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Thread: Post the first 3 sentences of your WIP!

  1. #4226
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    Appreciate the comments. I must say, I think we sometimes get so caught up in this word "cliche." Everything that's ever been written has been written before. So who and what determines when it becomes cliched?
    In this case, the critics and the gatekeepers.

    The critics are a force of nature you can't control, but the gatekeepers -- agents and editors -- you have to deal with.

    I've sat in on workshops where agents talk about being bombarded with waking-up openings and dream openings, to the point where they have become an automatic reject. I've also seen this mentioned in agent blogs.

    The only reason you don't see more waking-up/dream openings in published books is because of what I just described. Most get weeded out.

    If you absolutely, positively must open with a character waking up from a dream, then make it the best, most compelling dream opening ever written. Make it matter. Having a character who wakes up scared from a dream she can't remember doesn't qualify.

  2. #4227
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    A good story can start anyplace.
    I would say...a really good writer can make any kind of opening work. But a good story starts in exactly the right place for that story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    I would say...a really good writer can make any kind of opening work. But a good story starts in exactly the right place for that story.
    Agreed! I love this stuff ...

  4. #4229
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    Three lines!


    He stands behind me, and I can feel the warmth of his breath on my bare back. The aroma of the morning's aftershave still lingers on his face, far too strong for me.

    I clear my throat.

  5. #4230
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    So who and what determines when it becomes cliched? I read that word on hear a lot and I often just shake my head ...
    Mostly it's determined by the agent or publisher who just rejected our work .

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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    Three lines!


    He stands behind me, and I can feel the warmth of his breath on my bare back. The aroma of the morning's aftershave still lingers on his face, far too strong for me. The other way make's it sound like it may be the speaker/narrators aftershave.

    I clear my throat.

    Not quite clear. I think I would say "The aroma of his morning aftershave still lingers. Far to strong for me." The other way make it sound like it might be the speaker/narrator's aftershave.

    I think those are two separate sentences. Maybe a semi-colon or a dash.

    Otherwise, I do like it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    Mostly it's determined by the agent or publisher who just rejected our work .
    I would agree. But here is where my point is missed, when does the opening become cliched? In my opinion, I don't know if something cliched until I read the piece in a whole. Because what may seem cliched on an initial glance, may actual be a wondeful fit and appropriate place.

    I had an editor read a piece I wrote, actually several did, and most (not all agreed) that the bedroom scene was the apppropriate place to begin.

    So I'm guess I'm merely saying, maybe we should jump up and yell "cliche" so quickly...

  8. #4233
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin 571ng3r's Avatar
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    Excruciating pain flowing through his body, Tesla awakes from his coma and sits straight up in his bed. Not realizing where he is for a moment, then he notices a IV lodged in his left forearm and the tubes up his nose from the oxygen mask. He thinks back to his last memory and realizes what had happened to him, he thinks that a random electric current must have struck him from his latest project, the Worm Hole Generator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WyattEarp View Post
    Not quite clear. I think I would say "The aroma of his morning aftershave still lingers. Far to strong for me." The other way make it sound like it might be the speaker/narrator's aftershave.

    I think those are two separate sentences. Maybe a semi-colon or a dash.

    Otherwise, I do like it...
    Thanks! Great feedback.

  10. #4235
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    Three lines!


    He stands behind me, and I can feel the warmth of his breath on my bare back. The aroma of the morning's aftershave still lingers on his face, far too strong for me.

    I clear my throat.
    Obviously a conversation is about to start, so I would keep reading to see what they say to each other.

    That first line is wordy. Could be:

    He stands behind me, his breath warm on my bare back.

    I find the contrast between the first line (which implies a pleasurable feeling, an acceptance of his presence there), and the second line (which shows distaste), to be interesting.

  11. #4236
    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    Ok here are my three.

    Hank watched the guppies flit away from his hungry turtle. In the corner, a beaten man slowly awoke to a world of pain. Hank smiled and whispered, "I think I'll call you guppy."
    Last edited by Writelock; 01-29-2013 at 02:55 AM. Reason: An innocent bystander got in the way of the Devil's shot.
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  12. #4237
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWriterBlocked View Post
    But here is where my point is missed, when does the opening become cliched? In my opinion, I don't know if something cliched until I read the piece in a whole. Because what may seem cliched on an initial glance, may actual be a wondeful fit and appropriate place.
    But even if you're correct, then to discover that the opening fits and isn't a cliche on this occasion, the person reading has to read past the cliche and finish the book. Agents and/or editors who believe this kind of opening to be a cliche simply won't read on. They'll turn to the next of the two hundred or so queries they've received that week. This is one of the harsh truths of publishing. It's a buyer's market.

    Maybe the bedroom scene is the right place to begin. In which case, you have to make it extremely well written to get past the initial response that it's a cliche. You're setting the bar higher for yourself. But it can be done.

  13. #4238
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neporsche View Post
    Hank watched the guppies flit away from his hungry turtle. In the corner a beaten man slowly awoke to a world of pain. Hank smiled and whispered, "I think I'll call you guppy."
    I confess, I first read this as the beaten man is in a corner of the fish tank. You might want to be clearer. Unless he is in the tank, of course.

  14. #4239
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    I confess, I first read this as the beaten man is in a corner of the fish tank.
    Me too
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."








  15. #4240
    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    Lmao I should have caught that .... to the edit button!
    The artist formally known as "Ne".

  16. #4241
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    Quote Originally Posted by 571ng3r View Post
    Excruciating pain flowing through his body, Tesla awakes from his coma and sits straight up in his bed. Not realizing where he is for a moment, then he notices a IV lodged in his left forearm and the tubes up his nose from the oxygen mask. He thinks back to his last memory and realizes what had happened to him, he thinks that a random electric current must have struck him from his latest project, the Worm Hole Generator.
    Hey, 571ng3r Welcome to the forums.

    Let me start off by saying that I love the idea of Tesla (or someone named after him) having been caught up in an accident with a Wormhole Generator machine

    However, this could really use a lot of work. I think you should take a look at some of the threads around here and look to improve your grammar. If, after doing some reading, you still donít understand how a sentence should be structured or when it is appropriate to use a comma, feel free to ask about it in the appropriate section.

    Ignoring the grammar itself, I feel that the third person present narrative voice youíve employed here feels very distant and impersonal.

  17. #4242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    I confess, I first read this as the beaten man is in a corner of the fish tank. You might want to be clearer. Unless he is in the tank, of course.
    I agree, looks like you are on it. Once the corner confusion is cleared up I would read this as a serial killer of some kind with his latest victim waking up in the corner. It's a good place to start I think. My first three was a snooze fest. Re-writing the whole first chapter based on the feedback here.

  18. #4243
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    Quote Originally Posted by 571ng3r View Post
    Excruciating pain flowing through his body, Tesla awakes from his coma and sits straight up in his bed. Not realizing where he is for a moment, then he notices a IV lodged in his left forearm and the tubes up his nose from the oxygen mask. He thinks back to his last memory and realizes what had happened to him, he thinks that a random electric current must have struck him from his latest project, the Worm Hole Generator.
    he thinks, he thinks. I think I would change it. "He remembers the Worm Hole Generator, his latest project. Maybe he was hit by a random electric current?"

    Also, I don't think you would have tubes up your nose AND and oxygen mask. One or the other. Probably, if he has been admitted to the hospital, he would just have the tubes up his nose from a breathing machine of some kind.

  19. #4244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neporsche View Post
    Ok here are my three.

    Hank watched the guppies flit away from his hungry turtle. In a corner of the room, behind the tank, a beaten man slowly awoke to a world of pain. Hank smiled and whispered, "I think I'll call you guppy."
    The edit you made clarified things a lot.

    As a person who doesnít know squat about fish tanks and the like, hereís what I have to say:
    - I think you should clarify that itís a fish tank. Otherwise, you may get people like me who imagine a man with an M1 Abrams and a turtle
    - I thought the turtle and the fish were in a pond at first. Then I got to the second sentence and figured it out.

    Iím not sure if Hank is addressing the other man or a guppy fish.

    Is this omni third or limited third? Iím just asking because it reads like omni, and I was wondering if that was what you were going for. Itís the mention of the other man waking up to ďa world of painĒ that makes it seem omni to me. I guess it wouldnít be unreasonable for Hank to know that a beat-up man is going to be in pain when he wakes up, but yeah. Maybe itís just me being weird.

    Hank sounds like a bad dude. If thatís what you wanted, then hooray! You did it!

    I would continue reading this story solely because Hank seems to be an evil Bond villain, and I want to read about him

  20. #4245
    I agree with Roxxsmom.
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    All the guy had to do was pick up a briefcase at point A and drop it off at point B. Simple as that. But he got greedy, decided half a million dollars was worth the risk.

  21. #4246
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin 571ng3r's Avatar
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    I have to say, I am loving the feedback.

    Thank you Dorky for your constructive criticism, it was helpful. Guess I will be keeping those grammar police busy, although I was merely posting the WIP excerpt for opinions about the story in general. Also, I feel like the WIP cannot be a warm and cozy personal type book.

    WyattEarp, thank you for your input as well. Your correct on the tubes subject. After some research the nasal cannula is the tube apparatus and the oxygen mask is a stand alone piece.

  22. #4247
    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    Thank you one and all for your feedback. I am amazed how much I missed in those three lines, everything from the body in the tank to the turtle in the Serman tank was spot on.

    ~N
    The artist formally known as "Ne".

  23. #4248
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neporsche View Post
    Lmao I should have caught that .... to the edit button!
    No no no no.... not the edit button. If you must revise a submission, then submit it in a new post. Otherwise people reading the thread fresh will be confused because the conversation will no longer make sense in sequence.
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."








  24. #4249
    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallithrix View Post
    No no no no.... not the edit button. If you must revise a submission, then submit it in a new post. Otherwise people reading the thread fresh will be confused because the conversation will no longer make sense in sequence.
    Angel on left shoulder: "Well? What are you waiting for? Start undoing the edit."

    Devil on right shoulder: "I got the winged whiner in my cross hairs, I can take him out with one shot. No one has to know."
    Last edited by Writelock; 01-28-2013 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Enternal struggle on my shoulders and no earplugs.
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  25. #4250
    illiterate primate Bing Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
    All the guy had to do was pick up a briefcase at point A and drop it off at point B. Simple as that. But he got greedy, decided half a million dollars was worth the risk.
    Give the guy a name* and it's perfect (at least to me).

    * On second thought, not necessary a name. A nick or job title (the "transporter" or something) will do as well but then you may need a transition/intro into his name.

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