I am just looking for some opinions of this intro. I have been fighting with the starting point of this one.
Sangfroid stepped through the large masoned doorway into the Manor Kitchen. Delectable fragrances invigorated his senses. Besides his solarium, this was his favorite place in the Manor. Perfectly caramelized butter laced with toasted wheat of the freshly baked croissants crafted by his twin brother, the chef pleased his nose. This, however was but a part of the symphony of glazed hams, brioche, spices, and cut fruits Sangfroid, himself had genetically engineered. He and his brother were both men who embraced and driven by their senses and palettes. “Good Morning, Sangfroid. Any tangerines yet? I can’t wait.” “Another week or so. Mangosteins are ready though. I will send Gustan out after breakfast to pick some for you.”
Hard time finding a starting place you say? Been there, done that (still doing it). My first inclination is to say this isn't the starting point. Judging by your comment, I am betting you haven't been able to find any spot that is suitable to open. Let me see if I can help.
The first line...
quote:Sangfroid stepped through the large masoned doorway into the Manor Kitchen.
...comes off as cliche-ish. MC makes grand entrance walking into a room through a picturesque doorway. You can do better.
The second line...
quote:Delectable fragrances invigorated his senses.
Is too heavy handed. Ease up on them reins there cowboy.
I do think a simpler version of it would be a better opening. Something like...
Sangfroid inhaled the delectable aromas of the Manor kitchen.
I agree this doesn't sound like the beginning. The description of a kitchen glazes my eyes over and there is nothing here telling me about the actual story.
Posts: 78 | Registered: Sep 2009
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Seems that the respons has confirmed my suspicion. I hope this is cool with the powers that be but I am going to give a brief synopsis and see if anyone might be able to offer me a suggestion of an appropriate starting point the trouble is that I wanted to give a little of the day-to-day life of the MC because the happenings of the story are that of his derailement and I wanted to show as much as his normal characteristics before this event as possible so that there is not too much exposition. Here it goes:
MC and his twin brother are somewhat the more noble of the servants of the Manor. Their Lord is a major landholder of a colony planet. They are both men of heritage. They can proudly trace their lineage back nearly two thousand years to 1748 France where their grand father was a Baillage within the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotiseurrs. They both have extremely accute senses and palattes. The MC is a botanical genetiscist. He develops new strains of plants for the Colony world; anything from Medicinal plants to exquisite tasting fruits and vegetables. After this scene here where his fertilizer has been banned, he goes to the recieving terminal to the space elevator soo he can requisition some different fertilizers. He carries himself in such a proud and noble way is is mistaken for nobility(His Lord) and is kidnapped by a hostile alien race that has awoken on one of the moons above. The other moon is inhabited by humans. Sort of the interplanetary government that regulates the colony worlds. Da da Da. I won't bore you with the rest, but he escapes and sets things right mainly by his ability to smell.
zSo again I am looking for the starting point which rationally should probably be in or around the time of his getting snatched, but as I mentioned I want to offer as much of his normal behavior as possible. Any suggestions?
quote:He carries himself in such a proud and noble way is is mistaken for nobility
Try this angle for an opening. Show me what youmean by a 'proud noble way' and make it entertaining. Be that with a servant, commoner, his brother, somebody. I want to see this 18th century noblistic man in a far future society. The contrasts may be interesting by itself.
Does this work any better? Am I at least on the right track?
He was only partially aware of the way he carried himself. Certainly, he was proud, handsome, and well-dressed. As he strode through the busy spaceport, one hand, bent perfectly at the elbow, clasped onto his lapel. His nose, well into the air, swayed slowly side to side absorbing all the aromas the area had to offer. With his acute sense of smell, he was able to detect even trace odors; gear oil used in the hydraulic lifts tinged with the light fumes of the spent fuel. Sweat, from those that loaded palets of his equisite fruits, the fruits themselves familiar. What he did mistake was the stares and whispers; those he saw as admiration, were in fact, sneers and whispers. They knew that he was not a Nobleman. They knew all the Lords and ladies of Tora.
[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited January 24, 2010).]
Nope, not what I had in mind. Still boring. You have a man with the mannerisms of an 18th century living in the 30th century or so. Show the contrasts. Something like…
quote:Sangfroid strode through the spaceport as if he owned the place. He kept his eyes forward and walked with perfect posture; straight back, chin held high, stepping lively and with a purpose. He planted his ivory cane (rare), with its 24 carat gold dragonhead for a handle (priceless), with every other step. The blue-collars stared at him as if he was a mythological Earth bear. Unsure if he was real or not. Let them stare.
quote:Sangfroid rubbed the brownish-black substance between his fingers, while Snapier’s clients watched on. The off worlders were eager to get Sangfroid’s endorsement and were willing to pay a high price for it. But Sangfroid prized his reputation and no amount of money would get him to sell it. “This will revive BT’s World economy,” said Snapier. “The crops of this planet will grow twice as fast, doubling its yield. BT’s World will become the bread basket of the Alpha Arm.” “Plato-goose sh*t.” Snapier blinked then shook his head. “Excuse me?” “This is full of Plato-goose sh*t. I can feel the micro-pebbles from its gizzard. The crops will grow fast, exhausting the soil
Go for snooty and prideful, and show it. Hope this helps.
I didn't like version 1. It was too flowery for me. Too much food being described for me to taste any. The dialog was very ordinary and a bit bleh. One guy is cooking, the comes into the kitchen, they talk about unimportant stuff in a normal way. Would not read on and probably wouldn't even get to the dialog if I were to find this outside of the F&F.
I really liked the idea Snapper proposed. I agree with what he said. I like how you incorporated the idea in version 2. I would read on now, there's a faint hook in there for me.
While I do not find it "boring", I do find it too heavy on description, it's basically a summary. Nothing is happening right now. Snapper's 2nd example of what he was expecting shows your character moving and talking. Those are a bit more hooky (to me).
Adding contrast is also a good idea, I agree with that as well. I would add: pick carefully what you're going to contrast, it's the first look your reader gets of your MC so it's very important.
Not to offend, but if you want to go for the contrast example, try not to use any of the examples Snapper gave you. They're nice examples, but I assume he didn't spend too much time picking them (since they were just there to illustrate a point) so those are the obvious ones.
[This message has been edited by Nicole (edited January 27, 2010).]
I liked the second version a lot better. The last sentence or two could convey more threat based on where you are headed to make a hook of the greater contrast between the oblivious MC and the bad guys. Sneers doesn't seem very threatening.
Posts: 60 | Registered: Nov 2009
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The second is better, places us closer to the threat and abduction, so it's probably your starting point. With a little tightening:
quote:Sangfroid <he does have a name> strode through the busy spaceport, one hand, bent perfectly at the elbow, clasped onto his lapel. His nose, well into the air, swayed slowly side to side absorbing all the aromas the area had to offer. With his family's acute sense of smell, he was able to detect even trace odors; gear oil used in the hydraulic lifts tinged with the light fumes of the spent fuel. Sweat, from those that loaded palets of his equisite fruits, the fruits he himself had designed for his Lord Xxxx.
This lets us know he has a proud appearance (the cause of the aliens' mistake and his abduction), but that he isn't noble, and that he has extraordinary sense of smell (the source of his salvation.) I would not mention the normal people sneering - that makes him appear pompous and pretentious (unless you want that), and he will lose our sympathy before you even start. Instead, go straight to the aliens noticing how he stands out. BTW - does the fertilizer issue really matter to your story, or is it just background? If it is crucial, it should probably be here at the start (perhaps in a semblance of snapper's second example, so we know something about it quickly, before he's abducted.
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