[Critique Game] Post The First Three Sentences of your Short Story

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
Hi everyone...have three sentences from a new story called 'Bukhara'


If ever Allah’s eternal splendor favored his servant’s lands, none compared to the luster of the Khwarezmian Empire, and its Shah Ala al-din Muhammad, bethroned in the prophet’s name, Allah’s will upon the earth. To the blade he culled infidel tribes, his empire stretching the silk road from Tabriz to the city of Samarkand, abundant in wealth like sand, sacred in gold-embroidered verses. Whomsoever had coveted his land’s end had suffered the wrath of a thousand daggers.
 
  • Love
Reactions: T. D. Hunter

Lakey

professional dilettante
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
774
Location
New England
Hi everyone...have three sentences from a new story called 'Bukhara'


If ever Allah’s eternal splendor favored his servant’s lands, none compared to the luster of the Khwarezmian Empire, and its Shah Ala al-din Muhammad, bethroned in the prophet’s name, Allah’s will upon the earth. To the blade he culled infidel tribes, his empire stretching the silk road from Tabriz to the city of Samarkand, abundant in wealth like sand, sacred in gold-embroidered verses. Whomsoever had coveted his land’s end had suffered the wrath of a thousand daggers.
Rilind, I like this opening much more than I liked the previous one you shared. It's just as lush, just as resplendent in style, without the confusing syntax and unclear turns of phrase. I'm delighted to see you achieve such stylistic flourish without so much sacrificing of clarity. Because I am not tying myself into knots trying to parse ambiguous clauses or suss out the intended head of a dangling modifier, I can just dip myself into the lush prose like a bubble bath, and settle in for the epic tale that is to come. Very nice!

:e2coffee:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rilind Modigliani

Lakey

professional dilettante
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
774
Location
New England
Here's the opening of a story I've been working on -- like an opening I shared some time ago, it's another story that begins with a character coming across a life-changing book. Hm.

Amanda cradles the book in both hands; she can hardly believe it’s here. She has lurked in McIntyre’s second-hand bookstore for weeks, hoping its musty shelves would offer up this prize, but never really expecting it—because who would want to get rid of a Dorothy Spanger novel? She pictures it crammed in a crate with yellowing paperbacks and discarded diet books, and holds it to her chest, as if to soothe it after an ordeal.​
:e2coffee:
 

ap123

Twitching
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 4, 2007
Messages
5,399
Reaction score
1,209
Location
In the 212
Here's the opening of a story I've been working on -- like an opening I shared some time ago, it's another story that begins with a character coming across a life-changing book. Hm.

Amanda cradles the book in both hands; she can hardly believe it’s here. She has lurked in McIntyre’s second-hand bookstore for weeks, hoping its musty shelves would offer up this prize, but never really expecting it—because who would want to get rid of a Dorothy Spanger novel? She pictures it crammed in a crate with yellowing paperbacks and discarded diet books, and holds it to her chest, as if to soothe it after an ordeal.​
:e2coffee:
Hi Lakey!
I like this and would read on--but I'd omit "really" and "because" in that second sentence to tighten.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lakey

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
Rilind, I like this opening much more than I liked the previous one you shared. It's just as lush, just as resplendent in style, without the confusing syntax and unclear turns of phrase. I'm delighted to see you achieve such stylistic flourish without so much sacrificing of clarity. Because I am not tying myself into knots trying to parse ambiguous clauses or suss out the intended head of a dangling modifier, I can just dip myself into the lush prose like a bubble bath, and settle in for the epic tale that is to come. Very nice!

:e2coffee:

Lakey...

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am glad this reads better, flows a little more. The refining is coming along then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lakey

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
Here's the opening of a story I've been working on -- like an opening I shared some time ago, it's another story that begins with a character coming across a life-changing book. Hm.

Amanda cradles the book in both hands; she can hardly believe it’s here. She has lurked in McIntyre’s second-hand bookstore for weeks, hoping its musty shelves would offer up this prize, but never really expecting it—because who would want to get rid of a Dorothy Spanger novel? She pictures it crammed in a crate with yellowing paperbacks and discarded diet books, and holds it to her chest, as if to soothe it after an ordeal.​
:e2coffee:
It reads nicely...
 

angelisa fontaine-wood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
57
Location
place des rosettes
Website
angelisawood.blogspot.com
Hi everyone...have three sentences from a new story called 'Bukhara'


If ever Allah’s eternal splendor favored his servant’s lands, none compared to the luster of the Khwarezmian Empire, and its Shah Ala al-din Muhammad, bethroned in the prophet’s name, Allah’s will upon the earth. To the blade he culled infidel tribes, his empire stretching the silk road from Tabriz to the city of Samarkand, abundant in wealth like sand, sacred in gold-embroidered verses. Whomsoever had coveted his land’s end had suffered the wrath of a thousand daggers.
I love the evocative path to world building, the imagery...just "Whomsoever" niggles at me - unsure if it should not be "Whosoever" - to double check.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rilind Modigliani

angelisa fontaine-wood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
57
Location
place des rosettes
Website
angelisawood.blogspot.com
Here's the opening of a story I've been working on -- like an opening I shared some time ago, it's another story that begins with a character coming across a life-changing book. Hm.

Amanda cradles the book in both hands; she can hardly believe it’s here. She has lurked in McIntyre’s second-hand bookstore for weeks, hoping its musty shelves would offer up this prize, but never really expecting it—because who would want to get rid of a Dorothy Spanger novel? She pictures it crammed in a crate with yellowing paperbacks and discarded diet books, and holds it to her chest, as if to soothe it after an ordeal.​
:e2coffee:
I like how we can get a sense of Amanda in this brief passage, especially that last line where she would hold it (echoing that first verb "cradle") "as if to soothe it after an ordeal" - very nice.
 

angelisa fontaine-wood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
57
Location
place des rosettes
Website
angelisawood.blogspot.com
This one is on its maiden voyage to Uncanny already but I just finished it and may polish it further for the next sub. Title "The Mural" (is four sentences for the first paragraph cheating too much?)

"It was just a wall, painted plaster, flaked and fissured, with weeds sprouting from the cracks, at that. Giulia, however, was never convinced by simple facts: firstly, the wall once stood as a temple, its foundations traced by augurs reading into bird flight. And then, upon this solid temple wall, color and line so merged as to dissolve it before your eyes into another imaginary temple, both here and yet somewhere unreachably far, somewhere in the verdant, dappled, light and shade. It was a trick of these pigments caught out of time, in the nick of it, before hell came spouting out of Vesuvius."
 

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
I love the evocative path to world building, the imagery...just "Whomsoever" niggles at me - unsure if it should not be "Whosoever" - to double check.

I think I might be breaking a grammatical rule, with that, but its a small one and I like the phonetics of 'whomsoever' there rather than 'whosoever'. Thanks for the comment
 

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
This one is on its maiden voyage to Uncanny already but I just finished it and may polish it further for the next sub. Title "The Mural" (is four sentences for the first paragraph cheating too much?)

"It was just a wall, painted plaster, flaked and fissured, with weeds sprouting from the cracks, at that. Giulia, however, was never convinced by simple facts: firstly, the wall once stood as a temple, its foundations traced by augurs reading into bird flight. And then, upon this solid temple wall, color and line so merged as to dissolve it before your eyes into another imaginary temple, both here and yet somewhere unreachably far, somewhere in the verdant, dappled, light and shade. It was a trick of these pigments caught out of time, in the nick of it, before hell came spouting out of Vesuvius."

I have a soft spot, out of my own writing as well, to prose and these short punchy sentences culled by coma's. Depending on how the writing continues, would encourage you to find a balance between short punchy and long drawn rhythms on your writing. The former is beautiful but has to be tempered with the latter. Again, depending on how the rhythm develops. This is just the first four sentences.
 

angelisa fontaine-wood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
57
Location
place des rosettes
Website
angelisawood.blogspot.com
I have a soft spot, out of my own writing as well, to prose and these short punchy sentences culled by coma's. Depending on how the writing continues, would encourage you to find a balance between short punchy and long drawn rhythms on your writing. The former is beautiful but has to be tempered with the latter. Again, depending on how the rhythm develops. This is just the first four sentences.
Yes, guilty as charged. I have to really concentrate to balance in the punchies, otherwise I'd just trail off into one indefinite runon sentence! I am pbly aiming too high with Uncanny but they had a deadline and I just went for it. When it comes back to me I will re edit with an eye to this tendency once more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rilind Modigliani

Vemahk

Registered
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
5
Location
Somewhere in the Facinity of Beetlejuice
I read through a few of the earliest posts on this thread before I had an account, and it encouraged me to make one and join the forums... So will you stand to have my three sentences as well?

From what I'm currently calling "Free as The Birds",

"To those who see us fly up ahead and dream of the same kind of freedom, consider: what is it truly that you desire freedom from? I had not considered this question before. What I was set free from is irreparably lost to me now: my humanity..."

Coincidentally these are the only words on the entire page as a foreword from the writer to the in-universe reader...
 

angelisa fontaine-wood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
57
Location
place des rosettes
Website
angelisawood.blogspot.com
"To those who see us fly up ahead and dream of the same kind of freedom, consider: what is it truly that you desire freedom from? I had not considered this question before. What I was set free from is irreparably lost to me now: my humanity..."

Coincidentally these are the only words on the entire page as a foreword from the writer to the in-universe reader...
One certainly wishes to read a bit further...
 

T. D. Hunter

Registered
Joined
Oct 7, 2021
Messages
23
Reaction score
12
Location
Podunk, South Dakota
Nothing to lose, right? Here we go. From "Waltz"

"Sirens shrieked high before plummeting to a low, mourning baritone. Those who did not take heed would perish. Here and there, a growing whistle and a boom marked the demolition of a building, the extinguishing of an innocent life."
 

Lakey

professional dilettante
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
774
Location
New England
"Sirens shrieked high before plummeting to a low, [you can cut this because a baritone is low by definition] mourning baritone. Those who did not take heed would perish. Here and there, a growing whistle and a boom marked the demolition of a building, the extinguishing of an innocent life." [just one life per building?]

It's an interesting moment for sure! It's very distant; I do hope you introduce a character soon. Have you considered showing this panorama through the character's eyes instead of this distant perspective?

The other thing that strikes me right off the bat is the rather formal and florid diction; words like "perish" and "extinguish" instead of "die" and "kill," for example. It will be interesting to see how that sustains through the story and what kind of tone it lends. It runs the risk of being ponderous, which is why I took the trouble of removing the redundant adjective--to work in a tone like this you have to be extra cautious about not bogging yourself down.

:e2coffee:
 

DarkWriter223

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
168
Reaction score
58
Location
Italy
I hope I am doing this right. This one is from "A Maddening Affair"

"The music of Schoenberg relaxed her. She was already painting so beautifully and elegantly until the day she remembered something: she knew that the painting would day satisfy her soul. But without a doubt it would make her insane, descending into madness as that painting would come to life."
 

mrsmig

Write. Write. Writey Write Write.
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
7,081
Reaction score
1,738
Location
Virginia
I hope I am doing this right. This one is from "A Maddening Affair"

"The music of Schoenberg relaxed her. She was already painting so beautifully and elegantly until the day she remembered something: she knew that the painting would day satisfy her soul. But without a doubt it would make her insane, descending into madness as that painting would come to life."
I'm afraid I'm not hooked. This opening feels more like a plot synopsis, rather than the beginning of a story. (I also think you need to proof more carefully - "the painting would day satisfy her soul" makes no sense.)
 

DarkWriter223

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
168
Reaction score
58
Location
Italy
I'm afraid I'm not hooked. This opening feels more like a plot synopsis, rather than the beginning of a story. (I also think you need to proof more carefully - "the painting would day satisfy her soul" makes no sense.)

Ah ok, thank you for taking the time to notice that.
 

Rilind Modigliani

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
72
Reaction score
20
Location
Earth
I hope I am doing this right. This one is from "A Maddening Affair"

"The music of Schoenberg relaxed her. She was already painting so beautifully and elegantly until the day she remembered something: she knew that the painting would day satisfy her soul. But without a doubt it would make her insane, descending into madness as that painting would come to life."

Hi DarkWriter223... I like the opening but it feels like its a little to loose, like wearing pants without a belt. Try taking an axe to the sentences and see if you can make it one sentence, instead of three. I think the conciseness will force you to tighten those loose ends.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarkWriter223

Bing Z

illiterate primate
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
3,665
Reaction score
857
Location
New Jersey
I hope I am doing this right. This one is from "A Maddening Affair"

"The music of Schoenberg relaxed her. She was already painting so beautifully and elegantly until the day she remembered something: she knew that the painting would day satisfy her soul. But without a doubt it would make her insane, descending into madness as that painting would come to life."
These are two unrelated (even contradicting) events/foreshadowing:
a) she is relaxed;
b) when finished, the painting will come to life, which will be satisfying but also drive her insane. (I agree with Rilind Modigliani your phrasing is kinda wordy for a beginning esp a short story.)

So which sentiment do you want to instill in your readers? Relaxation, or tension?
 

The Second Moon

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
3,323
Reaction score
299
Website
mimistromauthor.com
I hope I am doing this right. This one is from "A Maddening Affair"

"The music of Schoenberg relaxed her. She was already painting so beautifully and elegantly until the day she remembered something: she knew that the painting would day satisfy her soul. But without a doubt it would make her insane, descending into madness as that painting would come to life."

I agree with the others. I don't understand how I, the reader, am supposed to feel. Am I supposed to be relaxed about Schoenberg's music or anxious about the main character becoming maddened by the painting? The two events conflict and not in the way I think you want. Good luck! I look forward to your revision!
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarkWriter223

DarkWriter223

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
168
Reaction score
58
Location
Italy
These are two unrelated (even contradicting) events/foreshadowing:
a) she is relaxed;
b) when finished, the painting will come to life, which will be satisfying but also drive her insane. (I agree with Rilind Modigliani your phrasing is kinda wordy for a beginning esp a short story.)

So which sentiment do you want to instill in your readers? Relaxation, or tension?

Tension for sure. I guess this needs to be changed.
 

Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
7,514
Reaction score
3,332
Location
Aotearoa
First three sentences from untitled WIP:

Jane brushed the dust from her hands and answered her fourth phone call of the morning.

“Hey, Sis, if the grandmother left any vintage dresses or coats, I’d love them. Mum says she was pretty thin, so they wouldn’t fit you anyways."
 
  • Like
Reactions: ap123

Jo Taylor

Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
First three sentences: Everything Fell Into Black

The door closed in slow motion and the metal clanged together in a sound so final, even light stopped coming in. For hours he lay on the small cot, staring at the ceiling and trying to keep out thoughts of home: lightning bugs in the front yard, rain on the gravel drive, bacon frying in the cast iron skillet on Sunday morning. Random memories of the place he would never see again didn’t give him comfort, and he wished they would recede into faded images like the ones in an old photo album he could close and put away.
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving