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First 250 Words

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    So, I hope this is new.
    First sentences are great and nice. But not really informative. In 250 words you can see more of someone´s story. See more of someone´s style.

    Write your first 250 words and get them revised or revise others yourself.

    Here are mine (Chapter 2):

    When I sneak around the corner, the sight of a girl´s face hits me and I stumble back. I knew it would be something like this. It wasn´t avoidable. But knowing and seeing are to different things, and now it creeps the hell out me. On every building, big silvery screens, called Television Walls, show the same face: a girl with brown hair, pulled up into a ponytail, with brown eyes under furrowed, wild eyebrows and a crooked nose. The sober girl´s skin is sun burned and dirty.
    The girl is me.
    I´m on every Tele-Wall in Capital City.
    Everybody can see me. Everybody knows me. They have me. No chance to escape any longer.
    In big, catching letters my name´s written above my head. Robin Hatch, delinquent. At the bottom of the screen are blinking two blood red words: WANTED DEAD.
    The world starts spinning and sweat creeps down my spine. Immediately, I jump back and hide behind a black container before anyone can notice me, sliding down the wall and prop my aching head against the cool concrete. My breath goes too fast, sweat runs in my eyes and my fingers shake when I lift up my hand to brush the sweat away. I touch my hair, run my fingers through the dirty, dusty strains and get stuck. Angry, I realize I´m wearing that damn ponytail again. I yank the elastic band out, feeling the sharp pull when several pieces of my hair go with it.



    I’m game! Here’s the first 250 words of my first chapter:

    I will regret this… I’ve barely taken a step out from within a dumpster’s shadow and yet I know. Maybe I’ve known it all along, silently repressing the thought for the last two weeks, knowing that at this point in the game, my opinion hardly matters. I made my choice, if you could call it that. Now I’m living the consequences. And no matter where I go, there’s a bad vibe in the air, a sort of tension that seeps into my bones.

    Her life or death. Those were the options I was given.

    But what were my options really?

    I had none. By keeping her alive, I will undoubtedly die. So both paths lead to death. I’m not so dense that I don’t know that. But how could I choose my life over hers?


    So here I am, with every step walking closer to my grave. It’s an unusual sensation, knowing that to be true. Liberating and constricting at the same time.

    I flex my fingers, feeling the tendons tighten and loosen, trying to savor the feeling. The action is a simple demonstration of one thing I know I’m capable of controlling. With the number of those dwindling, I’ll take whatever I can get.

    My foot crumbles loudly on a tin can and I push back the grimace that’s threatening to take over my face as the sound loudly reverberates off of both the alley’s walls and the inside of my ear canals….
    (250 drops me off in the middle of a paragraph)



    @downeynl The feeling´s so dark! I like the tension and the conflict he´s in smacks you right in the face. But I also think that the beginning´s lightly confusing. You begin with a feeling more than an action but I think it will be more interesting if you would begin with an action. Maybe the finger´s flexing at the beginning or where he is at the moment. Yeah, maybe one of the two last paragraphs would be better at the beginning.

    So he´s the one who decide if she´ll live or die? Very interesting.



    @downeynl I agree with Fabienne about starting with the finger flexing 🙂 Though at the same time, I really do love your first sentence! The conflict is awesome and the varied sentence lenghts really add to the effect ^.^ It creates that dark atmosphere… The first 250 words also make me want to continue reading because I want to know whose life the MC will choose. Maybe the book is about the after life, if he chooses his own life? And why does he need to weigh the importance of another human’s life out, anyway? Very smart tactic you’re using there… >.>

    @Fabienne I really like your first 250 words XD They instantly grabbed me in and left me with a bunch of questions. “why i she wanted?” “her face is all over the city…what could she have done?” “maybe she murdered someone?” “and if she did, was it justified?” It also had a definite sense of personality. (especially in this line: I´m wearing that damn ponytail again)




    Thanks guys! I’ll definitely think about leading with an action. While I really like my first sentence, the first couple of paragraphs have always been lacking in my mind.

    @Fabienne I love how with your first 250 words we really get a sense of how your story is dystopian. And I love your Tele-Walls! So perfect. And I agree with Chiaki, you do a great job of displaying your MC’s personality.
    The only suggestions I have are grammatical ones (which aren’t really a big deal, but I know you’ve mentioned wanting help with correcting stuff like that). So for example, “It wasn´t avoidable” could be changed to “It was unavoidable.”, stuff like that.

    @Chiaki Share your first 250 words! I’d love to read them =)



    First the comments, then I’ll actually post my 250 words.

    @fabienne – I liked this. I could tell it was dystopian right away and I wanted to know what was going on. Plus I could feel the characters voice pretty clearly. There were a few grammtical errors (like the one that downeynl mentioned), but those can be taken care of pretty easily. The only other thing I noticed was when your character told us what a Tele-Wall was. Instead of saying it was a wall of televisions (something she would already know), just say something like “on every building, Tele-walls show the . . . .” and let us figure it out as we go. Things like that help hook a reader into the story because they are trying to figure out the jargon as well as learn what’s going on. Just be careful not to introduce too much world jargon at once or you’ll confuse the reader.

    @downeynl – I agree that perhaps you should start off with some piece of action. As much as I love your first sentence (and I really love it 🙂 ) I feel like the mulling things over at the beginning slows the story down a bit. I tend to want to explain stuff to, so I know how hard it can be to just jump right in and let the reader catch up later. Still, over all it was a good 250 words.

    Now for my 250. One thing: this is a fantasy story, but it may not seem that way at first. 🙂 Also, I haven’t actually proof read this because I just finished the draft the other day and I’m letting it “breathe”. 🙂

    The ring was warmer than usual that day, and had I not been dealing with my mother’s almost-complete meltdown, I probably would have paid more attention.

    At first, it was a normal day. I had finished my schoolwork early, so I’d taken up residence on the couch and was reading my latest fantasy novel when I heard the sound of metal crashing onto our hardwood kitchen floor.

    “Mom?” I asked, laying my book down, “Everything okay in there?”

    “It’s fine Alana,” came her out-of-breath response, “I just dropped the baking sheet.”

    I frowned. Most teens I know like when their mom bakes, if she’s as good at it as my mom is, but to me, the sound of my mom baking meant trouble. She almost never bakes just to bake, and there weren’t any church bake sales or fund raisers that I knew of, so she had to be upset about something. Because that’s really the only other time she bakes. She spent two weeks straight baking the year my dad walked out on us. And at least a day every time she talks to him.

    With a sigh, I set my book down on the coffee table and hopped off the couch. Walking into the kitchen, I was greeted with the sight of my mother frantically stirring a bowl of what looked to be cookie dough. Oatmeal raisin by the smell.

    “Whatcha making?” I asked, sliding onto the cabinet.

    “Oatmeal raisin cookies,” she said, throwing me her best I’m-not-upset fake smile.



    @kaylinn57 It’s awesome! 😀 The mom being upset is a great way to draw readers in and I like how the beginning starts off in the MC’s ordinary life, so we can get a sense of what a typical day for her is like (minus the mom baking :P) I really like how you foreshadow that something in your character’s ordinary life is wrong, with sentences like, “at first it was a normal day” and “…I probably would have paid more attention”. XD The only bad thing about all this is that you cut me off from reading more -_- Uhh…that’s all I can think of at the moment 🙂

    @downeynl: …you may regret asking 😛

    WARNING: I am not responsible for any eyeballs catching on fire -_- 😛

    this is from an old WIP…

    WHEN I CLICKED on the door to the local library and saw a group of agents guarding the Science and Technology section, my only thought was, ‘Oh crap, they finally caught me.’ After years of skilfully avoiding the Xivlion agents and cleverly dodging their malicious plans to catch me, they had finally caught on that I was the one who was messing with their program. That I was the one they wanted.

    I turned my back as I felt a pair of an agent’s eyes land on me. A part of me hoped that the agent who had turned hadn’t seen my face, but another part knew that I was screwed.

    I didn’t need to look back to know that the agent was pointing in my direction. Their colleagues were probably all nodding at each other right now, the way they would always seem to communicate with each other without actually saying anything. Then they would pick up their black briefcases and make their way over to me.

    My gut shrivelled up as the agents approached, their sleek black shoes making a sort of soft clopping sound on the grey carpet floor. Behind their dark shades, I bet their computer generated eyes were smirking with delight. Agents in Xivlion always wear suits. There was probably some unspoken code about that.

    Just play it cool, I told myself as the last of the agents met up with the rest of the group which was surrounding me.

    “Are you Drummerguy442?” one of the agents asked me.



    That’s a rough draft, by the way ^^^^ lol



    @kaylinn57 I like the situation you put your protagonist in. A normal day of life makes the magic part even crazier 😀
    You describe the mother really good. Her mother never backing and then the fake smile, something´s really wrong and I want to know now what!
    But I think you should describe more what Alana feels when she notices that her mother´s backing again. And I would like a description of the ring.
    Also: “It’s fine, Alana,” comma between fine and Alana.
    A really great beginning for a fantasy story!

    @Chiaki What´s with you? It´s brilliant! I really like it. 😀
    I feel the tension the boy feels. And I like how you descripe the agents. LOL I now think they´re kind of stupid. Is he some kind of super clever kid? Whatever. I like him from the beginning. I wish there´d be more.

    Thanks a lot @Chiaki @kaylinn57 @downeynl !!
    I´m really relieved you like it. (I wasn´t sure whether it sounds like crap :D)
    Ah! Without you I would have never seen the mistake! Okay, change “not avoidable” to “unavoidable”. It´s sometimes really hard to use the right words in English.
    Oh, yes, you´re right @kaylinn57. I will change that again. Never thought I would confuse my reader with that.

    @Chiaki No, she didn´t kill someone 😀 (Not yet)



    NOOO! Why doesn’t my name turn blue when you put the [at] symbol next to it? 🙁 Oh well…

    @Fabienne Thanks so much 😀 Yeah…he is somewhat clever.. 😛 (but not clever enough to figure out someone likes him O_O (but that’s always the case in both real life *and* in books lol) )

    Fabienne…you have created a killer… 😛



    I love your level of detail and agree with @ Chiaki that I get an excellent picture of the girl’s everyday life and who she is.
    But I would have liked to have another reference to the ring in the first 250 words. Maybe a little more explanation in the first paragraph, or later on. If I’m just looking at your first 250 words it feels a little disjointed. Like there’s mention of the ring at the beginning and I can tell it’s important but then we seem to lose focus on that and turn to the mom.

    @Chiaki Ooooh I’m already loving the Xivlion characters and your MC’s voice too
    “Agents in Xivlion always wear suits. There was probably some unspoken code about that.” He sounds kinda snarky.
    My only suggestion is that your first sentence is a little awkward, maybe broken up too much? Maybe make his thought that you have in parenthesis a standalone sentence and finish the first sentence with how he feels to have been caught? Maybe something like “WHEN I CLICKED on the door to the local library and saw a group of agents guarding the Science and Technology section, my heart stopped.” ?



    @downeynl Good idea! Now the sentence sounds more natural!

    @Chiaki Haha, isn´t that always the guy´s problem? And always the problem in boy´s books? 😀

    Well, could be. But she will be a really nice one, saying “Thank you” and “Please”. 🙂



    So I’ve thought about the suggestions you guys gave and I’m up for round two… I’m curious which one you guys think is better.

    After some adjustments, these could be my first 250 words:

    My foot crumbles loudly on a tin can and I push back the grimace that’s threatening to take over my face as the sound loudly reverberates off of the alley’s walls. I want so badly to send out a slew of curses into the night, to let all of my enemies out there know that I’m here too and I’m ready for their shit, but instead I stay silent. All I need is for them to know how off kilter they’ve made me, how really messed up I am on the inside.

    They’re like sharks. One sign of weakness and I’m dead. So instead I scream loudly, but only in my thoughts, where my inner demons alone can hear them. Demons which are tame compared to what exists in the world around me.

    It doesn’t make me feel any better. The tension’s still there, building; growing until eventually I’ll burst.

    I will regret this… Here I am one step beyond the dumpster’s shadow and yet nothing has ever been so crystal clear. Maybe I’ve known it all along, silently repressing the thought for the last two weeks, knowing that at this point in the game, my opinion hardly matters.

    If I’m completely honest with myself, I no longer even have an opinion. They’ve taken it from me. Now I only have the motivation, find the Lev or else face the consequences.

    Nikol’s life or death. Those were the options I was given.



    @downeynl Brilliant! I like this one so much better – not that the other one was bad! I really get to know your MC this time! He´s so present and I can imagine his feelings; his doubts, his fears, the burden on his shoulders.Also, I get to know the enemy more.
    Best line (my opinion): “So instead I scream loudly, but only in my thoughts, where my inner demons alone can hear them.”

    I wonder what the “shit” is. 😀


    I’ll throw my hat into the ring 🙂 I completely overhauled my monstrous WIP at the start of the summer, but here’s what I have for now:

    Ben Rochester’s hands trembled slightly as he raised the half-full glass of whiskey to his lips. Around him, the Belvedere’s kitchen was buzzing with activity. The gala for Mayor Grey’s fiftieth birthday was in full swing, the kitchen a swirling, chaotic mess as dishes were prepared, garnished and sent into the ballroom through the swinging black doors into the ballroom. He took another gulp of whiskey and straightened his tie.
    “Yo, Paul!” he called. “Do I look okay?”
    “Gorgeous, darling!” shouted the head chef. Paul was a burly man in bright green rubber shoes that clashed horribly with his head of flaming hair. “Now get the hell outta’ my kitchen before I set you on fire!”
    Ben raised his glass in a salute and walked out the double doors into the ballroom behind a tray of hors d’oeuvres. He was hardly two steps out of the kitchen before Mayor Grey’s secretary, Liz Parker, honed in on him. Ben summoned his brightest smile as he turned to face her.
    “Why, Lizzie, you sure clean up nicely. How’s it going out here?”
    She grimaced at the nickname. “It’s going well, thanks,” she snapped, her voice raspy with exhaustion. “No thanks to you.” There was mascara caked in the corners of her eyes, and all the concealer in the world couldn’t cover the deep violet smudges beneath her brown eyes. She did look nice, though, in a vibrant blue cocktail dress that nicely set off the color of her deep brown skin.
    “Did you get any sleep last night?” Ben asked. She frowned at him.
    “A few hours. Not important.” She placed an accusatory finger in the center of his chest, right on the golden tie pin in the shape of a blazing sun. “You left me alone out here to deal with the hounds of hell, you bastard.”
    “Which papers?” Ben asked. He took another sip of whiskey and grimaced as it burned down the back of his throat.

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