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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Changed Juvel 1st 13

   
Author Topic: Changed Juvel 1st 13
SASpencer
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I'm trying to find the place to start.

“So is Harold helping you cope with your pre-dawning nightmares?” Alexandra asked Jude.
“Nah, I haven’t told him they started.”
“You’re kidding.” Alexandra felt her jaw drop and then closed her mouth. “You’re not living in a human foster home anymore, you know.”
Jude shrugged.
After Alexandra ate dinner with the Simmons family, she’d joined Jude in his bedroom. He sprawled his 6’2” body across his bed on the second story of his foster parents’ house, only leaving her a small corner to sit on, no doubt hoping she’d slide in next to him and cuddle. His wide grin made her feel warm inside.
“What good is it finally being with your own kind?” She asked.
“A few nightmares? No big deal. My life used to be a nightmare.”

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Denevius
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This is my own personal preference perhaps, but fiction starting with disembodied voices, aka dialog, has always been distracting to me. I don't know who these people are, I don't know what they look like, and really, I don't know what they're talking about, so there's nothing to hold on to, which lends to that disembodied feeling.

Other than that, why not just say 'Alexandrea's jaw dropped'? Having the 'felt' in there is unnecessary and slows down the action, making it more passive.

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Grumpy old guy
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Denevius has a valid point. Starting a story without any referents is distracting as we, the readers, try and work out what's going on. This isn't a mystery and intrigue wondering of what's going on, but a what the fruit?

I always try and start a story by either firmly establishing milieu (setting) or character, before I add complication.

Phil.

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Grumpy old guy
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PS: If you're having so much trouble about where to start, you probably need to finish the story and then look at where the story 'really' starts, and I'll bet that's not where you think it does.

Phil.

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SASpencer
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Thanks, I wrote 170,000 words, so I have a draft of sorts (more like practice). Critiques of the first chapter sent me to some online writing classes. Now, I have more tools and am redoing the whole thing. I cut the 1st third and am starting here. Or around here, anyway. I need to practice hooks because I'm not getting it. Looks like I won't start with dialogue. I was trying to start with conflict while showing the "before the change."
I really appreciate your feedback. I hope I don't wear you out because I'm going to do this until it is readable.

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