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. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Nova woke up and wiped her damp(?) eyes. She had been crying [,,,] sleep. Her wrists stung and a small whimper escaped her lips.

    Something like that? Get it down clearly, the whole story, then stylize it or whatever. Is English your first language?
     
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  2. Vanna Heller

    Vanna Heller Active Member

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    Yes, English is my first and only language
     
  3. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    My bad. Been seeing a lot of ESL posts, lately. I am no author by any stretch! Lol
     
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  4. Vanna Heller

    Vanna Heller Active Member

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    Quite alright lad
     
  5. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Senior Member

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    Nova woke up feeling sad and alone. She wiped her eyes damp realizing she had been crying in her sleep. Her wrists stung, a small whimper escaping her lips.

    The trick is to say as much as possible with the fewest number of words. You want to convey 1) Nora is just waking up, 2) she's sad and alone, 3) she cries in her sleep, 4) her wrists are injured.

    Nora woke up sad and alone, eyes damp from crying in her sleep.

    That accomplishes #1, 2, and 3. You have two more opening sentences to spark interest in the story. Nora's wrists sting. Do they sting because she got salt in a wound when she drew her wrist across her face to wipe away tears? Do her sprained wrists sting because she flexed them when reaching up to wipe her eyes? You can drop another hint here without giving away the whole story. That accomplishes #4 in the second sentence. What do you want to say in sentence three to draw your reader deeper into Nora's story?
     
  6. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    I agree with everything Catriona Grace just said, but would just like to add that there's no need to tell us that Nova was sad, as the act of crying in her sleep does a much better job of showing it. One more thing you can strike.

    When you say that her wrists stung, my first thought is that she's waking up from a suicide attempt; either that, or she's been cutting herself as a coping mechanism for something. That makes me wonder if the fact that she's alone is part of why she's harming herself. I'd expect the next few paragraphs to build on that and explain at least a little bit of how she got to this point.

    Writing guides often advise against opening a story with the main character waking up, but that's not an ironclad rule. If my interpretation is correct, then you're starting with a dramatic moment that says a lot about her character, so I'd say keep going!
     
  7. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    My turn. This is from an older story that I've been revising lately. The original had a slow, boring start (among many other problems), so I'm hoping this new beginning piques someone's interest.

    The killer sat quietly in a metal chair in a small gray room. His blood had dried to a tight crust around his mouth and nose, and his hands were cuffed and folded on the table in front of him. He was listening.
     
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  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Damn it felt good to be out of zero-g, and back on my feet. I was impressed with the sight of Saturn, when the commercial transport docked with the orbital station lazily chasing Enceladus. Ops Station wasn’t busy at this late hour, as the planet shown through the immense dome covering the city.
     
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  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Change His, to The.
    Tightens it up a bit, and cuts down
    on the pronouns a little as well. :)
     
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  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    Would it be better to refer to him as 'the suspect' instead of 'the killer' so quickly?
     
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  11. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    Subtle, but a good point. Thanks!

    In a different sort of story, perhaps, but in this case I want it clear right up front. There's no mystery about who he is, and the story is more about the detective who interrogates him. I may put it up in the workshop soon, but I just wanted to know if the opening grabbed anyone. Thanks for reading!
     
  12. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    I love the personality in the first line (though I'd drop the comma after zero-g and add one after damn). The next two lines lose some of that forceful voice, though. "I was impressed with the sight of Saturn" is blah and passive and doesn't sound like the same speaker. Maybe something more like "Seeing Saturn over Ops station blew my mind."
     
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  13. SoupSpoon

    SoupSpoon New Member

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    Been lurking around for a while, maybe it's time to join in a bit more perhaps.
    The following are the first sentences from the prologue to my WIP. It's a contemporary fantasy and the prologue provides background to the 21st century setting. I'm using a prologue as otherwise the start is quite confusing as it is recognizably set in the UK but with weirdness going on - (That's a technical term that is.)

    Upon a time, when the legend of the nailed god was first heard in these lands, Sulis - who was revered as a mighty witch, made her home among the Danes. Her cave lay hard against the forest and in the dark of a stormy night she awoke to find a runt wolf cub struggling to climb onto the thick furs of her bed. The creature was wet through and shivering, abandoned and left to die according to the law of the pack. Sulis drew the cub under the warm pelts and seeing the desolation of the creature, she pitied it and fed it even with drops of her own blood and whispered secrets into its ear.

    The 'Danes' were one of the Viking races of course.
     
  14. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    I like it. You've got a nice style, and the opening establishes your voice and setting quickly and effectively. I'd drop the phrase "who was revered as a mighty witch," though, as it interrupts the flow of the first sentence without adding any value to the story. The fact that she takes in and rears a wolf cub does a great job of showing us that she's a witch, so there's no need to tell us, too. If you want to emphasize that she's "revered," then wait until she meets other people and show us how they react to her; we don't need that info right away, and I'd definitely read on to find out more about her.
     
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  15. SpectacularPennywyze

    SpectacularPennywyze New Member

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    As the sun shone through the curtains in her room, Anaya opened her eyes, and immediately knew it was going to be a long one. With two sets of twins teething, getting things ready for the trip home, and Jeremiah acting as though he didn’t know her well enough to trust her, Anaya wanted to call the whole thing off. No matter how hard she tried, she could not make the day go away, and she could not put it off.
     
  16. SoupSpoon

    SoupSpoon New Member

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    Thank you for your comments. I think you're right and it reads better as per your suggestion.
     
  17. SpectacularPennywyze

    SpectacularPennywyze New Member

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    AntPoems,

    I'm not sure what you were referring to. The twins teething are her own children. The first set of twins is 3 years old, and they're cutting in their molars. The second set of twins is 9 months old, and they're just getting started with their teething process. The one she calls Jeremiah is her husband. He's been questioning her decision to go home and have her surrogate child, Steven help to create and deliver her message to a human named Shawna. You see? Anaya and Jeremiah do not live on Earth. They're the 8th set of gypsy guardians, ethical gypsies who are selected to watch over the gypsies who live on Earth.

    Gypsies are the second bipedal version of man, and they were placed on Earth at the same time the God of Christianity creates Adam & Eve.
     
  18. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    Are you replying to a private message? I don't see where @AntPoems commented on your first three sentences.
     
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  19. Le gribouilleur

    Le gribouilleur Member

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    (This thread made me look back at my first few sentences. The grammar wasn't wrong. I just revised it to make the reader want to read more. Thank goodness).
     
  20. naruzeldamaster

    naruzeldamaster Senior Member

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    This isn't for my current project, but I was thinking of starting my next story with this.

    "Those Otaku bastards actually did it, they proved gods existed. Unfortunately for us, their subject matter for their research was HP Lovecraft...so yeah, earth is fucked."

    And yes, Otakus are a central part of the plot of this story, it's going to be a good bit of fun to write.

    BUT I need to finish my current project first, I refuse to work on any other projects until I finish the rough draft.
     
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  21. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    I'd probably change the first their to the.
     
  22. naruzeldamaster

    naruzeldamaster Senior Member

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    Thanks for catching that :p thankfully I have plenty of time to fix it and/or come up with a better line.
    My ultimate goal is to finish the rough draft of my current project by the end of the year. (yes, it's that short)
    Don't know if I will, but if I do it'll be a huge confidence booster. I may need another month but I'll be satisfied with even finishing the bulk of it.
     
  23. AntPoems

    AntPoems Active Member

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    If I saw that as the blurb on a book jacket, I'd definitely grin and pick it up for a closer look. Ia! :twisted:
     
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  24. naruzeldamaster

    naruzeldamaster Senior Member

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    Much of the plot happens after humanity successfully repels (yes, only repels, not defeat. Can't have the great evil defeated in the prologue chapter now can we? :D) the horde and the big boi (I haven't decided which one it'll be, considering there are several, but I might be boring and pick Cthulhu lol) and the bulk of the story takes place in a fantasy epic. However the conflict is still about preventing idiots (Personifications of the five stages of grief, four of which are personifications of the four horsemen) from summoning the elders AGAIN, so there's that XD
    You may end up liking it anyway if you love a good comedy, half of the bosses for the temples are memes and/or literary references. (The boss of the fire temple is the Hound of The Baskervilles)
     
  25. Alastair Woodcock

    Alastair Woodcock Active Member

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    I'd drop 'in her room' and 'and she could not put it off' which appear to be rather unnecessary detail. The second reference to 'Anaya' should really be 'she'. Otherwise, reads OK.
     

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