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Author Topic: First thirteen - fantasy
rjzeller
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Here's one stab at it...still tossing the "openings" around a bit. Much of the rest of the book is already well established, but getting the opening down is a bit tricky, so here's my first 13:

quote:

Streaks of sunlight pierced through the canopy of trees overhead, highlighting a legion of Sinduami soldiers. For most armies, maneuvering these mountains would be exhausting, but for the smaller Sindu warriors, with their lean frames and relentless energy, the greater difficulty appeared to be staying warm. Their homeland to the south was days behind them, and the winds biting at them from the northwest had surely made an impact.

It had made an impact on Ohrn of the High Court, who followed them. To the east and several thousand feet down the slopes of the mountains lay Ghan, a vast plain that baked in the sun with nearly the same fury as the Sindu homeland. The Sindu hated the cold; Ohrn knew they did, because he did too. The cold did


[This message has been edited by rjzeller (edited January 15, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 16, 2007).]


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eclectic skeptic
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I really didn't think that it was very hooking as a first intro to a book. It is within the first few paragraphs that you really need to capture the readers attention. I didn't really care much about any of the few characters that were introduced. I did think that you have good descriptive sentences throughout the paragraph. One idea that you might try, is to introduce a single character, that we may know later in the book, instead of the whole army. This gets the reader interested in a single character before you start in with the back story. To sum it up, I don't care about your story until I care about your characters.

[This message has been edited by eclectic skeptic (edited January 15, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by eclectic skeptic (edited January 15, 2007).]


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Survivor
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Yes, you need to put Ohrn up front and make it clear why he's there. I take it that he's from Ghan, but only because I can't figure out any other reason for you to have mentioned the place.

It's also very strange that you have a high forest canopy in a mountainous area that is subject to extreme cold. This seems rather unlikely. Those points aside, it's a pretty interesting opening and I would keep reading.


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wbriggs
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pierced thru -> pierced

>the greater difficulty appeared to be staying warm.
appeared this way, to whom?
First paragraph is free, so you can have omni POV and then swtich to Ohrn's, which you do. I'm not talking POV. I'm just saying that when you say "appeared to be," you introduce the q of who it appeared to. You can avoid it with "the greater difficulty was staying warm."

It had made an impact on Ohrn of the High Court, who followed them. To the east and several thousand feet down the slopes of the mountains lay Ghan, a vast plain that baked in the sun with nearly the same fury as the Sindu homeland.

That last sentence is non sequitir. What does Ghan have to do with Ohrn or the Sindu?

I'll want to know PDQ what Ohrn's up to -- and what the Sindu are up to, if he knows! -- but so far, I think it's cool. No pun intended.

I want to know also how different the Sindu are from humans -- if Ohrn is human.

I'm neither hooked nor not hooked; I'm on the fence. I'd keep reading in hopes of finding out what's special about this story.


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rjzeller
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That's interesting -- I had originally written it as "the greater difficulty was staying warm" and for some reason decided to change it.

I appreciate the feedback thus far. The beginning is proving tough to craft. I've done well over half the book so far, but the beginning is just a killer....


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rjzeller
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Okay, I just noticed some of it got clipped. I thought I was careful to only have thirteen or fewer lines in there. Is there some other method by which I should measure the number of lines?
Should I reformat to Courier first, then count the lines and post?

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Survivor
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If you're using Internet Explorer, then thirteen lines should fit into the post box without having to scroll up or down to view them. If you're using some other browsers, then the post box may not be the right size relative to the input font, so reformatting to Courier etc. could be necessary.
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tchernabyelo
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I'm not hooked, because you're telling us stuff, not showing us. We don't see the Sindu suffering, we're just told they're suffering.

In general, this introduction feels like someone who's created a world that they think is really nifty and wants to tell us all about it, straightaway. IMHO, world-building works a lot better if we learn about the world through one or more characters, rather than as a kind of overview.

So start with Ohrn, and let us see the Sindu, the mountains, the plains, etc. through him and his experiences and reactions to them. At the moment, even when we are introduced to him, we're still getting infodumpy narration.

I know it's a novel, and you have more time in a novel to get things going, because the hook is the synopsis/cover copy, not the first few lines. But I for one do turn off when the first thing anovel tells me is a list of countries, races, climate, technology, religion, whatever... I want to feel the world as a real entity, not be told about it.


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