Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 778723 times)

Offline Sherlock

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5055 on: February 15, 2017, 08:23:51 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 driver’s 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.

Artemis Quark

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5056 on: February 15, 2017, 09:12:44 PM »
Good for you, diving in.

I think you need to start right with the teetering vehicle ready to slide down the mountain but for a tree. The groaning to himself gets in the way, IMO. Icy skid marks is good to keep. The details of where the damage to the vehicle, not so important in the opening. Again, my opinion. Here's a feeble attempt to rewrite with more direct sentences and fewer filter words.

Icy skid marks pointed to the cobalt blue Lenco teetering on the edge of the cliff. A scraggly cypress prevented it from sliding down the mountain. No question, [name] knew it was [name]'s four-wheel drive.

Give us the name of the MC and perhaps the name of the driver if that character is important to the story. In other words, get right to it. Drive it hard to get the reader hooked. I added the tree was a cypress to signal location to the reader. I'm thinking Big Sur on the PCH in California. Change it to match the location of your story. JMO. Use or lose.

AQ
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 09:17:16 PM by Artemis Quark »

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5057 on: February 16, 2017, 04:57:33 AM »
First impressions - from a potential publisher's point of view - you clutter the piece with unnecessary words and imagery.
What's important to get across to the reader? The hero discovers an armoured vehicle teetering on the side of a mountain. But simply stating this information in a matter-of-fact way is unlikely to grab our attention. Likewise, embellishing the piece with extraneous detail won't help generate enough curiosity either. Less is usually more.

Compare
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 driver’s 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.
to something like
Icy skid marks indicated where the armoured vehicle had come off the road.

Did I miss out anything?
The reader immediately wants to know more. The 'armoured vehicle' adds a hint of potential intrigue. You can add in more detail as your unnamed hero approaches the wreck. The crumpled wing. The smell of spilt fuel maybe. The tree. The threat of plunging off the mountainside. The identity of the mystery driver. At the moment I feel you're trying to cram too much information into a tight space.

H3K

Offline Oceaxe

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5058 on: February 16, 2017, 10:15:26 AM »
Okay, here's one I dreamed up on the bus journey into Walsall.

Can you remain in love for fifty years? Yes, if you never meet, as I found out to my cost that morning back in April.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Offline Shortcross

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5059 on: February 16, 2017, 11:03:54 AM »

Can you remain in love for fifty years? Yes, if you never meet, as I found out to my cost that morning back in April.

I'm struggling with it, Oceaxe, because the answer is just 'yes'. If the question was something which could never be answered with a 'yes', then the follow-up line would have more impact. I want to argue with the narrator, which I can't, so that would be it for me.

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5060 on: February 16, 2017, 11:11:16 AM »
Okay, here's one I dreamed up on the bus journey into Walsall.
Can you remain in love for fifty years? Yes, if you never meet, as I found out to my cost that morning back in April.

I prefer the line about the bus journey to the remaining in love. Staying in love with someone for 50 years happens all the time. Doing it without meeting is hard to swallow. Finding this out (to your cost) one morning in April doesn't make a lot of sense. I dread to think what comes next.

H3K

Offline Shortcross

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5061 on: February 16, 2017, 11:16:43 AM »
Finding this out (to your cost) one morning in April doesn't make a lot of sense. I dread to think what comes next.

H3K

I also struggled with the logic there, but then realised Oceaxe may have meant that his MC met someone last April that had been in love with him/her for fifty years, and since then, the lover has become a bit of a pain.

Took a while to work it out though - at first I was thinking 'how can he have found out last April that love can last for fifty years?'  - IMO, already enough for the publisher to move on to the next manuscript.

hillwalker3000

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5062 on: February 16, 2017, 11:36:21 AM »
I also struggled with the logic there, but then realised Oceaxe may have meant that his MC met someone last April that had been in love with him/her for fifty years, and since then, the lover has become a bit of a pain.

I'm picturing a stalker complete with Zimmer frame. The timescale is strange to accept unless there's time travel involved.  :D

H3K

Offline Shortcross

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5063 on: February 16, 2017, 11:41:41 AM »
I'm picturing a stalker complete with Zimmer frame.

H3K

Now you've said that, I'm starting to like it! :)

Offline Sherlock

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5064 on: February 16, 2017, 12:07:45 PM »
Artemis Quark,

Thanks for taking time to read my beginning.  I really appreciated the advice about being more brief and about being more specific.  I think naming the tree is a stroke of genius because you are right that some types of trees take people to certain parts of the country.  I had debated about the names but I think it makes sense to go ahead with that. 

Offline Sherlock

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5065 on: February 16, 2017, 12:09:50 PM »
Simple Things,

When you pointed out that it was unneccesary to say "he groaned to himself," it does seem simple but those are just the things I need to know and recognize when I am putting in unneeded words!

Offline Sherlock

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5066 on: February 16, 2017, 12:20:33 PM »
H3K,

Thank you for taking the time.  Being too wordy is indeed my curse.  I find that is my biggest task, not in writing more, but in writing less.  I liked your approach of "Icy skid marks indicated where the armoured vehicle had come off the road."  I think that I would want to read more after a sentence that direct.  

The other things you mentioned to add more intrigue I also found very helpful.  I want the reader to feel tension about the situation and the identity of the driver and each of the things you mentioned would do that.  

Sherlock

Offline Oceaxe

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5067 on: February 17, 2017, 06:16:52 AM »
OMG, I think I've killed the thread  :o
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Offline Baleezy

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5068 on: February 20, 2017, 05:05:03 PM »
You want to know what it feels like to walk all the time?  It’s 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 they’re not, they soon will be.  There's no way around it.

This is the first 72 words to my novel I'm working on.

Offline Laura H

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #5069 on: February 20, 2017, 06:49:06 PM »
Hi and welcome, Baleezy.

The first bit doesn't grab me. I would definitely advise trimming, and beginning-

Everything is gone. Everything.

I have no problem with a conversational tone, but be careful it doesn't ramble.
“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