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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First paragraph, first chapter, first book

Author Topic: First paragraph, first chapter, first book
Member # 1404

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The battle-scarred smuggler had seen a great many better days in his
youth. Now, as he sat out on the balcony of his high rise, sipping his
cool samrin spirits, he gazed out at the horizon as the sun set and the
moons rose to fill the reddened sky. Yes, this is what life was like now. He no
longer had his youth and naivetť to push him onto yet another run. No,
there were plenty other younger rogues to make those runs; to take those
risks. Sorvin Overkill was one. He still had a few years left in him.
When he'd first met him, he was just a rookie named Sorvin Undertide,
trying to pay off his ride, a small war-torn Speedray jumper. Why he
wanted to hook up with the rascal for that last run was a question for
the galaxy to answer.

Okay. I'm braced and have a woodbit in my mouth. Give it to me. What's wrong? What's good? And finally, what's missing?

Posts: 17 | Registered: Mar 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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Actually, that's not a horrible opening paragraph. I have a fairly good feel (as much as can be expected from the first paragraph) for your setting, a good guess where the story's gonna go, and I haven't fallen asleep yet.

Careful throwing around your pronouns. Starting from 'He still had a few years left in him.' I'm not really sure who all the 'he's refer to.

I find myself wanting to know our battle-scarred smuggler's name. No reason to withhold that piece of info from us.

Also, is the last sentence supposed to read: "Why wanted to hook up with the rascal for this last run . . . "? Or is the 'last run' already over and done with?

Sorvin's last name changing . . . from Underblah to Overblah seems a bit . . . cheesy. However, if you're trying to play him up as a cocky, boastful overly-theatric-but-still-damn-good type, then I think it's perfect. Interesting character if that's who he is . . . even more so because our obviously wise battle-scarred smuggler wants to hang out with him.

Good, consistent POV, from what I can tell. The story starts at the right beginning. (assuming the interesting part is going on one last run.) Other than that clarity issue, I like it the way it is. (but I want to know is name)

Give me more . . . . MORE!

Seriously . . . if you've got more and want a critique, I for one would love to have a peek at it.

[This message has been edited by Falken224 (edited July 15, 2002).]

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Member # 1431

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The immediate thang that came to mind is that I'd prefer to see what the sun set over - ie, are we looking at land or sea? I personally think that scene setting is very important at the start of a piece for kick-starting the imagination. Once that's up and running the reader is with you.

The sci-fi frame of the piece isn't referred to later, so I'd personally recommend something at the sunset ref to help establish period. My own mind started in some Renaissance maritime period, and then had to shuffle forward a couple of thousand years.

Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 1404

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Thank you. Thank you. No one as yet has offered to critique my story. They just say, "It's good." I don't want to know it's good, I want to know what can make it better, and that's why I'm here. Thanks, again.
As for he character's name being omitted from the first paragraph, I did that on purpose (whether it's okay to do that is another matter) because the following sentence of the next paragraph starts with his name.
Yes, Falken, the run is over. He's no longer in the game anymore, but you're right, I do have an issue with pronouns. The name change is cheesy, but this guy is a cocky, boastful overly-theatric-but-still-damn-good type. He's trigger happy and has no remorse when killing someone. Not exactly a hero that everyone would like. That's the idea. The main character is empathic; a fairly good guy, but has a horrible drug problem; gets him in trouble a lot.
Anyway, What's the format of sharing stories here? I know some may be afraid of others stealing their ideas, but how's this work?

And thanks to Chronicles. I DO need to be more descriptive I think. Draw the reader a scene to help him get involved. Something like that. Give the reader a sense of the time period.

This is awesome!

Thanks again.

Posts: 17 | Registered: Mar 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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Well, I think the way it works is anybody that wants to critique will post their e-mail address and you send 'em a copy.

Mine's nathan.nelson@isp.state.id.us

You're more than welcome to send me a copy. No guarantees how quickly it'll get done, but I'll go as fast as possible.


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Member # 1374

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I donít have much new to add. My main problems were the pronoun thing makes the piece more difficult to read than it needs to be and the lack of main character name up front. Holding it off just escalates the pronoun confusion, plus with using a POV of the smuggler, he knows his name, so heís not going to be keeping it a secret from himself.

You do say heís in a high-rise, so that sort of indicates a more futuristic setting. A couple more hints of what he sees or whatís around, either here or in the next paragraphs, and youíll have your setting established.

I also, from the last line, was unsure if the run was completed or not.

If you put up a request for a critique, people can also just email you if you post your email (or if you donít post one, people will use the one in your profile, if thatís the one you want them to use.). Then you email it to them, they reply with comments . Just be sure if you use a file attachment that is a universally readable format.

Posts: 652 | Registered: Feb 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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