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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » My first First 13

   
Author Topic: My first First 13
zwicker
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I'm looking for some insight and comments about this opening. I have an altenate that I don't like as much so I figure I would throw this one up and see what you all thought.

Private Jacobs sat at the back of the first of four buses, crammed into it with 50 other men he had never met until one week ago, as the convoy of busses rolled through the Georgia forest headed to his unknown home for the next nine weeks. Each man was required to carry his large green canvas bag strapped to his chest, making the precious little free room they might have disappear. The heat and stench from 50 men in Georgia’s hottest summer was nauseating, but it didn’t distract the young private from what he knew was about to happen. The bus rolled to a stop and Jake’s heart raced as he looked out the window and saw a sea of drill sergeants… just waiting. Right on cue the doors flew open and a huge beast of a drill sergeant stormed onto the bus. He began screaming obscenities, the volume was deafening even at the back of the bus, but the point was clear, get off his bus.

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Catherine Collingwood
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Okay, so this is my first review here and I tend not to wear kid gloves. So let me start by saying that I actually found this interesting. I'd like to see what's next, since I'm hoping this will not be a run-of-the-mill basic training story.

You've done a great job of capturing the details and as someone who's been through my share of Georgia summers, I can certainly related. I was very much "there" reading this descriptive paragraph. Great first start!
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Private Jacobs sat at the back of the first of four buses, crammed into it with 50 other men he had never met until one week ago, as the convoy of busses rolled through the Georgia forest headed to his unknown home for the next nine weeks. This is a very long sentence and probably has a bit too much detail. I'd suggest pruning out anything that's not directly related to this specific scene, and cutting it into multiple sentences if necessary. Each man was required to carry his large green canvas bag strapped to his chest, making the precious little free room they might have disappear. "Precious little free room" is a bit awkward. The heat and stench from 50 men in Georgia’s hottest summer was nauseating, but it didn’t distract the young private from what he knew was about to happen. How did he know? The bus rolled to a stop and Jake’s Is this the same guy as Jacobs? heart raced as he looked out the window and saw a sea of drill sergeants… just waiting. Right on cue the doors flew open and a huge beast of a drill sergeant stormed onto the bus. He began screaming obscenities, the volume was deafening even at the back of the bus, but the point was clear, get off his bus. You have some grammatical issues in this sentence.

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zwicker
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Its great to get some feeback, more than the "Yeah its good" that I seem to always get from my wife and friends. To an extent it will be a basic training story but that is just where I have chosen the story to take place. The book is about Jake Jacobs (working name)who becomes a father at 17 while still in high school and his struggles to do what is right for his young family. Still a work in progress.
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Bruchar
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I like the picture you've painted here and agree with Catherine's editing advice, but would also like to suggest something that may be a bit more engaging:

Consider starting with the sentence "The bus rolled to a stop..." and filling in the background details about the MC later on in the story.

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