Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 765342 times)

Nadine L

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« Reply #135 on: August 16, 2006, 11:52:44 PM »
Cathy,
 
Isn't is madding when you can't get a piece to go where you want? It happens to me more times than I can count.

How about making it a little less hesitant? Also, I took a few liberties that may not fit the story line...you'll have to fix them. I think it is less stilted without her last name in this first line, you can tell it some other time.

At first I wondered about telling she would die, but then finding out she was six was more powerful -- or dreadful. So, I left it.

All the pieces are here...I can see where you are going...but it was a rascal to work with.  It's still rough, but maybe this helps some. Yes, I do want to know what she heard.
 
 
Lucy slept fitfully, as if she knew it was the last night of her life. Restless, her thumb sleepily followed the well-worn path to her mouth. She forgot she was a big girl of six and sucked contentedly. As she begin to dose to sleep, a sudden noise forced the digit from her mouth. She expelled it with a reluctant and wet plop!

Fearfully, she peered through the near dawn light for what wakened her.


Nadine

Nadine L

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« Reply #136 on: August 16, 2006, 11:55:14 PM »
Sorry Cathy, I still made it more telling than showing...but, best I can do at the moment. Maybe someone else can help.

Nadine

Offline aellaholcomb

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« Reply #137 on: August 17, 2006, 12:29:58 AM »
Cathy,
         The paragraph isn't as it should be . You are right. Prehaps start by giving yourself credit for the sensibility to know it's not right.
To me, why not.
One, the first sentence , to me???, means she will die and then we have the word "cheerfull" and Nod" and i'm like, "WHAT." Is this terror or what.????? You confuse me and I'm "irritated." (as the reader/not me the person. LOL.
       I  feel you're giving the reader double messages. Maybe it would help, if you got real simplistic, and emailed to us, what you're saying in the way you would tell an elementary class. Like. This little girl is going to die, but she's sleeping peacefully, and then somthing. am unexplained noise, makes her wake, sit up, and sit, wide eyed, still sucking her thunb.
  The trouble for me If I really don't know what you are aiming at. Is this terror. Will she literally be murdered?
Maybe in this case getting the content clear would pave the way for you to then write it in a way that felt smooth and good. Or is this about something far less traumatizing. Like>>>>>>>>>>>>>>? Help, tell us.
   Like, Nadine, I empathize. I'm sending in something tomorrow, (course), I've worked and worked on, and it's not right. It's not BAD BAD, but it's not right. Makes me want to pull my hair right as I read another Anita Shreve whose style I lust after.
   I applaude your courage in putting it out for help, even though flawed. It's hard to do that. I don't think I ever have. Only put things out I thought were pretty ok. So you deserve A+ for guts which is the beginning of getting it done.
     Is my suggestion off the wall.
    I am finding in my book/novel about women's nervous breakdown, that often my words do not say that I think they do. And I have to force myself to say, bluntly what I mean. Like, she was hidiously lonley and there was no one to talk to. OK, the word "hidiously" is overkill. But, that is the truth and better than something like, "She had trouble sleeping and missed John."
   You know.
            Good luck. Aella

Nadine L

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« Reply #138 on: August 17, 2006, 12:47:12 AM »
Aella, good point, it would help if we noted the genre or if nonfiction whether it was a biography or whatever.

Cathy,

Maybe some of the sentences are too complex for talking about a six year old...I know dialogue has to be age appropriate, never thought about it for the narrative and never heard that ever taught...might not have been paying attention that day...

Nevertheless, I don't think you want to make it too simple or too different from the way the rest of it is written or it will really stand out as not your voice.

Have you taken a piece of paper and without looking at this, tried to rewrite the scene and see what you get?

Still scratching my head on this one...what if you expanded the scene...maybe it moves through too quickly from beginning to end...

You can't say I'm not trying to help, but you can say I am no help!   8)

Nadine

Offline aellaholcomb

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« Reply #139 on: August 17, 2006, 02:37:41 AM »
 C athy,
How are you doing with paragraph? I hope some movement.
nite. Aella

Offline Barbe

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #140 on: August 17, 2006, 12:46:19 PM »
Quote
On what was to be the last night of her life Lucy Hamilton slept only fitfully.

Sometime around dawn, cheerfully hovering over the land of nod, her thumb sleepily followed the well-worn path to her mouth. For a few blissful moments, she managed to forget she was a big girl of six, sucking contently. But a sudden noise forced the digit from her mouth, expelling it with a reluctant and very wet plop!
Nervously, she looked round for what had wakened her.

Hi Cathy C. I'm rewording your opening, since you invited us to do so. Not knowing where the story is going, I improvised in the second and third paragraphs to show Lucy's state of nerves beginning to come unraveled. I think her state of mind and what she does are more interesting to read than having you tell me she was nervous. Also, I wonder what the noise sounded like to Lucy in half-awake stage? Even the simplest sounds can seem magnified in the morning's quiet. I didn't assume it, but if you draw it out, I think you'll have a stronger second paragraph.

Lucy Hamilton slept fitfully, hovering between the land of nod and the incomprehensible knowledge that this was to be the last night of her young life. A concept far too big for a six year old. Sometime around dawn her thumb followed a familiar path to her mouth -- a habit she thought she had broken -- offering a few moments of contented sucking before she came fully awake.

A sudden noise (boom? screech? scraping? footsteps?) erupted. Nearby.  Lucy's thumb fell from her mouth with a wet plop as she tumbled out of bed to investigate. Had it come from her mom's room? It had sounded close enough. Was her mom okay?  Maybe she shouldn't open her door. What if...?

"Mom!" she screamed through the door.


I'd like to know more about this little girl. Why does she think her life is ending? Or is it just changing? A good beginning... makes me curious!

Barb
Every life has a story -- some can be written, others sung. But some must be painted.

Offline Barbe

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #141 on: August 17, 2006, 12:51:49 PM »
Cathy, I have to take it all back! I just reread your first line, and I assumed (dangerous, that) little Lucy knew of her impending death. That's not what you wrote. So just scratch my post... sorry. I'd like to work on it a little more but am out of time right now. In the meantime maybe you can give us a few clues about what has gone before this blurb. I still think there's a story there!

Barb
Every life has a story -- some can be written, others sung. But some must be painted.

Offline Lilguido

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #142 on: August 18, 2006, 12:11:08 AM »
Firstly, wow, what a great idea this folder was.

Secondly, please be gentle..lol.. I'm more of a poetry guy but I do have a novel I work on. Medieval fantasy. Here goes.


Short blasts of labored breath steamed from the ebony stallion's nostrils and collided against the cold winter night air. Its rider, clad in black leathers and hooded greatcloak, spurred his mount sharply, causing it to rear as they began a reckless decent down the treacherous mountainside.

When the grass is greener on the other side...
Don't jump the fence... water your side more.

Offline aellaholcomb

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« Reply #143 on: August 18, 2006, 12:22:06 AM »
Cathy
    I guess your first liner was more provocative to me than I thought because I have looked and hoped to see some response from you about what the death is/will be/. REally caught up in what it is about.
     It's just so very atypical first liner. A child facing death. Heavy unless we are all assuming wrong things.
Aella

Nadine L

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« Reply #144 on: August 18, 2006, 12:41:28 AM »
Aella is right, Cathy...we're hooked...it worked.

Liguido, yes, this is a great folder.  I am amazed at some of the wonderful ideas to start posts...I could stay here all day...and never get any work done.

Thanks for listing the genre.  I think you should say you are a poet/fiction writer.

At first I thought the second sentence was longish. Then I decided it fit feeling heavy, in that I think of the fabrics & building materials of that period as heavy, which is how some of the word choices felt. It feels thick on my tongue to read it, again feels like a thick forest or undergrowth. I have never read a medieval fantasy (seen a few movies set medieval).

Well, that made little sense. But, the piece felt right to me. It is very visual, which I liked.

Nadine

Offline Billy Tea

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #145 on: August 18, 2006, 01:32:56 AM »
I like it as it is. Only thing bothers me is that, the noise is sudden where the reluctant withdrawal of her thumb is a conscious decision. So there is a conflict of a nervous reaction and involuntary withdrawal or the noise is not loud enough to frighten her but enough to stimulate her curiosity. Either way works but not together. So perhaps a very short sentence to describe her reaction to the noise , followed by her physical reaction. It frightened her, or it made her curious. She withdrew her finger............ Short sentences make big impacts in such a great start.

Offline Cathy C

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more? FFEDBACK FORUM
« Reply #146 on: August 18, 2006, 09:26:48 AM »
Hi Nadine L, Aella, Barbie and Billy Tea.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions. :-*

Guess There's nothing for it but to go back and re-write the whole first para (AGAIN!!)  ;D

Quote
Cathy
    I guess your first liner was more provocative to me than I thought because I have looked and hoped to see some response from you about what the death is/will be/. REally caught up in what it is about.
     It's just so very atypical first liner. A child facing death. Heavy unless we are all assuming wrong things.
Aella

If you would like Aella, I could PM you a little bit more of it?

Once again, thanks guys.

CATHY C
Novel: Where There’s Smoke. Published by Fireborn publishing http://amzn.to/2tZKNCn

Short Story: A Killer Week Published by Bridge House http://amzn.to/2rhLVAX

Offline writing is hard

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« Reply #147 on: August 18, 2006, 10:04:06 AM »
Hi all, here's my opener:

The timing of the raid could hardly have been improved.  A thick, blue overcast was puffing overhead with the coming of sundown, spreading gracelessly across the sky; and children, at last check, were in public abundance.
Why?

Lin

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« Reply #148 on: August 18, 2006, 10:23:59 AM »
Hi there,

I felt the opening sentence was good and then suddenly it became too descriptiive and I felt I needed some more action!! 

The timing of the raid could hardly have been improved with the coming of sundown. Children were in abundance.........................then more action then describe the scenery perhaps briefly.

I know this cuts down your first line a lot, but I needed to know more about the raid I think.

Lin
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Offline aellaholcomb

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« Reply #149 on: August 18, 2006, 10:34:28 AM »
Cathy, Yes, I would like more . Why don't you post 500 in the POST PLACE.

Re raid: I liked the beginning sentence a lot - was prepared for fear, intensity. The children part broke that. I didn't know if it was supposed to be even more "sinister-" doom is coming but the children are out. I guess, in short, I liked the sound of the words, but the second sentence lost meaning for me and I floundered. Aella