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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » first 13 of "The Kings' Advisors"

   
Author Topic: first 13 of "The Kings' Advisors"
Collin
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I posted this before, but to eliminate confusion I decided to repost a slightly edited version. Let me know what you think.

Jeremiah stood, staring out the window before him. It was not a pleasant sight to see through the open space, but then again, was Jerusalem a pleasant place to see at all any more?
The street beside his small house was bustling with activity. A stream of people, larger than usual, flowed in both ways down the broad street. The majority of them wore torn, drab garments in shades of brown and gray that hung loosely on their bodies. This was becoming even more sadly common as the year dragged on, with the drought growing worse and the King growing greedier.
Although there were a few among the crowd with clothes that were without tears and that were slightly less gloomy than that of the locals. These people were not from Jerusalem.....


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Edward Douglas
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I think the substance of the second half of your second sentence might work better as your first sentence and possibly become your hook:

Jerusalem was not the pleasant place it once was. [The reader will now ask why?]

You can consolidate many of your opening sentences into less, thereby making room for more information in your first 13 lines.

For example I took:

"Jeremiah stood, staring out the window before him." and "The street beside his small house was bustling with activity." and " A stream of people, larger than usual, flowed in both ways down the broad street." (a total of 34 words)

and edited it as:

Jeremiah stood at his window and stared at the stream of people as it passed by his house. The broad street was unusually busy. (24 words)

I don't pretend to be able to tell your story better than you, but only to show that this gives you at least one more sentence in your first 13. I find it useful to shrink, consolidate, and shorten as much of my opening as possible. The industry today demands a host of information on the first page more so than it ever has before. I'm learning this from being here at Hatrack (and am very grateful to Hatrack for the valuable lesson BTW).

Important crit: A stream of people cannot flow in both directions. Either use a different description or change it to one direction or the other.

The following is a list of words I think your opening can do without and still work:

1) "house" versus "small house"
2) choose between "torn" and "drab", but I wouldn't use both. As it reads, torn would probably be the better word to keep since you mention "tears" later.
3) leave out "on their bodies", "hung loosely should suffice
4) "greedier" should probably read "more greedy", but to me it is cliche and doesn't really say a whole lot anyway
5) "more sadly common" just doesn't work for me at all. I tried reading it as "sadly more common," but that still read awkwardly. Look for another phrase entirely.

I get lost in your last sentences completely, and would not read on from there, however with better structure and more storytelling at the beginning I might. I wouldn't start a sentence with "although", "though" yes, but not "although", but that's me.

Hope I've helped. Keep writing.


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Emily Palmer
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Jeremiah isn't doing anything. Just staring out the window at a bustling street. Why? What does he feel? What does he think?

It's Jerusalem during a drought, so there's a lot of poverty. That's the only real information I can glean from the first 13 lines.

Is this Jeremiah the same one found in the Bible? It could be (since there was a drought during his time), but I don't want to jump to conclusions.


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dougsguitar
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Collin,
The first sentence already begs a couple of questions;
Was Jerimiah sitting before he stood, or was he standing?
Where else would the window be? (ok, maybe to one side)

Second sentence has a statement and a question. Also I'm unsure about the descriptive nature of the statement; 'through the open space'... it left me wondering.

I too was snagged by 'sadly common' though I understood what you meant. Maybe take 'sadly' to the beginning of the sentence.

The last sentence seems to simply stop...

However! I would love to see this post-fixo... Even with the snags I am compelled to read on. I will watch for a revision and would read a bit more if you were interested.
Peace!


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Collin
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This Jeremiah is the prophet from the Bible, which becomes evident a few more lines into the story.

Would the beginning flow better if Jeremiah starts sitting down and then is drawn to the window by something such as a person being mistreated?

By the way, "dougsguitar", how can I get you the rest of the first chapter? I'm finding it hard to try and cram things together to keep readers from falling asleep, and I could use some advice.


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