This is more of an article I'm writing about my trip to the legendary pizzeria. I'm trying to figure out if the writing is concise or overdone.
Our second day in Naples we awoke after a good night's sleep. My traveling companion and I ventured out in search of Naples' greatest culinary contribution: pizza. We headed directly to Naples' oldest pizzeria Antica Pizzaria da Michelle, a fifteen minute stroll from our hotel on Corso Novara.
Lunchtime had not quite arrived. The dozen or so tables were nearly all occupied when we arrived and we were genially waved inside. Half a dozen employees in caps and white t-shirts bearing the restaurant logo sat together at two tables, laughing and talking animatedly in Neapolitan fashion. Both small dining rooms consisted of tables for four with dark wooden seats and marble topped tables, the limited menu posted on the dark green and white tiled walls. Antica da Michelle
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 08, 2008).]
I'm not sure if the same rules apply to articles as to short stories, but assuming they do, I'm not tempted to read on, I'm afraid.
First, to your question, it's not concise. If the article is about the pizzeria, the first para could be entirely deleted for it really only tells us the restaurant's name. That it's fifteen minutes walk from a hotel I don't know in a city I don't know really doesn't add anything. And I'm wondering what you did on your first day in Naples, who your partner is, etc, etc--all distractions from your real story, and thus snippets of information best left out.
The second para makes the place appear unattractive. That first sentence with the "not" starts with a negative feel. The restaurant is almost full, the staff are sitting around occupying a table they should perhaps leave for guests (and if the place is almost full why aren't they rushed off their feet?) the seats are hard wood, the menu's limited--I think you should mention, early, why it's legendary, why you thought it was worth visiting, and thus why the reader should be interested in the article.
Also, as you walked in, what did you see and, more importantly, what did you smell? Make our mouths water with your opening para and we'll read on.
Of course, if there were a table full of evil robot monkeys, this being Hatrack, we'd certainly read on ...
I guess what you should be thinking is who your audience is. Do you want it to be funny article or a sad article. The voice in your 13 lines right now is kind of neutral: blank, dull. You could give it an exaggerated spin if you wanted it funny (or sad for that matter). Anyone that has been to a new place for the first time would do more than just 'observe' his surroundings. Depending on the situation, his heart might skip a beat, or he might bleat out 'Ye ha!' all of a sudden.
However, if you wanted to keep to a more 'this is what happened', than remember back and add in special bits of life that will make your article 'breath' or 'live' (usually events associated with people). Example: ...the bustle of the streets... (this implies some action other than your characters) Perhaps you could personify some of the colors, so that they JUMP out at you.
Just some ideas. (hope they made sense?) Kee Stone
Your article sounds more like an exerpt from a travelogue. I think it would be fine for somewhere in the middle of one of these. They are not my favorite read; I had to sometimes use them when I taught English for the purpose of covering certain types of literature. I would not suggest beginning one of these with this opening.
If this is the beginning of an article, you should have a more inclusive paragraph that summarizes the entire article - not just that you visited a pizzeria on your second day in Naples. Since pizza is a food, you will want to include something about scents. If you are outside, I would suggest including something about the weather and temperature - after all, it is Naples.
Finally and firstly, you should start your paragraph with a "whammer". What I mean by this is something that will get your readers attention and tickle their interests.