Your first Pargraph!

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GeeGee55
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by GeeGee55 » March 18th, 2011, 12:26 am

CharleeVale wrote:"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."
This is interesting. For me, there is a problem with the construction of the first sentence. The day they were born in the last clause refers to the one-hundred and twenty-six people since that's the preceding noun - so it could be taken to mean that those 126 people were killed on the day they were born, which I don't think is the meaning you intended. Would it be more clear to say: Not many people (men or women) can claim to be responsible for the deaths of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day he or she was born? I know this is nitpicking, but you don't want to start the novel with a grammatical error, even if everyone does intuit what you mean.

I don't mind the list actually, it gives me something visual to imagine. And, I might keep the phrase I was given a power I could not control. It gives a bit of character of the narrator - that we are given powers is not something everyone believes.

This is just my opinion, of course. Good luck with your story.

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sierramcconnell
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by sierramcconnell » March 18th, 2011, 8:40 am

siebendach wrote: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.
Ooh, yeah, totally feel that. 'with a power' sounds much better. :3
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vasilisa
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by vasilisa » March 18th, 2011, 1:06 pm

A bit late to the party...can I play? I'll comment a bit later on other people's.

Here's mine:
"Listening to the conversation going on in the study for the past half hour had given me an increased sense of panic. I had come here for some privacy, but instead of reading novels, I should have made myself scarce. My mind raced with all the possibilities, turning them over and over was useless; I needed action—but how? The only door was at the far end of the room, and the window... I looked down three storeys and shuddered."

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CharleeVale
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by CharleeVale » March 18th, 2011, 3:54 pm

GeeGee55 wrote: This is interesting. For me, there is a problem with the construction of the first sentence. The day they were born in the last clause refers to the one-hundred and twenty-six people since that's the preceding noun - so it could be taken to mean that those 126 people were killed on the day they were born, which I don't think is the meaning you intended. Would it be more clear to say: Not many people (men or women) can claim to be responsible for the deaths of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day he or she was born? I know this is nitpicking, but you don't want to start the novel with a grammatical error, even if everyone does intuit what you mean.

I don't mind the list actually, it gives me something visual to imagine. And, I might keep the phrase I was given a power I could not control. It gives a bit of character of the narrator - that we are given powers is not something everyone believes.

This is just my opinion, of course. Good luck with your story.
Thanks for your input guys!

.....does 'on the day of their birth' work?

CV

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polymath
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by polymath » March 18th, 2011, 4:28 pm

CharleeVale wrote: "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."
A promising premise suggesting an uncontrolled, paranormal electromagnetic pulse talent.

I feel there's two related areas keeping the opening paragraph from full realization. One, it's a recital of backstory summary, a tell; two, it tells the main dramatic complication up front. The former, the backstory details effects without first detailing causes. Illogical causation. Consider opening with how and why the first-person narrator comes to know or remember the events of her birthday so that causes precede effects.

The latter, giving away the main dramatic complication up front gives readers a spectacle with which to identify with, sure, though giving it away up front limits readers' engaging their creative vision. When readers' creative vision doesn't engage fully, readers have difficulty engaging altogether. Consider showing the paranormal talent in action and how the narrator personally relates to it from the time of present remembrance or the time of future remembrance of the birth events so that readers fully engage their creative vision.

I'd like very much like to read about a paranormal electromagntic pulse talent and the personal problems and purposes it presents. Some high entertainment value there.
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GeeGee55
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Re: Your first Pargraph!

Post by GeeGee55 » March 18th, 2011, 10:52 pm

CharleeVale:

Perhaps it is just me who is confused.
polymath wrote:"Not many people can claim to be responsible for the death(s) of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day they were born.
It is not clear to me from this sentence whether the phrase on the day they were born refers to the one-hundred and twenty six people or to the not many who can claim to be responsible for their deaths. When you go into the list it becomes more clear that the deaths occurred on the day of the narrator's birth. And then, further, due to he/she being given a power which he/she cannot control. Not many people is a tricky phrase to use properly with this construction. Because not many implies more than one, therefore, it's plural, as are the one-hundred and twenty six people. And so, I'm not even sure how to fix it, but it seems to me that clarity and correct grammar are very important.

So, sorry, that's probably not much help. Perhaps: I don't know another woman who can claim to be responsible for the deaths of one-hundred and twenty six people on the day she was born.

Good luck with your story. I like the idea a lot.

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