Your first Pargraph!

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Preacher
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by Preacher » February 9th, 2011, 11:21 am

Many apologies if this is the wrong thread. I am posting the first paragraph from my WIP, Preacher's Blood, here.

Here goes:

Gavin Preacher was being followed again. He felt it. Somewhere in the crowd a single set of eyes was watching, focused and intent, but not threatening or malicious. More like interested, concerned, and urgent.

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by Guardian » February 9th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Preacher wrote:Gavin Preacher was being followed again. He felt it. Somewhere in the crowd a single set of eyes was watching, focused and intent, but not threatening or malicious. More like interested, concerned, and urgent.
Interesting. The only thing what I would change is the very first sentence...

Gavin Preacher was being followed. Again. (Reason; it's giving a different tone.)

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by RachelHowzell » February 23rd, 2011, 12:48 pm

Here's the first paragraph of my WIP A Devil Within:

On December 2, 2010, a Thursday morning, 47-year old Juliet Hill drove to Santa Monica, California for a ten o’clock appointment with her obstetrician-gynecologist Marcia Kulkanis, M.D. Juliet had been suffering with diarrhea and nausea for two weeks as well as drowsiness and fatigue. The muscles in her arms twitched and her skin itched.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by sierramcconnell » February 23rd, 2011, 1:04 pm

RachelHowzell wrote:Here's the first paragraph of my WIP A Devil Within:

On December 2, 2010, a Thursday morning, 47-year old Juliet Hill drove to Santa Monica, California for a ten o’clock appointment with her obstetrician-gynecologist Marcia Kulkanis, M.D. Juliet had been suffering with diarrhea and nausea for two weeks as well as drowsiness and fatigue. The muscles in her arms twitched and her skin itched.
I'm going to be terribly blunt.

I blurred out there for a minute. I felt like I heard the Law and Order thump-thump noise after reading that to bring me back to conciousness, and I smelt a whiff of newspaper. It was dry, like a headline, and left me disoriented.

This is not how you want to start a story. It's an infodump. That's reserved for your notes. You need to write the story now.

Where is it?
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by RachelHowzell » February 23rd, 2011, 2:00 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
RachelHowzell wrote:Here's the first paragraph of my WIP A Devil Within:

On December 2, 2010, a Thursday morning, 47-year old Juliet Hill drove to Santa Monica, California for a ten o’clock appointment with her obstetrician-gynecologist Marcia Kulkanis, M.D. Juliet had been suffering with diarrhea and nausea for two weeks as well as drowsiness and fatigue. The muscles in her arms twitched and her skin itched.
I'm going to be terribly blunt.

I blurred out there for a minute. I felt like I heard the Law and Order thump-thump noise after reading that to bring me back to conciousness, and I smelt a whiff of newspaper. It was dry, like a headline, and left me disoriented.

This is not how you want to start a story. It's an infodump. That's reserved for your notes. You need to write the story now.

Where is it?
Haha. Excellent points. And I don't mind the bluntness -- I have a callous over my tender heart.

The narrator is an insurance claims investigator so I kinda want a birds-eye view at first a la The Virgin Suicides. Any suggestions? The following was originally my first paragraph in one draft:

Christopher Hill should have died in the fire. “It was God,” he explained later. “God woke me up.” By the time he clambered out of his bed, the flames had already chewed through the dining room and Cody’s bedroom. “Sounded like God was frying bacon in a skillet,” next-door neighbor Violet Davis observed. “All that popping and sizzling. All that black smoke.” It was still dark out and the streets were slick—it was raining. The residents of Newton Avenue were still asleep while God had been busy frying bacon and pulling a man from sleep.

Back and forth, back and forth...
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sierramcconnell
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by sierramcconnell » February 23rd, 2011, 2:31 pm

RachelHowzell wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:
RachelHowzell wrote:Here's the first paragraph of my WIP A Devil Within:

On December 2, 2010, a Thursday morning, 47-year old Juliet Hill drove to Santa Monica, California for a ten o’clock appointment with her obstetrician-gynecologist Marcia Kulkanis, M.D. Juliet had been suffering with diarrhea and nausea for two weeks as well as drowsiness and fatigue. The muscles in her arms twitched and her skin itched.
I'm going to be terribly blunt.

I blurred out there for a minute. I felt like I heard the Law and Order thump-thump noise after reading that to bring me back to conciousness, and I smelt a whiff of newspaper. It was dry, like a headline, and left me disoriented.

This is not how you want to start a story. It's an infodump. That's reserved for your notes. You need to write the story now.

Where is it?
Haha. Excellent points. And I don't mind the bluntness -- I have a callous over my tender heart.

The narrator is an insurance claims investigator so I kinda want a birds-eye view at first a la The Virgin Suicides. Any suggestions? The following was originally my first paragraph in one draft:

Christopher Hill should have died in the fire. “It was God,” he explained later. “God woke me up.” By the time he clambered out of his bed, the flames had already chewed through the dining room and Cody’s bedroom. “Sounded like God was frying bacon in a skillet,” next-door neighbor Violet Davis observed. “All that popping and sizzling. All that black smoke.” It was still dark out and the streets were slick—it was raining. The residents of Newton Avenue were still asleep while God had been busy frying bacon and pulling a man from sleep.

Back and forth, back and forth...
You've got a great lot of telling and no showing. The two main questions you need to start with are these:

Who is the main character? Where is their point of view?
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by Collectonian » February 23rd, 2011, 3:57 pm

*looks around* Okay, will dip my toe in. This is from Aisuru, To Love my young adult supernatural/fantasy romance set in Japan.
"I'm sorry Takeshi-san. I must run home to let my cat in the house before this storm breaks or he'll get wet. Please excuse me." The unworried looking boy barely waited for her to nod in acknowledgment before fleeing their classroom. From the window, Sakura watched him join his friends in front of the building. Of course it was a lie. The few times she had mistakenly been assigned class duties, her partner had always come up with some flimsy excuse or another to leave her with all the work. One had even claimed his grandmother was dying. A week later she'd seen him introducing the exact same woman, looking quite spry and healthy, at a school festival. At least when they ditched, she didn't have to endure their pathetic attempts at making polite chit-chat. It was annoying enough dealing with that requisite inanity during the occasional group assignments.

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by sierramcconnell » February 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm

Collectonian wrote:*looks around* Okay, will dip my toe in. This is from Aisuru, To Love my young adult supernatural/fantasy romance set in Japan.
"I'm sorry Takeshi-san. I must run home to let my cat in the house before this storm breaks or he'll get wet. Please excuse me." The unworried looking boy barely waited for her to nod in acknowledgment before fleeing their classroom. From the window, Sakura watched him join his friends in front of the building. Of course it was a lie. The few times she had mistakenly been assigned class duties, her partner had always come up with some flimsy excuse or another to leave her with all the work. One had even claimed his grandmother was dying. A week later she'd seen him introducing the exact same woman, looking quite spry and healthy, at a school festival. At least when they ditched, she didn't have to endure their pathetic attempts at making polite chit-chat. It was annoying enough dealing with that requisite inanity during the occasional group assignments.
I feel like I jumped in the middle of the book. Where is the beginning? Beginnings have a certain feel to them.

Also, I'm a strong supporter of white space. Everything here is so mashed up, it makes me fearful of the rest of the book. It'll probablylooklikethistomeandI'llbeextremelyboredafterawhilebecausekeythingswon'tbespacedcorrectly.

With the Japanese names and honorifics, it's going to be hard to tell who is who. Spacing is extremely important because of this. Even though I was a devoted manga\anime fan at one point, it's still confusing. Here's something you should do.

//"I'm sorry Takeshi-san. I must run home to let my cat in the house before this storm breaks or he'll get wet. Please excuse me." The unworried looking boy barely waited for her to nod in acknowledgment before fleeing their classroom.

From the window, Sakura watched him join his friends in front of the building. Of course it was a lie. The few times she had mistakenly been assigned class duties, her partner had always come up with some flimsy excuse or another to leave her with all the work. One had even claimed his grandmother was dying. A week later she'd seen him introducing the exact same woman, looking quite spry and healthy, at a school festival. At least when they ditched, she didn't have to endure their pathetic attempts at making polite chit-chat. It was annoying enough dealing with that requisite inanity during the occasional group assignments.//

NCNP. New Character, New Paragraph. It's almost always a good idea that when you are using a new character, you start a new paragraph. Because it gets really confusing really fast if...

Sally goes to the market to buy some bread. Dick stays home to play ball and he gets very dirty. Then she goes to the gas station to fuel up the car. But then he decides to go inside to get cleaned up.

It switches back and forth, back and forth. It's very messy and makes the reader's head swim. They will not like you.

Try starting from where she's watching him leave.

//Sakura Takeshi stood at the window of her homeroom class, watching the latest of her string of partners as he deserted her for home. She never could catch a break on an assignment. It was almost as if she were cursed.//
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Collectonian
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by Collectonian » February 23rd, 2011, 6:13 pm

Hmm, good point. I hadn't even thought about it being a "different character" since he's there so briefly. I'm usually good about doing that in other areas of dialog too. *doh* Modified version:
From the class window, Sakura Takeshi watched her cleaning duty partner as he joined his friends in front of the building. He really looked worried about his supposed cat getting caught in the rain. Another lie, and not even an original one at that. The few times she was mistakenly put on duty, her partner always found a reason to flee, leaving her to do everything alone. The last one had claimed his grandmother was on her death bed. He'd been a great actor, even faking a tear. A week later the supposedly dying woman was with him at a school festival, looking quite spry and healthy. At least she didn't have to endure some pathetic attempt at making polite chit-chat. It was annoying enough dealing with that requisite inanity during the occasional group assignments.

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by elmtree322 » March 12th, 2011, 6:50 pm

I'll give it a try! I should mention, this is non fiction, a travel memoir:

I was there to meet a prince. It was surprising even before you considered I was from a country that didn’t have a monarchy. The palace guard looked as skeptical about it as I was, and didn’t hide a snicker as he eyed my patterned tights and combat boots. Maybe I should have worn something else.

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by PR Griffin » March 13th, 2011, 7:57 am

elmtree322 wrote:I'll give it a try! I should mention, this is non fiction, a travel memoir:

I was there to meet a prince. It was surprising even before you considered I was from a country that didn’t have a monarchy. The palace guard looked as skeptical about it as I was, and didn’t hide a snicker as he eyed my patterned tights and combat boots. Maybe I should have worn something else.
I'm not sure about the surprising part, if you don't have a monarchy aren't you more likely to want to see aspects of one? After all look at all the tourists that visit Buckingham Palace every year. Also omit: didn't hide a snicker, and just put in The guard snickered more impactful. I like the first sentence and your apparel. Again more showing after your patterened tights and boots would give your paragraph greater impact. As in - I looked down at my patterned tights and combat boots, the worn leather leaving faint marks on the lush carpet etc... allow the reader to come to their own conclusion about how out of place your dress sense is. Keep it up though, it has a good beginning.

My own is a fiction work based in South west Ireland circa 1970's.

There is a rhythm to cutting peat. A slow cadence of sleán and fork, thrust and lift. April is the first month to welcome the cutting. A relief from the incessant winter winds that flatten the heather and bog grass of the Kerry hills. The land is wet and the peat comes up with a moist sucking sound that brings a smile to the cutter’s lips. When a man is of the land the smallest details give pleasure. To the peat cutters, the start of the season is as much a relief to them as April is to winter. For, after a long journey, winter enjoys the rest as much as spring enjoys its work.

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by GeeGee55 » March 14th, 2011, 10:50 pm

So many good beginnings! Lovely writing in this:
PR Griffin wrote:There is a rhythm to cutting peat. A slow cadence of sleán and fork, thrust and lift. April is the first month to welcome the cutting. A relief from the incessant winter winds that flatten the heather and bog grass of the Kerry hills. The land is wet and the peat comes up with a moist sucking sound that brings a smile to the cutter’s lips. When a man is of the land the smallest details give pleasure. To the peat cutters, the start of the season is as much a relief to them as April is to winter. This metaphor goes a bit too far for me, does winter feel relief when April arrives? For, after a long journey, winter enjoys the rest as much as spring enjoys its work.
I would keep reading this, just for the beautiful images and rhythm of the words.

RachelH: I like this version: They are very different and this one is more distant. The only change I might make is to drop the name of the ob/gyn unless it's absolutely necessary. On December 2, 2010, a Thursday morning, 47-year old Juliet Hill drove to Santa Monica, California for a ten o’clock appointment with her obstetrician-gynecologist Marcia Kulkanis, M.D. Juliet had been suffering with diarrhea and nausea for two weeks as well as drowsiness and fatigue. The muscles in her arms twitched and her skin itched.

I really really like this version: So interesting, introduces character and theme all at once.
Christopher Hill should have died in the fire. “It was God,” he explained later. “God woke me up.” By the time he clambered out of his bed, the flames had already chewed through the dining room and Cody’s bedroom. “Sounded like God was frying bacon in a skillet,love this phrase so unusual, creative” next-door neighbor Violet Davis observed. “All that popping and sizzling. All that black smoke.” It was still dark out and the streets were slick—it was raining. The residents of Newton Avenue were still asleep while God had been busy frying bacon and pulling a man from sleep.

And so you must make the difficult choice of what is best for the story over all?


Here's mine:

The Kelman baby died at eleven months, early in the strange, hot spring of 1938. His young parents lived in a one-room cabin in the Allanville District in the north of Saskatchewan. It was a land full of moisture--the earth rebounding like a sponge beneath the feet of the farmers who worked it--full of lakes, rivers and brooks, full of trees, birch, poplar, both black and white, pussy willows and jack pine. All through the 30’s, when the unrelenting wind blew tens of thousands of farmers off land that was vanishing into the sky, the north remained green. Until 1937. Then even the parklands dried up.
The way Rebecca Kelman dried up when her son died.

Thanks everyone for sharing your paragraphs.

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CharleeVale
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by CharleeVale » March 17th, 2011, 2:26 pm

I know that I am way late to the party with this, but here goes nothing:

"Not many people can claim to be responsible for death of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day they were born. I can. Nine who had been in surgery, sixty-two who had been on life support, eighteen who dropped dead when their pacemakers died, and thirty-seven from all the car crashes. I killed them, because I was given a power I could not control."

From my WIP Blackout.

CV

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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by sierramcconnell » March 17th, 2011, 3:35 pm

CharleeVale wrote:I know that I am way late to the party with this, but here goes nothing:

"Not many people can claim to be responsible for death of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day they were born. I can. Nine who had been in surgery, sixty-two who had been on life support, eighteen who dropped dead when their pacemakers died, and thirty-seven from all the car crashes. I killed them, because I was given a power I could not control."

From my WIP Blackout.

CV
Rewrite that as this:

Not many people can claim to be responsible for death of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day they were born. I can. I killed them, because I was given a power I could not control.

Because it has more impact. The list is droning.
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by siebendach » March 17th, 2011, 10:21 pm

Love the change sierra. In fact, I'd take it a step further: replace "because I was given" with the single word, "with".

IMO, the first sentence is a little early to explain the nuances of how the protag got the power --- and, unless the protag is a VERY unusual lifeform, most people will assume that a power he/she had on the day of their birth was "given to them" (rather than being attained in some other, more proactive way).

I might reconsider if the way the power was obtained was the most attention-grabbing thing about it. But I think the fact that the power can unintentionally kill 126 people is a bigger deal.

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