Share Your First Three Sentences

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, May 16, 2012.

?

How do you start your sentences?

  1. I don't really think about it. It sort of just comes to me.

  2. Little bit of consideration here and there.

  3. I do try and work in some interesting sentence starters.

  4. Sentence starters? That's for the edits.

  5. I don't think 'interesting' sentence starters matter at all.

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  1. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Great imagery I could envision her age, size, and spoiledness. I almost have to make up words to describe the impact. And I think I know the kind of farm she’s going to, but I don’t dare say it.
     
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  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thank you. But actually the mc's a boy -- did it sound like it was going to be a girl? His name is Billy Katz and he's thirteen and about to be dumped off by himself at a campsite. Your idea sounds good too, though.
     
  3. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    I like it, though I'd put a period after smokescreen for mother, and follow it up with "The real plan didn't unfold . . ."

    What's your targeted demographic?

    Anyways, here's the first three (four) sentences from my most recent chapter. Not entirely sure how to feel about it.

    -----


    The cops, better known as the fuzz, the police, even-toed ungulates, uniforms, badges, narcs, the law, or the all-encompassing term The Man, were fun-spoiling badtimers with a temper that made a Trendelbeast of Arthuria look like a friendly passerby on a nice and sunny evening walk. The Intergalactic Highway Patrol, in particular, were especially bad-tempered and fun-spoiling.


    Oorwald Bruudriks, a man of many talents, but none of them really marketable, was nearing the end of his shift at the IHP. He had just finished being chewed-out by his desk sergeant back at the precinct about not meeting his arrest quota for the month, and this understandably put him in a very bad mood.
     
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  4. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    I hadn't suspected I would end up at Rosemere again. I used to pass this house to get to my own home as a child, a commute that faster children completed in a few minutes. I would wander, first through the Friendship Gardens to see the ducks, then through Tipperary Park to see the squirrels, and then along Third Street to watch all the houses perched on their perfect lawns, where Rosemere reigned over them all. But then Mom had gotten a better paying job that moved us to Burnaby, and I couldn't walk past Rosemere any more.
     
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  5. D.Clarke

    D.Clarke Active Member

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    Meh..

    Farewell to the lunar sphere that lifts itself to the highest point. Farewell to the irredeemable who patrol the desolated dirt roads, looking for the unsuspecting traveler. And farewell to those green arthropods that hide among the shadows, singing their songs of night. The cooling rays are no more. The howls of the wolves cease, and the serpent who once thought himself emperor of the terrain, must now retreat, for the yellow bringer of light has returned. Its small head peaks over the eastern horizon, sending a wave of indigo at first, but like the painter seeking the perfect color, it mixes with a few warm coral blues, until that yellow light overcomes them all and casts its illumination over Centria. For another day, those cardinals will flap their wings with joy, and blue jays will dance among the branches, who, after a long night of starvation, can now be fed what they so passionately desire.

    -SAGA: The Brave
     
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  6. Nesian

    Nesian Active Member

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    Meh indeed....
     
  7. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    From a little bit I posted over in Short Stories: Western:

    Pecker heard a noise behind him and turned swiftly, bringing his Henry to bear. He was fairly certain he’d racked a cartridge in the chamber earlier, and without looking let his thumb drift to suss out whether or not the hammer was back. It was, though the knowledge didn’t relax him any, given that he was staring at a vaquero who had just brought his own six gun to bear in Pecker’s direction, not a dozen feet away.
     
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  8. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    As an opening, it feels clunky. There may be a story worth reading there, but I would be hard pressed to be interested from reading this. Try moving the last sentence to the top, making it the opening. Go from there.
     
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  9. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    It doesn't start with action, and so ends up falling flat. I don't mean it has to open with a gun battle or something, but opening sentences that are action forward ("I found myself in Rosemere again..." or "Rosemere, with its perfect lawns that were somehow better than the other perfect lawns in this neighborhood, stood before me again...") tend to draw the reader in. BTW, I don't recommend using either of those openings I provided as examples; they're terrible.
     
  10. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    Hi @J.D. - I saw your Western piece - was going to do a crit at some point but have been busy with other stuff - however the first three gives me the opportunity to offer the overwhelming first impression that this doesn't cross the Atlantic

    Over here in the UK a Henry is an amusing vacuum cleaner with a face painted on it, and Pecker is slang for penis, so the opening impressions are all wrong for us po-face Brits :eek:

    A Henry so you can see why this might not work, especially with the pecker:-

    upload_2019-12-17_15-33-44.png
     
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  11. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    Your voice is dead on. It reads like an Elmore Leonard western. I think it's "suss out" and "relax him any," those little phrases that do it. I would only shift things around at the end.

    Pecker heard a noise behind him and turned swiftly, bringing his Henry to bear. He was fairly certain he’d racked a cartridge in the chamber earlier, and without looking let his thumb drift to suss out whether or not the hammer was back. It was, though the fact didn’t relax him any, given that he was staring at a vaquero not a dozen feet away who'd just swung his own six gun in Pecker’s direction.​

    (I swapped in "fact" because it seemed more western.)

    I keep looking at "whether or not" and wondering if it should just be "whether," because that obviously works without losing anything, but your longer phrase seems to fit with a rustic voice. You might even consider lengthening that section. Some sort of tactile detail of the thumb against the notched hammer, just to draw out that moment. I'm not saying it must be done, just that it's possible. I really can't decide . . . it might be better like it is. IMO, the most important first paragraph goal is to establish your presence on the page, and you really have.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  12. D.Clarke

    D.Clarke Active Member

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    Yikes..
     
  13. severine

    severine Member

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    Once, this had been Hampstead Heath pond but now it was little more than a slushy bog, the sulphur bubbling on lazily. A dead duck skeleton floated up as Laura stood there, watching. The skull detached from the spine and its beak gaped into an endless scream.
     
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  14. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Love the first sentence, except for the comma after "Once". Move it to after "pond" and see if that reads better. For the second one, I'd rather see "The skeleton of a duck floated up..." (you don't need to say it's dead; it's a skeleton. For the third, was there some force that detached the head from the spine? Also, the beak isn't part of the skull, so "head" is probably a better fit unless you're particular about the way you phrased it.
     
  15. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    First sentence either needs a comma ("A dingy orange halo rings the solitary lamp, casting a bubble...") or to get rid of the gerund ("A dingy orange halo rings the solitary lamp and casts a bubble..."). Also note that I got rid of the comma after "dingy".

    I'm on the fence about needing a comma after "dust" in the second sentence. Other than that nit, a great bit of wordplay.

    For the third sentence, definitely need a comma after "eyes". Also, having "rage" and "cage" in the same sentence somehow makes it difficult to read.
     
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  16. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    O'er here, a Henry is a rifle. A particular type, found mainly on the prairies, and pop'lar with the cowpokes. Back then, a sixteen-shot .44 rimfire, lever action in polished brass, was a great utility shooter for the open range. It'd nigh take the hide off'n a yard bird at a hunnert paces.

    An' yeah, pecker there is pecker here, an' it may or may not be the case that our boy Pecker got his name for that reason. 'Course, it could be his beak-like nose, or a particular gawky motion he makes wit' his head when he talks. Now 'e's dead, we may ne'er know.
     
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  17. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    LOL. It's more of a hole than an opening. I'd so very much like to get it down to three sentences. Your suggestion sparked a re-org, so maybe this next try will improve it some.

     
  18. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    "Sir, we have a tense situation in the writer's room."
    "The writers are tense?"
    "No, sir, there's confusion about when the story is being told."

    Try this on for size:

    It appears that above you are setting up the story, observing from Seeker's perspective. Then you review history, which needs a new paragraph.

    So now I have to say that I don't understand the sentence that starts with "Sentience had come too late..." Is Sentience a group of people that arrived to help the situation? If so, that's going to be confusing because of the bit about brains and the concept of achieving sentience.

    Hope all this helps.

    Cheers.

    JD
     
  19. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Rattuses! Betrayed by Grammarly (betrayed my secret that I don't know how to write)! I tried countless compilations until the little circle went green. Thought the trap was clean.
    Don't know a word that conveys 'ghost-in-the-machine becomes intelligent entity'. Awaken-ed? Aware-ified-ness? Really, I'm open to suggestions.
    Vigilance was a group that stalked and then killed data-farmers. Decima was the evil corporate overlord. Never saw an episode with a group called Sentience, so the word fails twice. I have disavow-ned it.
    Seriously, the tense thing bothered me too. I was afraid I might be cramming too much together. Damnmnmnmnrrrgh! :meh:
    How would you chop it up?
     
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  20. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Is this bit a reference to a TV series or something? If so, which?

    I don't have enough context here to provide suggestions beyond tense and punctuation corrections. If you provide more context, perhaps I'll have suggestions.
     
  21. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the feedback. How does this sound (it's now more than three sentences)? I left the "to bear" at the end as a match to the phrase at the beginning, indicating a mirroring situation.

    Pecker heard a noise behind him and turned swiftly, bringing his Henry to bear. He was fairly certain he’d racked a cartridge in the chamber earlier, and without looking let his thumb drift to suss out whether the hammer was back. The edge of a torn callus caught on the corner of the cold iron, and Pecker resisted the urge to react. He ended up gritting his teeth and narrowing his eyes some, which he hoped made him look tough and ready rather than like a tenderfoot who'd just got stuck with a thorn in the chaparral. The hammer was in fact back, though the fact didn’t relax him any, given that he was staring at a vaquero who had just brought his own six gun to bear in Pecker’s direction, not a dozen feet away.​
     
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  22. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    It's from Person Of Interest (POI)

    The context is more blurb or synopsis. Just trying to find a place to start.
    Nuther try:
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  23. Malisky

    Malisky Sirocco Contributor

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    I like the macabreness. Unusual start.
    Not much to add except that since it's a duck's skeleton floating in the slushy bog, then the duck is already presumed dead. You can skip this.

    "A duck's skeleton floated up..."
    "A decomposing carcass of a duck floated up..."
    "The skeleton of a duck..."
     
  24. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    It's pretty nice. Just watch the double "fact" in there. I'd probably let that new long sentence stay and chop the follow-up in two, just for rhythm.
    "The hammer was back. The fact didn't relax him any . . ."​
    Though that can be sorted other ways to keep the "in fact" instead.

    I'd save what you have and see if it survives the second draft. You don't really know how the paragraph holds until all its neighbors are alive and kicking. Great work, man!
     
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  25. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Great, great work. One slight modification:

    "Now the silent keeper of dark secrets and unwilling guardian of the unknowing, Seeker was waiting."

    - or (better yet) -

    "Now the silent keeper of dark secrets and unwilling guardian of the unknowing, Seeker waits."
     
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