Share Your First Three Sentences

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tenderiser, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    10,903
    Likes Received:
    12,461
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Yep in a meteorological case its a small needle like fragment of ice, which occurs in an ice storm when the temperature at altitude drops too quickly for the water to coalesce into hail.

    Its not really that important - i might just say ice drummed, or fragments of ice drummed - it just wants to get over that the weather is nasty
     
  2. Friederich Kugelschreiber

    Friederich Kugelschreiber Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2017
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    355
    Location:
    Washington State
    I get that this opener is a cliché, but I like it. I don't mind it when authors start off their novels with descriptions of doom-laden weather.
     
    jannert likes this.
  3. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    668
    Location:
    Ohio
    But keep it quick and with bite. I said this before in another thread, one of my favorite openings was by Hemmingway: "And then came the rains".

    See the power in that instead of "Heavy rain poured in buckets as if God emptied his full glasss of ice tea after a losing argument with the devil".
     
  4. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    San Diego
    Last year Tom Johnson had lost his wife in a horrific incident at sea.
    He had forced himself to his daughter’s home thinking he may not be able to endure the reminiscing of her passing. Maureen his daughter wanted to bring the family together for the anniversary of her mom’s death, a loss that still overwhelmed her.
     
  5. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    668
    Location:
    Ohio
    Not bad. But no need for "had lost", just lost is fine. Last year Tom Johnson lost his wife in a horrific incident at sea.

    "He had forced himself to his daughter’s home thinking he may not be able to endure the reminiscing of her passing". (I wasn't sure if you meant the wife or the daughter in this sentence, as the one who passed, I assumed wife but it really isn't clear).

    "Maureen his daughter wanted to bring the family together for the anniversary of her mom’s death, a loss that still overwhelmed her". (again, I assume Maureen is the daughter you are talking about in the second sentence but technically you can't make that assumption. It could be another daughter)

    ETA: It's a good opening in that we know a guy is in grief still over his wife's passing and now is returning to a place with too many memories of her.
     
  6. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    San Diego
    @EBohio I see your point. It is easy for me to have the characters in place in my mind but reading it back I could see where it would be a stumbling block...Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    EBohio likes this.
  7. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Sweden
    On the highest top on the northernmost path of the rocky slopes, there was a village. An unremarkable village in every way, except for the fact that they lived where nobody else could. Snow seemed to always lay thick around their doorsteps and would isolate them most time of the year.
     
  8. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    3,079
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    You're really not giving the reader anything to hold onto, here. No characters, no action, not even a place we can visualize. Much better to start with a character digging out of the snow, alone because (s)he is so isolated, or perhaps helped by a single neighbor. It would also be good to have some idea of what challenge/dilemma/crisis (s)he might be facing, but otherwise give us some reason to root for him/her.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,160
    Likes Received:
    12,738
    There are some lightweight grammatical errors, but this would keep me reading at least a little longer. There’s a faint breath of fairytale whimsy, and I would be hoping for it to continue.
     
    Stammis likes this.
  10. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    San Diego
    I started a new work called, No Retreat.

    Andor had used Kazella to heal him after battle many times. Now, would she heal his son who was wounded in a village raid? Arriving at the cave with his twelve-year-old son strapped to his back, he got down and prepared to enter when his warrior brother Istvan stepped out and said, “Oh no, brother, you cannot bring that child in, she will not accept an outsider to the sanctuary.”
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    10,903
    Likes Received:
    12,461
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    that third sentence is very long - i'd be inclined to break it up a bit.

    also the first sentence would flow better as kazella had healed andor many times.
     
    Thundair likes this.
  12. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,465
    Likes Received:
    8,936
    Location:
    Near Sedro Woolley, Washington
    Two things:

    First, there's a couple of instances of repetition that don't work for me. The first instance is, "his son who was wounded..." then "his twelve-year-old son." To me, the "twelve-year-old son" sounds clumsy. Do we really need to know the kid's age at that point? I'd try "Arriving at the cave with the boy strapped to his back...". It's easier to read aloud, and we already know the boy is his son. If his exact age becomes an issue, that information can come at that point.

    The second instance is "his warrior brother Istvan" then "Oh, no, brother...". I think I'd just drop the first "brother". "when the warrior Istvan stepped out and said, "Oh, no, brother...".

    The second thing that bugs me a bit about this opening is that it seems hyper-compressed. It's like you're trying to cram all the information possible into only a couple of lines, like a newspaper story. This tends to hold readers at a distance, I think. My first instinct when I read this was that it should be about two or even three paragraphs. Fill it out some. Let us know a bit about Andor, about the raid, about how his son was wounded, about this mysterious Istvan, and about the even more mysterious healer Kazella.

    But that's just the way I work. I'd start by writing three sentences like the ones you wrote, then smack myself upside the head when I read it over. I would then proceed to expand it on revision into a whole page - I'd be a lot happier with that page than with the original three sentences. My stuff always seems to grow a lot during revisions, alas. I know Stephen King and others say the second draft should be the first draft minus ten percent, but mine are always much longer than the first draft.
     
    Thundair likes this.
  13. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Sweden
    Books aren't movies.
     
  14. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    San Diego
    @minstrel Thanks for the feedback. You are correct it needs to flesh out, and I have done so somewhere in the back of my mind. I was on a roll over the weekend having had this project in my mind for a while. Now I will have to get to work and make it readable and compelling.
    @big soft moose would this work as an opening?
    Kazella had healed Andor of his battle wounds many times.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,160
    Likes Received:
    12,738
    "...of battle wounds..." functions as a speedbump for me there. If it were mine, I'd make it, "Kazella had healed Andor many times, after many battles."
     
    Thundair likes this.
  16. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    3,079
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    No, they certainly aren't. Which is why the writer needs to draw the reader in with more than just setting.
     
    Bone2pick likes this.
  17. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Sweden
    Is that your opinion or do you think that's true for any story? If you ever tried to read The Hobbit you must've thrown that one away, fast!
     
  18. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2019
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    128
    The Silmarillion is even worse, what a slog that was to read..
     
  19. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well, the Silmarillion is like the whole Game of Thrones series crammed into one book so that's no surprise. And I thoroughly disagree there's only one way to write a story, but we are pretty off topic so I should probably start another thread if I want to continue this discussion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  20. The Piper

    The Piper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2016
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    Norfolk
    No need for a new thread, start your story however you want, no rule applies to every situation - it just has to be good. Having said that, if you're going to start with a setting description, it has to be an incredible setting. The idea you conveyed in your second sentence, about the fact that the village shouldn't really be there, would be a better start than your first, which is just plain description and - forgive me - less interesting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Bone2pick likes this.
  21. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    682
    And have a good reason for it.
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    10,903
    Likes Received:
    12,461
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Good call - I was about to say that
     
  23. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    3,079
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    It's an opinion formed based on experience as well as the advice of professionals. As with all manner of advice, you can find successful exceptions. That doesn't render the advice invalid.
     
    Bone2pick likes this.
  24. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,505
    Likes Received:
    1,499
    While I don’t know if this advice is true for all artistic expression, nor do I know if it always makes a book better, and I’ve read plenty of things that start the way this piece did, but @Stammis, I think Ed’s advice is certainly in style with all the traditionally published debut authors I’ve read recently, and gatekeepers seem to feel it is in good taste, so it is really something to consider.
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    10,903
    Likes Received:
    12,461
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    :stop:
    Just in case you didn't notice my previous posts chaps - take it to pm/another thread/the parking lot (red is me speaking with my mod hat on)
     

Share This Page