The River Lethe (first few paragraphs - 450 words)

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bronwyn1
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The River Lethe (first few paragraphs - 450 words)

Post by bronwyn1 » May 15th, 2010, 10:16 pm

I try to go by the whole rule that is "make the first few paragraphs of the novel draw the reader in" and so far, I've sort of been failing at that (since I don't have enough "action," but "action" is a vague term). So these are the first few paragraphs of my current WIP. Be as brutal as you see fit (I can definitely take it :D ) :

_______

Part I

Chapter 1

Victoria

It was my first day at Colegio Nacional and I was terrified. From this point on, I was surrounded by the best and brightest of Buenos Aires. El Colegio, I knew, or so I’d heard in tones that could be described as awestruck and even reverent, was a place where cultural literacy reigned supreme, where even first years my age would sit around and discuss and debate everything, from literature to politics to psychology. An El Colegio student could probably even strike up a debate about something as dry, in my opinion, as mathematics. An El Colegio student could and would find the deeper meaning behind those numbers and formulas, some theory about life or government. It sounded absurd, I thought, but many at El Colegio, as I would later learn, believed with all their hearts that the seemingly absurd was indeed possible.

At the same time, I remained in shock from my admission to such an institution. My parents, knowing how much I loved literature, thought it would be best for me to study my passion at one of the greatest, if not the greatest secondary school in the country. They made me take the multiple admissions exams and I had passed, with flying colors, they had told me. I told my parents I doubted that. They said it was my humility talking.

“Hey.” I looked down and noticed the water still running over my hands. Another girl stood next to me, washing her own hands, squirting soap into her palm.
“I’m Liliana. What’s your name?”

“Victoria Gallardo.”

Liliana rinsed the soap off her hands. “It’s my first day here.” She smiled. “I’m nervous, but so excited. How about you?”

“Just nervous.”

“Are you a first year?”

“Yeah.”

“Me too,” Liliana said. “It’s been my dream to come here ever since I can remember.” She dried her hands with a paper towel and then fluffed her mass of curly, brown hair. She sighed, a huge grin on her round, freckled face. “I can’t believe it. I’m now walking down the same halls as future presidents and senators and intellectuals and journalists. I want to be a journalist. What do you want to do?”

I never really thought about my life past university. I knew I wanted to study literature, but that was about it. “I might be a teacher, like a literature teacher,” I said. “I love literature.” Slowly, I began to unwind. My heart slowed its rapid beating, from the speed of a war drum to that of a pencil absentmindedly tapping against the surface of a desk.

Liliana nodded. “Journalists have to read a lot, you know. Newspapers and other things too.”

_________

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Kalthandrix
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Re: The River Lethe (first few paragraphs - 450 words)

Post by Kalthandrix » May 15th, 2010, 11:39 pm

I am sorry, but I have to start out with a question.

What genre is this section part of?

Anyway, I think that you have set a tone here that is interesting and that everyone can easily associate with. I am sure we all know what it feels like to set out into a new school or job--the excitement, worry, and wonder of it all. With this being in the first person PoV, I think you will need to remember that you will need to use your punctuation marks to make sure that the characters excitement or emotions are coming through. There are several spots were it is kind of flat and the use of an ! would have expressed more than your words.

Below are my comments.

Thanks for sharing!
bronwyn1 wrote: Part I

Chapter 1

Victoria

It was my first day at Colegio Nacional and I was terrified. (I would make the next part a new section so that the first line stands out more.)

From this point on, I was would be surrounded by the best and brightest of Buenos Aires. El Colegio, I knew, or so I’d heard in tones that could be described as awestruck and even reverent I would choose either awestruck or reverent and drop the other to smooth out the reading, was a place where cultural literacy reigned supreme,. Where even first years my age would sit around and discuss and debate everything, from literature to politics to psychology. An El Colegio student could probablymight even strike up a debate about something as dry, in my opinion, as mathematics. An El Colegio student They were the kind of people who could and would find the deeper meaning behind those numbers and formulas, some theory aboutthat would change life as we knew it. life or government. It sounded absurd, I thought, but many at El Colegio, as I would later learn, believed with all their hearts that the seemingly absurd was indeed possible.

At the same time, I remained in shock from my admission to such an institution. I have been living in a state of shock since receiving my admissions letter. My parents, knowing how much I loved literature, thought it would be best for me to study my passion at one of the greatest, if notthe greatest secondary school in the country. They made me take the multiple admissions exams and I had passed, with flying colors, they had told me. I told my parents I doubted that. They said it was my humility talking. (This underlined section is very hard to read and while I know what you are trying to say, it is confusing. I would try and moderate your use of commas a bit more.)

“Hey.” I looked down and noticed the water still running over my hands (When did she get into the bathroom - needs a transition). Another girl stood next to me, squirting soap into her palm to do the same.

“I’m Liliana. What’s your name?”

“Victoria Gallardo.” (I don't know many people who, after having someone give them only their first name, responds with their first and last names - I would stick to a first name basis for now.)

Liliana rinsed the soap off her hands. “It’s my first day here.” She smiled (telling) . “I’m nervous, but so excited.! How about you?”

“Just nervous.”

“Are you a first year?”

“Yeah.”

“Me too,” Liliana said. “It’s been my dream to come here ever since I can remember.” She dried her hands with a paper towel and then fluffed her mass of curly, brown hair. She sighed, a huge grin on her round, freckled face. “I can’t believe it. I’m now walking down the same halls as future presidents and senators and intellectuals and journalists. I want to be a journalist. What do you want to do?”

I never really thought about my life past university. I knew I wanted to study literature, but that was about it. “I might be a teacher, like a literature teacher,” I said. “I love literature.” Slowly, I began to unwind. My heart slowed its rapid beating, from the speed of a war drum to that of a pencil absentmindedly tapping against the surface of a desk.

Liliana nodded. “Journalists have to read a lot, you know. Newspapers and other things too.”
I Don’t use sublIminal mEssages

bronwyn1
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Re: The River Lethe (first few paragraphs - 450 words)

Post by bronwyn1 » May 16th, 2010, 10:13 am

Oh, I'd say the genre is LitFic, because it's really character-centric and the chapters are told in three/four parts, 1 in first person (the snippet I posted) and the other two/three in third (because I'm sort of using POV as a style/symbolic devise)

Thank you so much for your comments! They were super helpful! Yeah...I can get overly formal/wordy sometimes...haha

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Kalthandrix
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Re: The River Lethe (first few paragraphs - 450 words)

Post by Kalthandrix » May 16th, 2010, 10:30 am

I have never heard or read any novels that jumped from first person to third in the actual story-telling. Sure, I have seen small blurbs at the beginning of chapters, or like RA Salvatore, a page or three between major sections of a book, but not as a part of the overall story. If you have an example, I would like to see where this has been done. I personally would suggest that you stick to one story-telling method (first or third) and stick with it.

:)
I Don’t use sublIminal mEssages

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