Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 769867 times)

Offline Pseudoliterate

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5085 on: March 12, 2017, 12:14:45 AM »
I had the same thought about the first version, but was uncertain, which is why I included the alternative! Thank you so much for your feedback!

Yes, it was to show her personality off, she's high energy, well for now...

Although I would prefer to not say morning three times so close together, I still want her to say good morning to the sun but I'll be changing the "thank you for the lovely morning" bit to something else.

Again, much appreciated. They were welcome thoughts indeed.
 :)

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5086 on: March 12, 2017, 05:04:57 AM »
The first version is repetitive. She does magic. We get the message. But you're merely telling us instead of showing us. So it"s not a great read. Certainly not gripping enough to continue reading.
Sadly, the second version is no more intriguing. A girl gets up and says good morning to the sun. I don't see anything here to hook any potential readership. I' m actually seeing Harry Potter dumbed down at best.

My advice, Cut to the chase.

H3K



Jo Bannister

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5087 on: March 12, 2017, 05:09:13 AM »
Would a publisher want to read more?  No, I'm afraid not.  He'd see the poor presentation and go no further.

I cannot emphasise too much that you have to get the nuts and bolts right.  This is good enough to read to your auntie over afternoon tea.  She'll no doubt boast about your talent to her Golden Age Club on Tuesday.  But no professional publisher would see anything to pique his interest. Remember, he has to sort the promising from a slush pile higher than his door: he has neither the time nor the inclination to look further than the first paragraphs he comes to.  Any problems apparent in that first glance - bad punctuation, bad layout, printer needs a new ribbon, anything - and he tosses it aside and hopes for better things from the next offering on his desk.

You have those two paragraphs to convince him that he's dealing with another professional.  If you achieve that, he may well read on - he might take a shine to your character and the way she relates to the world, and want to know what happens to her.  But he won't even try if he thinks he's going to be swimming against a tide of errors and platitudes.

You get one chance to make a first impression.  Make sure it counts.




Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5088 on: March 12, 2017, 06:33:22 AM »
I have to agree with Jo about this one. It really was all telling and no character involvement.  I would not wish to read further. Get in there with the character and become that person.  Try writing it in 1st person and see the difference; this is far too remote for me.  You are TELLING a story instead of allowing the reader to go along with the character. To get a publisher's attention, the one thing that makes all the difference is allowing the reader to be in that story as well.

When I read a book, I have to be involved in all the five senses that the author has written; sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. If the author is purely just telling me from his/her point of view what is happening, I am not involved in the story. If you aren't familiar with the show/tell concept then there are plenty of articles on the web about it. This doesn't mean to say everything has to be in the SHOW mode, there is a balance, and finding that balance can be just a matter of practice. 

I always write my stories as if it were me as the character.  I change my thoughts and feelings to suit the situations I have conjured in my head. I invent a character and write down all their characteristics and become that person for the whole of the book.

Good luck with this. 

 
Lin :)

Offline Laura H

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5089 on: April 21, 2017, 09:14:20 PM »
Anyone have a first line to post?
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5090 on: April 25, 2017, 10:00:45 AM »
Seems to have slowed down.  Okay here is one to set you all going again.  1935 is the era. First draft. 

Agnes recalled how this had been a happy place since The Great War. The legacy of a Victorian seaside resort was a good one and her life in the jewel streets sensed a community of fine upstanding people.   Now Ernie's bronchitis had worsened, and of late, he hadn't bothered her for his pleasures. She had let him go his own way; it was more of a convenience than a marriage.


Jo Bannister

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5091 on: April 25, 2017, 10:45:41 AM »
Sorry, Lin, I think you'll want to tidy this up a bit, starting with the first sentence.  "Recalled how" is awkward.  And what was wrong with the place before the Great War?  Apparently not its Victorian legacy, so what was the problem?  If Agnes has only known it since the Great War, you need to phrase it differently.

I've got my doubts about "jewel streets" as well.  And can a life sense anything?  A life is - it's the person living it that does the sensing.  Anyway, if she lives there, surely she knows whether or not it's a good community.

It all reads a bit like trying too hard.  I suggest you do what we usually do: write the story, then come back and revisit the start.

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5092 on: April 25, 2017, 10:56:44 AM »
It needs work, as you probably realise already:

Agnes recalled how this had been as a happy place since The Great War Not sure how she can recall something 'since the Great War'. Maybe 'after' - but it still begs the question why it was unhappy before the Great War.. The legacy of a Victorian seaside resort was a good one Too vague to mean anything and her life in the jewel streets Draws attention to itself for the wrong reasons sensed How can her life sense anything? a community of fine upstanding people.   Now Ernie's bronchitis had worsened, and of late, he hadn't bothered her for his pleasures. She had let him go his own way; it was more of a convenience than a marriage I don't see any connection between this and what precedes it.

The tale sounds interesting, but you've started it in the wrong place. The first 2 sentences read like a short-cut attempt to create a setting, but the story doesn't begin until you tell us Agnes inhabited a convenience rather than a marriage.

H3K

Offline johnnyh2

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5093 on: April 25, 2017, 11:09:22 AM »
Agnes inhabited a convenience rather than a marriage.


Nice first line.  :)

Offline Simple Things

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5094 on: April 25, 2017, 11:20:09 AM »
Seems to have slowed down.  Okay here is one to set you all going again.  1935 is the era. First draft. 

Agnes recalled how this had been a happy place since The Great War. The legacy of a Victorian seaside resort was a good one and her life in the jewel streets sensed a community of fine upstanding people.   Now Ernie's bronchitis had worsened, and of late, he hadn't bothered her for his pleasures. She had let him go his own way; it was more of a convenience than a marriage.

So busy, Lin. Recollection is a hard sell for an opening. I do like Johnny's suggestion. Nice one. I'd even shorten it more.

Agnes inhabited the convenience of marriage.


Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5095 on: April 25, 2017, 12:41:08 PM »
Yes, thanks guys. It was just to set the ball rolling again.  This is an idea on a first draft, but your comments are valuable to me.  There is a LOT of work to be done on this book.  It's going to take me a long time.  The jewel streets are well known in this area and later on, I explain them through the story. However, it's good to get feedback at this early stage. Some great ideas there. I think comments on the first line are a good kickstart.  I tend to write it as I say it and edit later.

What I want to do is foreshadow an event (without doing any spoilers) to round up the drama at the end.  

I was thinking that the Great War had been very unhappy times indeed and as Agnes had lived there since that time,  she had seen it grow.  I will probably need to say that in order for it to make more sense.

Thanks everyone, great input. Based on your comments I will now forge ahead with gusto!

Lin  :D

 

« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 12:44:48 PM by Lin Treadgold - Author »

Offline Claudia_Witter

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5096 on: April 30, 2017, 05:19:02 PM »
Okay, I'll give this a try.

Wednesday, Victor C. Bennett thought, seemed like a fantastic day to murder his parents.

Offline Mrs N

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5097 on: April 30, 2017, 06:52:28 PM »
Okay, I'll give this a try.
Wednesday, Victor C. Bennett thought, seemed like a fantastic day to murder his parents.


Way too vague a start for me. Have no idea which Wednesday you are referring to. Who is Victor C Bennett? 'Seemed' is a word to use infrequently, if at all. Certainly not in the first line. ;) What would make it a fantastic day?

You are setting up a scenario that is trying for an explosion, but is falling short. Better a slow build. Or have Victor doing the deed.

Wednesday: 5.15.AM. Victor C Bennett stared at his dead parents sprawled in front of him. What a fantastic start to the day.  

Oh welcome. ;D  
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 06:54:26 PM by Mrs N »

Offline Claudia_Witter

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5098 on: April 30, 2017, 06:59:05 PM »
Good point, but I can't start with the dead parents since several important things happen before he kills them. Does the first paragraph make more sense with the one that follows, perhaps?

Wednesday, Victor C. Bennett thought, seemed like a fantastic day to murder his parents.

He thought this on the floorboards, feet scraping the rug under the Valencia dining room set. Through the windows he could see humanity’s artificial light outshine the stars. He desperately wanted to use the opening behind him—it led to the hallway and living room—to escape. The chandelier blurred before Victor’s eyes as his father’s fist repeatedly collided with his face.

Offline Mrs N

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5099 on: April 30, 2017, 07:11:05 PM »
The chandelier blurred before Victor’s eyes as his father’s fist repeatedly collided with his face.

^^^ Great first line. Yes I'd read more. ;) ;D