barret stepped out of his cubicle carrying a manila folder, when gunfire shattered the tiles around him.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 28, 2009, 04:04:51 AM
Andrew

The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles. I gasped sharply.

I dont think you need sharply in there its an adverb which should be avoided at most times.  I gave a sharp gasp or I gasped!  Keep it short and simple for impact.

The other thing I thought might help you.  If a bright light lanced into your eyes - I think the reader can feel that with you and gasp anyway, so maybe you dont need the last sentence.  Although maybe you need something in there to round off the previous sentence without reiterating the sensation you already put into the mind of the reader.

Perhaps  a little forshadowing with three words to help the rest of your story.

You know about foreshadowing?  Putting in a line which keeps the reader wanting to find out further in the book what you meant.

So perhaps you could do

only to snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles. I wondered about the man behind the gun, had I seen him before somewhere?   Only you know your story so I cant put something in there which relates to you - but maybe an even sharper sentence - Who was this guy?

You just have to experiment with it all I suppost as I am doing with my book

Good luck

Lin x




Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Geoff Calver on March 28, 2009, 11:26:10 AM
Thanks for all the comments on my opening!! Here's a revised version now:

   In a tan-colored, stone farmhouse, the German commandant shaved. “We take hostages,” he said to the sergeant, who stood in the back of the room, adjusting his lapels. “We will have the General returned to us, no matter how many of them we may have to take hostage.”
   “Or,” said the sergeant with a sneer, “how many we have to kill.”
   “Yes. If it comes to it, I won’t allow a soul to survive. Filthy French.”


Hopefully it fixes the problems my first one had :-)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 28, 2009, 11:45:47 AM
Agnes Huette woke to the sun shining through her windows. A kilometer away, in a tan-colored, stone farmhouse, the German commandant shaved. “We take hostages,” he said to the sargeant, who stood in the back of the room, adjusting his lapels. “We will have the General returned to us, no matter how many of them we may have to take hostage.”
   
“Or,” said the sargeant with a sneer, “how many we have to kill.”
   
“Yes. If it comes to it, I won’t allow a soul to survive. Filthy French.”


 In a tan-colored, stone farmhouse, the German commandant shaved. “We take hostages,” he said to the sergeant, who stood in the back of the room, adjusting his lapels. “We will have the General returned to us, no matter how many of them we may have to take hostage.”
   “Or,” said the sergeant with a sneer, “how many we have to kill.” is this correct?
   “Yes. If it comes to it, I won’t allow a soul to survive. Filthy French.”
Meanwhile Agnes Huette woke to the sun shining through her windows.

A bit of foreshadowing there as well.  I added your first line from the first attempt I felt it gave some aniticipation of what was to come.  Does it fit?

Lin x





Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Geoff Calver on March 28, 2009, 11:50:53 AM
That first line is a nice segue from the opening lines into the action. I actually had originally had Agnes waking up and having a normal day until the Germans arrived in town, but because I wanted to bring in some foreshadowing and raise interest, I decided to insert this scene with the German commandant and sergeant. I think it works well and I'm happy with it, but I like what you did with adding the line about Agnes waking up to the end. A great segue! And yes, it is correct that the sergeant suggests they may kill the villagers - my novel actually opens with a scene based on a true event - a group of SS soldiers had been ordered to go into a town where a general had been captured by the French resistance and take hostages to get the general back - instead, they went to the wrong town (one with a similar name) and were brutal - herded all the women and children into a church and shot them all with a machine gun, took all the men to barns and murdered all of them. The town was called Oradour-sur-Glane, if you read about it, it's quite a harrowing story and example of the German SS. The town is still there today, a martyred village, left as it was found, burnt to the ground.

Thanks for your comments Lin!!!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 28, 2009, 12:08:17 PM
Just to ask, should I use past tense in my writings? I wanted to use present tense, but don't know if that's standard(I did mix put a past tense in the last one by mistake).

Also, if I need to start with action, I guess I'll move time back a bit and start when a Garcan was being attacked by wolves.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 28, 2009, 12:17:00 PM
Just to ask, should I use past tense in my writings? I wanted to use present tense, but don't know if that's standard(I did mix put a past tense in the last one by mistake).

Also, if I need to start with action, I guess I'll move time back a bit and start when a Garcan was being attacked by wolves.

It isn't so much as whats 'standard' but what works best for you and your story.  Try a bit each way if you're uncertain and see which feels the best to you.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 28, 2009, 12:29:23 PM
It isn't so much as whats 'standard' but what works best for you and your story.  Try a bit each way if you're uncertain and see which feels the best to you.



Okay, I think present will work better, I'll post the new beginning soon.

Edit: I'm going to go with past, actually, I hit a conflict as soon as I started. XD

Three wolves lunged into the firelight. Ek-Ton looked up in surprise, and then instinct possessed him. Their growls, low in warning, drifted across the fire. Ton slowly clicked his fangs, the sharp retort piercing the ears of the wolves, as he assumed a defensive pose. The largest wolf stepped back, older and wiser than his pack, he would not be the first to attack this new prey.

There ya go.  :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chillies on March 28, 2009, 01:41:19 PM
Can anyone tell me if this works as an opening. Thanks

A shot rang out, then a second. They echoed along the bare corridors of the defunct hospital. A body fell with a dull thud.
   Two floors up Clarke heard the shots; he waited for the call from his colleague: an assurance that all was well. That call never came. Now he was on his own and unarmed, while a killer stalked the corridors below.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 28, 2009, 02:01:58 PM
A shot rang out, then a second. They echoed along the bare corridors of the defunct hospital. A body fell with a dull thud.
   Two floors up Clarke heard the shots; he waited for the call from his colleague: an assurance that all was well. That call never came. Now he was on his own and unarmed, while a killer stalked the corridors below.


Do you like this?  I hope it provides you with some different words maybe and a bit more bite?  I altered the punctuation as well for impact.  This was just from my point of view really, but it might not suit you.

A shot rang out, then a second, echoing along the bare corridors of the defunct hospital.  Thud! The sickening sound of a dying soul falling to the ground.

Two floors above Clarke also heard the shots. Needing assurance, he waited for the call from below.  An unnerving silence;  the realisation he was not only alone but unarmed. He had needed that assurence as below him, a killer stalked the building.

Lin x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chillies on March 28, 2009, 02:33:29 PM
Yeah Lin, that good, but I was looking for shorter sentences to infer urgency and panic. I've got a few more lines, see what you think. Thanks.

A shot rang out, then a second. They echoed along the bare corridors of the defunct hospital. A body fell with a dull thud.
   Two floors up Clarke heard the shots; he waited for the call from his colleague: an assurance that all was well. That call never came. Now he was on his own and unarmed, while a killer stalked the corridors below.
   He should not have been here, not put in this situation. It had all been a big mistake, instigated by Margot. A favour he said, now he lay dead. “What sort of favour is it when you’re dead?” Clarke asked himself. “I’m just one big idiot for believing anything he said.”
   He made his way to the stairs, straining to hear something, anything, but no, only silence. I have no chance he thought, what could I possibly do against a pro?
   At the foot of the stairs, he stopped and held his breath; still nothing, no sound what so ever. Perhaps he’s made a quick exit. Perhaps he hadn’t seen me. Perhaps—
   “Well, well, well. Who do we have here?” He had appeared as if from nowhere. He was old and thin with grey hair and wearing small round spectacles, and pointing a gun straight at Clarke. “Well boy? I asked you a question. Who are you?”
   “My name’s Clarke, I just happened to be passing.”
   “Oh! You want to make jokes do you? Come down here boy.”
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 28, 2009, 02:41:01 PM
Okay, I think present will work better, I'll post the new beginning soon.

Edit: I'm going to go with past, actually, I hit a conflict as soon as I started. XD

Three wolves lunged into the firelight. Ek-Ton looked up in surprise, and then instinct possessed him. Their growls, low in warning, drifted across the fire. Ton slowly clicked his fangs, the sharp retort piercing the ears of the wolves, as he assumed a defensive pose. The largest wolf stepped back, older and wiser than his pack, he would not be the first to attack this new prey.

There ya go.  :D

The bit I in bold above was the only stumbling block for me.  I had to read it a couple of time before I felt I understood your intent.  If I'm right, wouldn't saying it simpler be clearer. Something like "his instinct took over." Just an example if you choose to make a change.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 28, 2009, 02:42:35 PM
The bit I in bold above was the only stumbling block for me.  I had to read it a couple of time before I felt I understood your intent.  If I'm right, wouldn't saying it simpler be clearer. Something like "his instinct took over." Just an example if you choose to make a change.



That is what I originally planned to have, though, isn't that a cliche saying?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 28, 2009, 02:46:55 PM
Can anyone tell me if this works as an opening. Thanks

A shot rang out, then a second. They echoed along the bare corridors of the defunct hospital. A body fell with a dull thud.
   Two floors up Clarke heard the shots; he waited for the call from his colleague: an assurance that all was well. That call never came. Now he was on his own and unarmed, while a killer stalked the corridors below.

Chillies, I have a question. How does he know the sound he hears is that of a body falling?  Can he see it?  Is he that familiar with the sound of a body falling in (I assume) a tiled corrodor of an empty building?

Just a tiny prick for me as I read, but thought I would mention it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Killpill28 on March 28, 2009, 02:53:11 PM
Chillies, I have a question. How does he know the sound he hears is that of a body falling?  Can he see it?  Is he that familiar with the sound of a body falling in (I assume) a tiled corrodor of an empty building?

Just a tiny prick for me as I read, but thought I would mention it.


I think that was in third person, not in the POV of the main character.

Also, isn't "instant took over" a cliche? Or can I use it?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chillies on March 28, 2009, 02:56:23 PM
Good point Alice. Actually he only heard the sound of the shots. The body falling was for the readers' benefit only. I had thought of this actually, but it does need a re-write. Thanks.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on March 29, 2009, 02:53:26 AM
I think you have to remember to be careful here with all these good intentioned comments.  I am sure you are taking the rough with the smooth here and not getting too confused.

Go with your own instincts, although I do agree with those who mentioned about the thud of the body on the floor.  To be quite honest though, I wonder how many readers would think about that so deeply - I certainly didnt pick it up, but when it was pointed out to me - I thought Oh yes, maybe...

So although I agree with our good friends here, one has to be careful that you dont alter your own voice on this piece.  So maybe you should put in there (in view of the comments) that he thought the thud on the floor was possibly the body slumping to the ground - you know something like that!

When we all join in like this, its good fun and excellent for the rest of us to practice other ways of explaining something.  In the end its your decision and I think so far you are doing very well with it.
I would certainly want to read the rest of it!!

Lin x x x

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 29, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote
Also, isn't "instant took over" a cliche? Or can I use it?

kp28 - Do you mean instinct took over? Try instinct prevailed.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sean on March 29, 2009, 01:45:13 PM
First line from my latest version.

Sailors stared, duties forgotten, mouths agape at the spectacle before them. They blinked in disbelief at the cool shimmering mist , her form the image of a goddess dancing across the waves.

http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/Pyre/385962/
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on March 29, 2009, 01:59:11 PM
Sailors stared, Their duties forgotten, mouths agape the sailors stared at the spectacle before them. Mouths agape, they blinked in disbelief at the cool shimmering mist , her form the image of a goddess dancing across the waves.


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sean on March 29, 2009, 06:13:12 PM
thanks don, much clearer flow.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: sliver of a shard on March 29, 2009, 09:13:27 PM
Hello, all! Here is the first paragraph of my fantasy book (and a first time post of my work.)
Any advice is welcome. Thanks!

The elven young noblewoman doubled over, hurling bile into flame. No. This is not a blessed thing. Blinded by shame, grief, and sleet, Caern trudged to the alchemist.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jed Jones on April 14, 2009, 08:37:24 PM
My revised opening:


Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday 22nd February 2004, approx. 5.30pm local time

"They destroyed our shop and home because my father organised Opposition campaign at local election. The war has started." Katya's eyes flashed with fury. "Now I support my family at new apartment."

Jude was gobsmacked. "But you don't look a day older than twelve." 
 
"I am thirteen. I wish I was model still, like her. Studio closed two weeks ago. Girls need somebody to open new one. Streets are cold and being hooker is not safe."

[76 words]   


If this does hook you into reading more, it's attached here:

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=20231.msg302882#msg302882 (http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=20231.msg302882#msg302882)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Skip Slocum on April 14, 2009, 10:21:39 PM
Here's Mine, what say you?
*   *   *

The splintered tip of his wooden sword marked a faint trail in the grass. The weary knight searched for a place to rest from his day of battle. He sat on the bank of the river drinking his fill of cool water. With every rock he skipped across its surface, his mind wandered further from today’s victories. Flinging the next rock a little harder, he counted. 

“Two, three, four….damn, Dad was always better at this.” 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on April 15, 2009, 01:17:41 AM
Just a little idea bouncing around in my head to distract me for a while:

"You're hired."
That's all it took, two magic words and the tension that had been winching Connor's shoulders tighter than loaded springs instantly dissolved.
"Really?" he croaked, raising an eyebrow at his new boss.
"Course!" Jimmy barked in his thick, Dublin accent. He threw a towel at him. "Pubs don't run themselves. Now go on, get, those tables in the back need cleanin'."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: emma112 on April 15, 2009, 05:06:09 AM
Here's Mine, what say you?
*   *   *

The splintered tip of his wooden sword marked a faint trail in the grass. The weary knight searched for a place to rest from his day of battle. He sat on the bank of the river drinking his fill of cool water. With every rock he skipped across its surface, his mind wandered further from today’s victories. Flinging the next rock a little harder, he counted. 

“Two, three, four….damn, Dad was always better at this.” 

Hey, Skip!
I like it and would definitely carry on reading!
I could picture everything, and the dialogue works because it makes me want to find out more about the character.
I don't really see anything wrong with it.
Well done!

Emma x x x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Imp-poster on April 15, 2009, 11:16:33 AM
Hey hey hey Skip. Its pretty cool. I would def read on just to know what the Battle was about. Nice stuff.
Its pretty funny how its sort of peaceful and reminisent, even though its just after a battle. Makes me think the knight is bout to get mobbed.

Well. I posted in wrong place before. but what the heck. Here is my attempt.

Imp-poster 48 words.

Blood. Blood is all that filled this cursed hall. It ran from the cracked stained walls and trickled down onto the rough stone ground - oozing slowly from the corpses. They stretched from his feet to the end of the hall, all of them, blood covered, beaten, mutilated corpses.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: zincala on April 15, 2009, 12:45:43 PM
"You're hired."
That's all it took, two magic words and the tension that had been winching Connor's shoulders tighter than loaded springs instantly dissolved.
"Really?" he croaked, raising an eyebrow at his new boss.
"Course!" Jimmy barked in his thick, Dublin accent. He threw a towel at him. "Pubs don't run themselves. Now go on, get, those tables in the back need cleanin'."


I'm not getting a sense of urgency, it's more descriptive than peaking my curiousity. It appears Connor need the job badly but I dont know why. Personally, I like a bit of foreshadowing to draw me in without giving too much away. I played with it a bit...see what you think.


“You’re hired” 
The tension winching Connor’s shoulders instantly dissolved. “Really?” he croaked, raising an eyebrow at his new boss.

“Course,” Jimmy barked in a thick Irish accent, throwing a towel at him. “Pubs don’t clean themselves. Now go on, tend to those table sin the back.”

Connor caught the towel in mid air. He was one step closer to making Dublin his home. He had to be here, his life depended on it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: zincala on April 15, 2009, 12:56:13 PM
Throwing this one into the ring...

Kate drifted off to sleep as the wind changed direction and the chimes began their haunting lullaby. She was fast asleep as the attic bedroom filled with a low buzzing sound. Lost in dream, she never saw the swarm of colored balls of light dash through the open window.  She didn’t hear the whispers and giggles or the tiny voice right above her left ear murmur, “Sshhhh…She doesn’t know yet”. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on April 15, 2009, 06:51:29 PM
I'm not getting a sense of urgency, it's more descriptive than peaking my curiousity. It appears Connor need the job badly but I dont know why. Personally, I like a bit of foreshadowing to draw me in without giving too much away. I played with it a bit...see what you think.


“You’re hired” 
The tension winching Connor’s shoulders instantly dissolved. “Really?” he croaked, raising an eyebrow at his new boss.

“Course,” Jimmy barked in a thick Irish accent, throwing a towel at him. “Pubs don’t clean themselves. Now go on, tend to those table sin the back.”

Connor caught the towel in mid air. He was one step closer to making Dublin his home. He had to be here, his life depended on it.


I get what you're saying; thanks so much, it's infinitely improved :)


cheers,
charlie
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: cindymac07 on April 16, 2009, 06:37:41 PM
I am doing reply as I could not find new post! Hope this is acceptible.

Ok here goes... bearing in mind this is set in the Caribbean.

I knelt on the sofa, by the kitchen window, watching the rain. It was falling since last night. The rain was so heavy it sounded just like mud falling on the galvanized roof. I watched the rainwater slide off the roof of the main house and fall onto the steps, then gather up all the leaves and dust and speed down the concrete drain, then straight down the callaloo row under the cashew tree.
Cindy
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: cindymac07 on April 16, 2009, 06:45:09 PM
Just a little idea bouncing around in my head to distract me for a while:

"You're hired."
That's all it took, two magic words and the tension that had been winching Connor's shoulders tighter than loaded springs instantly dissolved.
"Really?" he croaked, raising an eyebrow at his new boss.
"Course!" Jimmy barked in his thick, Dublin accent. He threw a towel at him. "Pubs don't run themselves. Now go on, get, those tables in the back need cleanin'."


THis works for me. I like the immediacy of the dialogue.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 16, 2009, 07:29:06 PM
I know this is more than one line but:

Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer.  She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming.  Unfolding her long body from the little red sport car, she stood smoothing her short red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was.  The dress stopped at mid-thigh.  She stood looking at the dump Jake called home. “Oh, Jake, how far you’ve fallen,”  she thought.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Trulyscrumptious on April 17, 2009, 11:46:58 AM
I know this is more than one line but:

Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer.  She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming.  Unfolding her long body from the little red sport car, she stood smoothing her short red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was.  The dress stopped at mid-thigh.  She stood looking at the dump Jake called home. “Oh, Jake, how far you’ve fallen,”  she thought.

This doesn't really grab me.  There is nothing particularly wrong with it, but I don't think it would stand out from the crowd.  I think there needs to be something more of a hook that tells the reader that this isn't the same as the last half-dozen books they've just put back on the shelf.  You need a little something that tells the reader that this one is different... :-)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: zincala on April 17, 2009, 12:11:34 PM
Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer.  She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming.  Unfolding her long body from the little red sport car, she stood smoothing her short red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was.  The dress stopped at mid-thigh.  She stood looking at the dump Jake called home. “Oh, Jake, how far you’ve fallen,”  she thought.


Yeah I agree with JHMull, it needs a tag line. Nice and descriptive so I have a real feel for Geraldine. There's a obvious difference from her means and the lifestyle of Jake sooooo what caused it?  Also I don't think you need to write out "did not want", did't would flow for me better. Your sentences could be constructed to be tighter.

"Geraldine parked far from the run down trailer. She didnt want her little red sports car near the rubble that filled the yard. (rubble is garbage) More importantly, she didnt want Jake to know she was coming.
Stepping from the car, she unfolded her long body. Her short red dress hugged her slender thighs. Geraldine was still very much the model she once was. She looked at the dump that Jake called home. Oh Jake, how very far you've fallen. But then this was all her fault,wasnt it?

Now I want to read what she did to make Jake fall so far and what the circumstances were.
I dont know where your heading here, but a tag would definitely improve the paragraph.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 17, 2009, 02:08:26 PM
Throwing this one into the ring...

Kate drifted off to sleep as the wind changed direction and the chimes began their haunting lullaby. She was fast asleep as the attic bedroom filled with a low buzzing sound. Lost in dream, she never saw the swarm of colored balls of light dash through the open window.  She didn’t hear the whispers and giggles or the tiny voice right above her left ear murmur, “Sshhhh…She doesn’t know yet”. 

One thing that worries me about this Zincala. Who's pov are you in? If it is the pov of the tiny voice it's fine, but if it's Kate you have a problem as all the action is taking place where she can't hear,see or feel.  :) Please let me know and I will come back.

Ma ;)
I knelt on the sofa, by the kitchen window, watching the rain. It was falling since last night. The rain was so heavy it sounded just like mud falling on the galvanized roof. I watched the rainwater slide off the roof of the main house and fall onto the steps, then gather up all the leaves and dust and speed down the concrete drain, then straight down the callaloo row under the cashew tree.

Hi Cindy I am sorry, but this one has too much about the weather and would really not pull me in. An action in the rain would work better than a description of the rainfall I feel. I don't mean to be harsh and I hope this helps. :)

Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer.  She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly, she did not want Jake to know she was coming.  Unfolding her long body from the little red sport car, she stood smoothing her short red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was.  The dress stopped at mid-thigh.  She stood looking at the dump Jake called home. “Oh, Jake, how far you’ve fallen,”  she thought.

Hi Jh
I think you need to tighten this up a bit JH.


Geraldine parked away from the run-down trailer. She did not want Jake to know she was coming She did not want her car in the rubble and garbage that filled the yard—more importantly.   Unfolding her long body fromHer long legs unfolded from the little red sport car. She stood smoothed down  her short mid -thigh red dress down her long legs, looking like the model she once was.  The dress stopped at mid-thigh. Rubble and garbage filled the yard. Oh, Jake, how far you've fallen.

What I have done is had a shuffle of your words and taken out repeats or confusing descriptions. It still needs more work, but I would only use your words. Where I have underlined I feel you need to reword.I really hope this helps not hinders mate.

Ma :)

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 17, 2009, 02:56:35 PM
To all

I wrote this after going to a junk yard.  There was a young man living there about thirty.  He was dirty, unshaven and needed a haircut.  When I ask I was told he just showed up one day and ask if he could stay in the trailer on the lot.  He helped me take a part off a ford.  He was well spoken, well read and I would guess well educated.  I began wondering what had happened to him.
This is what I came up with about a year ago.  I have almost developed a whole book in my head along these lines.  Of course there is this woman that every man follows, drugs, murder and yes another woman.

Yes Ma now it does not seem to have legs. ;D

I will work on it and return.
 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 17, 2009, 02:59:53 PM
I'm showing mine in a sec mate. Get out the carving knife. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 17, 2009, 03:03:37 PM
Any thoughts?


The toast froze halfway towards his open mouth when Rowena bent over to pick up the mail. Drew Porter wondered why he always felt frisky at the most inopportune moments.  He wished he was the envelope she tucked hastily into the front of her cami shorts.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Trulyscrumptious on April 17, 2009, 03:10:37 PM
Any thoughts?


The toast froze halfway towards his open mouth when Rowena bent over to pick up the mail. Drew Porter wondered why he always felt frisky at the most inopportune moments.  He wished he was the envelope she tucked hastily into the front of her cami shorts.


May I add my two-penneth?  I like it!  I think it sets the mood immediately and heralds fun.  Just one thing - don't you mean 'he' froze, rather than the toast?  As in, "He froze, toast halfway towards his open mouth..."  Just my view anyway.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Foxy on April 17, 2009, 03:11:11 PM
Ma! I'm shocked.
 


;D



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 17, 2009, 03:17:39 PM
Any thoughts?


The toast froze halfway towards his open mouth when Rowena bent over to pick up the mail. Drew Porter wondered why he always felt frisky at the most inopportune moments.  He wished he was the envelope she tucked hastily into the front of her cami shorts.

He froze with the toast halfway to his mouth.  His mouth like an unbuttoned shirt as he watched Rowena bend over to pick up the dropped mail.  Frozen Drew Porter wondered why blood rushed where it did when he saw her.  He so wanted to be the envelope that she hastily tucked into the front of her campy shorts.  A destination he so often wished to go.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 17, 2009, 03:24:10 PM
I do get what you mean Truly. I will have a little think on that. I wanted to get the feeling of still toast inches from an open mouth.


Sorry Foxy :-[ :-[ :-[ ;D


Way to go JH. ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 17, 2009, 03:33:10 PM
I do get what you mean Truly. I will have a little think on that. I wanted to get the feeling of still toast inches from an open mouth.


Sorry Foxy :-[ :-[ :-[ ;D


Way to go JH. ;D

Not bad for a OHWM aye legs? ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: zincala on April 18, 2009, 09:49:46 AM
Ma,

The voice is 3rd person, present.
Welcoming your input!

Zinc.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 22, 2009, 11:32:24 AM
I was only answering the door, then I awoke hours later bound, gagged and blindfolded.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 22, 2009, 11:42:10 AM
I was only answering the door, then I awoke hours later bound, gagged and blindfolded.

I like this, there are so many ways you can go from here. The things you can do with it.

Who opened the door--a man, boy; a woman, girl; old or young.

A robbery or something else.

It would call me to read more.
Well done!



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 22, 2009, 11:43:42 AM
heh heh heh, shame is I've posted some wicked awesome first lines here and never taken them far.
But I'm very happy with the first 48 words.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 22, 2009, 11:49:24 AM
heh heh heh, shame is I've posted some wicked awesome first lines here and never taken them far.
But I'm very happy with the first 48 words.

I know you want me to say but that is only 14!

Who opens the door.

Post the hole 48 ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 22, 2009, 11:54:40 AM
I don't know who opens the door, and I wouldn't spoil it if I did.
But I have one idea, but it might not be the idea.

Fine, I'll post the whole 48.

I was only answering the door, then I awoke hours later bound, gagged and blindfolded. I flopped about what seemed, by the feel, to be the marble floor of the entrance hall. Gloved hands undid the blindfold and it fell in front of me, the master’s favourite tie.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 22, 2009, 01:04:21 PM
Tis not a rape story Mr Mull, a mere robbery, and the blindfolded character is an elderly butler, the other is a young man. No sensuality there.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 22, 2009, 01:58:25 PM
No worries mate.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hazvy on April 23, 2009, 01:35:42 PM
hie everyone, here is the first few words from my novel [which i'm still writing];

The hundred metres gap which once separated him from it began to close rapidly as it moved towards him. Its mouth was wide open and seemed ready to devour him. At the sight of its extra-ordinary long and shining tooth he trembled with fear.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: jacquelyn_saints on April 23, 2009, 03:03:00 PM
Here's mine:

"Night could not shroud the limousine, parked at the curb on 7th Avenue."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 23, 2009, 09:20:07 PM
hie everyone, here is the first few words from my novel [which i'm still writing];

The hundred metres gap which once separated him from it began to close rapidly as it moved towards him. Its mouth was wide open and seemed ready to devour him. At the sight of its extra-ordinary long and shining tooth he trembled with fear.
Hi, okay some things for you to think about.

"rapidly" denotes urgency, but I'm not feeling it.
If you don't mention the distance, and just have it come at him from the 1st word, it'll have more urgency.

do you mean "tooth" or "teeth"
I prefer tooth anyway because it's less cliche.
I'd bring the tooth closer to the beginning.

"it moved towards"
How does it move? Does it crawl or swim or fly or run?

You don't need to mention him trembling with fear, he's in a frightening situation.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 23, 2009, 09:22:28 PM
Here's mine:

"Night could not shroud the limousine, parked at the curb on 7th Avenue."
change "could not" to "couldn't" and I think it doesn't need any more work. Just be sure to start the actual story in the next sentence.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on April 24, 2009, 07:19:47 AM
Like to hear the comments on this:

"Shaarierra fell backward onto the freezing snow as the burning pain in her head blinded her."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on April 24, 2009, 07:25:54 AM
Tis not a rape story Mr Mull, a mere robbery, and the blindfolded character is an elderly butler, the other is a young man. No sensuality there.

Oh my gosh, I though this was a first line until I figured out the converstion. Yhis would make a kickass piece of opening dialouge for a narrated crime drama!!!v  :)  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hazvy on April 24, 2009, 07:41:51 AM
Thatollie- thanx, I get what you mean, am trying to re-write now, will post the revised piece soon. many thanx!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Trulyscrumptious on April 24, 2009, 11:31:26 AM
Like to hear the comments on this:

"Shaarierra fell backward onto the freezing snow as the burning pain in her head blinded her."

I stumble on the first word here.  I guess that because it is a completely unfamilliar name (to me) that I'm just looking at it and thinking, "How on earth do you pronounce that?" and the rest of the sentence seems to be lost as a result. 

That said, the rest of the sentence does leave us wondering what is going on.  I think I'd leave out the freezing, personally, as it's kind of obvious.  That said, if you did want to tell us that the snow was anything other than 'normal' snow you could tell us that it was 'powder snow' or 'melting snow' or any other variant.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ByronArthurClark on April 24, 2009, 12:07:10 PM
Thanks, the snow tip is a good one. The slip-up is probably because I come from a hot country where we only see snow once in ablue moon!  :) I would never say "hot sand" , i suppose.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Trulyscrumptious on April 24, 2009, 01:42:29 PM
Actually, its funny you should say that, ByronArthurClark.  Maybe you are right to stick with the 'freezing snow' if you are writing for an international audience.  It might be obvious to me, but where I come from 'hot sand' is far from obvious and would need to be spelled out.  We do have hot sand occasionally, but more often than not, cold wet sand.  Just goes to show, one cannot assume!  I think we've learned something interesting here!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: iamthefatstig on April 25, 2009, 04:14:47 AM
Ok, its time to throw my hat in! Found the forum today so hello to everyone too!

The early morning mist covered the landscape like a never ending silk blanket. Its ghostly presence suffocating the beautiful landscape beneath it and replacing it with one of its own, perhaps more beautiful.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: nswperson on April 25, 2009, 09:07:04 AM
Hi

I really like the first sentence, but became lost trying to read and comprehend the second. It might be that I could envision the silk blanket, and the rest would not fit with it.

Maybe change suffocating with suffocated and replacing with replaced.  Hope this has been of some help.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: nswperson on April 25, 2009, 09:08:53 AM
What do you think?

He threw the cup into the fireplace and watched as the flames licked the sides, burning brighter because of the wine that had remained in the bottom. The cup was really a pewter goblet, studded with three small rubies in the shape of an isosceles triangle. It was part of a set passed down from generation to generation, and now belonged to him. In his rage, he had unthinkingly just tossed it. He poked at it with the fireside poker and tried to retrieve it from the glowing embers.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: iamthefatstig on April 25, 2009, 09:42:57 AM
Thanks NSW your suggestions make perfect sense and my opening lines have now been altered.  And now on to yours:

I would have visioned it better if you had originaly put goblet instead of cup. At first I visualised a china cup being tossed until you mentioned what the actual object was.

Maybe introduce a pang of guilt before he retrieves the goblet instead of its history and then him trying to recover it.

Now I want to know why he did it! lol
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 25, 2009, 09:58:55 AM
Hi NSW


At the moment it’s a bit telly and if the cup was a pewter goblet why say cup? Just a suggestion. If you can show his rage and then regret it would really work well I feel. Good attempt.

He threw the pewter goblet into the fireplace. Flames licked the sides and burnt the wine residue in the cup. 

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 25, 2009, 10:01:14 AM
Ok, its time to throw my hat in! Found the forum today so hello to everyone too!

The early morning mist covered the landscape like a never ending silk blanket. Its ghostly presence suffocating the beautiful landscape beneath it and replacing it with one of its own, perhaps more beautiful.

I agree with NSW Jim. Soooooooooo Whats next? :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: iamthefatstig on April 25, 2009, 10:02:54 AM
I have posted the first few paragraphs into the appropriate pigeon hole! ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 25, 2009, 10:03:49 AM
Hi NSW,
I don't think wine would do that. 80 proof rum would.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on April 25, 2009, 10:04:45 AM
You keep your flippin' hands off my rum JH. :o ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on April 25, 2009, 10:08:40 AM
You keep your flippin' hands off my rum JH. :o ;D

It does keep the home fires burning. 8)

Use any rum but Ma's ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 25, 2009, 10:19:37 AM
I'm kicking around in the fantasy genre at the mo. This is my opening paragraph:

The clash of swords rings out in the grey morning light. Two opponents circle each other, looking for an opening as small clouds of steam puff from their open mouths. After a moment they charge together again, to the clang of metal and grunts of exertion.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Hypothesis on May 25, 2009, 10:54:12 AM
Hrm, this paragraph might or might not work better in past tense as some things seem a bit awkward to me. The clash of swords ring out, instead of rings for example and "they charge together" also seems a bit awkward. They charge at each other maybe?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on May 25, 2009, 11:20:20 AM
At the moment it sounds to me more like the opening of a synopsis rather than the opening line of a book,

Personally I would have written it something like this:
Its not perfect but I think you'll get the idea.

A clash of swords shimmered in the morning light as two opponents circled each other.  Clouds of steam puffed from open mouths to the clang of metal and grunts of exertion. Charging once again they faced each other man to man,  sword to sword as friction crashed sparks of light into the dawn mist

The clash of swords rings out in the grey morning light. Two opponents circle each other, looking for an opening as small clouds of steam puff from their open mouths. After a moment they charge together again, to the clang of metal and grunts of exertion.


Which one do you like best?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 25, 2009, 12:16:28 PM
The second, since one of the opponents is actually a girl...

Does the present tense not work then?
*eyes the 16K of fiction she's going to have to edit if not*
*wibbles*
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on May 25, 2009, 12:30:06 PM
I can only give a personal preference and I really can't get to grips with present tense in fiction. It never reads well
to me. But remember I am just one person, others like it. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 25, 2009, 01:33:23 PM
The second, since one of the opponents is actually a girl...

Does the present tense not work then?
*eyes the 16K of fiction she's going to have to edit if not*
*wibbles*

To thy own (writers)self be true.

When I write often I start with first person and without realizing it switch to third person.  I also switch tenses without realizing it.  Then in rewrite (second draft) I use the person and tense that fits the story better.  But then what works for me……..
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on May 25, 2009, 02:42:37 PM
Ah well in that case maybe we should know that one is a woman. It all sounds very masculine behaviour.
I dont mind the present tense but sometimes I find it a bit full on in a drama sense.  Past tense is fine to use, but its up to you really as its your story.  You know what is coming next - we don't!

Li x
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: chesterlily88 on May 25, 2009, 03:06:28 PM
Ah well in that case maybe we should know that one is a woman. It all sounds very masculine behaviour.

I totally agree with this--knowing that one of the fighters is a girl could be a good pull for readers, especially female ones.  ;)

Anyway, here's my entry:

Victor stood in the deserted hallway, his empty, blue eyes darting back and forth across the floor.  The golden doors next to him creaked open and a servant leaned his head out to address him.

I'm sure it probably needs a lot of work.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 25, 2009, 03:39:09 PM
Ah well in that case maybe we should know that one is a woman. It all sounds very masculine behaviour.

That's the point - the reveal comes third paragraph.

Having said that, it was originally in the first line, so maybe I should move it back.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Hypothesis on May 25, 2009, 09:53:14 PM
I totally agree with this--knowing that one of the fighters is a girl could be a good pull for readers, especially female ones.  ;)

Anyway, here's my entry:

Victor stood in the deserted hallway, his empty, blue eyes darting back and forth across the floor.  The golden doors next to him creaked open and a servant leaned his head out to address him.

I'm sure it probably needs a lot of work.

At the moment, it doesn't have any tension. For all I know, it could be a run in the mill visit and Victor is just a shifty person, or it could be something life changing. Secondly, I don't know Victor aside from the colour of his eyes. Why should I care about him? There doesn't seem to be much of a hook, but that's only my opinion. I'm way too picky >.<

Here is mine for a dark fantasy piece:

Idiot was her alarm clock. She could always buy a conventional clock, with its incesstant beeping but there was something about the dull thud of her pet flying into something that was adorable. The beautifully sleek bat was an unusual pet, but she couldn't resist. Vampire bat? Oh, the irony.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: grammieof5 on May 25, 2009, 10:01:57 PM
i would think it would be a good idea for a real newbie to do this also. Sign me up too.Please.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: grammieof5 on May 25, 2009, 10:09:06 PM
Dear Orangatansaver, I liked the first one even if it is gender specific. I feel it still works in today nonpersonalize gender reading . man to man Can still mean like person to person not necessarily gender.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 26, 2009, 09:13:42 AM
I'm kicking around in the fantasy genre at the mo. This is my opening paragraph:

The clash of swords rings out in the grey morning light. Two opponents circle each other, looking for an opening as small clouds of steam puff from their open mouths. After a moment they charge together again, to the clang of metal and grunts of exertion.

The sound that only crashing swords make— that ringing, you know it, filled the grey cold morning air.  Two warriors circled searching the other’s eyes as their breath seem to hang in mid air.  One smaller than the other.  Suddenly they lunged at each other metal clanging, brute force on brute force both equally matched.
This is the way I would write it.  Writing is such a personal thing to me.  Do you write for yourself or others?  I write for myself and hope others as they read see what I saw when I wrote the work.  When that happens well that’s what it’s all about to me.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on May 26, 2009, 11:17:42 AM


Yes something like this is far more eye catching - don't use AIR twice in two paras though.  But I understand you are trying to use this as a broad example of bringing out the best through sounds. A good idea for our contributor


The sound that only crashing swords make— that ringing, you know it, filled the grey cold morning air.  Two warriors circled searching the other’s eyes as their breath seem to hang in mid air.  One smaller than the other.  Suddenly they lunged at each other metal clanging, brute force on brute force both equally matched.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 26, 2009, 11:26:03 AM
No offense, but I don't like that style - it's too modern, and this is a fanasty novel.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 26, 2009, 11:31:03 AM
No offense, but I don't like that style - it's too modern, and this is a fanasty novel.

That's the idea. We each have our own style. Mine is more modern than yours.  I look forward to reading more of your work to learn how to write in a style of long ago. 8)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: marcus redgrave on May 26, 2009, 01:51:08 PM
Let me try....

Perched high on the crest of a grassy hill, encircled by trees and a vast roaming meadow, the man glared at the pale woman trudging toward him.  Clad in an ashen cloak, the bearded man clenched a white staff with his long bony fingers.  Amid forceful screams that seemed to have swallowed up the howl of the wind, he flailed his rod wildly in the air.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on May 26, 2009, 02:50:00 PM
Marcus, I'm one of those readers that has a hard time judging by one paragraph. But I can say this one would have me reading on the the next to see what was about to happen.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rlsquires on May 26, 2009, 04:03:22 PM
Here's my opening from a scifi novel underway.

Today was the twentieth anniversary of her parents’ death, and she hadn’t once been to their gravesite. Not that she hadn’t tried. They lay buried somewhere in a mass grave hidden by the wind and sand of the expanding Sahara.

Many who survived the horror of the pandemic underwent Extinction Therapy. That’s what they called the painless procedure to kill a painful memory. A micro-shock simply erased the neurons storing the emotional context of the targeted event. She’d recall only the facts and forget the flood of tears that came from her gut-wrenching loss.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 26, 2009, 04:26:58 PM
Not a critical comment, but I like that. Retcon. Coolness.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lavisa on May 26, 2009, 04:27:10 PM
ohhh! I'll have a go... this is the opening to my war novel

Sobs wracked through my pathetic body as I concentrated on putting one numb foot in front of the other. The rough canvas bag felt like a millstone in my hand as I made my way through the mud, the tacky ground threatening to unbalance me with every step. Cold clung to my bones, the thin layer of clothes absorbing the rain that raced down to meet me. Water soaked through my hair, collecting at a point before dripping onto my face, mingling with the sweat and tears.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: marcus redgrave on May 26, 2009, 07:40:03 PM
Thank you Country4Gal! ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on May 26, 2009, 07:50:24 PM
Marcus... is it possible to use a different word than "rod"?

Because it is a good paragraph, but that threw me out as it wasn't his staff that I could see him waving about...... Though perhaps that's just me and the dodgy stuff that I read  :-[
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kyle on May 26, 2009, 08:25:35 PM
Maybe this makes me a Hemingway fanboy, but I like the beginnings of any great thing (let's assume for an instant my writing is anywhere close to 'great') to start out short and simple.  Also, I find triviality to be a nice touch but that's just me; sometimes darting right into the thick of things makes for a one dimensional narrator.  And despite whether your narrator is in the story or not, it is always necessary that he/she/it has as much dimensionality as any other character.  It's my theory that the main character of a book is ALWAYS the narrator.  I know that sounds strange at first especially, for third-person writers, but I think a perfect example of this is Tolkein--one of the most personable narrators ever and never was his narrator a contributing character in the events of his stories. 

Anyway, here's the start of what I've been working on, The Dead and the Dying:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   I am a tree.  It has taken me many years of eavesdropping on passersby to learn how to say that.  I now know how to say it in thirteen different languages.  There's Soy un árbol as the Spanish would say it.  There's the German Ich bin ein Baum or, of course, the Dutch relative Ik ben een boom.  And then there's one of my favorites, the Finnish Olen puu.  I think it's the simplicity of it.  Olen puu.  It just sort of rolls off the tongue.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What I'm trying to elucidate here is the main character's main personal trait:  He is a connoisseur.  He is the great trier, the master taster of all that is.  The main conflict is when he tries something and wants more, more than just a sample, if you will.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cheerie on May 26, 2009, 11:36:56 PM
Okay folks! Here's the opening of my book (Argh!) Be gentle... and thanks in advance!

(Title:)   "That Bear Ate My Pants"

pants n.pl. Brit. Undergarment for lower trunk; underpants, knickers. (ooh la la!)

bear n. large, heavy mammal that walks on the soles of its feet with thick fur and a very short tail. Omnivorous. (ie will eat anything. No matter how disgusting.)

   It’s true.
   A bear really did eat my pants. Luckily I wasn’t wearing them at the time, or this book would be called “That Bear Ate My Balls and My Ass” (not to mention my legs and feet), and I’d probably be writing it from hospital.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rlsquires on May 27, 2009, 08:36:45 AM
Very funny :-) Nice start to my day, as well as your book!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on May 27, 2009, 04:19:31 PM
Ma...  this one's your fault.. ;D ;D


Quote
The phone clamoured for attention with a strident ringing that jangled the nerves.
"What?" Floyd Alpine demanded of the caller.
"Mr Alpine, I think you'd better come down to the floor," the tinny voice was apologetic. "I think we may have a problem."
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 27, 2009, 04:40:30 PM
I like that Andy but what does it have to do with your time machine? ??? ???
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on May 27, 2009, 06:01:43 PM
Random idea bouncing around in my head...

It had been weeks, but the fear was still there. It grew larger every day, like a parasite curled in her belly that chilled her to the marrow of her bones. She wanted to tell someone, just one person, but every time she opened her mouth to try, the fear was there, closing her throat, suffocating her.
It clutched the secret that she couldn't possibly share. But it was only a matter of time.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rlsquires on May 27, 2009, 07:54:16 PM
Well done!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on May 27, 2009, 08:06:47 PM
Random idea bouncing around in my head...

It had been weeks, but the fear was still there. It grew larger every day, like a parasite curled in her belly that chilled her to the marrow of her bones. She wanted to tell someone, just one person, but every time she opened her mouth to try, the fear was there, closing her throat, suffocating her.
It clutched the secret that she couldn't possibly share. But it was only a matter of time.

Look at the above and see where your words could be more powerful.

The fear grew with each passing day, like a parasite curled in her belly...(suggestion hope it helps
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JB Webber on May 28, 2009, 02:25:11 PM
Cheerie I have to say I loved your opening made me laugh and want to read more. Only question are the definitions for our benfit or are they also part of the story? IMO these aren't needed if they are part if the story.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cheerie on May 29, 2009, 02:33:15 AM
Thanks JB Webber!
I only added the definitions to point out to American readers that it was in fact underwear meant by pants, not trousers. Maybe I'll take 'em out after all! Thanks for your critique!
Tony
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Swampfox one on May 29, 2009, 07:36:52 AM
Thanks JB Webber!
I only added the definitions to point out to American readers that it was in fact underwear meant by pants, not trousers. Maybe I'll take 'em out after all! Thanks for your critique!
Tony

It helped me for I saw pants in my mine's eye not panties the first time I read it. However if I read it right JB's point is a good one. Things should be written for the universal reader. Hey but I'm only one reader.

I did like your opening. ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on May 29, 2009, 01:40:04 PM
Look at the above and see where your words could be more powerful.

The fear grew with each passing day, like a parasite curled in her belly...(suggestion hope it helps

thanks ma, very helpful!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on May 29, 2009, 01:42:17 PM
It helped me for I saw pants in my mine's eye not panties the first time I read it. However if I read it right JB's point is a good one. Things should be written for the universal reader. Hey but I'm only one reader.

I did like your opening. ;)
One reader is part of the universal reader.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Titania on May 30, 2009, 04:19:31 AM
    ‘Stop ringing me Richard!  It’s over !’ 
     Katy slammed the phone down and tried unsuccessfully  to concentrate on EastEnders.  ‘Their love lives are even more complicated than mine’, she thought, picking up a jar of marmalade from a heap of disparate objects under the coffee table and promising herself she would clear up the mess at the weekend.  She  went into the kitchen, removed a shepherd’s pie from the microwave and looked out of the window. 

I've now tried ten agents and been rejected each time.  One or two of them say that they receive about 300 manuscripts a week and only accept two a year!

Titania
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on May 30, 2009, 03:38:50 PM
from University Girl:

'I had settled, I knew that.  I wasn't stupid, but where the hell was that punch in the chest, the melting of my limbs?.  All the films said that when you were least expecting it, he would appear and you wouldn't even know he would be the one for you, the one who's kiss would take your breathe away, would leave you begging for more.  Hell, I hate Hollywood!!'


I like this because it makes me wonder what her situation is and if she's living in Hollywood or simply hates it for perpetuating what she sees as a myth. Keep this up!

Cypher
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Titania on May 30, 2009, 05:48:37 PM
That's a brilliant idea, Leah.  Thanks!

Titania
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rixatrix on June 19, 2009, 12:43:34 AM
So after reading some of this thread it got me thinking about my opening and I had alot of extra stuff in there, that had I seen it on a shelf and started reading I probably would have put it back. So this is my first attempt at rewriting the opening. I'll all for help b/c I'm not sure I'm fully happy with it so let me know what you think. Thanks.

    ~Bright light assaulted my sleeping eyes. Ugh. I had almost forgotten what I had to do today. I groaned and rolled over to get up from the bed. With a sigh, I ran a hand through my deep russet hair with worry, making it more disheveled than it already was and went to get dressed for my trip through the Great Forest.~
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on June 19, 2009, 02:01:56 AM
    ~Bright light assaulted my sleeping eyes. Ugh. I had almost forgotten what I had to do today. I groaned and rolled over to get up from the bed. With a sigh, I ran a hand through my deep russet hair with worry, making it more disheveled than it already was and went to get dressed for my trip through the Great Forest.~

This one didn't grab me. The descriptions were good, but not a book starter.

The thought of someone having trouble getting up in the morning wouldn't motivate me to buy a book.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: rixatrix on June 19, 2009, 02:13:14 AM
hmm yeah i'm not really happy with it. I guess I'll just keep working on it. Thanks~
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on June 19, 2009, 03:35:18 AM
OK, here's one of mine. Just for the heck of it.  :D

The Ganze Megillah

Eri covered his head with his pillow and moaned. His throat felt like cracked parchment, his eyes burned, and his head throbbed and stung as if it had been smashed against a solid brick wall. The sour stench of vomit made him feel sick - for the umpteenth time since his companions dumped him on his bed last night. Perhaps it had not been such a good idea after all, to drink until he did not know the difference between Haman and Mordechai.


Uh....not for me, Leah. I think there's a general guideline not to mention vomit in the first paragraph of a story.  :) I  think other versions of excrement, secretions and bodily ickiness are also turn-offs so early.

I like the Yiddish, though.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on June 19, 2009, 03:51:42 AM
Uh....not for me, Leah. I think there's a general guideline not to mention vomit in the first paragraph of a story.  :) I  think other versions of excrement, secretions and bodily ickiness are also turn-offs so early.

I like the Yiddish, though.  :)

It didn't work for me either, but for a different reason. You're describing a common hangover, one that the protagonist has experienced many times before. I think the hook should make me want to find out why something is the way it is, not just be a colorful description.

Save this for a later point in the book.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheQuill on June 19, 2009, 06:22:51 AM
Okay - I'd like to join in so here is my effort:-

A voice echoed in his mind that he could not ignore. It haunted him such that it tore the sleep from him. He sat bolt upright, shaking, his entire body dripping with sweat as the icy cold air around him nipped at his skin. He took long, deep, laboured breaths as he tried to collect his senses. It was at this moment that he noticed something peculiar in the room.

Thank you.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on June 19, 2009, 06:49:53 AM
A voice echoed in his mind that he could not ignore. It haunted him such that until it tore the sleep from him. He sat bolt upright, shaking, his entire body dripping with sweat as the icy cold air around him nipped at his skin. He took long, deep, laboured breaths as he tried to collect his senses. It was at this moment that he noticed something peculiar in the room.

Not bad. I think you ought to drop the last line though. Start a new paragraph and keep up the suspense.

HTH
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: tobie on June 19, 2009, 08:34:28 AM
Not a first line, but the intro to a fantasy story:


Turin silently crept along the forest floor, ignoring the many ants that tore into his flesh. His mind was focused on the meal to come, the rich and delicate taste of fresh venison. His mouth started to salivate, and his grip on his bow automatically tightened. The young red deer continued to snuff in the bushes, searching for saplings, oblivious to the danger behind it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Joe Mynhardt on June 19, 2009, 02:22:22 PM
Very nice. Just two words you should take out. silently and automatically.
They're unnecessary.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on June 19, 2009, 02:53:59 PM
I'd cut out "searching for saplings" as well.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: kk on June 19, 2009, 04:25:45 PM
I agree with Joe and Misaditas,

and would also change "His mouth started to salivate." to He started to salivate.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on June 19, 2009, 05:46:14 PM
Overall I liked it.

The salivate line didn't ring true for me. There's a long time between killing and eating, unless he's eating it raw.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: tobie on June 19, 2009, 09:50:12 PM
Thanks guys. The reason hes 'salivating' is he's thinking of the meal to come after killing the deer, not thinking about eating it raw  ;D could make people think my protagonist is a bit iffy  :(
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: junel on June 20, 2009, 01:53:19 PM
I am a tree.  It has taken me many years of eavesdropping on passersby to learn how to say that.  I now know how to say it in thirteen different languages.  There's Soy un árbol as the Spanish would say it.  There's the German Ich bin ein Baum or, of course, the Dutch relative Ik ben een boom.  And then there's one of my favorites, the Finnish Olen puu.  I think it's the simplicity of it.  Olen puu.  It just sort of rolls off the tongue.


Kyle, your opening is seriously good! :)

The personification of the tree is not only genius, as the tree becomes the ultimate observationalist and voyeur, looking down on humans from a birds-eye view, a funny irony as humans tend to be the ones observing trees (I hope your story takes full advantage of this), but you have given the tree a personality so well suited to this, the "Connoisseur" bit, also genius.

But how far can the story go with tree that is fixed in one place and cannot talk? Maybe it is like the "Ents"? See, you have got my interest.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: junel on June 20, 2009, 02:01:04 PM
Okay, heres mine:

"What do you know of missing little girl,.. the Amy Fisher investigation?" the Deputy Commissioner for the London Metropolitan Police said.
"Only what I've seen on television and read in the newspapers." Mo replied, feeling somewhat dissappointed by his rash answer, as he was sure the Commissioner was probing for an opinion.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on June 21, 2009, 04:37:47 AM
Okay, heres mine:

"What do you know of missing little girl,.. the Amy Fisher investigation?" the Deputy Commissioner for the London Metropolitan Police said.
"Only what I've seen on television and read in the newspapers." Mo replied, feeling somewhat dissappointed by his rash answer, as he was sure the Commissioner was probing for an opinion.

Hi, Junel! Welcome to the circle.

Your text doesn't look like an opening to me. It looks like it's the point of a reveal of the plot, probably close to the first turning point in the story where the protagonist is about to begin his search for the victim/perpetrator.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on June 21, 2009, 06:31:06 AM
Hm, here's the first paragraph of my second chapter. I hate starting new scenes   >:(

Ella guided the transport pod through the ragged hole that had been blasted into the hanger door. Once inside, she flicked on the search lamp and swept the aim across the unlit interior. Smoke swirled in the beam, but the light was still strong enough to pick out the wrecked fighter ships hung from the launching racks and the burnt bodies of soldiers littered the deck.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on June 22, 2009, 03:27:30 AM
Hm, here's the first paragraph of my second chapter. I hate starting new scenes   >:(

Ella guided the transport pod through the ragged hole that had been blasted into the hanger door. Once inside, she flicked on the search lamp and swept the aim across the unlit interior. Smoke swirled in the beam, but the light was still strong enough to pick out the wrecked fighter ships hung from the launching racks and the burnt bodies of soldiers littered the deck.

Hi misaditas, I like openings that get to the point, so this is fine. When you look at what images you use, make sure you don't squeeze too much into one sentence. This often makes the images and verbs lose their impact. The second sentence  is the best example. It could look like this:

Smoke swirled in the beam. Fighter ships hung wrecked from the launching racks. Burnt bodies of soldiers littered the deck.

(I took out the "light was strong enough" part because you mentioned a search lamp in the first sentence. Always look for such unnecessary repetition.) Anyway, do you see how your strong verbs work harder in those sentences? Also, each image comes one after another so the mind can process them like that search light seeing one thing after another, not jumbled all at once.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: misaditas on June 22, 2009, 08:00:01 AM
Thanks Annmarie, tht's very helpful  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Twisties34 on June 22, 2009, 08:50:50 AM
The pane of glass felt cold against my fingers; numbly I watched the large raindrop make its way slowly down the sheet, to join its brothers and sisters before merging into a giant pool at the bottom of the window frame.

Opening to Marsden Park, a Regency style romance.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pandora2 on June 22, 2009, 08:26:07 PM
Okay, I'll give this a whirl.  Though I'm always reluctant to criticize other people's work, as writing is so personal and subjective.

Quote
The pane of glass felt cold against my fingers; numbly I watched the large raindrop make its way slowly down the sheet, to join its brothers and sisters before merging into a giant pool at the bottom of the window frame.

I like this.  I might consider taking out the phrase "to join its brothers and sisters," as it seems to stretch the metaphor a bit, anthropomorphizing bits of nature.  But maybe this is common in Regency Romances?  I'm not that familiar with the genre, so mea culpa if I've missed something. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on June 23, 2009, 02:58:05 AM

Okay, I'll give this a whirl.  Though I'm always reluctant to criticize other people's work, as writing is so personal and subjective.


Writing is personal and subjective, and so the strength of the community is based on several people giving their opinions. As a writer, I always find comments by others to be helpful, because it tells me how my writing has affected that person. I still have my own experience to tell me whether I agree or not.


The pane of glass felt cold against my fingers; numbly I watched the large raindrop make its way slowly down the sheet, to join its brothers and sisters before merging into a giant pool at the bottom of the window frame.

Opening to Marsden Park, a Regency style romance.


I'm not a romance fan, but I do study hooks. To me, this isn't a hook, it's just a description. It does not sell the book to me, but if I liked the author, I might buy it anyway. I do see quite a few books that start with a description like this. None of them are my favorites.

A hook that convinces me to buy the book has a bit of mystery to it. I don't buy books for the descriptions in them. I buy them for the tension and conflicts. But I'd be disappointed if the book had no descriptions like the above.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 04:04:29 PM
Where is the person who is watching the raindrop? Indicating where she is or what is going on while she is watching the raindrops will hook the reader into wanting to read more. Perhaps she is a captive? Or about to be sent away?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on July 05, 2009, 04:08:19 PM
Here's the first paragraph of my novel.

Joyce

          As the summer of 2005 mellowed into clear, crisp autumn, I couldn’t believe I'm now a senior in high school. Since my freshman year, I’ve waited for this day to arrive. Now that it has I’m filled with tremendous anticipation as I step on to Lakeside High School campus. Looking around I see nothing has changed. Except I could hear the sounds of the boy’s gym going up. The boys were getting a spanking new gym with shining hardwood floors and us girls had to settle with their old one. How wonderful. Not.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 04:20:29 PM
Here's the first paragraph of my novel.

Joyce

          As the summer of 2005 mellowed into clear, crisp autumn, I couldn’t believe I'm now a senior in high school. Since my freshman year, I’ve waited for this day to arrive. Now that it has I’m filled with tremendous anticipation as I step on to Lakeside High School campus. Looking around I see nothing has changed. Except I could hear the sounds of the boy’s gym going up. The boys were getting a spanking new gym with shining hardwood floors and us girls had to settle with their old one. How wonderful. Not.



Joyce, why does the reader care that the character is a senior in high school? This could be a 3rd or 4th paragraph, but it needs something more immediate to grab me.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on July 05, 2009, 04:28:28 PM
The pane of glass felt cold against my fingers; numbly I watched the large raindrop make its way slowly down the sheet, to join its brothers and sisters before merging into a giant pool at the bottom of the window frame.


I'd probably changed the above to read something like this" Placing my fingers on the cold glass, I watched as the large raindrop made its way slowly down the sheet, to join its brothers and sisters before merging into a giant pool at the bottom of the window frame.

Joyce
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on July 05, 2009, 04:29:47 PM
Should I drop the first paragraph then?

Joyce
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 04:53:45 PM
Should I drop the first paragraph then?

Joyce

No! It's well-written and a good way to indicate how the character feels, just not something to initially grab the reader. I would just start with something closer to the conflict that gets the reader wondering, "What is going to happen next?" Something that makes the reader sit up and take notice and want to continue reading.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on July 05, 2009, 05:27:24 PM
okay, thanks for the compliment.

I've tweaked this some. Let me know if it has the right hook.

Joyce

As the summer of 2005 mellowed into clear, crisp autumn, I couldn’t believe I'm
now a senior in high school. Since my freshman year, I’ve waited for this day to arrive. Now that it has I’m filled with tremendous anticipation as I step on to Lakeside High and head toward English. I took a seat in front so I could see the black board. As I waited for the class to fill up, I got the start of my life when Marc Hayes, the boy I liked in eleventh grade walked into the room.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 05:30:25 PM
Joyce,

This is better. An instructor I once had said every reader has 100 other things to do besides read your novel and you have to keep reclaiming their attention. You're getting there. Keep it up. (BTW -- what happens next?  ;))
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 05:38:50 PM
The first two lines of the new book:

Afterward, Rachel would wonder if going to the cemetery had been a mistake. If, in choosing to visit this sanctuary of the dead, she had somehow betrayed the living.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Skip Slocum on July 05, 2009, 05:46:48 PM
Afterward, Rachel would wondered if going to the cemetery had been a mistake.

Maybe?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 05, 2009, 06:02:37 PM
Skip -- thank you. I like that and have made the change.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on July 05, 2009, 06:08:41 PM
Quote
Afterward, Rachel would wonder if going to the cemetery had been a mistake. If, in choosing to visit this sanctuary of the dead, she had somehow betrayed the living.

I agree with Skip, leave out the "would."  Telling the reader what will happen in the future isn't generally a great idea. It always leave me (personally) feeling cheated; as if I'm missing out on details now since the author is skipping ahead.

Other than that, these two sentences have me curious enough to continue reading to find out why she feels she is betraying the living.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: desertprincess on July 05, 2009, 06:11:26 PM
Here's the next paragraph to my story.
Let me know what you think.

I wish I didn't know him. Last year, I invited him over to my house to watch movies.  The next day at school I thought I would surprise him and meet him at his locker. But when I approached it, I’m the one who got surprised. He wasn’t alone, Evan, my friend since fourth grade was with him and they were kissing. From where I stood, it looked like they were really into it. He glanced up and saw me. Our eyes met for a brief moment before I turned and walked away. Okay maybe I should have confronted them but the shock of seeing his lips on hers made my stomach churn.

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pandora2 on July 06, 2009, 04:59:38 PM
Well, I survived a weekend watching my newly licensed son drive a Porsche (among other playthings) around the driving school auto-x track.  No, that is not the first line of my novel.  I'm afraid that may pale by comparison.   :D
Here's the real thing:


     She knew the fence was electric when she put her hand through it.

     She was careful.  There were three strands, of white braided plastic, and room to slip her palm between them, towards the mare whose history she did not know. A horse she had seen on countless drives between the oncology clinic and her townhouse. Unkempt, her shoulder thick with muscle, bristling with dull fur like a dog with the mange.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 06, 2009, 06:39:01 PM
Hi Pandora
To me, this is not giving me much of an image at the moment and it's a bit telly for a first paragraph. I hope this helps not hinders. :) My brain isn't in review mode at the moment.

Quote
 She knew the fence was electric when she put her hand through it.

     She was careful.  There were three strands, of white braided plastic, and room to slip her palm between them, towards the mare whose history she did not know. A horse she had seen on countless drives between the oncology clinic and her townhouse. Unkempt, her shoulder thick with muscle, bristling with dull fur like a dog with the mange.


Maybe ...Careful not to touch the electrified wire, she slipped her palm between the white braided plastic.

But to be honest I would show the horse in the first line without the bit about her house or history which seems a bit info ish.

The neglected horse ...or something along those lines.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 06, 2009, 10:43:34 PM

     She knew the fence was electric when she put her hand through it.

     She was careful.  There were three strands, of white braided plastic, and room to slip her palm between them, towards the mare whose history she did not know. A horse she had seen on countless drives between the oncology clinic and her townhouse. Unkempt, her shoulder thick with muscle, bristling with dull fur like a dog with the mange.


I really like the first line. It captures my attention immediately and I wonder why is she putting her hand through an electric fence? The next paragraph is a bit draggy. The first sentence is great and eases my mind a bit. For the next sentences, I agree with ma and would state it more simply. I would, however, leave the oncology clinic in there -- I'm dying to know what that is about! Perhaps leave the descriptions for another time when they help move the story along?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pandora2 on July 07, 2009, 09:13:00 AM
Good comments, Cypher and Ma.  Thanks.
Here's a redo, with a bit more.  Beginnings are without a doubt the hardest part of the whole job.

Quote
     She knew the fence was electric when she put her hand through it.

     She was careful.  There were three strands, the wires braided into white plastic.  She had room to slip her palm between them, towards the mare grazing twenty feet away: a horse she had seen on countless drives between the oncology clinic and her townhouse.  Unkempt, her shoulder thick with muscle, bristling with dull fur like a dog with the mange.

     “Here, girl.” She willed the long, elegant legs to unplant themselves from the mud, take a single step in her direction.
 
     Please come.

     Her name was Julie Nichols, and she could think of words, whole sentences that could define her:  chemist, Princeton grad, fiancee, cancer survivor.  Cold words, individual and isolated as the patches of snow scattered across this landscape of mud and withered grass. Even her name remained a separate thing, disconnected from her.

     The wind  whipped the scent of horse towards her, leaving her weak with loss and longing.  It mingled with the signals that Spring had come this day and would not turn back: the rising fragrance of damp earth, chilled air, freshly thawed mulch from the previous season, the sap rising, sticky and sweet, in the trees.  She clucked softly, keeping the back of her hand low to the braid, so that if the electric arced, her fingers would bounce safely back and not clutch reflexively for the wire.    

Will put my reviewer's hat on later today and repay the favors.   :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: AsIwere20 on July 07, 2009, 10:14:12 AM
This is fun.


Her blood stained the leaves as she scraped her way through the woods. She pleaded for someone to help her, but no one came to her aid. She could feel him getting closer, so she crawled faster.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 07, 2009, 10:20:30 AM
Quote
Beginnings are without a doubt the hardest part of the whole job.
Tell me about it waaaaaaaaaa :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on July 07, 2009, 11:59:37 AM

Her blood stained the leaves as she scraped her way through the woods. She pleaded for someone to help her, but no one came to her aid. She could feel him getting closer, so she crawled faster.


Ooh, I like this one. It peaks my interest; makes me want to know more. Excellent!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: allangelsfall on July 08, 2009, 01:42:41 AM
Hi, this is my very first post and the first time i have posted any part of my novel.

Atm it is the first paragraph of Chapter 1, and probably needs a mountain of revision and editing but i thought I'd post it for some feedback.

Would you read on?

Chapter One -
A dull golden light sprays shadows like blood across the wall. He has me against it, insects crawling inside the gyprock, his hand now a vice around my neck. Foul stench of breath makes me lose my own. Another hand against me there, below, I shrink back into myself. I hear the flick of a penknife opening as he grabs me tighter, and envision the blood he'd spill from me. I close my eyes to escape this place, to awaken in some outside world, remove myself from this vision i am collapsing within.
A flash goes off in my mind, as he watches me, blinking like a flourescent light above. I turn away from his gaze with a full blown shiver, and huddle in closer to my friends who tremble at the realisation there may be nowhere to run.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: AsIwere20 on July 08, 2009, 11:00:40 AM
Her blood stained the leaves as she scraped her way through the woods. She pleaded for someone to help her, but no one came to her aid. She could feel him getting closer, so she crawled faster.

This line is from a book I'm writing called 'Camp Site 178'.

To the person who said that the beginning is the hardest, I can't seem to end most of my work.  :'(

I'm stuck at a very high point in the story. I can't decide what I want to happen. Who will die next? Very frustrating.

I don't know how to do quotes like everyone else is doing, but I like allangelsfall's story. Very graphic. What is a gyprock?

You say - insects crawling inside the gyprock-             I'll go look it up.  Very nice beginning.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: eric on July 08, 2009, 04:01:26 PM
I agree with 20.  Beginnings seem hard when you're beginning, but endings are so much harder.  I think endings are always harder, at least most of the time.  There's even a rule about it somewhere.

The trick to good story telling is to end well.  You can begin almost anywhere, but you can end in only one place.

Unless you end in two.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on July 19, 2009, 12:30:26 AM
It started with the taste of lipstick. The taste of lipstick and the angry twist of guilt in his gut that grew harder to ignore with each sinful kiss.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on July 19, 2009, 04:29:58 PM
Sinful kiss -- love it!

This makes me want to read more.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: brokenquill7 on July 19, 2009, 05:30:57 PM
Darkness surrounded Megan and she could not tell which way was up. The young Cherokee stood in the middle of the black void. Mud brown corduroys and a grey hooded sweat shirt clothed her tall, slender form. She wore a pair of moccasins, lined with fur. Megan stepped forward, walking quietly. Emerging like a ghost, a large albino wolf appeared and padded towards Megan; it was bigger than normal wolves, as lean and graceful as a snow leopard. Megan stared, entranced by the beast’s electric blue eyes. Megan knelt down and the wolf touched her with his sleek muzzle.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on July 22, 2009, 12:59:21 AM
Chapter One -
A dull golden light sprays shadows like blood across the wall. He has me against it, insects crawling inside the gyprock, his hand now a vice around my neck. Foul stench of breath makes me lose my own. Another hand against me there, below, I shrink back into myself. I hear the flick of a penknife opening as he grabs me tighter, and envision the blood he'd spill from me. I close my eyes to escape this place, to awaken in some outside world, remove myself from this vision i am collapsing within.
A flash goes off in my mind, as he watches me, blinking like a flourescent light above. I turn away from his gaze with a full blown shiver, and huddle in closer to my friends who tremble at the realisation there may be nowhere to run.

I would probably read on. My only real complaint here is it starts out well, specific and graphic, but as it goes along, what is happening gets fuzzier so by the end of it I'm not clear on what's happening. If it continued that way for very long without gelling into a solid scene, I probably wouldn't read much further.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on July 22, 2009, 01:02:34 AM
Darkness surrounded Megan and she could not tell which way was up. The young Cherokee stood in the middle of the black void. Mud brown corduroys and a grey hooded sweat shirt clothed her tall, slender form. She wore a pair of moccasins, lined with fur. Megan stepped forward, walking quietly. Emerging like a ghost, a large albino wolf appeared and padded towards Megan; it was bigger than normal wolves, as lean and graceful as a snow leopard. Megan stared, entranced by the beast’s electric blue eyes. Megan knelt down and the wolf touched her with his sleek muzzle.

Wasn't sure if the "young Cherokee" was Megan or someone else coming into the picture. Could be interpreted either way and by the end of this paragraph, I'm not sure still, though I suspect they are one in the same person.

What this does do is paint a picture that does make you want to at least read on into the next paragraph or two to find out what is going on.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on July 22, 2009, 01:11:37 AM
Thought it might be interesting to compare the opening sentences in my series of Reality books.

Infinite Realties - pub. Nov 2007
Quote
"Sir?" I looked up at the muscular man entering the steam house. "I don't think you want to go in there. Why don't you use one of the other steam houses in town?"

Transforming Realities  pub March 2009
Quote
The stars winked through my bedroom window. I winked back. Anytime I gazed upon them, they always transported me back to the day I had died and visited Paradise far beyond any of the twinkling lights I could now see. A memory that would always stay with me. A memory I looked forward to renewing someday when my life cast its last rays of energy in this world.

The Reality - unpublished, currently in editing
Quote
Nathan placed his hand on my shoulder. "Kaylee, are you sure you're all right going in there alone?"
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Cypher on July 23, 2009, 03:33:39 PM
It started with the taste of lipstick. The taste of lipstick and the angry twist of guilt in his gut that grew harder to ignore with each sinful kiss.

I really like this. The first sentence had me picturing a female in my mind until the second sentence and now, I'm caught. Keep writing!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hazvy on July 25, 2009, 02:57:17 PM
Left behind, Peter was still in the middle of the dam which lay across river Ngozi while the other boys had swum and reached the banks already. Unaware of what was coming for him, he struggled as he always did when he was swimming. He persevered to catch up with the others but then his hands became weak. His legs were shaking. His hair stood up and the water swerved violently around him.








Thank you in advance ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on July 25, 2009, 03:14:29 PM
This is good in that you left us wondering what would happen next. Diving right into the action of  a situation can be one good way to start. The downside of it, is often the reader hasn't got to know the character yet, so it is hard for them to care about the danger they are in. But at least you do have the reader wondering why they are out there, why Peter is in the middle of the water, why is he slower than the rest, and what is about to happen to him. So it leaves you wanting to know the answers to those questions, and we would hope in the following paragraphs, come to care about Peter's situation.

One problem is the first image is muddled. You have him half way across a dam, which made me think he was on a dam walking across it, only to find out he's actually in the water. So maybe it is one of those dams where the water runs over the top? Yet it sounds like he's swimming across, not walking across. So I was a little confused right at first.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Lin on July 25, 2009, 04:10:47 PM
Left behind, Peter was still in the middle of the dam which lay across river Ngozi while the other boys had swum and reached the banks already. Unaware of what was coming for him, he struggled as he always did when he was swimming. He persevered to catch up with the others but then his hands became weak. His legs were shaking. His hair stood up and the water swerved violently around him.
Would this be better? Is this an opening line BTW?  If so Left behind, is a little removed to open a sentence.

The dam across the River Ngozi was deep as it was wide.  Peter's friends had left him behind, the other boys already reaching the banks. Unaware of what lay beneath the dark water, he struggled to cross, his swimming stroke unpracticed and weak.  He felt unnerved as his hands became limp, his legs shook and as he thrashed around, his unease turned to fear, as a violent swirl of murky water snapped around him.

Does this fit?
Just an idea

Lin x



Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on July 25, 2009, 04:42:55 PM
Left behind, Peter was still in the middle of the dam which lay across river Ngozi while the other boys had swum and reached the banks already. Unaware of what was coming for him, he struggled as he always did when he was swimming. He persevered to catch up with the others but then his hands became weak. His legs were shaking. His hair stood up and the water swerved violently around him.


Thank you in advance ;D

I like the comments and suggestion R. L. Copple gave you.

It would probably clear things up if you mentioned he was in 'the river, near the center of the dam' or words to that effect. Just to get his situation planted firmly in the reader's mind.

I couldn't help wondering if you meant 'swirled' instead of 'swerved' - but that could be a difference in the usage of our language that I'm not aware of.

All told, I think you have a good opening - one that inspires questions that requires further reading to find the answer to.

Smiles,
Alice

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on July 25, 2009, 05:28:43 PM
Left behind, Peter was still in the middle of the dam which lay across river Ngozi while the other boys had swum and reached the banks already. Unaware of what was coming for him, he struggled as he always did when he was swimming. He persevered to catch up with the others but then his hands became weak. His legs were shaking. His hair stood up and the water swerved violently around him.

Caught in the undercurrent, Peter struggled in the middle of the dam. Unable to coordinate his limbs, he made a desperate attempt to regain a rhythm. The other boys climbed the bank of the Ngozi and he prayed they would notice his plight. Heavy-legged, he fought the violent vortex. His heart pounded as he felt the strength leaving his body.

I don't know what your story is about so this might not help you at all, but I think you need to bring in a bit of terror and show us he is in the middle of the water.

Uhm! I wonder if he gets out alive.  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hazvy on July 26, 2009, 09:57:57 AM
@R.L. COPPLE- thank you very much for reading my post. I see what you mean about the first image being muddled, will try and work on it. Hazvy

@ORANGUTANSAVER-Thanks for your comments. I like the way you wrote the last sentence of  your suggestion. Hazvy
 
@COUNTRY4GAL- Thank you very much for the comments, I will try to make it clear he was in the river and yes swirled is actually the correct word. Hazvy

@MA100- I like your choice of words [rich] and your idea might actually fit in with the story, I will see. As for what happens to Peter, I hope you will have the chance to read the whole book one day and find out, ;D thank you very much.  Hazvy
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on July 29, 2009, 12:22:32 PM
R.L.: I'm really loving your second intro!! I'm in the midst of another crime novel but am toying with the idea of a modern grim reaper-type person. This is fantastic, though; I'd definitely read more. The way you just slip in the fact that the character has died is so matter-of-fact. Class!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: celtic_dancer on July 29, 2009, 12:23:46 PM
bailish and cypher, thanks so much for the support :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Aspiring on August 02, 2009, 03:27:07 AM
This is the intro to an adventure piece about my attempt to scale a particular mountain range.

I was on the side of the cliff looking down, sure of myself and my ability to succeed. I had no harness or partner, and was putting all my faith in a rope and a small tree at the top. This was when I needed to trust myself and hope I could see when I was taking it too far—to see when I was crossing that fine line between necessary and unnecessary risk.

Thanks in advance for the comments  :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on August 19, 2009, 07:55:58 PM
This is the intro to an adventure piece about my attempt to scale a particular mountain range.

I was on the side of the cliff looking down, sure of myself and my ability to succeed. I had no harness or partner, and was putting all my faith in a rope and a small tree at the top. This was when I needed to trust myself and hope I could see when I was taking it too far—to see when I was crossing that fine line between necessary and unnecessary risk.

Thanks in advance for the comments  :)


This needs more detail to get the reader into the scene. Engage the senses, is it cold or hot, does the rope feel rough in your hands, is there any wind?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: howardgary_88 on August 20, 2009, 10:14:55 AM
 opening pice for a crime, mystery im writing.

               Beads of sweat formed on Jessies forehead and driped off the tip of his nose leaving water stains on his jeans.The hot muggy summer air made the grey cadillac parked infront of the convenient store feel more like a sauna. Jessies reached into the glove box and pulled out the silver .38 special, it was now or never.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: silverhearts7 on August 20, 2009, 12:31:59 PM
AUTHOR LIN

The Chief Steward sat with his crotchet work on his knee.  He was watching a movie.   The other officers and crew sat silently, but the Chief had seen the movie before and at the moment he remembered when the cat sprang out from behind the curtains, he was ready to pounce with his knitting!! NOW COPY AND PASTE AND COMMENT


Okay, I'll take this one on.  Lin,  I liked this.  It's creative, and it draws a less-than-stereotypical picture of a police chief.  However, the second sentence is long and rather awkward.  You might try breaking it up so that it will flow better and not make the reader stumble.  would I read more of this?  Sure. 

Laura
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: silverhearts7 on August 20, 2009, 12:39:03 PM
Darkness surrounded Megan and she could not tell which way was up. The young Cherokee stood in the middle of the black void. Mud brown corduroys and a grey hooded sweat shirt clothed her tall, slender form. She wore a pair of moccasins, lined with fur. Megan stepped forward, walking quietly. Emerging like a ghost, a large albino wolf appeared and padded towards Megan; it was bigger than normal wolves, as lean and graceful as a snow leopard. Megan stared, entranced by the beast’s electric blue eyes. Megan knelt down and the wolf touched her with his sleek muzzle.

________________________

Okay my first question, why can't she tell "which way is up?"  She's standing up, and unless she's drugged, she would know up from down.  Also, as someone else stated, is she the Cherokee in question?  Be clearer.  Next, engage our senses.  All we have is that it's dark.  What does she smell?  Is it cold, do goosebumps raise on her arms when she sees the wolf?  Why isn't she afraid of the wolf?  We're instinctively afraid of these animals.  You could consider that she would be afraid, but for some reason she couldn't move, captivated by his eyes. 

It's an interesting beginning, but needs a bit of polish. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: silverhearts7 on August 20, 2009, 12:46:50 PM
opening pice for a crime, mystery im writing.

               Beads of sweat formed on Jessies forehead and driped off the tip of his nose leaving water stains on his jeans.The hot muggy summer air made the grey cadillac parked infront of the convenient store feel more like a sauna. Jessies reached into the glove box and pulled out the silver .38 special, it was now or never.

This needs editing for punctuation and capitalization.

Jessie's, Cadillac, convenience store.  Jessie reached.  .38 Special. 

Also, break that last bit out into its own sentence.  Jessie reached into the glove box and pulled out the silver .38 Special.  It was now or never. 

Finally, you did well letting us see the sweat.  You SHOWED us he was hot, possibly a bit nervous, with this rather than telling.  Good job.  But let us feel how he feels about the gun before you rush us into action.  We see he's nervous, but who is he and why is he there?  Give just a few hints before he jumps out of the car with a gun. 

Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: silverhearts7 on August 20, 2009, 12:50:12 PM
Here are the first lines of my current WIP.

His fingers groped between his feet on the floorboard, his other hand on the steering wheel. 

“Matt?”

Damnit!  Why is everyone driving so slowly?   He swerved, narrowly missing the car in front of him as he grabbed the dropped cell phone, jerking it up to his ear.

“I’m here!  I’m coming, sweetheart.  Everything will be okay.”  Sweat formed on his brow, and he swiped across his face to keep it from dripping into his eyes. 
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JMartinCox on August 21, 2009, 08:43:45 PM
Author: JMC

My father claimed that beauty is pain viewed through the prism of art, and he really believed it. He believed that in the same way that a prism takes white light and separates it into its component colors and they are beautiful, so art takes pain, separates it into its component parts, and allows us to see the beauty contained within it.

I say he was full of shit.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on September 03, 2009, 01:35:50 AM
R.L.: I'm really loving your second intro!! I'm in the midst of another crime novel but am toying with the idea of a modern grim reaper-type person. This is fantastic, though; I'd definitely read more. The way you just slip in the fact that the character has died is so matter-of-fact. Class!

Thank you. I really want to come up with a better line for my third book, which hasn't been published yet, but will probably be next year. I have to admit, I am partial to that opening in Transforming Realities too.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on September 03, 2009, 01:41:52 AM
This is the intro to an adventure piece about my attempt to scale a particular mountain range.

I was on the side of the cliff looking down, sure of myself and my ability to succeed. I had no harness or partner, and was putting all my faith in a rope and a small tree at the top. This was when I needed to trust myself and hope I could see when I was taking it too far—to see when I was crossing that fine line between necessary and unnecessary risk.

Thanks in advance for the comments  :)


What I felt was missing from this was emotion/tension. Dangling by a rope on a cliff should produce some sense of anxiety for the reader. Describing the details of wind, crumbling rock, the creaking of the rope, etc. Then have the MC say, "Have I taken this too far? Should I be risking my life like this for sport?" Leave the reader with a sense of unease. What you have here creates too much confidence that everything is fine. No tension, no emotion. It will be hard to get people to read on unless they are immensely interested in cliff-climbing.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on September 03, 2009, 01:49:13 AM
His fingers groped between his feet on the floorboard, his other hand on the steering wheel. 

“Matt?”

Damnit!  Why is everyone driving so slowly?   He swerved, narrowly missing the car in front of him as he grabbed the dropped cell phone, jerking it up to his ear.

“I’m here!  I’m coming, sweetheart.  Everything will be okay.”  Sweat formed on his brow, and he swiped across his face to keep it from dripping into his eyes. 

Not bad. I feel like we need to back up a little more to get in the scene better. I'm thinking right when the cell phone slips from his hand and falls on the floor. Maybe a thought or two as to what his rush is and what is going on. Though I don't know, I suspect his wife is pregnant and about to have the baby, and he's racing home to take her to the hospital.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: R. L. Copple on September 03, 2009, 01:50:31 AM
Author: JMC

My father claimed that beauty is pain viewed through the prism of art, and he really believed it. He believed that in the same way that a prism takes white light and separates it into its component colors and they are beautiful, so art takes pain, separates it into its component parts, and allows us to see the beauty contained within it.

I say he was full of shit.

A good start. I'd probably read further, if for no other reason than to discover what the pov character's real thoughts on this subject are.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 01:37:16 AM
Author: JMC

My father claimed that beauty is pain viewed through the prism of art, and he really believed it. He believed that in the same way that a prism takes white light and separates it into its component colors and they are beautiful, so art takes pain, separates it into its component parts, and allows us to see the beauty contained within it.

I say he was full of shit.


This was such a pretty beginning, and so blunt. I gotta say, it really pulled me in.  I want to know what the main character's thoughts really are. However, this is setting your story up to be blunt and saracastic and funny, so hopefully that was the tone you were going for. Also, it is a beginning that's been done before, but because of the originality in the father's view of pain and beauty, I think it works.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 01:39:46 AM
This is fun.


Her blood stained the leaves as she scraped her way through the woods. She pleaded for someone to help her, but no one came to her aid. She could feel him getting closer, so she crawled faster.


Your beging is good! Exciting! The only thing I would change is to take out the "so", which slows the pace down, so it reads "she could feel him getting closer; she crawled faster".   :D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 01:47:26 AM
Now, does anyone want to gimme their opinion on mine?


Author: Ri

This is the prologue beginning:

Jonas stood in the center of the crowded inn. Barely a day had passed since he had left the princess alone in Sorrowood Forest.  Almost every moment, part of him was praying that she would complete the job he had bequeathed unto her. He hoped that she fully understood the importance of her task, for the necessity of success had just become greater.


And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye with one last warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland.



Feedback would be great! Especially on whether or not "bequeathed unto her" is too wordy. Should I just say "given" instead? I feel like I should...
Thanks in advance for the comments! ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 05, 2009, 04:10:39 PM
Author: Ri

This is the prologue beginning:

Jonas stood in the center of the crowded inn. Barely a day had passed since he had left the princess alone in Sorrowood Forest.  Almost every moment, part of him was praying that she would complete the job he had bequeathed unto her. He hoped that she fully understood the importance of her task, for the necessity of success had just become greater.


And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye with one last warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland.

"bequeathed unto her" is a bit long winded...  possibly simply  "bequeathed her" would suffice.  Although using "bequeathed" at all makes it sound like Jonas is dead and I don’t know if that was the intention.


Nice start to the first chapter though...  maybe do away with the prologue, or move it to later in the story... ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 04:13:24 PM
"bequeathed unto her" is a bit long winded...  possibly simply  "bequeathed her" would suffice.  Although using "bequeathed" at all makes it sound like Jonas is dead and I don’t know if that was the intention.


Nice start to the first chapter though...  maybe do away with the prologue, or move it to later in the story... ;D


Thanks. I kinda felt the same way about the bequeathed thing.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on September 05, 2009, 04:20:57 PM
Hi Ri, good to meet you. :)

Jonas stood in the center of the crowded inn. Barely a day had passed since he had left the princess alone in Sorrowood Forest.  Almost every moment, part of him was praying that she would complete the job he had bequeathed unto her. He hoped that she fully understood the importance of her task, for the necessity of success had just become greater.

You start with Jonas in the centre of the inn then seem to go off at a tangent with telling us about a bequeath. Perhaps it would be better to open with the necessity so you can pull the reader in.


And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye with one last warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland.

Weather is never a good start to a story mate unless the lightening struck Joe Bloggs and screaming he hurtled off a cliff. ;D Okay that is way over the top, but do you get what I mean?

Action and emotion is something to aim at. :)


Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 04:37:26 PM
Hi Ri, good to meet you. :)

Jonas stood in the center of the crowded inn. Barely a day had passed since he had left the princess alone in Sorrowood Forest.  Almost every moment, part of him was praying that she would complete the job he had bequeathed unto her. He hoped that she fully understood the importance of her task, for the necessity of success had just become greater.

You start with Jonas in the centre of the inn then seem to go off at a tangent with telling us about a bequeath. Perhaps it would be better to open with the necessity so you can pull the reader in.


And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye with one last warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland.

Weather is never a good start to a story mate unless the lightening struck Joe Bloggs and screaming he hurtled off a cliff. ;D Okay that is way over the top, but do you get what I mean?

Action and emotion is something to aim at. :)




I know what you mean about that Jonas bit. It's a niggling part for me and I'm trying to get it right. Thanks for the advice.

And about the second part, what if Summer is a character?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Andrewf on September 05, 2009, 04:42:13 PM
And about the second part, what if Summer is a character?

 :D :D :D  To be honest... that was what i'd assumed you meant. ;D  that Summer was a woman who died...
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: ma100 on September 05, 2009, 04:42:31 PM
If Summer is a character I would definitely steer clear of the weather and avoid confusion. The first couple of paras is a chance to snare the reader and keep them. They will then want to read on. :)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 05, 2009, 04:50:42 PM
Hmmm. But Summer is summer...she's the season...kinda like the goddes of summer...hmmm I need to work on this.

Thank you, both Andrewf and Ma100. Your posts have shown me exactly what I need to fix. This is the kind of feedback I really need, because, as the author, I know and understand everything that is going on, but whether the readers understand it is something else completely. And that's always what I worry about, whether the readers know what I am talking about. Thanks!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kestrel on September 06, 2009, 06:09:20 AM
Author: Ri

"This is the prologue beginning:

Jonas stood in the center of the crowded inn. Barely a day had passed since he had left the princess alone in Sorrowood Forest.  Almost every moment, part of him was praying that she would complete the job he had bequeathed unto her. He hoped that she fully understood the importance of her task, for the necessity of success had just become greater.

To be honest, "bequeathed" is a turn off.  I'd say just use "given".  And I think it would be less wordy if you changed "for the necessity of success" to "for the price of failure", because if you're reading "necessity of success" out loud, it's a bit of a mouthful/tongue-twister.

And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye[goodbye] with one last[a] warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland."

I really like this first chapter opening.  I like both of them a lot, there's just those couple little things that need tweaking.  :)  Hope I helped!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kestrel on September 06, 2009, 06:19:25 AM
Author: Kestrel (That's me. ;) )

These are the first bits of the prologue and first chapter of my epic YA fantasy novel, The Night.  :)

Opening to the prologue (The Necklace)--

Siri paused to catch her breath, the mist heavy in her lungs, and cool mud seeped between her toes.  A muted splash sounded among the trees, and she whipped around to face it, then relaxed.

Opening to the first chapter (An Unwelcome Proposal)--

The small, black stone around her neck came free of its hiding place and caught her attention with its unearthly glow.  Aerael looked around before quickly tucking it back beneath her collar-- both she and her parents would be in serious trouble if someone saw it.  After another glance through the tavern, she returned to the dirty dishes left over from the morning’s visitors.

So what do you think?  Good?  Bad?  Ugly?  Thanks for your comments!  ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on September 06, 2009, 09:19:01 AM
Quote
The small, black stone around her neck came free of its hiding place and caught her attention with its unearthly glow.  Aerael looked around before quickly tucking it back beneath her collar-- both she and her parents would be in serious trouble if someone saw it.  After another glance through the tavern, she returned to the dirty dishes left over from the morning’s visitors.

Kestrel, I liked the opening for the first chapter quite a bit. You made me want to read on to learn the why the black stone around her neck glowed and to learn the secret behind it.

But " tucking it back beneath her collar" sounds wrong to me. A collar is only around the neck, so unless she is wearing a top that comes right up to the neck, it fails to make sense, to me at least. Maybe simply "tucked it back into her bodice (or blouse)"

But over all, I like it a lot.

Smiles,
Alice
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 06, 2009, 07:09:52 PM
Author: Kestrel (That's me. ;) )

These are the first bits of the prologue and first chapter of my epic YA fantasy novel, The Night.  :)

Opening to the prologue (The Necklace)--

Siri paused to catch her breath, the mist heavy in her lungs, and cool mud seeped between her toes.  A muted splash sounded among the trees, and she whipped around to face it, then relaxed.



I liked it! But during the prologue, I kinda felt like you slowed things down by adding “ands”. If that was what you were going for, then it’s good. But if not, maybe you could get rid of some of the ands and start new sentences instead to up the drama.

Siri paused to catch her breath. The mist heavy in her lungs, and cool mud seeped between her toes.  A muted splash sounded among the trees, and. She whipped around to face it, then relaxed.

The first chapter beginning sounded perfect to me!
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 06, 2009, 07:16:16 PM
Author: Ri

To be honest, "bequeathed" is a turn off.  I'd say just use "given".  And I think it would be less wordy if you changed "for the necessity of success" to "for the price of failure", because if you're reading "necessity of success" out loud, it's a bit of a mouthful/tongue-twister.

And this is the first chapter's first sentence:

Summer ended that morning. She said good bye[goodbye] with one last[a] warm day and a sunrise that was so spectacular, it made even the lights of the north seem bland."

I really like this first chapter opening.  I like both of them a lot, there's just those couple little things that need tweaking.  :)  Hope I helped!

Thanks for the advice! I actually ended up making those exact same changes in the first chapter, like fifteen minutes before you posted this. Weird…  0_o

The bequeathed bit is dead. I never really liked it and I’m glad no one else did either. It’s just too strange. And thanks for the price of failure bit. It sounds a lot better. If you don’t mind, can I steal it?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Kestrel on September 07, 2009, 03:14:52 AM
The bequeathed bit is dead. I never really liked it and I’m glad no one else did either. It’s just too strange. And thanks for the price of failure bit. It sounds a lot better. If you don’t mind, can I steal it?

Steal away. ;)
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 07, 2009, 02:10:48 PM
Steal away. ;)

thank you much! ;D
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: psyche on September 07, 2009, 02:32:06 PM
I'll play. Keep in mind, this is my first draft.


The summer when I was twelve years old, my grandmother kidnapped me, breaking loose all sorts of hell and healing, regret and understanding, lessons and love. I highly recommend it.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 07, 2009, 03:00:48 PM
I'll play. Keep in mind, this is my first draft.


The summer when I was twelve years old, my grandmother kidnapped me, breaking loose all sorts of hell and healing, regret and understanding, lessons and love. I highly recommend it.

I like the first sentence, but the second didn't make too much sense. You recommend what? Being kidnapped by a grandma? I assume that's what you meant, but if we had another setence to make sure of that, I think it would be clearer. What comes after the 'I highly recommend it' part?
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: psyche on September 07, 2009, 03:38:35 PM
I like the first sentence, but the second didn't make too much sense. You recommend what? Being kidnapped by a grandma? I assume that's what you meant, but if we had another setence to make sure of that, I think it would be clearer. What comes after the 'I highly recommend it' part?

That bit has been bothering me too. You are right. I've got a second write now on it. It seems to flow better this way, what do you think?

I was 12 years old the summer my grandmother kidnapped me. It was an adventure, a lesson in life and love and family, and it seems to me that it all started over the supper table.
Title: Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Ri on September 07, 2009