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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Intro idea - untitled

   
Author Topic: Intro idea - untitled
RyanRussellLunde
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This story has been marinating in the back of my mind for a while as I work on Xander. This is the first time I've written anything down pertaining to it, although a basic outline of the story is in my head.

3rd version.
As our sky-pod plummeted to the ground only one thought went through my head, "Please let my little sister live."
Blaster fire had disabled the fuel system and damaged the left wing. We went down hard and rolled, explosive chaos instantly became quiet and still as we landed upside down.
Eerie silence passed for a few moments before I could speak.
"Joselin, Are you ok?"
"I don't know. I think my leg is broken."
Her voice never sounded so beautiful.
"We have to get out before they find us."
"Caleb, I smell gas. There are sparks everywhere."
The acrid scent of fried electronics mingled with the fumes.
"I have to blast out the wind-shield, plug your ears."


2nd version.
"Joselin, can you hear me, are you conscious?"
"Yes, what happened? Are we upside down?"
"The fuel pump failed and a wing was damaged. We crashed."
"Are they still following us?"
"I think so, we have to get away from here before they find us."
"It's so dark, I can't see anything. Are you ok?"
"I'm ok, but the hatch is jammed. I'll have to blast the wind-shield. Can you unlatch your belt?"
"I don't know. I smell gas. Joseph, sparks are coming out of my control panel."
"Are you injured?"
"I think my leg is broken."
"They are coming. We have to get out now. Plug your ears."

original:
“Joselin, can you hear me?”
“Yes, what happened?”
“The fuel pump failed and a wing was damaged. We crashed.”
“Are they still following us?”
“I think so, we have to get out and away from here before they come.”
“Are you ok? It's so dark.”
“Yes, but the hatch is jammed. I'll have to blast out the wind-shield”
“We're upside down, I smell gas.”
“Can you unlatch your belt?”
“I don't know. Joseph, there are sparks coming out of my control panel.”

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 10, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited October 10, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited October 10, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited October 11, 2011).]


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dysfunction
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Starting a story with all dialogue this way can be problematic. We're being told what happened in the crash, instead of allowing us to experience the aftermath through the character. Why not take a sentence or two to place the character before he or she radios Joselin, let the reader experience their disorientation and pain.

[This message has been edited by dysfunction (edited October 10, 2011).]


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RyanRussellLunde
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Thanks for your insight. Rather than just scenario, this is also an attempt to see how well I could start a story with only dialogue. I'm not determined to keep it this way but thought it would be a good exercise to determine the pro's and con's.

I might have to add a few "he said, she said". The two characters take turns with each line, but that may get lost in the reading.


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dysfunction
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Ok, I wasn't sure if you had a reason for starting with all dialogue. In that case, maybe the first few lines should be a bit less matter-of-fact?
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RyanRussellLunde
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I thought the first version was 13 lines but apparently Open Office 13 point Arial with 1 inch margins doesn't follow the rule. I think I figured out how to check it with the reply box.

In the 2nd version I attempted to rearrange the dialogue a little to fit in all the information from the original and hopefully make it easier to discern who is speaking.


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LDWriter2
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With the 13 lines not being the correct count. That happens now and then around here. Every so often it gets a little confusing when what you think are 13 lines are 13 lines here but the next time, using the same process, it's too long. But usually it comes out okay for me.


The second version sounds better to me. It is more to the point and there's more tension.

Oh yes, I'm surprised no one has picked up on this but is this a story or a novel?

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited October 11, 2011).]


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RyanRussellLunde
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LD, A novel in theory. It is just an idea right now that keeps stirring in my head while I work on Xander. I have a basic outline for the story but many of the details I still need to work out. I wrote 1000 words or so of this story yesterday and one of the things I cannot decide is how old to make these characters. At first I had thought young teenagers, but am leaning more towards making them 18 to early 20's. They are brother and sister. They were "kids" in my mind at first but after Joseph has a little hand to hand battle with the people pursuing him it seemed more appropriate to make him an adult. Not even sure I'll keep the skirmish in the story. The point is that they escaped from imprisonment, but are recaptured, Joselin is tortured and taken away from Joseph as punishment, which sets the scene for the main plot; save Joselin and escape for good.
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RyanRussellLunde
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accidentally posted the same thing twice but cannot delete.

[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited October 11, 2011).]


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I can delete double posts, RyanRussellLunde, if I can catch them before you edit them.
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redux
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My knee-jerk reaction to a story that starts with dialog usually goes something like this: "don't know 'em, don't care."

It's not to say that I won't read past the dialog, but I'm neither an agent or a magazine editor. I think to catch their eye and keep them reading it better be damn good dialog.

ENDER'S GAME starts with damn good dialog. It is brief, to the point, and essentially encapsulates the entire story.


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RyanRussellLunde
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redux, my thoughts exactly. I've said before that I have trouble reading stories that start off with action because I don't care about the characters yet. Starting with just dialogue makes it even more difficult. Although like you said, it can be done. I'm trying to figure out how just as an exercise. I'll come back to this with different intros in the future. This story isn't my first priority but I thought I could use it as an exercise to test different types of intros while I work on Xander.
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redux
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To clarify, I think that's why it's often said not to start a story with dialog. It is an uphill battle. But that is not the same as saying it's not worth trying
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Architectus
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Because I read all three examples, I figured that I should comment.

I like the third one the best because it first places me somewhere before throwing dialog at me. However, I like the first example's dialog better.

Also, the line about her voice never sounding so beautiful, is that what he would really be thinking while in that situation?

Someone commented about how Ender's Game starts with dialog. Although, it technically does, I think that bit is more like a prologue. In fact, I would say that it is a prologue.

The story really starts with "The monitor lady smiled very nicely ..."


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