[PLEASE READ FIRST POST] Post the First Three Sentences of your Novel

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aruela

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Per the rules, I'm only critiquing the first three (although if the missing full stop means the sentence didn't actually end... lol - sorry that's not a critique...)

The first sentence is long and I found it a little hard to read, but in spite of that I like it. I also had to google check to see if this was a real person or not (sorry my knowledge of history outside of Europe is very poor, actually my knowledge of European history isn't wonderful. I'm good at prehistory until the upper palaeolithic era) - so if he's not a real person then his voice is extremely convincing. I'm interested and would read on.
With history, there is always something new to learn, and easy too if it's about something that fascinates you.
 
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aruela

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Hey everyone I think I shall share my first 3 sentences

The boy eyes slowly opened but all that can be seen is a blur, the bright light beaming directly onto the face did not help. Listening to the surroundings an ECG can be heard. Afraid and unaware of what is going on panick starts to take over.
If your intent is to go for traditional publishing with your book I head that one of the pet peeves of agents is a character waking up(from a dream, coma, etc) on the first page. If not, you can write whatever you want. Well, you can write whatever you want either way :))

The boy eyes slowly opened but all that can be seen is a blur, the bright light beaming directly onto the [his] face did not help. Listening to the surroundings an ECG can be heard. Afraid and unaware of what is [watched verb tense consistency and decide on past or present] going on panick starts to take over.

To me, the paragraph sounds passive - I understand that he is ill(probably) but try like this:

"The boy's heart rate went all over the place. Beeping sounds were all he could hear in the bleached white room. With his blurry vision, that's what he could distinguish since he slowly opened his eyes, the bright light beaming directly onto his face."
 

aruela

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I would definitely read on. Korean history is fascinating to me. Especially the reveal about where in history this takes place in. I've read books about Joseon and Goryeo but Silla is new.
Yes. me too. Silla period books are hard to find. Actually, all I could find were history books. Well, the period is not so well documented. But that for writers spells Opportunity and creative liberty (a little) :)
 

aruela

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Hello all--
Ok, here goes, I'm gonna post my 1st three sentences. This is from a YA sci-fi. Would you read on?

I’m alone in the smoking ruins. I walk past a crater, a pile of bodies, a tall building half-destroyed. Projectiles whiz past my ear; an explosion shakes the ground under my feet.
I would read on but I can not say I am hooked. I would continue reading for curiosity. To have me hooked tell me something about how he feels, not just what he feels. Is he afraid, is he hot or cold? is he eager for something? You might have these details later on but the sooner you make me feel alongside your character the better and the first 3 lines are the best place to start. (sorry if my sentences sound weird or off, but I am not a native English speaker)
 
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Nether

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I'm probably going to start editing/revising/slamming-my-head-against-the-keyboard my NaNo project by the end of the month (or the start of the next), so I figured I'd share my first three sentences:

Eleven hours on the road and six piss jars later – their contents partially marinated in the sun – and Jack saw the sign for Calico Falls, signaling his long journey was nearing its end. A small, quiet town with lots of forests and caves, Calico Falls checked off every mark on his wish list. It was the kind of place a person could really lose himself, and hopefully the sort of area nobody would notice somebody going missing.
 
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mccardey

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I'm probably going to start editing/revising/slamming-my-head-against-the-keyboard my NaNo project by the end of the month (or the start of the next), so I figured I'd share my first three sentences:

Eleven hours on the road and six piss jars later – their contents partially marinated in the sun – and Jack saw the sign for Calico Falls, signaling his long journey was nearing its end. A small, quiet town with lots of forests and caves, Calico Falls checked off every mark on his wish list. It was the kind of place a person could really lose himself, and hopefully the sort of area nobody would notice somebody going missing.
Why does he pee every two hours?

I would read on, but I would be wondering if he's pregnant.
 
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neandermagnon

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Eleven hours on the road and six piss jars later – their contents partially marinated in the sun – and Jack saw the sign for Calico Falls, signaling his long journey was nearing its end. A small, quiet town with lots of forests and caves, Calico Falls checked off every mark on his wish list. It was the kind of place a person could really lose himself, and hopefully the sort of area nobody would notice somebody going missing.

This is an interesting start, especially the 3rd line. "piss jars" threw me, because while I know in all probability you mean booze, (**gross-out alert**) there are some pseudoscience followers who actually think there's medicinal benefits in drinking piss, so that knowledge plus marinated in the sun... well it grossed me out a lot... and nothing so far to indicate that he's not the kind of conspiracy following person that might get sucked into that way of thinking/behaving. Also I have this issue of my brain deciding to visualise everything literally even when it's clearly not intended to be literal. And when it's not clear either way, my brain defaults to literal

The third line - this comes across to me like he's intending on murdering someone and hiding the body, or kidnapping someone. It's possible he's referring to himself going missing but that doesn't make sense really, because he's gone missing from wherever he came from, so "the sort of area nobody would notice someone going missing" implies going missing from that area, i.e. murdered or kidnapped. If you intended it that way, it's fine. Although I'm not sure I want to read about a murderer/kidnapper. But then that would be a question of me not being of your target audience. If it's horror and you're starting in the antagonist POV I might read on (the cover/blurb would give me more info regarding that).

I'll go away and stop watching debunking videos on you tube - mostly I stick to flat Earth debunking but the debunkers that I follow tend to cover various other conspiracy theories and pseudoscience on an ad hoc basis.
 
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mccardey

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"piss jars" threw me, because while I know in all probability you mean booze,
Huh. I know too many truck-drivers.

A piss-jar down here is whatever you pee in while you're driving (so as not to waste time stopping).

Um - it's a truck-driver thing, not a little old lady thing. :granny:
 

CWNitz

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Eleven hours on the road and six piss jars later – their contents partially marinated in the sun – and[comma] Jack saw the sign for Calico Falls, [period]signaling his long journey was nearing its end. A small, quiet town with lots of forests and caves, Calico Falls checked off every mark on his wish list. It was the kind of place a person could really lose himself, and hopefully the sort of area nobody would notice somebody going missing. This is a bit long and awkward. Maybe, "You could lose yourself here--nobody would notice he'd went missing" or something.
I like the premise; it sounds like the Rockton series. There's also everything I love in an opening: MC's desires or feelings, setting, something to catch my interest (the town).

But your sentences are convoluted, it would work better with some tightening.
 
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neandermagnon

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Huh. I know too many truck-drivers.

A piss-jar down here is whatever you pee in while you're driving (so as not to waste time stopping).

Um - it's a truck-driver thing, not a little old lady thing. :granny:

That's interesting. I never heard of that before. I thought they just stopped at service stations or those lorry laybys (some of them have portaloos and some have bushes).
 

Nether

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For that little added context:
Yes, it's horror, the piss jars are literal, and the MC is a werewolf who tries to keep a low profile.
I wasn't sure whether to mention things like genre, since it wasn't listed in the rules post.

Thanks for the input so far.
 

mccardey

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That's interesting. I never heard of that before. I thought they just stopped at service stations or those lorry laybys (some of them have portaloos and some have bushes).
Truckies don't use their brakes if they can help it (in Australia, anyway). Petrol costs are massively worked into the profit margin. Brakes cost petrol (when you - unbrake...)
 
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neandermagnon

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For that little added context:
Yes, it's horror, the piss jars are literal, and the MC is a werewolf who tries to keep a low profile.
I wasn't sure whether to mention things like genre, since it wasn't listed in the rules post.

Thanks for the input so far.

Sounds interesting :) It's always been okay to mention the genre in the game - also things like age range, e.g. YA. Knowing the genre can affect what feedback you give. It does for me, anyway.
 

llyralen

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Huh. I know too many truck-drivers.

A piss-jar down here is whatever you pee in while you're driving (so as not to waste time stopping).

Um - it's a truck-driver thing, not a little old lady thing. :granny:
Although it could also be a truck driver with diabetes thing is there are way too many. Lol
 

llyralen

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I'm probably going to start editing/revising/slamming-my-head-against-the-keyboard my NaNo project by the end of the month (or the start of the next), so I figured I'd share my first three sentences:

Eleven hours on the road and six piss jars later – their contents partially marinated in the sun – and Jack saw the sign for Calico Falls, signaling his long journey was nearing its end. A small, quiet town with lots of forests and caves, Calico Falls checked off every mark on his wish list. It was the kind of place a person could really lose himself, and hopefully the sort of area nobody would notice somebody going missing.
That worked for me. I slipped into it. I am interested in Calico Falls. I was amused by the piss-jars (and further amused by the arising discussion on it here. Heehee). I’m interested in that nobody will notice someone going missing.

However, I live in a small, woodsy coastal town and we really notice when someone from here goes missing. But if they weren’t from home then… there are tourists who die due to not understanding tides and the ocean in general so stumbling across a body has annual regularity here. In the woods there are also plenty of places to leave a body. There are also bears, but so far no bear attacks. They are content with raiding garbages. Why aren’t I writing a local murder story? Think think think… it sounds like I better. Lol.
 
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JJNotAbrams

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However, I live in a small, woodsy coastal town and we really notice when someone from here goes missing. But if they weren’t from home then… there are tourists who die due to not understanding tides and the ocean in general so stumbling across a body has annual regularity here. In the woods there are also plenty of places to leave a body. There are also bears, but so far no bear attacks. They are content with raiding garbages. Why aren’t I writing a local murder story? Think think think… it sounds like I better. Lol.
Honestly, I would totally read that. Reminds me of another story I once read about a serial killer in a small town that uses a watch as his calling card. The first body was found in the woods, with the animals having chewed it up so much that it was difficult for the detectives to identify anything with it.

Anyway, I rewrote something I've been working on after receiving some feedback. I'm still not sure where this is going to go but I'm always looking forward to doing something.

Jimmy didn’t know why he had stowed away on an airship. Didn’t know why he ignored the itch in the back of his head that always told him when something was a bad idea or when he should abort a plan due to screwed it had become, but he did it anyway. The idea just came to him in a split second—a flash of inspiration that came to his mind like a bolt of lightning and, like a bolt of lightning, traces of it lingered in the dark cloudy sky that was his mindscape long enough for him to act on it before he even realized what was going on.
 
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TheKingsWit

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Jimmy didn’t know why he had stowed away on an airship. Didn’t know why he ignored the itch in the back of his head that always told him when something was a bad idea or when he should abort a plan due to screwed it had become, but he did it anyway. The idea just came to him in a split second—a flash of inspiration that came to his mind like a bolt of lightning and, like a bolt of lightning, traces of it lingered in the dark cloudy sky that was his mindscape long enough for him to act on it before he even realized what was going on.
I like this more than the last opening you posted since it gives me a better sense of your protagonist, but on a sentence level, it feels repetitive. All three sentences basically say 'He didn't know why he did it'. In the third sentence, it's particularly noticeable, as 'split second', 'a flash' and 'like a bolt of lightning' all tell us the same thing. Of the three, I like the lightning bolt metaphor the most, you could easily cut the other two without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Consider condensing, for example, 'Jimmy didn't know why he'd stowed away on the airship. The idea came to him like a bolt of lightning, traces of it lingered in the dark cloudy sky that was his mindscape, driving him to act.' Then you have a third sentence free to add in new information, quite possibly some stakes or something in the present moment like 'Crammed in the cargo hold with an empty stomach and a full bladder, he wished he'd listened to the part of his brain that had known what a mistake this was' or whatever works for your story. The big draw of this opening is that there is so much that can go wrong with being a stowaway. A hint of specifics and stakes, while cutting some of the repetition, would be something I personally find very hooking.
 

neandermagnon

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Jimmy didn’t know why he had stowed away on an airship. Didn’t know why he ignored the itch in the back of his head that always told him when something was a bad idea or when he should abort a plan due to screwed it had become, but he did it anyway. The idea just came to him in a split second—a flash of inspiration that came to his mind like a bolt of lightning and, like a bolt of lightning, traces of it lingered in the dark cloudy sky that was his mindscape long enough for him to act on it before he even realized what was going on.

The first line gripped me somewhat, but the 2nd and 3rd feel like over-egging the pudding. I was expecting to learn more about the airship and/or why Jimmy decided to stow away on it (it being a spur of the moment decision while ignoring his instincts saying it was a bad idea isn't a reason - just an explanation for why he made a bad decision). I am interested to know more about Jimmy - is he escaping from something? (Even if it's just escaping from a boring life that's still something to escape from.) Trying to get somewhere? If it was that bad of a decision, some of the stuff you have in line 2 and 3 can come in a bit later, when the reader knows more about the situation.

It's not that it's not interesting or that the sentences aren't good* - it's that these three sentences stacked on top of each other is a bit much. All I've got is: Jimmy stowed away on an airship. This was a bad decision, one that he's probably going to regret. And he tends to be a bit impulsive. I feel like I should have more background info from 3 sentences, two of which are long. (The sentence length isn't a problem as they are straightforward to read).

*there's a missing word in the 2nd to last clause of the 2nd sentence, but they are otherwise well written.

So I'm not gripped yet but this definitely has potential.
 
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Bing Z

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Jimmy didn’t know why he had stowed away on an airship. Didn’t know why he ignored the itch in the back of his head that always told him when something was a bad idea or when he should abort a plan due to screwed it had become, but he did it anyway. The idea just came to him in a split second—a flash of inspiration that came to his mind like a bolt of lightning and, like a bolt of lightning, traces of it lingered in the dark cloudy sky that was his mindscape long enough for him to act on it before he even realized what was going on.
That's 111 words, and I only know Jimmy is stowed away on an airship and he doesn't know why (and so do we). Like neandermagnon, the moment I knew he is on the airship, I wanted to know his present status. Backstory can wait.
 
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JJNotAbrams

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That's 111 words, and I only know Jimmy is stowed away on an airship and he doesn't know why (and so do we). Like neandermagnon, the moment I knew he is on the airship, I wanted to know his present status. Backstory can wait.
Yeah, it was probably a big mistake to read a Stephen King work before revising something. The man can set atmosphere very well, but there are just so many tangents.
 

neandermagnon

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Yeah, it was probably a big mistake to read a Stephen King work before revising something. The man can set atmosphere very well, but there are just so many tangents.

That sort of thing can work very well later in a story - they are good lines. It's just that they're not the information you need in a story opening. Save them for a point where Jimmy's reflecting on what a crap decision it was - after the reader knows what the present situation is.
 

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Time to throw myself to the wolves. Here's the first three of a gothic fantasy novel I've been working on:

Charlie stood stiffly on the front stoop of her cottage, eyes trained down the strip of weed-riddled dirt that counted for a road that deep in the mountains. Paper birch trees obscured her view, clusters of peeling, bone-white trunks surrounding her on all sides. The bars of her prison.
 

llyralen

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Time to throw myself to the wolves. Here's the first three of a gothic fantasy novel I've been working on:

Charlie stood stiffly on the front stoop of her cottage, eyes trained down the strip of weed-riddled dirt that counted for a road that deep in the mountains. Paper birch trees obscured her view, clusters of peeling, bone-white trunks surrounding her on all sides. The bars of her prison.

I'd be excited to read more of something with this level of complex word choices. I hope you can keep that complexity on a sentence basis, but I had some difficulties just sinking into it.

Charlie is a her, that's something to grapple with for a second. It should be easily accepted after the first "her," but in combination with that I'm having a hard time connecting with the setting.

Roads in the kind of mountains I'm used to usually have a lot of twists, so I don't know how far her eyes can "train down" the road if she is deep in the mountains. It made it difficult for me (who grew up in the Rockies) to picture it, as you hardly ever see much length of road. I'm familiar with aspen forests. I associate mountains with freedom, but this is all interesting. I'm interested to see if I can connect with the setting or if it's in types of mountains I've never been in. I would read on.
 
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Nether

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Charlie stood stiffly on the front stoop of her cottage, eyes trained down the strip of weed-riddled dirt that counted for a road that deep in the mountains. Paper birch trees obscured her view, clusters of peeling, bone-white trunks surrounding her on all sides. The bars of her prison.

I find the scene a little confusing because the first sentence talks about her looking at a road (although that sounds more like a trail or path than a road?) but the the second sentence sounds like it's modifying what we should be visualizing in the first sentence -- namely that she's seeing the road through trees.

Standing stiffly also suggests that she's tense, which feels out of place when she's just looking at a road. However, I imagine there's probably something after those three sentences that explains her unease.

Personally, I would connect the third sentence to the second one with an em-dash, but that's just me. I feel like that gives a bit more punch than a sentence fragment in context.

It doesn't immediately hook me, but I'm assuming it's part of a longer set-up.
 
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