250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

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

Post by Aimée » August 3rd, 2011, 2:00 am

Sanderling wrote: 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". ;)
This is why I wanted to post the first 500 words. Everything you brought up (why he's in the closet, etc.) is explained in the next few paragraphs of the story. :) And I suppose I should change curly to wavy. I was thinking sort of Russell Brand hair, definitely not Weird Al! Thanks for the comments!

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

Post by sierramcconnell » August 3rd, 2011, 8:29 am

Sanderling wrote: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.
It would probably make more sense if you had read the book previous. XD It's the opening to a sequel so I have a lean on familiarity! :lol: But thanks!
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » August 3rd, 2011, 10:32 am

Aimee,
I enjoyed your opening despite the lacking 500 word confusion. One question I had...does the hyper attention to detail fit your MC? It was wonderful but I found myself wondering how many people take note of cream colored carpet when there's a body on the bed.

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

Post by cheekychook » August 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Thanks for the kind words Collectonian and Dios4vida---glad I made you laugh.

Appreciate the comments, Sanderling---I'm not worried about the opening line, he's not melodramatic, he's over-the-top, on purpose. He knows "Marry me" is an inappropriate question to be asking someone he barely knows, that's why he's asking. It's actually the title of the novella. He continues to ask the same question throughout the beginning of their courtship, knowing it will always get a "no" reply, but once he realizes he actually means it (and would some day like a sincere "yes" from her) he'll stop asking until the time is right. ;)
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2011, 11:32 am

Aimee - Overall, I like your opening. You do a great job of building on the mystery - why was he in the closet? What exactly is going on? I would have liked to have the part about his hair moved down after an answer or two, though. The description of the heels, etc. was so great, building tension, making me want to know, and then - hair? Okee dokee. For the most part, though, a very intriguing beginning.
Brenda :)

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

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » August 3rd, 2011, 11:59 am

cheekychook wrote: He continues to ask the same question throughout the beginning of their courtship, knowing it will always get a "no" reply, but once he realizes he actually means it (and would some day like a sincere "yes" from her) he'll stop asking until the time is right. ;)
Fantastic. That sounds like a lovely reverse.

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

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 3rd, 2011, 3:49 pm

Well geez, folks, I disappear for a few days to move and start a new job and y'all are having all the fun without me. The 250 below are from my completed manuscript that I'm flogging to agents. I quickly scanned some of the earlier posts and it was enough incentive for me to withhold the first 250 from my current WIP. Talk about some fantastic writing! I'll try to get back tomorrow evening to make some more detailed comments :-)

The rolling hills of my beloved Brookfield had been cloaked in shadows for some hours. Even though a war raged, splitting the country in tow, I had thought my home unshakable, like the giant oaks that lined the drive.

I lay in my bed, watching the flickering flames of the fire cast shadows on the wall. It was well past midnight, for the slaves had retired to their cabins. The house was still.

The thunder of approaching horses followed by shouts and gunfire broke the silence. I bolted from my warm bed, my heart racing. From the window, I watched in terror as mounted soldiers issued from the trees and undergrowth surrounding our home. Some brandished weapons while others carried torches. The brass buttons on their uniforms reflected in the hellish light.

Yankees! How dare they come here!

I raced across the room and jerked open the door.

My father stood in the hallway, looking ghostly in his night shirt. In one hand was a revolver, the other clutched his saber. He was a well-known Confederate colonel, convalescing from wounds received in battle, and I wondered if these marauders were here to arrest him.

The front door crashed in below us.

“Julienne—get back to your room and bolt the door.”

“Father,” I said, but the word froze on my lips as he stepped onto the landing to confront the two men that were advancing up the staircase.

“What do you want?” He demanded.

The men pulled up short at the sight of my father’s weapons.

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

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2011, 4:18 pm

oldhousejunkie - Your 250 words are very evocative. I definitely felt like I was there with Julienne (and I love that name, not like it matters, but I do). Historical fiction isn't my thing, so I don't really know the ins and outs of beginnings for the genre, but I liked these.

I do wonder, though...in your first paragraph did you mean to say "splitting the country in TWO"?
Brenda :)

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

Post by Cookie » August 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm

Sanderling, sorry, about that! For some reason, I picture a male.
You do have a point about my opening. However, it may make sense, due to events that happen at the end of the book. You shall see.

NOW FOR MORE COMMENTS!

GLJ: I am intrigued. This wizard sounds like quite a character, and I am very curious to see how he tries to get a bride, but I do have to agree with the other comments about the dialogue. How old is the MC? To echo another comment, is that type of dialogue normal in that world? Very good characterization though. I can just picture the wizard sitting at the table, all lecherous.

ANIMADICTIO: I also got the sense that the MC was a horse, or a horse hybrid of some sort. It is a great opening regardless.

WORDRANGER: What a great way to get back story in there! I am very curious about your world. I think someone already pointed this out, but it does seem contradictory to say that the boy didn't hear what his father was saying, then to have the conversation right after.

WATCHER55:You have very descriptive writing, which I think is fantastic. However, it does come off as too much for an opening. I love the line: "...a boy who thinks his name is Ted."

LADYMARELLA: A letter, how interesting. I'm always intrigued by historical muder-mysteries.

MEGANSTIRLER: Wow! What a great opening! I am very curious to know who she is looking for, why, and how this person got there.

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

Post by Watcher55 » August 3rd, 2011, 5:27 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:Well geez, folks, I disappear for a few days to move and start a new job and y'all are having all the fun without me. The 250 below are from my completed manuscript that I'm flogging to agents. I quickly scanned some of the earlier posts and it was enough incentive for me to withhold the first 250 from my current WIP. Talk about some fantastic writing! I'll try to get back tomorrow evening to make some more detailed comments :-)

The rolling hills of my beloved Brookfield had been cloaked in shadows for some hours. Even though a war raged, splitting the country in tow, I had thought my home unshakable, like the giant oaks that lined the drive.

I lay in my bed, watching the flickering flames of the fire cast shadows on the wall. It was well past midnight, for the slaves had retired to their cabins. The house was still.

The thunder of approaching horses followed by shouts and gunfire broke the silence. I bolted from my warm bed, my heart racing. From the window, I watched in terror as mounted soldiers issued from the trees and undergrowth surrounding our home. Some brandished weapons while others carried torches. The brass buttons on their uniforms reflected in the hellish light.

Yankees! How dare they come here!

I raced across the room and jerked open the door.

My father stood in the hallway, looking ghostly in his night shirt. In one hand was a revolver, the other clutched his saber. He was a well-known Confederate colonel, convalescing from wounds received in battle, and I wondered if these marauders were here to arrest him.

The front door crashed in below us.

“Julienne—get back to your room and bolt the door.”

“Father,” I said, but the word froze on my lips as he stepped onto the landing to confront the two men that were advancing up the staircase.

“What do you want?” He demanded.

The men pulled up short at the sight of my father’s weapons.
Folks, y'all have just been inside an antebellum home.

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

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » August 4th, 2011, 9:15 am

[quote]

I lay in my bed, watching the flickering flames of the fire cast shadows on the wall. It was well past midnight, for the slaves had retired to their cabins. The house was still. [quote]

The fact that the slaves 'retired' gives me the picture of black gentlemen in livery turning into little cabin mansions of their own for the night. Certainly gives a particular kind of impression about the voice. Surprising to say the least as I think most novels of this period now reflect slaves as downtrodden shuffling back to shacks.

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

Post by sierramcconnell » August 4th, 2011, 11:51 am

Writecastlesinthesky wrote:

I lay in my bed, watching the flickering flames of the fire cast shadows on the wall. It was well past midnight, for the slaves had retired to their cabins. The house was still.

The fact that the slaves 'retired' gives me the picture of black gentlemen in livery turning into little cabin mansions of their own for the night. Certainly gives a particular kind of impression about the voice. Surprising to say the least as I think most novels of this period now reflect slaves as downtrodden shuffling back to shacks.
Two things. Some people back then actually -GASP- took care of their slaves. Also, if she's a naive kid, she might not know what it's like inside that cabin.

Or I might have totally misread that and you're complementing. I'm half-awake now, so I apologize if I'm confused. :3
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Sleeping Beauty » August 4th, 2011, 12:04 pm

IMO, I think "the slaves had retired" is fine, because I read it as from the perspective of a young rich girl, and I didn't think she'd quite understand what kind of life the slaves lead. I agree with Sierra - that phrasing makes her sound naive, but I feel it's intentional. (I don't personally think it could be said that any slaves were treated well, however.)

I'd post my 250 words, but I'm too intimiated by the high quality of excerpts in this thread to do so. ;)

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

Post by sierramcconnell » August 4th, 2011, 12:14 pm

Sleeping Beauty wrote:IMO, I think "the slaves had retired" is fine, because I read it as from the perspective of a young rich girl, and I didn't think she'd quite understand what kind of life the slaves lead. I agree with Sierra - that phrasing makes her sound naive, but I feel it's intentional. (I don't personally think it could be said that any slaves were treated well, however.)

I'd post my 250 words, but I'm too intimiated by the high quality of excerpts in this thread to do so. ;)
Aw, I'm sure it's fine. :3

And I meant as far as, not all of them were beaten mercilessly and kept in holes in the ground. Some were actually reluctant to leave their master's sides at the end, because they were fed, clothed, housed, and treated well under their care. Without them, they would have nothing. They don't teach that in History Class. They teach about the bad side of it. The rape and torture and the splitting up of families. But they don't teach that there were some people who were NICE. That liked to treat their servants with some respect.

Those people are going to be in your house, after all. You might not want to piss them off. Heck, look at what happened at the Myrtle's...

Slavery is bad, yes, but there was also indentured contracts that go before all of this. And servantry of a different sort before that. People selling and giving their children into other families for better relationships or because they couldn't keep them. It's not just boxed into this one section of time. Slavery had been going on for years, and still goes on today, even in America, though most people wouldn't even want to think about that...

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

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 4th, 2011, 1:15 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
Sleeping Beauty wrote:IMO, I think "the slaves had retired" is fine, because I read it as from the perspective of a young rich girl, and I didn't think she'd quite understand what kind of life the slaves lead. I agree with Sierra - that phrasing makes her sound naive, but I feel it's intentional. (I don't personally think it could be said that any slaves were treated well, however.)

I'd post my 250 words, but I'm too intimiated by the high quality of excerpts in this thread to do so. ;)
Aw, I'm sure it's fine. :3

And I meant as far as, not all of them were beaten mercilessly and kept in holes in the ground. Some were actually reluctant to leave their master's sides at the end, because they were fed, clothed, housed, and treated well under their care. Without them, they would have nothing. They don't teach that in History Class. They teach about the bad side of it. The rape and torture and the splitting up of families. But they don't teach that there were some people who were NICE. That liked to treat their servants with some respect.

Those people are going to be in your house, after all. You might not want to piss them off. Heck, look at what happened at the Myrtle's...

Slavery is bad, yes, but there was also indentured contracts that go before all of this. And servantry of a different sort before that. People selling and giving their children into other families for better relationships or because they couldn't keep them. It's not just boxed into this one section of time. Slavery had been going on for years, and still goes on today, even in America, though most people wouldn't even want to think about that...

[hops off soapbox]

Sierra is definitely right.

No one can deny that slavery was bad, but all the horrible things that went on have gotten more play in our history books/classes/popular culture. Of course, there were more incidences of abuse and wrong doing on the large plantations (200+ slaves) where the owners were more concerned with the bottom line and not what was actually going on. But in reality, many slaves were treated decent (defining decent as getting food, clothing, and housing) and some were considered family members (especially the "mammies" who were often put on a pedastal...especially by their male charges). I think the better treatment stemmed from the smaller plantations that had a lot more to lose by absuing their slaves (who were quite expensive). But then again who have historical figures such as Mary Boykin Chestnut, who was heavily entrenched in the Southern aristocracy, who wrote in her diaries that she taught every slave she came in contact with to read (which of course was a crime at the time). And don't even get me started on Thomas Jefferson!

Brenda--I definitely meant "two." Good catch!

Watcher--are you being sarcastic? :-) While I'm a southern girl at heart, and have been through my fair share of my plantation homes, I can proudly saw that I descend from a long line of small time farmers/sharecroppers and mill workers!

To everyone who commented on Julienne's naivete--she is kind of on the naive side at this time. She's smarter than the average southern belle (thanks to her father--who educated her like a boy) and has to "buck up" after what happens beyond the first 250. Her family is involved in horse breeding and not crops, so there slave population is fairly small. And her father (being the forward thinking man that he is) even has a black overseer (they grew up together...a lot of trust is there) who looks after the place. But even though the plantation is somewhat utopic, they are still virulent supporters of the Confederacy. They lean upon the State's Rights mantra, of course. When Julienne gets called out by her love interest, she stubbornly defends their way of life. I deliberately set it up as a paradox to some extent given that a lot of people felt this way (most notably Robert E. Lee who stated that he "could not raise a hand against the south" when Abraham Lincoln asked him to lead the Union army). OK, enough history for today! :-)

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