Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 741013 times)

Nadine L

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #60 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

Nadine L

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #61 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
« Last Edit: July 23, 2006, 11:32:55 AM by Lin »

Offline University Girl

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #62 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

Offline Kris

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #63 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  :)


Offline Faith

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #64 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
"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium." Norbert Platt

Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #65 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

Nadine L

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #66 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"
« Last Edit: July 25, 2006, 05:05:46 AM by Lin »

Offline Kris

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #67 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

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #68 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... )

Offline Writers Block

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #69 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. ;)
I tend to critique in a harsh manner. Please remember it is not personal, but how I prefer anyone critiqueing me to be. It is far more useful IMO.

WB

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Offline Kris

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #70 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  :)

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #71 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

DwWin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #72 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.


Offline Kris

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« Reply #73 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!  :)

Nadine L

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #74 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