Share your opening sentence!

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charlotte49ers
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by charlotte49ers » August 9th, 2010, 11:13 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Charlotte49ers, you're quite right. 'My name is Jimmy Fort.' is short and prosaic, and deliberately so. The next sentence? 'I am sixteen.' Even shorter and more prosaic!

Jimmy has quite an extraordinary tale to tell, so I decided he should begin it in a matter-of-fact way. But the third sentence is a very different matter!

Your own first sentence goes the other way, intriguing and evocative, without spelling things out, or needing to. We don't yet know who or what the Forsaken are, but we'd like to find out.
lol That's what I was hoping to hear!! I got a little nervous for a second. :-P

And thanks for the comments on mine!

Camden
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Camden » August 10th, 2010, 12:01 am

ninafromnorway: 6/10

I've run into this issue describing pain. There are few words synonymous to pain so the word loses its impact as soon as you use it because we've all heard it used before. Paper cut = pain. Chopped off leg = pain. Playful pinches = pain. Then comes the shooting pain, then shooting pain that is also so excruciating you need to cringe, because of course pain is too simple of a term and needs to be modified two or three times, maybe a hundred before we ever describe what pain feels like using that overused word.

Would I read on? Sure, but not because she's in pain or because I have any real way to feel or understand it. As far as hooks go, it is probably more interesting than my first:

The tall grasses whipped and bit against his legs as Caius ran flat out through the fields.

When I do get into pain, I describe the injury in grotesque graphic detail until the word 'pain' seems unnecessary.

ninafromnorway
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by ninafromnorway » August 10th, 2010, 6:00 am

Camden wrote:ninafromnorway: 6/10

I've run into this issue describing pain. There are few words synonymous to pain so the word loses its impact as soon as you use it because we've all heard it used before. Paper cut = pain. Chopped off leg = pain. Playful pinches = pain. Then comes the shooting pain, then shooting pain that is also so excruciating you need to cringe, because of course pain is too simple of a term and needs to be modified two or three times, maybe a hundred before we ever describe what pain feels like using that overused word.

Would I read on? Sure, but not because she's in pain or because I have any real way to feel or understand it. As far as hooks go, it is probably more interesting than my first:

The tall grasses whipped and bit against his legs as Caius ran flat out through the fields.

When I do get into pain, I describe the injury in grotesque graphic detail until the word 'pain' seems unnecessary.
Thank you for that! I now have a handful of new ideas to write as the first sentence! I will have to make a repost.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

theepicwinner
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by theepicwinner » August 12th, 2010, 3:50 pm

From my current WIP:

It started with an earthquake.

Not sure if "it started with" is a cliche. Maybe somebody could enlighten me?
"If you can think it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it" - Evan Taubenfeld

Don't give up on your dreams.

ninafromnorway
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by ninafromnorway » August 13th, 2010, 6:28 am

theepicwinner: I'd give it a 5/10. It's not particularily exciting in itself, but I want to know if the earthquake is a metaphor, or if it is the beginning of the end of the world. It sort of promises ecxitement.

I changed my first sentence to my current WIP. Previously it was:
I cringed as the wave of pain shot through me again - It was excruciating, but I knew I had many more hours ahead of me.

And I have now changed it to:
I was sure my spine was going to break this time – like chains wrapped around my stomach being pulled by horses on each side, forcing me to hold my breath.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Camden
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Camden » August 13th, 2010, 9:31 am

ninafromnorway wrote: And I have now changed it to:
I was sure my spine was going to break this time – like chains wrapped around my stomach being pulled by horses on each side, forcing me to hold my breath.
Grr, you skipped me.

Well I certainly cringed this time. On second thought, this kind of an opening would make a certain segment of the population put the book down. For people not in the segment, it gets an 8.

When I do get into pain, I've lulled the reader into a false sense of serene security so that it shocks them but doesn't turn them away. This has the effect of starting a movie with, well, horses tugging out someone's stomach (which feels like a spine?). I remember I'd used to read young adult novels at 8 or 9 that would go on for 200 pages of basically drivel, and then pull something like breaking spines somewhere during the climax. So yes, you can use this imagery even for kids, but this might be over the top, especially to start.

Somewhere in the middle then. If you want me to get pain, you don't need to go this far. The porridge is too hot.
Last edited by Camden on August 13th, 2010, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

One of the Mad Ones
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by One of the Mad Ones » August 13th, 2010, 1:54 pm

Technically, my first sentence is this: "This is a scene from a movie, the opening one." But the first page is sort of a meta-narrative thing.

The first sentence of the actual narrative is this: "The winter before I turned ten, when the days were short and bruise-like and the city was constantly tearing down the beaver dam behind our trailer park, I saw dead birds everywhere, lying in shadows and at the edges of woods."

Margo
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Margo » August 13th, 2010, 2:14 pm

One of the Mad Ones wrote:"The winter before I turned ten, when the days were short and bruise-like and the city was constantly tearing down the beaver dam behind our trailer park, I saw dead birds everywhere, lying in shadows and at the edges of woods."
I'm liking this one. I'm giving it a 9.5. I like the rhythm, the voice, and the evocative edge to it. I'd give it a 10, but I'm not getting what 'bruise-like' is intending here. It definitely sounds good, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Margo
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Margo » August 13th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Camden wrote: The tall grasses whipped and bit against his legs as Caius ran flat out through the fields.
Seeing as you got skipped, I'll weigh in. Hmmm, a 7, I think. As you said, not incredibly exciting, but I think that's okay. It does have sensory detail to draw me in and it does bring up the question of why Caius is running. Toward something or away? In happiness or danger? The questions would keep me going for three or four more sentences before I'd need more reason to keep going.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Mike Dickson
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Mike Dickson » August 13th, 2010, 2:43 pm

I went back a page and didn't see a first sentence that hasn't already been rated, so here's mine.




A single recessed light bulb flickers on every morning around the same time.

Camden
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Camden » August 13th, 2010, 2:50 pm

Margo wrote:
Camden wrote: The tall grasses whipped and bit against his legs as Caius ran flat out through the fields.
Seeing as you got skipped, I'll weigh in. Hmmm, a 7, I think. As you said, not incredibly exciting, but I think that's okay. It does have sensory detail to draw me in and it does bring up the question of why Caius is running. Toward something or away? In happiness or danger? The questions would keep me going for three or four more sentences before I'd need more reason to keep going.
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1539&start=410 <--- my first page is here in the town hall section if you would please read. I'm debating the use of the second person experimentally for the length of just the first paragraph before settling into the routine of the limited third. Prior to the beginning of the story is a tiny prologue set in the center of the page by itself:

Few exact dates are remembered throughout history. The day a war starts or ends does not matter a hundred wars down the road. The day a country is born does not matter a hundred years after its fall. Even the traumatic days, the ones that change everyone all at once, are not traumatic to those who are born afterward. And so dates fade into history. After a time we all forget the demons and victories of the past and dream of the promise of the future.

March 15th, 2337 was not such a date. Those who came after would not dream of promise. If they could, they would willingly give their all to have time move backwards and give them a future that would lead them all the way back to the African jungle. They would dream of March 14th.


And then the story begins of the 14th with Caius running. The chapter ends, of course, in the beginning of calamity.

Margo
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Margo » August 13th, 2010, 3:03 pm

Camden wrote: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1539&start=410 <--- my first page is here in the town hall section if you would please read. I'm debating the use of the second person experimentally for the length of just the first paragraph before settling into the routine of the limited third.
I would have prefered the third person all the way through. In general I'm not a fan of second person, though it's not uncommon. I find it especially jarring if it comes up only on occasion or only in a passage here or there. It reminds me as a reader that I am separate from the story; there is a difference between Caius and me. I'm addressed separately. That makes it harder to feel what Caius is feeling. Would you like more comments (I can send them privately if you'd like), or is this the only point you're wondering about right now?
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Camden
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Camden » August 13th, 2010, 3:49 pm

Feel free to send me all the comments you have privately. I think second person seems a little amateurish, which I suppose I am, except that I did it on purpose. I'm always wondering about all things.

One of the Mad Ones
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by One of the Mad Ones » August 13th, 2010, 3:57 pm

Margo wrote:
One of the Mad Ones wrote:"The winter before I turned ten, when the days were short and bruise-like and the city was constantly tearing down the beaver dam behind our trailer park, I saw dead birds everywhere, lying in shadows and at the edges of woods."
I'm liking this one. I'm giving it a 9.5. I like the rhythm, the voice, and the evocative edge to it. I'd give it a 10, but I'm not getting what 'bruise-like' is intending here. It definitely sounds good, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean.
Eh, bruise-like was my attempt at the color of mountain winter skies. I never questioned it til now, so thanks for making me take another look!

Margo
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Re: Share your opening sentence!

Post by Margo » August 13th, 2010, 4:18 pm

One of the Mad Ones wrote:Eh, bruise-like was my attempt at the color of mountain winter skies. I never questioned it til now, so thanks for making me take another look!
Ohhhhhh, ok, that makes sense. For some reason my mind instantly went not the color of a bruise but the sensation of one, and I was trying to figure out how a bruise related to how the days felt. Might just be me. Others might find it perfectly clear. If not, a couple of words, a minor rephrasing, and it should be easy to make it clear you're refering to the color and the sky.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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