1. slockmn
    Offline

    slockmn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Problems starting paragraphs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by slockmn, Nov 10, 2011.

    Hello;

    I am having a bit of a problem starting off paragraphs.

    In this section of the book, the person is all on their own and since there's no one to talk to it just ends up going like this:

    Simon picked up the book on the table and began flipping the pages...(Goes on for a good sized paragraph)

    Simon then heard that there was a rusling noise in the library...(Goes on for a paragraph)

    Simon began to run as fast as his legs could carry him...(Goes on)

    When I look back at the paragraphs it just seems silly and not very creative. Could someone please give me some ideas?
     
  2. Thanshin
    Offline

    Thanshin Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Spain
    Point me to the fragment in the workshop and I'll gladly review it with this in mind.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,985
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    > I am having a bit of a problem starting off paragraphs.
    >
    > In this section of the book, the person is all on their own and
    > since there's no one to talk to it just ends up going like this:
    >
    > Simon picked up the book on the table and began flipping the
    > pages...(Goes on for a good sized paragraph)

    Here, you could start with the environment and introduce Sam's actions a little bit into the paragraph. Or, of course, it's fine for _one_ paragraph to start with "Sam did..."

    > Simon then heard that there was a rusling noise in the
    > library...(Goes on for a paragraph)

    There's rarely any need to link a sensory event - a sound, a sight, a sensation - directly to the character like this. You're writing from the character's viewpoint, so we know that sights, sounds, etc., are perceived by them. So this can just be "A rustling noise came from..."

    > Simon began to run as fast as his legs could carry him...(Goes
    > on)

    Here, you can start the paragraph with something else - a description of what he saw, a mention of Sam's escape route, anything like that.

    I started writing an example, and got a bit carried away:

    The library was a mess. The books were bad enough, but at least they were stacked. The papers were worse; on some tables, they formed heaps, as if they'd been rained down from above. One piece of tidiness caught Simon's attention in all this chaos -- a small table by one window contained only a single large book bound in cracked green leather. Leafing through it, he found that the pages were filled with cramped, nearly indecipherable handwriting, each entry dated in the style of a diary.

    A rustling noise came from the dark north end of the room. Simon glanced at it, unconcerned, and turned another page; probably a mouse. Then, another noise from the south end. Another, apparently from the fireplace. Simon closed the book, frowning, visions of mice attacking in a The Birds-like formation fillig his mind.

    The real source of the sounds was worse, much worse. Simon got one look at the creature clawing its way over the paper snowdrifts nearest the fireplace and started running for the French doors as fast as his legs could carry him. It took him several terrifying seconds to open the door-catch, and then he was running through the courtyard garden and across the lawn. He didn't stop until he reached the street, where a rush of late afternoon traffic made him feel as if he'd been rescued by the real world.

    He never went back, and it was nearly six months before he could bring himself to tell anyone what he had seen.


    I hope this is useful?

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. Jhunter
    Offline

    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Southern California
    Well, ChickenFreak said it all. So ditto on that.
     
  5. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    ChickenFreak is right. Look at his example. And look at examples from published books!

    And just keep in mind that you don't have to keep saying "Simon saw ..." or "Simon heard ..." Don't say "Simon saw a mouse under the table." Instead, you can say "There was a mouse under the table." Or, "A mouse was nibbling something under the table." Don't say "Simon heard a siren coming from the street below." Instead, you can say "A police car drove by on the street below, siren wailing."

    Your reader will understand that it's Simon perceiving all of this. You don't have to keep starting each paragraph with Simon this and Simon that.

    Again, read what the pros do!
     
  6. MVP
    Offline

    MVP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    6
    Reading other works is a great way to learn about writing. Jack London's, White Fang, is written through the eyes of a dog, so it has very little dialogue. It would be a great story for you to read right now to learn what to do with your paragraphs.
     
  7. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    I have never ever imagined someone can write a bookk through the eye of an animal.
    how does one get into the psychic of an animal let alone a dog??;)
    what did you make of it and what is the opening line?
     
  8. MVP
    Offline

    MVP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    6
    I enjoyed London's White Fang, it was published in 1906, apart from his other novel Call of the Wild.
     

Share This Page