Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 775004 times)

Jo Bannister

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5070 on: February 21, 2017, 04:18:29 AM »
You want to know what it feels like to walk all the time?  Itís horrid.  Why am I walking all the time you ask.  I'm searching for someplace safe.  Now you might ask, why am I searching for someplace safe?  In short, everything is gone.  Everything.  All the things you knew and loved in this world, are either destroyed and if theyíre not, they soon will be.  There's no way around it.


I don't think this really works.  A lot of the world walks all the time, it's really not that unusual.  As for your chosen style of posing questions in order to answer them, it's a bad idea.  You don't know your reader well enough in the first paragraph to get Socratic with them.  I pick up a book, I don't want to be asked questions, I want to be told a story.

The seminal point in this first paragraph is, "I'm searching for somewhere safe."  (Someplace is too colloquial.)  That's your focus, not the comparative modes of personal transport.  Rewrite around that.

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5071 on: February 21, 2017, 04:45:59 AM »
You want to know what it feels like to walk all the time?  Itís horrid.  Why am I walking all the time you ask.  I'm searching for someplace safe.  Now you might ask, why am I searching for someplace safe?  In short, everything is gone.  Everything.  All the things you knew and loved in this world, are either destroyed and if theyíre not, they soon will be.  There's no way around it.
This is the first 72 words to my novel I'm working on.

Addressing the reader as if they're standing next to you doesn't work. You're making assumptions that the reader cares about the narrator - but you give us no reason to care. The narrator has to 'walk all the time' and 'it's horrid'. Obviously, it's not. So immediately we assume the author is out of touch with reality. It's also rather melodramatic - 'all the things you knew and loved. . .' - what are these things? You're making a grandiose statement without a shred of evidence to back it up. In my opinion this story hasn't started. You're clearing your throat, which is fine. But don't be tempted to include this as part of your novel.

H3K

Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5072 on: February 22, 2017, 07:33:52 AM »
 Jo and Hillwalker have said it all but I just wanted to ask you to think about a re-write and instead of you, the writer showing the way, you could put all this into the head of a character instead.  Use either first or third person.  Try first person.


Eg. I am searching for a place of safety. Walking for hours, I ask why everything I ever loved in this world has been destroyed.

The way you write is far too much information - keep your writing short and to the point. You could even shorten it again and still get the message across. Try to write it in the head of your character.  Pretend you are that person and how you might use the five senses as you tell the story.  

Lin



Offline Baleezy

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5073 on: February 22, 2017, 03:33:07 PM »
How about this?
Since I was fourteen Iíve been searching for stability in the midst of hell.  I mean hell literally too.  Everywhere I go, I find nothing but buildings reduced to piles of rubble, chasms as large as houses, little to no food or water anywhere.  Everything is gone.  The world has transformed into a personís darkest nightmares, with every possible discomfort lumped into one giant basket of apocalyptic proportions.  Itís a lot for the average person to bear. 

I cut out the first three sentences from before and tried to get more to the point.  I also presented the main characters goal in the first sentence. 

Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5074 on: February 23, 2017, 10:41:26 AM »
I still find this a bit 'telly'.  Ask yourself if you can show the age and not tell it.  

I would not have written it this way, but this is not my story.  However, I will do a rewrite in my style and see if there is anything in there that you could pick out.

Since I was fourteen Iíve been searching for stability in the midst of hell.  I mean hell literally too.  Everywhere I go, I find nothing but buildings reduced to piles of rubble, chasms as large as houses, little to no food or water anywhere.  Everything is gone.  The world has transformed into a personís darkest nightmares, with every possible discomfort lumped into one giant basket of apocalyptic proportions.  Itís a lot for the average person to bear.  

In the midst of hell, I am searching for stability. All around me there are buildings reduced to rubble, chasms as large as houses, and little or no food.  In my fourteen years of life I have never seen the world in such devastation. I feel overwhelmed by my darkest nightmares, and now that everything is gone, I'm not sure I can see the future.

Some of my colleagues here might agree with me that all in all this doesn't quite make full sense, but what I am trying to show you is to get more involved with the character and less information.  


I am not saying that this version is perfect, but I feel it is less telling and more emotional that the first version which feels to me as if the author is telling the story.  I felt the second version is coming more from the character. What do you think?    
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 10:43:32 AM by Lin Treadgold - Author »

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5075 on: February 28, 2017, 03:22:13 PM »
Since I was fourteen Iíve been searching for stability in the midst of hell.  I mean hell literally too. Why would you begin by making a statement that you don't mean? You wouldn't. And is it 'literally Hell'? I doubt that.  Everywhere I go, I find nothing but buildings reduced to piles of rubble, chasms as large as houses, little to no food or water anywhere. So far I'm not seeing Hell. I'm seeing some kind of ruin with nowhere to get food and drink. Everything is gone. So there's nothing left to describe on that basis.  The world has transformed into a personís Which person? It's rather vague. darkest nightmares, weak writing with every possible discomfort again this is weak lumped into one giant basket Seriously? of apocalyptic proportions.  Itís a lot for the average person to bear. Dreadful. 

Quote
I cut out the first three sentences from before and tried to get more to the point.  I also presented the main characters goal in the first sentence.

The problem is, this is a clichť situation handled as if it's little more than a minor inconvenience. The world has been transformed by some apocalyptic event but your choice of words suggests it's a bit of a nuisance. It's hardly gripping writing. And his 'goal' is to find 'stability'. That's not going to get many readers on the edge of their seats.

My advice, keep writing the story. You'll hopefully realise there's no need to open with a bland mission statement. Cut to the chase. Have him do something and try to inject some drama into the plot.

H3K

Offline Funk

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5076 on: March 02, 2017, 06:11:49 PM »
There's a place where white bursts into color.

Offline Funk

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5077 on: March 02, 2017, 06:13:03 PM »
There's a place where white bursts into color. Glass shatters and broken bits pour to white tile like broken shells. The source of light delicately strokes the jagged and gives birth to the vibrancy of life. 

Offline Funk

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5078 on: March 02, 2017, 06:16:59 PM »
I guess I will jump in and get my feet wet with my beginning.  I had gotten some great feedback earlier about what to do with beginnings.  I will look forward to hearing what you have to say.

He groaned to himself as he saw the vehicle up ahead. Icy skid marks had frozen in place where it slid off the road. Most noticeable was the damage to the front end, crumpling the driverís corner, where it leaned into the tree that was the only thing that kept it from going on off the mountain.  There was no question as to who was driving the four-wheel drive, cobalt blue Lenco armored vehicle.

Definitely grabs my interest and I want to know more about the situation. I slightly wish it was more... immersive though, appealing to the five senses.

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5079 on: March 03, 2017, 05:38:16 AM »
There's a place where white bursts into color. Glass shatters and broken bits pour to white tile like broken shells. The source of light delicately strokes the jagged and gives birth to the vibrancy of life. 

I'd assume here's someone who likes the sound and feel of words rather than what they mean. It's poetic but ultimately makes little sense. You're writing to impress rather than to express. Would a publisher want to read more? I doubt it.

H3K

Offline Funk

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5080 on: March 03, 2017, 06:42:54 AM »
I'd assume here's someone who likes the sound and feel of words rather than what they mean. It's poetic but ultimately makes little sense. You're writing to impress rather than to express. Would a publisher want to read more? I doubt it.

H3K

Actually I was expressing the origins of life.

Jo Bannister

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5081 on: March 03, 2017, 01:50:40 PM »
Sorry, but if you have to explain what you were expressing, it's already a lost cause.  Write to communicate, not to obscure.

Offline Funk

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5082 on: March 03, 2017, 02:06:37 PM »
I suppose. Nothing interesting was learned without curiosity.

Offline Pseudoliterate

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5083 on: March 11, 2017, 05:56:33 PM »
For as long as Ahelea Weaving could remember, she had loved arts and crafts, finding what odds and ends she could and making something new. Stitching together life through her crafting had always been magical to Ahelea, the ordinary girl.
Though, she was far from ordinary, beyond extraordinary even, for Ahelea Weaving was magic.
Her parents first realized she had the gift when she was a young child, it pleased her father so, who himself had a touch of the magic in him. Nothing compared to his darling Ahelea, however.
Her mother was a different story, for when she discovered the gift bestowed upon her daughter, she saw it as a curse.
Magic was not unheard of in the world, you could always catch stories, and gossip being told about someone or other with the uncanny talent for this or that. Though not uncommon, magic was still quite rare to possess, and those with it that happened to still be alive were few and far between.
Ahelea certainly had not met anyone, other than her father, who was touched by magic.



OR if this is too "telly" then perhaps the following



"Good morning Barnabus, the sun seems in high spirits today!" Ahelea said, moving closer to her window, "Good morning Mr. Sun, thank you for the lovely morning."
Ahelea retreated from the window, bending down to pick up Barnabus. "Ahelea, breakfast!" Her mother called from downstairs.
"Hear that Barnabus? You hungry boy?" Ahelea said, as she made her way down the stairs, Barnabus held close.
"Were you up all night again?" Her mother said, as Ahelea entered the kitchen.
"Not all night," Ahelea said, sitting down at the table.
Her mother stopped moving about the kitchen. "You weren't messing around again were you?" She said.
Ahelea turned her head round quick. "It's called crafting, mother. And yes I was," She said.

Any thoughts? Feedback? Soul crushing, albeit helpful, critique?
Fire away!
(be gentle)





Offline Sherlock

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5084 on: March 11, 2017, 11:58:06 PM »
Pseudoliterate,

I found the first version way too wordy and saying the same thing different ways.

I liked the second version much better.   At first I thought I was reading something completely different in the second passage but realized at the end it was a different version of the first one.  There are some minor punctuation issues I will show below.  I think this works better without telling the reader everything. 

"Good morning Barnabus, the sun seems in high spirits today!" Ahelea said, moving closer to her window, (I think a period would work better) "Good morning Mr. Sun, thank you for the lovely morning."   (This seemed a little much unless you were showing her to be an exuberant person in personality).

Separate the paragraphs.

Ahelea retreated from the window, bending down to pick up Barnabus.

(New paragraph)

"Ahelea, breakfast!" Her mother called from downstairs.


"Hear that Barnabus? You hungry(,)boy?" Ahelea said, as she made her way down the stairs, Barnabus held close.

(New paragraph)

"Were you up all night again?" (h)er mother said, as Ahelea entered the kitchen.

(New paragraph)

"Not all night," Ahelea said, sitting down at the table.

(New paragraph)

Her mother stopped moving about the kitchen. "You weren't messing around again were you?" (s)She said (asked).

Ahelea turned her head round quick(ly). "It's called crafting, mother. And yes I was," (s)She said.

Just my thoughts.

Sherlock