Your first Pargraph!

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Your first Pargraph!

Postby shadow » 27 Jan 2011, 05:23

Since Nathan is now running the first paragraph contest and I read through some amazing entries, I felt a need to begin a thread about it so that we can post our first pargraphs and discuss them. What we like, what we don't, what we need to improve and I think it would be cool to call a first paragraph "yes", "no", or "maybe" as in what would you say if you were an agent, just like the agent query thread. Would you request? Would you reject?

So here is my first paragraph to my novel "THE COMING" that I am currently revising for a publisher (fingers crossed). Let me know your thoughts and post your :)


Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill or die. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky warrior and took a deep breath. He stepped forward. Gravel crunched below his feet and wisps of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena. He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby Falls Apart » 27 Jan 2011, 09:17

Great idea, and great paragraph :) As for comments on yours . . . it really draw you in, great conflict that jumps right off the page. Ony a couple phraseology things that I'd change . . .

Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill be killed. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky warrior, took a deep breath, and stepped forward. Gravel crunched under his feet and wisps of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena. He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby Falls Apart » 27 Jan 2011, 09:19

And my paragraph (almost forgot to post it) if anybody would have time to take a look . . .

I’m going to get one thing established right away, so we don’t have any misunderstandings: this story does not have a happy ending. If you were hoping I’d tell you that everything you heard on the news was a lie, that Libertas never fell, that “The Enemy” is as strong as it ever was, then this will come as a disappointment. The camp fell. Most of the people in it died, and the few who didn’t went through tough shit to make sure of that.


Can't wait to see the other paragraphs!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby Falls Apart » 27 Jan 2011, 09:20

Oops! and I meant kill or be killed. Accidentally left that out :) okay, I've posted three times on here. I'll stop :)
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby charlotte49ers » 27 Jan 2011, 09:25

Mine has changed from what I entered and I'm still not happy with it:

Whispers about the outsider’s capture seem to be everywhere I turn today, but I’m trying to ignore the chatter. It’s not to say I lack curiosity about his arrival, because I’m most certainly curious, but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him within the day is causing me enough anxiety as it is. The last thing I need to hear are rumors generated by the other Forsaken. I’m doing a fine job creating chilling theories with little help from anyone else.


Shadow, I agree with the minor changes suggested, but overall I think it's very intriguing! I like that the world slowly begins to build even in such a short snippet! It leaves me very curious. :-)

Falls Apart, I liked this a lot, actually! I'm not usually a fan of the narrator speaking directly to the reader, but I think it works in your case. :-)
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby pwtucker » 27 Jan 2011, 10:54

Great idea on this thread. Here's my feedback--just some suggestions that I hope help!
shadow wrote:Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill or die or be killed. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky (bulky doesn't sound very dangerous. Maybe a more intimidating adjective?) warrior and took a deep breath. He stepped forward (I like the pacing of this, feels viscerally like the step itself). Gravel crunched below under his feet and wisps (wisps to me implies visibility, perhaps instead just cut this?) of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena (after that impressive step, to just walk forward without anything having happened between the two other than a glance seems a bit flat. Maybe he just settles himself, readies his weapon, something else?). He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.


Nice! Distant, aloof father, mystery of why the heir is fighting, some nice pacing to the sentences. Couple of suggestions: maybe make his opponent more distinct, more threatening, with a little more specificity? Vitiosus stared at the flat, vicious eyes of the warrior/stared at the hooked and cruel armor the warrior wore/stared at the serrated edge of the warrior's cruel blade/etc. Give the bad guy some punch! Also, add an adjective to 'arena', like great, private, etc, to give some sense of scale and setting.
Hope that helps!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby pwtucker » 27 Jan 2011, 11:05

I’m going to get one thing established right away, so we don’t have any misunderstandings: this story does not have a happy ending. If you were hoping I’d tell you that what you heard on the news was a lie, that camp Libertas never fell, that “The Enemy” is as strong as it ever was, then prepare for disappointment. The camp was destroyed. Near everybody died, and the few who didn’t went through hell to save their skins.


Hi, hope you don't mind my making some suggestions!

Libertas is the name of the camp? And we should understand that "The Enemy" is no longer as strong as it was? Wouldn't a public newscast try to downplay the strength of the Enemy to make the populace happy?

A tricky first paragraph--I had to reread it twice to be sure I understood what was being said due I think to the double negatives. But it has a great tone, hard hitting and harsh, and makes me curious to read more: are we dealing with a 1984 style government dealing with misinformation? Who is the enemy?
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby pwtucker » 27 Jan 2011, 11:15

Whispers about the outsider’s capture seem to be everywhere I turn today, but I’m trying to ignore the chatter. It’s not that I lack curiosity [deleted], but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him within the day is causing me enough anxiety as it is. The last thing I need to hear are rumors generated by the other Forsaken. I’m doing a fine job creating chilling theories with little help from anyone else.


Hello, hope you don't mind my offering some suggestions. They're just meant to help, and if they don't, please ignore them!

So I see what you're trying to do here. You're trying to build a sense of suspense, a sense of impending dread, but it seems a little vague to me, and I don't quite understand why the narrator should be so scared. Perhaps if you find a way to explain why this encounter is so anxiety provoking the reader might feel a little more grounded. All we know is that a stranger was captured, the narrator doesn't want to meet him but soon will, and the other Forsaken are generating rumors. Which leaves a bunch of questions: who is the stranger, who is the narrator, why do they have to meet, what is a Forsaken, and what are these rumors? I feel like you just need to insert a little more substance into this first paragraph to hook your reader. Maybe at the very least explain why they have to meet, something as simple as, '..but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him in order to be judged/to refute his accusations/to prove I can kill/to marry him/etc..'. See what I mean?

Hope that helps, and best of luck!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby jrosemary » 27 Jan 2011, 11:49

Shadow wrote:Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill or die. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky warrior and took a deep breath. He stepped forward. Gravel crunched below his feet and wisps of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena. He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.


Nice work: you can't go wrong by starting with a duel to the death and daddy issues! This left me wanting more.

Just to nitpick, there was too much information for me here. I'd chose between the gravel and the wisps of wind, and I'd hold off on the detail that Vitiosus's father is sitting on the throne. My head is already filled with images of the arena, the opponent and visions of a bloody death--I can wait a paragraph or two before finding out that Pater Dearest is the ruler.

Good luck!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby jrosemary » 27 Jan 2011, 12:03

Falls Apart wrote:I’m going to get one thing established right away, so we don’t have any misunderstandings: this story does not have a happy ending. If you were hoping I’d tell you that everything you heard on the news was a lie, that Libertas never fell, that “The Enemy” is as strong as it ever was, then this will come as a disappointment. The camp fell. Most of the people in it died, and the few who didn’t went through tough shit to make sure of that.


You've captured my interest here with what sounds like a gritty tale. Although I have a thing for happy endings, so I might set my curiosity aside and stop reading. (Reading fiction is escapism for me; there are enough sad endings in real life.) On the other hand, maybe knowing that some survive is enough.

I was also confused on one point: unless I'm misreading this, it sounds like I'm supposed to be hoping that "The Enemy" is as strong as it ever was. Is that intentional? I'd have guessed that I should be hoping "The Enemy" had weakened instead.

Best of luck with this!
Last edited by jrosemary on 27 Jan 2011, 12:23, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby jrosemary » 27 Jan 2011, 12:15

Charlotte49ers wrote:Whispers about the outsider’s capture seem to be everywhere I turn today, but I’m trying to ignore the chatter. It’s not to say I lack curiosity about his arrival, because I’m most certainly curious, but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him within the day is causing me enough anxiety as it is. The last thing I need to hear are rumors generated by the other Forsaken. I’m doing a fine job creating chilling theories with little help from anyone else.


Oooh--lots to be curious about here. Who are the 'Forsaken?' Is that how they refer to themselves, or only how the 'outsiders' refer to them? And of course I want to know more about the narrator and the captive.

Just to nitpick I'd advise killing some words:

Whispers about the outsider’s capture seem to be everywhere I turn today, but I’m trying to ignore the chatter. It’s not to say I lack curiosity about his arrival, because I’m most certainly curious, but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him within the day is causing me enough anxiety as it is. The last thing I need to hear are rumors generated by the other Forsaken. I’m doing a fine job creating chilling theories with little help from anyone else.
.

Good luck!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby jrosemary » 27 Jan 2011, 12:38

Here's my paragraph:


The only thing worse than visiting a graveyard is paying your respects to the man you put there. Not that I had murdered Cam--I'm not that far gone--but it was my fault his bones were rotting beneath that dull, gray slab.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby shadow » 27 Jan 2011, 14:08

Falls Apart wrote:And my paragraph (almost forgot to post it) if anybody would have time to take a look . . .

I’m going to get one thing established right away, so we don’t have any misunderstandings: this story does not have a happy ending. If you were hoping I’d tell you that everything you heard on the news was a lie, that Libertas never fell, that “The Enemy” is as strong as it ever was, then this will come as a disappointment. The camp fell. Most of the people in it died, and the few who didn’t went through tough shit to make sure of that.


Can't wait to see the other paragraphs!


Falls apart: Thanks so much :) To your paragraph...Very interesting. It makes me want to kjnow more and I can say that it is original with the narrarator. But I would also maybe just cut the first line and begin with..this story does not have a happy ending. Good luck!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby shadow » 27 Jan 2011, 14:10

charlotte49ers wrote:Mine has changed from what I entered and I'm still not happy with it:

Whispers about the outsider’s capture seem to be everywhere I turn today, but I’m trying to ignore the chatter. It’s not to say I lack curiosity about his arrival, because I’m most certainly curious, but knowing I’ll be face-to-face with him within the day is causing me enough anxiety as it is. The last thing I need to hear are rumors generated by the other Forsaken. I’m doing a fine job creating chilling theories with little help from anyone else.


Shadow, I agree with the minor changes suggested, but overall I think it's very intriguing! I like that the world slowly begins to build even in such a short snippet! It leaves me very curious. :-)

Falls Apart, I liked this a lot, actually! I'm not usually a fan of the narrator speaking directly to the reader, but I think it works in your case. :-)


Don't be unhappy with it. I liked it allot!
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Postby shadow » 27 Jan 2011, 14:12

pwtucker wrote:Great idea on this thread. Here's my feedback--just some suggestions that I hope help!
shadow wrote:Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill or die or be killed. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky (bulky doesn't sound very dangerous. Maybe a more intimidating adjective?) warrior and took a deep breath. He stepped forward (I like the pacing of this, feels viscerally like the step itself). Gravel crunched below under his feet and wisps (wisps to me implies visibility, perhaps instead just cut this?) of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena (after that impressive step, to just walk forward without anything having happened between the two other than a glance seems a bit flat. Maybe he just settles himself, readies his weapon, something else?). He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.


Nice! Distant, aloof father, mystery of why the heir is fighting, some nice pacing to the sentences. Couple of suggestions: maybe make his opponent more distinct, more threatening, with a little more specificity? Vitiosus stared at the flat, vicious eyes of the warrior/stared at the hooked and cruel armor the warrior wore/stared at the serrated edge of the warrior's cruel blade/etc. Give the bad guy some punch! Also, add an adjective to 'arena', like great, private, etc, to give some sense of scale and setting.
Hope that helps!


Thanks for your suggestions. The reason the ferocity of the warrior is kept out is because he ISN'T the bad guy and that is what I try to portray as you read on. He has been captured to fight the prince and has no choice...Thanks so much and good luck!
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