250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 1st, 2011, 11:36 am

Sommer - I love your style. I can feel the innate talent you have for writing. The first two paragraphs set up a definite dystopian world and a character that I'd be happy to follow. I was a bit thrown when you suddenly shifted from exploring for a new shortcut to sitting in a doctor's office. I can't see how the two are connected, other than happening to the same character. Is she thinking back to trying to find the shortcut? From your statement about not touching the body I'd gather so, but I'm still a little confused. Other than that, I think this is a great, intriguing opening.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 1st, 2011, 12:01 pm

dios4vida wrote:Sommer - I love your style. I can feel the innate talent you have for writing. The first two paragraphs set up a definite dystopian world and a character that I'd be happy to follow. I was a bit thrown when you suddenly shifted from exploring for a new shortcut to sitting in a doctor's office. I can't see how the two are connected, other than happening to the same character. Is she thinking back to trying to find the shortcut? From your statement about not touching the body I'd gather so, but I'm still a little confused. Other than that, I think this is a great, intriguing opening.
Thanks for the nice comments :-) This scene doesn't lend itself very well to being cut at 250 words, I don't think, just by virtue of the style it is written in. 250 stops right in the middle of a paragraph. The scene is the unfortunate consequences of searching for a new shortcut that unfolds during a physical examination and interrogation at gunpoint. I've debated whether this should be the first scene or come after the first chapter. I think it works better as the opener, personally, but it is something I'm going to explore with beta readers when I am done with the rewrites. I personally like the tense beginning, the feeling of not knowing what is about to happen in the same way the character doesn't know what is about to happen to her. But I can also see how it might make it hard for someone to get into the story with so much tension in the beginning.

I appreciate the feedback :-) I've read and reread this thing so many times it is sometimes hard to think about it from a new reader's perspective.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
Cookie
Posts: 540
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 11:18 am
Location: Berkshires
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Cookie » August 1st, 2011, 1:07 pm

Dios, Thanks! As I said, I just re-wrote it, so there might still be issues. It's fantasy, btw, and I do definitely make that clear within the first chapter. But now that you mention it, I should make it clear within the first few paragraphs.

How about something like: "In the land of...the imagination of a young boy..." Or is that too silly? Hmm. I will have to think on this.

Ok, now for my thoughts.

Writecastlesinthesky: There is some beautiful imagery there, and I think it's a great start. However, I found some of the phrases to be a little awkward. Also, it was a little confusing with the whole runner/prisoner thing.

Dios4vida: What a great opening sentence! I love the squashed toad analogy, it made me giggle. Others commented about being confused whether or not the Cairumen lived underground or not, but I didn't find it confusing.

Averymarsh:I think you have a great voice. I'm very curious to know why the MC is a freak or so unique.

Sanderling: Wow, that is a lot of world-building. I can imagine perfectly the type of town that he lives in. Also, I am intrigued to find out how he got into that accident. My guess is something supernatural happened.

Charleevale: While the opening reminds me of a book I do not like, I do think it is a beautiful opening. There is some beautiful imagery, and I can almost feel how the dress feels in my hands just by your words. I'm curious to know what the Vita is, and why your MC is so nervous about it.

Collectonian: It does come off as a little generic, but I'm still curious enough about Sakura to read on.

User avatar
sierramcconnell
Posts: 670
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 10:28 pm
Location: BG, KY
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by sierramcconnell » August 1st, 2011, 4:53 pm

Tardy to the party~! I'm not good at giving critique right now...but from what I have read all of this is very nice, and a couple are really good and I would love to read more!

This is my August NaNo, completely unedited. XD So yeah. Not that great really.

---

Waking up with the cold metal of the ship at his back and a two-foot-tall, angry tree creature pounding at his face wasn’t the worst way Pov had ever come to. However, it was certainly one of the most interesting. He lay still, taking the blows to his neck and chest and dodging the few scant hits to his cheeks and eyes with just a turn of his head this way and that. He waited for Ashleigh to be roused by Hector’s screaming of obscenities, and soon the fox-lord was aware enough to pull his kit up and hold him back.

Ashleigh was little less than amused as he groused. “What have you done now, Pov? Besides try to molest something with a pulse?”

“Funny you say that,” Pov half-laughed, “Sergei doesn’t have one…”

“You rotten-flithy-dirty-son-of-a-bitch!” Hector was flailing and screaming, his mouth near frothing with the foul words he wished to spew at Pov. “Don’t you dare ever come in my head again! He’s mine! Mine! Sergei belongs to me!”

Pov picked himself up and made a grand show of dusting off his cotton nightgown. “He didn’t seem too displeased.”

Hector’s eyes bulged with his rage and he turned into a torrent of energy that Ashleigh could barely contain. Between fits of obscene gestures, words not meant for any language, and attempting to claw Pov’s eyes out, the only thing they could make out was, “Never touch Sergei again!”

“From what I’m gathering, and believe me, it’s diffi—”

---

Hilariously, that's the middle of a paragraph, but he does cut off his sentence and it is 250 words exactly. LOL @ Ashleigh...
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

User avatar
cheekychook
Posts: 685
Joined: May 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by cheekychook » August 1st, 2011, 7:44 pm

Okay, I'll play. This is the first 250 of my brand new WIP (romance novella, started days ago, not edited so not nearly as polished as some other posts here--just for fun :D ).

“Marry me, Julia.”
Julia smirked, trying not to prick herself as she pinned the cuff of Ben’s trousers. “No. Now hold still before I have to redo this.”
He shifted, coming dangerously close to falling off the platform where he stood.“Why not?”
His voice alone was almost enough to make her say yes, crooning and velvety, and unmistakably British, her biggest weakness. “How about because we’ve never even been on a date?”
“Is that all?” He let his hands smack against his legs in an elaborate show. “Well then have drinks with me.”
“No.” She couldn’t keep the smile from creeping back across her face.
He was unbearably handsome. Over six feet of pure seduction, muscular legs, impossibly slim hips, broad, smooth chest, a face that could have been chiseled out of stone, all topped off with a mop of blond hair that was begging to be touched. This was the third fitting he’d had with her over the past three months, the first two for concerts in his band’s North East tour and this one for a photo shoot with GQ. She knew every inch of his perfect body. Well, nearly every inch. Her eyes drifted up toward his crotch, a tempting few inches from her face. The flush swept across her cheeks as she realized what she was doing. Jesus, Jules, be a little professional, would you?
“How about a burrito?” he asked.
“What?” The twinkle in his grey eyes was unmistakable. She knew he could tell he was wearing her down.
Image
http://www.karenstivali.com

Passionate Plume 1st Place Winner 2012 - ALWAYS YOU
Published with Ellora's Cave, Turquoise Morning Press & Samhain Publishing

Collectonian
Posts: 159
Joined: February 17th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Collectonian » August 1st, 2011, 10:35 pm

cheekychook wrote:“How about a burrito?” he asked.
“What?” The twinkle in his grey eyes was unmistakable. She knew he could tell he was wearing her down.
ROFLMAO, awesome line to follow up where she was glancing at!

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 2nd, 2011, 12:09 am

Sierra - Wow, that was raw writing, completely unedited? I wish mine was that good. Sometimes I'm lucky to get a second or third draft that refined. I love the writing, and the characters seem very engaging, but I have no idea what's happening right now. The two-foot-tall tree creature thing really threw me, especially since I'm not sure if that's actually one of the characters or whatnot. Overall though, your writing is very solid and the ideas seem really interesting.

Cheekychook - You made me laugh. I identified with Julia right away, even though I've never been in remotely the same situation she's in. Both she and smokin' hot Ben have a lot of character. I would love to follow them around for a while, and this is far removed from my normal genre. :) I have nothing but praise for your 250 words, I think they're excellent.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

User avatar
sierramcconnell
Posts: 670
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 10:28 pm
Location: BG, KY
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by sierramcconnell » August 2nd, 2011, 12:45 am

dios4vida wrote:Sierra - Wow, that was raw writing, completely unedited? I wish mine was that good. Sometimes I'm lucky to get a second or third draft that refined. I love the writing, and the characters seem very engaging, but I have no idea what's happening right now. The two-foot-tall tree creature thing really threw me, especially since I'm not sure if that's actually one of the characters or whatnot. Overall though, your writing is very solid and the ideas seem really interesting.
Aw, thanks! Maybe all the writing I've done has gotten my editor to work in instant mode. XD

The two-foot tall tree creature is Hector. He's half-mimosa, half-fox, and all pissed off. XD He's actually a cutie with his fuzzy head.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Writecastlesinthesky
Posts: 44
Joined: July 8th, 2011, 11:23 am
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » August 2nd, 2011, 8:31 am

sierramcconnell wrote:The two-foot tall tree creature is Hector. He's half-mimosa, half-fox, and all pissed off. XD He's actually a cutie with his fuzzy head.
I was about to ask about this context when I saw this. On its own the text is confusing but the sheer In-Your-Face writing drew me in if only to understand if my confusion was my own or the writing. Sounds like you have some fun characters!

Writecastlesinthesky
Posts: 44
Joined: July 8th, 2011, 11:23 am
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » August 2nd, 2011, 8:37 am

AveryMarsh wrote: Unique. It’s one of those words thrown out so much that it loses it meaning. Not in my case. I truly am one of a kind. But when people call me special, it’s said in either a mocking tone or a voice dripping with pity. Yes, I am one of a kind, but only by the process of elimination. The elimination of everyone else on my planet.

Or so I’m told.

Because the only thing I know for sure is that I am an amnesiac. Oh, and that I'm also apparently a…

“Freak!” I open my eyes and stare at the screen on the gym wall. In the corner, the words flash for the whole class to see: 24MPH. And I haven’t reached peak performance yet. Virtual trees whiz past as a long dirt road stretches for miles in front of me. I close my eyes and let my feet pound the padded belt as it adjusts itself to keep up.

Coach Cabel, one of six physical education instructors for S173, circles the machine on stick thin legs that somehow miraculously hold up his portly midsection. “Can you run faster?”

I shrug because I’m afraid to exhale too forcefully around the man. An errant breath might topple him end over end. He gestures for me to pick up the pace and I put everything into the run. 25. 26. 27. 28MPH. The track beeps, and the screen and voice announce in tandem, “You have reached your limit for this exercise.”
The crossection of a 'gym class scene' that everyone can relate to with scifi is fun and startling. I assume the story takes advantage of the MC's unique capabilities for some heroic adventure. I did wonder at the the interjection 'Freak!' if it was actually said or just imagined. There's no mention of classmates whatsoever and in my mind the scene has very different connotations if its just MC and Coach vs them plus other people. I enjoy the antithesis of the stereotypical coach.

trixie
Posts: 311
Joined: January 4th, 2011, 12:35 pm
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by trixie » August 2nd, 2011, 1:20 pm

Ohhh! I'll play! Though in total fairness, it might take me a while to get comments out to all of you who have posted, so please bear with me. And after scanning some other submissions, I'm hesitant to put this over-descriptive section out here since I know it needs a lot of work, but the only way I'll get better is by taking chances and reading others' submissions, right? Right. Here goes...

***
“Coming!” Jo cried from the deep recesses of the antique shop. The impatient customer at the counter rang the bell twice in response and Jo sighed in frustration.

Looking at the items she had pulled together for her new project, Jo exhaled sharply, blowing her brunette bangs up in the air. The bell dinged again and Jo resisted the urge to scream.

“Jesus, they’re antiques, people,” she muttered. “They get better with age.” Jo set down the heavy turntable she had been moving across the floor, wiped her dusty hands on her jeans, and made her way to the counter at the back of the store.

Ben, the store manager and family friend, finally gave in to Jo’s pleas to make her own store display. The antique shop was divided into small show rooms by areas of interest or type of room. The straight back chairs and the walnut table were placed in the dining room along with the crystal chandelier, multiple silver sets, and the delicate bone china Ben had picked up from an estate sale last season. The library had a Victorian feel with its chintz lampshade and velvet settee on a nice Persian rug along side shelves of books and an assortment of reading glasses.

Jo loved to spend time in the library and Ben often found her lounging on the antique settee, flipping through rare first editions or out of print books. She had learned quickly to don a pair of cotton gloves before thumbing through the ancient pages.

User avatar
sierramcconnell
Posts: 670
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 10:28 pm
Location: BG, KY
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by sierramcconnell » August 2nd, 2011, 1:36 pm

trixie wrote:Ohhh! I'll play! Though in total fairness, it might take me a while to get comments out to all of you who have posted, so please bear with me. And after scanning some other submissions, I'm hesitant to put this over-descriptive section out here since I know it needs a lot of work, but the only way I'll get better is by taking chances and reading others' submissions, right? Right. Here goes...

***
“Coming!” Jo cried from the deep recesses of the antique shop. The impatient customer at the counter rang the bell twice in response and Jo sighed in frustration.

Looking at the items she had pulled together for her new project, Jo exhaled sharply, blowing her brunette bangs up in the air. The bell dinged again and Jo resisted the urge to scream.

“Jesus, they’re antiques, people,” she muttered. “They get better with age.” Jo set down the heavy turntable she had been moving across the floor, wiped her dusty hands on her jeans, and made her way to the counter at the back of the store.

Ben, the store manager and family friend, finally gave in to Jo’s pleas to make her own store display. The antique shop was divided into small show rooms by areas of interest or type of room. The straight back chairs and the walnut table were placed in the dining room along with the crystal chandelier, multiple silver sets, and the delicate bone china Ben had picked up from an estate sale last season. The library had a Victorian feel with its chintz lampshade and velvet settee on a nice Persian rug along side shelves of books and an assortment of reading glasses.

Jo loved to spend time in the library and Ben often found her lounging on the antique settee, flipping through rare first editions or out of print books. She had learned quickly to don a pair of cotton gloves before thumbing through the ancient pages.
I have problems with a couple of the antique things. It seems cliche. I've been in antique\junk stores and they don't look that fancy! XD

Also, bone china is not as delicate as you'd think unless it's formed into sculptures with fine breakable pieces.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_china

Developed by English potter Josiah Spode, bone china is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency[2], and very high mechanical strength and chip resistance[3].

I own some and that stuff is rather rough. I've dropped it and it doesn't break as much as you'd think so long as it's on carpet or rug. Now floor...heck, everything breaks on floor! XD

But aside from that, I like the writing, even though it's not as tight as I feel it should be. It's sorta scattered a bit at the top, but holds a good grasp of detail.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 2nd, 2011, 1:38 pm

I do agree, trixie, that this opening is pretty heavy on description. The brief glimpse we get of Jo shows a woman with a lot of character (I love her muttering about antiques getting better with age, a muffled way to vent her impatience) but we see a lot more of the room than her. I'd suggest putting more Jo up front and leave the room, albeit lush and gorgeous, for later. I wanna know who's ringing that bell and what Jo's gonna do. With all of that said, though, the description itself is well done. I think your writing is rock solid, it just needs to be put into a pretty arrangement.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Aimée
Posts: 296
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Michigan
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Aimée » August 2nd, 2011, 10:23 pm

I have multiple novels I'm working on, but I decided to share this one, my latest WIP, which is literary fiction with some thriller qualities. However, the first 250 words are not as suspenseful as the next 250. I wish I could post the first 500! :)

I'll definitely offer critiques on the other entries when I get the chance!



The door clicked closed. Through the cracks in the closet door I could see the girl splayed out on the bed, the sheets tangled around her body, which I assumed was naked; clothes were strewn all over the cream-colored carpet. Her red stilettos lay there on the floor next to the bed so sexy and empty; half an hour ago, her painted toes were inside those heels, attached to those long slender legs.

I gulped. On my hands and knees, I slowly pushed open the closet door. Luckily it didn't squeak. I crawled forward over the young woman's dress and the man's jacket, which he must have forgotten to put on before he left.

I tried to stay low, just in case the girl woke up, but it was difficult and uncomfortable. At six-two and one-hundred-and-not-enough pounds, compacting myself is quite the task. Plus my hair kept falling in front of my face, blocking my vision.

With hair as beautiful as yours, my mum used to tell me, it would be a waste not to grow it out. So my hair, curly and jet black, flows past my shoulders. Most people would think that this kind of hair on a man is unattractive, even disgusting, but conditioner, I tell you, is a necessary tool; more women like it than they dislike it, I've found. It's the same hair my dad had, but he always kept it short, shaved close to his skull. He cut off his hair just like he cut off me and my mum, that prick.

User avatar
Sanderling
Posts: 187
Joined: July 3rd, 2011, 4:47 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Sanderling » August 3rd, 2011, 1:27 am

Cookie wrote:Sanderling: Wow, that is a lot of world-building. I can imagine perfectly the type of town that he lives in. Also, I am intrigued to find out how he got into that accident. My guess is something supernatural happened.
This comment was very enlightening, Cookie - the protagonist is a girl, but I didn't realize that because of the first-person POV, this isn't made obvious till someone says her name 650 words in. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. :) And yes, something supernatural happened ...but being a pantser, I don't know what it was yet. ;)

---------------------

Lots of great new additions! I'm so impressed with everyone's writing skill so far - not a cringe-worthy one in the lot. ;) Here're my comments, catching up:

Cookie - This is really well-written, and I think captures the character of the boys really well. Stylistically I don't have much to say. However, I felt like it was the opening to a chapter, rather than to a novel. A chapter opening is tethered on either side by the rest of the manuscript, but a novel opening needs to be solid enough to anchor the book. This seems to be Kazunari's story, but the opening action focuses on Yaten. Without knowing what comes after, I might be inclined to cut out the first few paragraphs and start at “Kazunari, are you still in there?” instead - the point that Yaten wants to go and is throwing a fit could be quickly summarized in a sentence at the end of that paragraph.

ladymarella - You sure catch a reader's attention with that first line! I like the premise of this as an opening. I would caution that you make sure the language is strictly period, though, especially when in the form of a letter. You've done a good job of this for most of it - "which I find quite spiteful" and "I received Josiah Sharpay" are very period, and even without reading a date on the letter I can get a good sense of where and when the letter-writer lived. But watch that casual, more modern words such as "Anyway" don't sneak in and ruin the effect. On a different note, she doesn't seem as though she's overly upset by her husband's death - this may be intentional, but I thought I'd mention it in case it wasn't. ;)

meganstirler - I have to admit that I'm not that fond of openings that leave the reader in the dark about important details for a few or several paragraphs. I know some people who find the mystery builds tension or intrigue, but I just find it frustrating. That said, the writing itself is well done, and I feel as though, had I been allowed to read another page or two further the questions created by the first two paragraphs would all have been answered.

Sommer Leigh - I really liked this opening. Like Brenda, I was a little confused immediately about just which setting we were in, but I think if you merged the first and second paragraphs it would make more sense that the bit about Zoe searching for the new route is still flashback. Also, partway in, you wrote, "the doctor tied off a rubber strap around her upper arm where it bit and stretched her skin" and my first interpretation was that the "where it" part was referring to a location on her arm, not the action of the rubber strap. ;) It's possible all it needs is a comma for clarification. Both the first and third sentences of that paragraph are passive voice, too; I think the first one works okay, but I'd change the third one to start with the person who is placing the ball in her fingers. Great writing, though, and very intriguing. Also, congrats on 1000 posts. :)

sierramcconnell - You've done a good job with the writing in this opening. I admit to being a little confused at first through that first paragraph or two, as a bunch of unfamiliar names and associations are thrown at the reader (for instance, the banter about the pulse makes no sense on its own, which leaves us to assume the tree-creature hitting Pov's face is Sergei, except then who's this super-angry Hector?). What I said about megan's opening applies here, too, to a lesser degree; I don't like to have more than one or two questions after the first few paragraphs. ;) I really like your first two sentences, though - just that there gives me a pretty good idea of the sort of character Pov is.

cheekychook - I really like the banter you've introduced between these two characters. I think your writing's very smooth, too. I did, however, feel that the first few lines, from "Marry me, Julia" to "Is that all?" felt a little forced, more like the author was trying for a really good opening hook than because the characters would actually have said that series of dialogue. It makes the male character seem somewhat melodramatic, especially if he's asking this after just three fittings. ;) If you want a spontaneous question for a hook, though, given that he's part of a band doing a tour he could say "Come with me to New York, Julia" or something like that.

trixie - Your writing is quite strong for most of this opening. The only spot that I thought could use improvement was "Looking at the items she had pulled together for her new project, Jo exhaled sharply, blowing her brunette bangs up in the air. The bell dinged again and Jo resisted the urge to scream" - this felt a little over-acted. I also agree with Brenda on the extra description - especially considering that there's an impatient customer waiting at the front desk. ;) The descriptive paragraphs are good, but I think should be moved down a bit later if you don't want to trim them. I loved this expression of frustration: “Jesus, they’re antiques, people,” she muttered. “They get better with age.”

Aimée - Another well-written opening. I'll confess that I thought at first that this was a murder mystery and the naked girl with the red stilettos was the victim. I had to read it twice to realize that the first door clicking closed was the bedroom or the apartment door, not the closet door where the MC was hiding; also, it's not clear what the MC is doing in the closet in the first place, which leaves me feeling a bit confused. I agree with the MC's mom - I like well-groomed long hair on a man. Though my preference is more to wavy than curly... I tend to pull up images of Weird Al Yankovic with the latter. ;) I really like the personal story that's introduced in that final paragraph, especially the final sentence, but think it probably wouldn't actually be something that was going through the MC's mind as he's crawling across the floor trying not to wake up a sleeping naked girl. My mental running commentary would probably be something along the lines of "Crap, crap, crap, crap, please don't wake up, please don't wake up, I'm so screwed, oh crap, oh crap". ;)
My blog / Twitter
.
"Because if you have at least a modicum of talent and if you live by these six rules, you will make it."
--Robert J. Sawyer, speaking here of Heinlein's Rules.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests