Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 713234 times)

Offline BobbyD

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5115 on: May 11, 2017, 03:53:37 PM »
Thank you for your comments.  That was the problem, it didn't reveal much about the scene.  He is operating a large tunnel boring machine.  He is a member of a large construction crew building a tube extension to the London underground.  The "deafening" noise is from the machine.  He experiences a sudden "speed spike" in the machine which means water or abnormally soft ground.  Both could mean big trouble.

Thank you for your suggestion.

Bob

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5116 on: May 11, 2017, 04:01:28 PM »
Would a publisher want to read more?

Probably not.
I'm not sure what relevance the Biblical quotation has. I don't see a connection between it and what follows. So if it was meant to grab the reader's/publisher's attention it didn't work.

Then we come to your input - a solitary line. It's not great writing, I'm afraid.
Yelling, by its very nature, is something you do 'out loud' so the phrase 'out loud' is a reduncancy. And if his words were drowned out by a 'deafening noise' (that's a cliché btw), you're reporting something that has no relevance to the plot. No one heard him speak the line, so why bother mentioning it?

I'm guessing this is going to turn out to be some kind of avenging demon yarn where humanity is put at risk by a mythical entity - maybe it appears in Central Park, spouting verses from the Bible and intent on fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Amir is there, and he's not too happy. Do I care? Not really, because you haven't given me enough reason to continue reading.

H3K

PS - I've just read your response to another poster and I was way off the mark. You appear to have an interesting story in mind, but the opening sentence does it no justice whatsoever. Some guy shouts 'Oh shit' and we're meant to be intrigued? No way.

Offline BobbyD

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5117 on: May 11, 2017, 04:12:33 PM »
Goodness, I was looking for brutal honesty and I guess I got it.  Thank you for your honesty and comments. 

However, you are way off the mark about the story.  It is something of a medical thriller, kind of a cross between a Robin Cook story and a Dan Brown story.  This is my first attempt at a novel of this type (though I have written in the past on vastly different subjects.)

I do take your comments seriously and will examine closely what I doing.  have dedicated seven yours of my life to this project and I am certainly not going to give up now.

This is exactly what I was hoping for when I joined this forum.  I want to learn.

Bob

Offline BobbyD

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5118 on: May 11, 2017, 04:33:15 PM »
By the way, I certainly didn't mean to compare my writing to Robin Cook's or Dan Brown's.  I only wanted to describe the type of story it is.

Bob

Offline Emery

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5119 on: May 12, 2017, 12:14:55 PM »
 I'm going to say no, just based on the word choice. I'm always a fan of a Biblical quote, but it should also serve the purpose to set the mood. There's a bit of disconnect between the two lines. Then, just pulling the sentence out of space, I've got no idea what's going on, but I'm already suspect of the writing.


  “Oh, shit! That’s bad,” Amir yelled out loud, though not a word was heard by anyone above the deafening noise.

You've already dropped an exclamation point on me, a verb modifier, a speech tag that seems superfluous, and general vagueness--not a word, anyone, and some deafening noise.

I would read the next few sentences as a reader, but I'm still tentative. I see the first line as a way to hook the reader at least for 250-500 words. You've got me to maybe 50.
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Offline BobbyD

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5120 on: May 12, 2017, 04:45:34 PM »
There certainly was not enough to create a mood in this opening.  I responded to the solicitation for a first line.  Mine didn't work.  But, Amir was operating a tunnel boring machine, a deafening noise and the result would be the release of a pestilence on London.  Needed a bit more info here.

Bob

Offline Simple Things

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5121 on: July 22, 2017, 12:04:04 PM »
This thread has been buried under 3 pages, and so I decided to place the beginning sentence of a piece destined for a flash fiction contest I have hopes to enter. It's been a while since I put my personal writing out there, so wanted to be sure I didn't punch too hard.

*

It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let his fingers be painted by the sky.

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5122 on: July 22, 2017, 12:30:58 PM »
Mhmm.
Not really.

'It seemed' has you fudging right from the start. The choice of 'could reach up' instead of simply 'reached up' is probably intentional, but again being told what someone could do instead of what they did smacks of wooliness. And the rest of it is way too precious for me to consider reading further. Have you ever had your fingers painted by the sky?

H3K

Artemis Quark

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5123 on: July 22, 2017, 12:55:55 PM »

It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let his fingers be painted by the sky.

seemed does "seem" like fudging but I wonder what will follow this vague (intentional?) opening. "Forever" is a definite situation implying Thomas can no longer reach up and let his fingers be painted so "seemed" or another modifier is needed.

could reach up may also suggest he is not at the moment reaching up, but might do so if he desired.

Presumably, the next sentence in your opening will explain a bit more to clarify what is meant by fingers being painted by the sky. The image I see without further reading is a kaleidoscope effect, perhaps with brilliant blues and pinks drifting through his extended fingers.

In any case, ST, this opening generates many questions that beg me to read on for answers. The apparent weak or vague word choice may be your intention so it works as an opening with any changes depending on what the story is all about.

One last thought: Using a vague (but short and well constructed) sentence for an opening that begs questions to be answered might be a powerful method for openings as long as some of the vagueness is clarified in the sentences immediately following, IMHO. Perhaps other commenters could express their opinion on this to generate more activity in this thread.

AQ

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5124 on: July 22, 2017, 01:38:55 PM »
Can one try too hard to 'grab the reader' with the first line?

Offline Gyppo

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5125 on: July 22, 2017, 03:21:17 PM »
Yes.  This is why you sometimes find a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable novel with an ugly and largely irrelevant excrescence grafted onto its head as the opening line.

Gyppo
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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5126 on: July 23, 2017, 03:21:49 AM »

It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let his fingers be painted by the sky.

I rather like this.  I have no idea what it's on about, but it's intriguing enough that I'll stick around and find out.  In a certain mellow mood - after a good lunch, say - I think a publisher might feel the same way.

Offline Simple Things

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5127 on: July 27, 2017, 07:25:04 AM »
Sorry for the delay in responses, all hell broke loose out in life, so I had to beat it back in again. The opening in question is a minor step into observation, the next is a dialogue interruption so gets into the story more. I have 800 words to get it all told for a local contest. I'm enjoying the fray. :)

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. Appreciated.

Also nice to see this thread back where it belongs. Openings can be a bother. 

Offline Shortcross

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5128 on: July 27, 2017, 12:06:12 PM »
Quote
It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let his fingers be painted by the sky.

Glad to see some life in this thread again.

Maybe it's just me, but doesnt 'be painted' sound a bit clunky?

No issues with 'seemed' at all. It's perfectly valid (IMO) for something to 'seem forever', as it can't literally have been forever. I'm struggling much more with 'let his fingers be painted by the sky' Why not:

'It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let the sky paint his fingers.'

Offline TomJoad

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5129 on: July 27, 2017, 12:51:07 PM »
Glad to see some life in this thread again.

Maybe it's just me, but doesnt 'be painted' sound a bit clunky?

No issues with 'seemed' at all. It's perfectly valid (IMO) for something to 'seem forever', as it can't literally have been forever. I'm struggling much more with 'let his fingers be painted by the sky' Why not:

'It seemed forever since Thomas could reach up and let the sky paint his fingers.'

I might be off a bit here, but I think Thomas was painting the sky with his fingers.. not the sky painting his fingers.