Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 697468 times)

Offline Shortcross

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Carpeing the hell out of this diem
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5130 on: July 27, 2017, 12:56:03 PM »
Ah I see! Doh. Lol. Ignore me, I'm as thick as two short planks.

Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5131 on: July 27, 2017, 12:58:31 PM »
Ha! No worries here. I tend to get the same way.

Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5132 on: July 27, 2017, 01:06:05 PM »
Her is something I have been working on....

When Sarah opened her eyes, her vision was blurry and she had blood on her hands. Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor with a cast iron pan in one hand and her other hand extended to find her way out.

Thoughts?

Offline Shortcross

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Carpeing the hell out of this diem
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5133 on: July 27, 2017, 01:24:57 PM »
Her is something I have been working on....

When Sarah opened her eyes, her vision was blurry and she had blood on her hands. Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor with a cast iron pan in one hand and her other hand extended to find her way out.

Thoughts?

Not a bad opener (concept-wise). A little passively written, though. The had/was thing, I think.

For some reason, I want to read it like this:

Sarah opened her eyes; her vision blurry and blood on her hands. She stumbled across the shack floor with a cast-iron pan in one hand, the other extended to find her way out.

But... I think I might have changed the tense (have I? Not sure) - which doesn't really help you much.

Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5134 on: July 27, 2017, 01:27:38 PM »
Being passive when writing is a problem that I'm trying to shrug off.

Offline Shortcross

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Carpeing the hell out of this diem
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5135 on: July 27, 2017, 01:35:38 PM »
Being passive when writing is a problem that I'm trying to shrug off.

It might not be passive. Just my take on it. It's just that was/had tendency, really. Forget all that 'by zombies' rubbish (if you know it).


Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5136 on: July 27, 2017, 01:39:40 PM »
I really don't like zombies. I never have. They really don't think for themselves.

Offline Shortcross

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Carpeing the hell out of this diem
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5137 on: July 27, 2017, 01:42:53 PM »
No, I mean that test for passivity you see on various blogs. If you can put 'by zombies' after the verb, the sentence is passive.

The cast-iron pan was dropped to the ground
The cast-iron pan was dropped (by zombies) to the ground

Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5138 on: July 27, 2017, 01:47:42 PM »
Good advice. Thanks!

Offline Simple Things

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1826
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5139 on: July 27, 2017, 01:56:19 PM »
Her is something I have been working on....

When Sarah opened her eyes, her vision was blurry and she had blood on her hands. Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor with a cast iron pan in one hand and her other hand extended to find her way out.

Thoughts?

I always think of cause and effects, what actions brought the other actions into play - for me this makes things active.

The setting is there but I found the time stamping a bit off. It seemed that Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor before her eyes opened - which is fine but the way I read it, the actions were more statements rather than active in time. So I thought that Sarah's stumble caused her to open her eyes, reach out, discover the blood/pan/vision impairment/and then her search for a way out. I don't know yet why her eyes were closed initially, but it could be many reasons that are plausible and told/showed later as the story unfolds and she understands more.

hillwalker3000

  • Guest
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5140 on: July 27, 2017, 02:04:14 PM »
If you want to tweak the reader's curiosity you have to be more subtle than this. For an opening scene, it's heavy on detail. The kind of detail that recreates the stereotypical image of a damsel in distress. There's nothing here to challenge my expectations or to suggest this story is going to be out of the ordinary.

You imply a connection between Sarah opening her eyes and her blurry vision (fine) - but also there's blood on her hands now as well. But I assume the blood was present before she opened her eyes. It also reads as if she was already stumbling before she opened her eyes. Because it's presented as a list, each thing connected to what precedes it, it doesn't make a great deal of sense if you look too closely.

The use of 'was' twice in such close succession is also repetitive - 'her vision was blurry' - 'Sarah was stumbling'. Why not 'Sarah stumbled'?

I'm sorry, but if this is an indication of the way the rest of the story is to be written, I'd not continue reading.

H3K

PS - I posted this before reading Simple Minds response. Great minds. . .

And not all 'was' sentences are passive.

Passive writing = The road was crossed by the chicken.
Active writing = The chicken crossed the road/The chicken was crossing the road when the bus passed by.

Offline TomJoad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5141 on: July 27, 2017, 02:07:44 PM »
Hill, no worries on the feedback.. I like the constructive feedback!

Thanks!

Offline Shortcross

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Carpeing the hell out of this diem
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5142 on: July 27, 2017, 02:11:44 PM »
Quote
And not all 'was' sentences are passive.

No, not all. But you can bet your bottom dollar a passively written sentence will have one of those words in it :-)

Jo Bannister

  • Guest
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5143 on: July 27, 2017, 02:29:19 PM »


When Sarah opened her eyes, her vision was blurry and she had blood on her hands. Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor with a cast iron pan in one hand and her other hand extended to find her way out.


The image is promising, the writing is (sorry) poor.

You can't justify two "Sarah"s so close together.  We're not morons: we can remember who she is for the length of one sentence.  Then, do people wake up and find themselves already walking around with kitchen utensils?  And you've done the repetition thing again with the hands: find some other ways to describe your scene. 

But really, I think you should take this back to the drawing board.  It's clumsy and unpersuasive.  I'd be tempted to do something like:

"As her vision began to clear, the first thing Sarah saw was the blood on her hands.  Somehow she'd stumbled to her feet and was staggering across the shack, reaching for the door.  Inexplicably, she'd also acquired a cast-iron saucepan."

Or is that too facetious for you?  Depends on where you're going with this; but if you want to take readers with you, you need to engage them more.


Offline Mrs N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2325
    • View Profile
Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5144 on: July 27, 2017, 03:47:32 PM »
Her is something I have been working on....

When Sarah opened her eyes, her vision was blurry and she had blood on her hands. Sarah was stumbling across the shack floor with a cast iron pan in one hand and her other hand extended to find her way out.

Thoughts?

Which point would you like the reader to dwell on?

That she is opening her eyes= boring
Her vision is blurry?= So?
She's up and stumbling across a shack floor with a cast iron pan in her hand= bit intriguing
The other hand extended to find her way out= just diluted previous sentence.

Too much of nothing going on. Stick with one image and build. ;)
As it stands I wouldn't read further.