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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » The Rebel Trap (opening)

   
Author Topic: The Rebel Trap (opening)
Long Writer B8
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Hi,
Here are opening lines of new novel. Please tell me what hooked your interest and what didn't work. Thanks.

I won. I lost. I’m out. I’m in. I cannot tell a soul. It was enough to make my 16 year-old head spin.
Dread darkened my thoughts with the implications of what I had done and the commitment I just made. As I hurried out of Commander Samantha Hernandez’ sparse office, even the khaki corridors looked darker. Before me, the drab lobby of the Tenn-tucky Mechanized Warrior compound brimmed with sister warriors, a gauntlet I had to squeeze through on my way out. Yet, I could no longer call them ‘sister’ anything.
“Loser!” someone yelled. It sounded like one of Dara’s girls. Even my defeating the amazon bully in the tournament final hadn’t silenced her or her posse.
“Hey, Annabelle, how does it feel to reach the final arena

[ November 06, 2013, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Denevius
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Not a bad opening. You've got a lot going on in it. Dropping in that 'make my 16 year-old head spin', though, is a bit too obvious a way to inform the reader of the character's age. I can't imagine many 16 year olds being that conscious of their age.

The word 'dread' is a bit melodramatic to begin that second paragraph, but most of everything else works. I kind of think that line about not killing someone to win the tourney should be moved up even further, as it reveals the dramatic tension and the narrator's dilemma. It also does wonders in shaping the type of world you're delivering your reader into.

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J_Jammer
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I'm not hooked. Short answer.

Why? Once I post my story, this might read as if I should take my own advice. I understand that.

First the good news from what I read: It looks like you have a heart for this story and you want to get it out. That's good.

Think of the reader's mind like a jug. They've got a lot of space dedicated to your book, but you have to use a funnel to get them the info in a fashion they can accept. Otherwise it just goes everywhere except in the jug. In their mind.

You've put so much information in these first few sentences the reader that you're pouring water into a jug without a funnel and it's not going where you want.

I suggest you start in a way that introduces your character and gives the reader a reason to want to follow them. I'm assuming your character is a girl. Her age can be shown, not stated because that made me not want to read on.

I read an interesting concept with an all girl mech unit? It's a good concept. Make the reader care about your main character before throwing them into the wonderful world you've created. They need a reason to want to read on and love for your main character will do it.

Keep on writing.

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JSchuler
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My first thought: Is the rhyme at the beginning intentional?

There's some good things here. There's conflict, even if the reader doesn't quite grasp what it is yet. We have a clear speculative element right up front with the mechs. And we are getting a feel of an all-female setting.

That said, these things aren't everything. Conflict is the first 13 is good. It's difficult to make a compelling opening without it. The speculative part and the details of the setting, however, while nice to have, don't have to be present and can be cut if it makes the writing stronger.

Things are too spelled out right now. We're told, for no apparent reason, that the narrator is 16 years old. We're given, for no apparent reason, the Commander's full name. I'm not quite sure why Dara is singled out as an "amazon" while that description is not awarded to anyone else mentioned so far, though it would seem fitting.

"Even." It's used twice in this little segment. The good news is that it sounds like the voice of a teenager, especially an emotional one where everything is interpreted as a Big Deal. "Even the lunch lady refused to give me that second helping of potatoes." "Even the dog across the street refused to shut up and leave me alone." The bad news is that it's not a voice I want to stick around with for 60-100k words.

"As." Not bad in itself, but you're using it to connect two unrelated things here:
quote:
As I hurried out of Commander Samantha Hernandez’ sparse office, even the khaki corridors looked darker.
There's no need to state these elements as if they exist simultaneously and dependent on one another. This passage would work fine if you got rid of "as" and broke the sentence apart, like so:
quote:
I hurried out of Commander Samantha Hernandez’ sparse office. Even the khaki corridors looked darker.
The start of your second paragraph tells me that the story started without me. Apparently, I picked up the book five minutes late and missed this commitment. Apparently there was a good deal of character growth at the time. However, since I arrived late, I will have to search for clues that point to the details of this event.

I was going to say that your first 13 was almost interesting enough to pull me onwards for a couple more pages, but it seems KDW trimmed it since I last read it, and your hook fell off. I can't get over the feeling that I should know what happened in that office. Heck, in your pre-trimmed one, I wished it started in the arena. So my ultimate suggestion is to reconsider where you story begins.

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