Just hook checkin...wanna make sure I am not off to a false start. I apologize for any formatting glitches. My phone is my only internet at the moment.
I exist in the world only because of it being blind to my existence. A potential that cannot be quantified, an ancient and forgotten threat fallen between the cracks of opposing politics in an era of unrest. Yet I love the world, its timeless guardian, the nourishing yellow sun. It's children, my cousins...I am alien among them, yet they receive me for I share their face. The sky erupted with percussive light as the acetylene-filled garbage bag was ignited by Jake's flame-tipped crossbow arrow. Then the air filled with woots and cheers from the partially deafened party-goers. And again, the bonfire cast the only light. "You always have to make a spectacle of yourself, don't you?"
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 12, 2010).]
[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited November 12, 2010).]
quote: An potential that cannot be quantified, an ancient and forgotten threat fallen between the cracks of opposing politics in an era of unrest. Yet I love the world, its timeless guardian, the nourishing yellow sun. It's children, my cousins...I am alien among them, yet they receive me for I share their face.
This seems like a very abstract beginning. I am questioning who the narrator is (even what he is) and it is making it difficult for me to be drawn in the story even though I want to be.
quote: The sky erupted with percussive light as the acetylene-filled garbage bag was ignited by Jake's flame-tipped crossbow arrow. Then the air filled with woots and cheers from the partially deafened party-goers.
Maybe this sentence could be a better place to start. It's more rooted in a concrete setting and introduces a concrete character. But I'm wondering who Jake is, what kind of a party this is, and why on earth there are acetylene filled garbage bags floating around.
quote: "You always have to make a spectacle of yourself, don't you?"
Hopefully there is a tag after this telling me who's talking and it just didn't make it into the first 13
but i am definitely hooked
[This message has been edited by redapollo9 (edited November 12, 2010).]
I feel a little impatient at not knowing who the italicized narrator is. However, it is certainly intriguing enough to make me want to read on and find out. The switch to a 'normal' scene in the middle of something happening is good. It promises a brisk pace and gives me confidence that you'll do a good job of answering my questions about the first part in a timely manner.
Nit: Is it crossbow arrow or crossbow bolt? Or is either acceptable?
I felt assured that the narrator's identity or archetype would be revealed in due course, so I was satisfied by the opening. I assume the miscreant, a future Darwin Award winner, launched the bag-o-gas.
At first, I thought: if this first 13 were an automobile, you would have ripped up the transmission with how abruptly you shifted gears between the MC's thoughts and the narrative. The two parts seemed completely unrelated on my first read-through, but both had something good to offer when viewed as stand-alones.
The word 'potential' holds a positive connotation for me, so its clash with the obviously darker reference to the 'ancient and forgotten threat' definitely sparked my curiosity.
Jake's antics reminded me of someone I once knew in the physical world. So, as it turns out, this level of familiarity somewhat disqualifies me from identifying whether the narrative contained enough clarity for those who did not find their own personal connection.
I'm with the others that say the opening is very abstract. I believe that if you can get character, conflict, time and place into a opening, you'll have a good start.So it doesn't really work for me.
Also, as genevieve pointed out, technically, a crossbow fires bolts, not arrows. They are physically different, so I would stick with calling them bolts.
quote: The sky erupted with percussive light as the acetylene-filled garbage bag was ignited by Jake's flame-tipped crossbow arrow.
I like this image, but I think its a tad heavy on the modifiers. This, for me would be a better first line, it is a better hook if you just unburden it with the removal of one or two modifiers.
quote: "You always have to make a spectacle of yourself, don't you?"
I like that line very much. Just wondering who said it. I'm guessing it was cut off due to 13 line limit, but if not, there should be some dialog or action tag so we know who says it. I think if you wanted to use a dialog opener for this story, this would be a pretty good one, as it carries some tension between 2 characters.
[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited November 15, 2010).]
For me, the hook was the crazy kid shooting a flaming arrow through a gas filled garbage bag. Period. Nothing else about this hooked me, but that one thing was still cool enough that I would read on.
The italicized portion didn't work for me. It sounded more like the voiceover for a movie trailer. In my own writing, that's always a clue to me that I'm writing meta-text rather than text (i.e. I'm writing about the story instead of writing the story itself).
I agree with others that the shift in tone from the thoughts to the narrative was jarring. I also agree with others that the narrative and dialog would make a nice start.
quote:The sky erupted with percussive light as the acetylene-filled garbage bag was ignited by Jake's flame-tipped crossbow arrow.
Osiris makes a good point that this is a tad modifier-heavy. In fact, I didn't even notice that the character had a name until the second read-through, because it was buried!
I still like the flaming garbage bag.
Nit: I associate the word w00t with internet culture, not bonfires and crossbows. It seemed out of place and tripped me up.
All in all, I would read on, if only to learn more about a guy who shoots gas with fire.
[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited November 15, 2010).]
it would be cool after you wrote that to open up slowly onto the scence having the protagonist say what he is seeing one after another and than linking them together so you can see the whole picture-it seems like the protagonist is at a party-or crashing a party. Whatever it is, it seems pretty awesome. Keep up the good work! And would you mind looking at the first part of my story in the 13 lines section. Thank you!
So in the first sentence you use exist twice. The opening is a little surreal...but I know what you're going for. It could work I think if you paired it down a bit. People don't want to have to muddle through a lot of existential stuff, but maybe some thought provoking first sentence. Maybe the second sentence. Then also you could flip the order of the sentences about the "cousin thing" and then walking among. I feel like we need to know as soon as possible who he is, and the "I have their face as I walk among them" thing is pretty crucial to us understanding the rest. I would put that if not in the beginning, maybe as a second sentence.
In fact, now that I think about that would make a great hook.
So you spit that out and it has a bit of a WOW factor, and then you explain what you are talking about by rearranging the rest. So yeah, I like most of the sentences, I just think you should re-order them. That's my two cents. Then half way down it starts to get real exciting. I love the part about him burn the trash bag, especially after we know he's an alien. I'm think...Ohhh what's he hiding? So just letting you know the part there that caught my attention.