1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Quick question

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Alesia, Aug 10, 2013.

    MC (first person present tense, no debates about tense please) wakes up in the hospital. At first it seems like a she's trapped underwater, but the confusion wears off and things are figured out after about the 1st paragraph.

    Anyway, which is better to start:

    "When I wake, I'm underwater."
    "When I wake, I THINK I'm underwater."
    'I wake up underwater."
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "I wake up underwater. [rest of paragraph] Wait, it's not water..."

    I think that shows better than tells.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The third one.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't even mention waking until the next paragraph.

    Disorientation is key to the scene. As the character is not sure how how she got there, leave the reader similarly off balance.
     
  5. Terok
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    Terok Member

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    You probably don’t want to say that you THINK you are under water, because that gives it away immediately. At the same time if you say that you ARE under water you are lying to the reader because you are not, you only think that you are.

    I would go with something like what Cogito said, or something like this.

     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hewing to the 'K.I.S.S.!' principle, less is more... so the third is still the best choice, when including other posters' alternative suggestions...
     
  7. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I am all for the third one or alternatives. :) The third one is quick, sudden, to the point, and thus shocking.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with [MENTION=1349]Cogito[/MENTION]. Start with an "Omigod!" moment. Make the reader feel the character's panic. How or why doesn't matter. Just be in the moment. Explanation can come after.
     

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