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First Sentences

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    @jessicafriday: Thanks for note. Yep, it’s a fantasy story, with a bit of a twist. The ring is quite special, and I’m glad my protagonist’s voice comes through. The age guess was almost spot on too. She’s supposed to be 17.

    In response to your first line, it feels a little, hmm, okay. The walking out onto the fallen tree makes it interesting, but I think there could be a little more spice added. I’d really like to see the second character’s line to see if it adds that little bit of extra that would make the opening really grab the reader.



    Perhaps the first paragraph might be more helpful.

    That said, some of your first lines are WONDERFUL!!! Far better than mine. My first sentence:

    Have you ever smelled a hospital?

    Pretty lame. You should have seen it in the first 25 drafts. 🙂

    My first paragraph:

    Have you ever smelled a hospital? It’s like poison, antiseptic, barf and death all rolled up in a band-aid. It’s why my eyes keep tearing. Or maybe it’s allergies. The smell alone could make anybody sick. Could even kill them.


    Tracy Rohlfing

    Wow. I’m so glad everyone jumped in :o)

    @jenn I love your 1st sentence, I would totally want to keep reading about why she’s in a tower again. And yes Ems leaving for the summer.

    @heidi I like yours, I’m obviously getting yours is from a boys POV but is that assuming too much? I’m wondering where he’s at that he sees her. who is she? Is she his age? I’d keep reading. Also you are dead on , I do need to add some sort of emotion about how she’s feeling about leaving. Thnx!

    @nefaerious I like your description in your prologue sentence I had a good visual. But I didn’t know what umbral meant, I had to look it up. is that bad? I’m getting a dark paranormal vibe, that’s cool. I wonder why she’s shaking. I’d keep reading to find out why. What’s she scared of or upset by?

    @laura I’m wondering why he’s everywhere she went. Is he a figment of her imagination? Ghost? mortal? but I agree 100% with what @lyrwriter said.

    @Jani I’m really curious about yours. How, why was she making her sick? How can you follow it? I want to know! and you’re so right, I need to show how Ems feeling.

    @theresa I have to agree w/ @lyrwriter. I feel like I’ve read that somewhere before. I think you can start out so much stronger. But it does make me wonder what’s this poor person been through. And now that you point it out, I totally see that I don’t need “children” in my sentence. It’s already implied. Thnx for pointing that out! :o)

    @lyrwriter I like yours. There are an endless things he might not be ready for but there’s tea involved. I’m thinking an older gentleman. What’s he hesitant about? I think you’re right on about dropping the “resembling” on mine and children’s toy model didn’t sound great to me right off the bat but nothing else was coming to mind. I will keep searching.Thnx!

    @kaylinn57 I’m getting fantasy or paranormal feel because of the ring. What does the ring do? what’s it telling her? Why is her mom having meltdowns. Sounds like maybe the roles are reversed, the child is taking care of the mother. and like @jessicafriday I’m getting a 14ish feel.

    @jessicafriday Yeah, I’m getting that maybe there are some backpackers and maybe will is lagging behind or reluctant. But if you already think Wills response would be stronger I’d go w/ that.

    Thnx to everyone for the valuable feed back!

    Maybe in a week or two we should re post w/ revised 1st sentences?



    @kaylinn @tracy Rohlfing – Thanks! I had this “feeling” that something was off about the opening, but didn’t even consider the first sentence, more the 250 words as a whole. It’ll definitely be stronger w/the other line.

    @shakespeare – Love it! Everyone can relate to a smelly hospital and.. smells that kill? Interesting… Crit: “Or maybe it’s allergies” pulls me out a bit, but that might just be the voice and I’d have to read on to see.

    @tracy Rohlfing – Great idea about posting the revisions. Perhaps there could be a “First Para/First X#of Words” thread as well.

    Might get a little outta hand, though, if the amount of feedback here is any indication. 😉



    This is pretty awesome so I thought I’d join it 🙂

    @jenn It’s been said before, but I too agree that the second half could be a bit wordy. You can play with arranging the words differently, or even cutting some out. Like Tracy said, you can always add ‘yet’ or something like “Princess Arianna was not surprised to find herself living in a tower. After all, she lived in towers her whole life.” Again, this is just an idea, more to show that either option can work. But good start and I immediately want to know why she is in a tower. Makes me think of Rapunzel 🙂

    @heidi I love it. In my head, I immediately went “such a male,” but I laughed so that’s a good sign.

    @nefarious Though it just needs to be tightened a bit, I love the emotion. Her hands shaking makes me think she’s scared and it’s amazing that you conveyed that in one sentence. Good starting ground 🙂

    @tracy Like others have said, some emotion would be great. It doesn’t have to be drawn out, something as simple as blowing out a breath, or extending a blink. The Bookshelf Muse has this awesome Emotion Thesaurus that might be of some help. http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/2008/01/introducing-thesaurus-thursdays.html

    @laura I like your opening sentence. Gives an air of mystery straight off the bat and I would totally keep reading.

    @Jani I get your first sentence and I actually like the ‘follow the feeling part’. It’s interesting the way you phrased it.

    @theresa What is your sentence after that? Maybe you can start at how life smacked her in the face. Just an idea.

    @shakespeare I like it. The only thing is that when you ask a reader a question it’s with the belief that the reader will agree with your answer. Not everyone thinks that hospitals smell like barf and poison, you know? But, it isn’t about what the reader thinks. We the reader want to know what the narrator/main character thinks of the smell. So maybe starting at the second part and incorporating that she is in a hospital could help? Just a thought, but good start. I do love the ‘rolled up in a band-aid’ part 🙂

    @lyrwriter Instant hook 🙂 Short, sweet and to the point.

    @Kaylinn Good start. I immediately have an emotional investment in the MC seeing as she is dealing with a mother having a break down. It’s a good start 🙂



    You guys, this is great. Thanks for all the feedback, I’m loving the opinions. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve gotten rid of this headache to critique a few more lines. I like it.



    Wow, this forum is getting intense. Lots of great input! =)

    @kaylinn57 I love your first line. It definitely gives me a feel of what the rest of the story is going to be like while leaving me wanting more. It’s letting the reader know that there is action currently going on and there’s action that has yet to come.

    @jessicafriday. Your first sentence already makes me wonder what’s going on, which will keep me reading but I do think it could have a bit more of a kick. Maybe a bit more detail…. why he’s walking out onto the falling tree- is there danger that’s making him does this? How is he walking -is he being careful, about it or reckless, etc. Adding a few more adjectives will make it grip us even more than it does now.

    @shakespeare I like your first paragraph, especially the phrases you use. The phrase “…all rolled up in a bandaid” is really creatively put and the last sentence hooks me.

    I’ve always struggled with first sentences, first paragraph, first chapters. Basically anything in the beginning of stories… haha.

    But here’s my first sentence:
    I will regret this… I’ve barely taken a step out from within a dumpster’s shadow and yet I still know it.



    @downeynl – Great suggestion. I use adverbs much too sparingly! 😉

    I love everything about your sentence except for the last word. I already get a sense that something’s about to happen, but I had to do a double-take to connect the “it” with the “regret.” “…and yet still I know it’s a mistake.”?



    @jessicafriday wow I was all over the place in that comment about your first sentence (commas all in the wrong places, anyone?) haha, sorry about that! I’m glad that you were still able to understand what I meant about the adverbs though!

    I agree with what you said about the last word of my first sentence. I’ll have to think of a way to make it flow better. Thanks for your comment! =)


    Tracy Rohlfing

    @shakespeare I like it a lot. Though I’m not sure about starting w/ a question. I know they’re not entirely taboo but they can kind of fall into a gray area. I sometimes think statements are more powerful. “I hate the sharp smell of hospitals”. But you know your story and what you’re going for. If you l<3ve it, stick w/ it. I agree w/ @jessicafriday ~ like the bandaid comment 😉

    I think you only need to subtract a couple words and then flip flop one and it’s golden. Maybe something like this? My comma might be misplaced. Just a suggestion.

    “I know I’ll regret this… I’ve barely stepped from the dumpsters shadow and still, I know.”

    As always, If this wasn’t helpful ~ disreguard. 🙂

    Oh and thnx for the feed back @monicasanz ! 🙂



    Wow! There are some many great lines. I’ll give a shot. It might change though.

    Isabell Kincaid glanced at the engagement ring on her index finger, a yellow string.



    @Jen-=Great line. We go right into the fantasy element of the story. I already have a picture in my head of this story.



    @heidi I slide into the seat across from a blonde girl with a sweater that stretches just tight enough over her boobs to make my imagination summersault. More like four backflips followed by a handspring. (LOL! This is funny. I might add the colour, but I guess he wouldn’t notice the color.)

    @nefarious First sentence (most recent):
    Elianna knelt down to tie her shoe with shaking hands.(I like this it add mystery and could be a lot of differnt things to it. I do wonder what the next line is, though. Nice work.

    @“He seemed to be everywhere that I went.” (ANd I’m wondering who seems to be everywhere. Very interesting.)

    @theresa Everyone knows that when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, but what happens when life straight up smacks you across the face? (This is nice, but i might not start with a question. At least that is what they said at writeoncon. I would make it a statement. Nice thoughts though. And I only ready get a sense of the tone.)

    @Lywriter The tea was nearly ready. The man, however, was not. (Hmm… I love tea. I do want to know what comes after this. It does raise a lot of questions. Thanks for sharing)

    @Kaylinn57The 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. (Ah, nice. A magic ring of sorts. You add to important things in one sentence. The ring is warm, which makes me wonder why and her mother is having a melt down. Nice.)

    @jessicafriday Come on, Will,” shouted Marcus as he walked out onto the fallen tree(Nice. I did here that some agents frown about the opening starting with dialogue. However, the rules always seem to change. If the sotry is good, it may not matter. But maybe to be on the safe side make it a narrative that way we get a really nice grasp of you MC voice.).




    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I’m rewriting it right now 🙂 You pretty much confirmed what I already knew. Be back later to read and critique a few more.

    @tracy Rohlfing I like your idea of reposting after we revise. It would be interesting to see the before and after.



    Wow, this exploded!

    @heidi: oh boys and their obsession with certain body parts. Draws us right into his head!

    @nefarious: the glistening rock is the obsidian wall, right? I think you can condense this (gorgeous!) image to have it flow better. And I’m instantly curious as to why her hands are shaking.

    @laura: I’m intrigued, but I think a detail or two would absolutely hook me

    @jani: I like the phrase “follow the feeling” – would definitely read on to see what happened

    @theresa: I agree to get rid of the question format, but I like the sentiment!

    @lyrwriter: instantly curious about who the man is and why he isn’t ready

    @kaylinn: curiosity spiked and sympathy for the character on the rise. Good job

    @jessica: not sure about it as an opener. I shall reserve judgment until I see what the second sentence is 🙂

    @shakespeare: I like the imagery, and the idea that smell can kill. But I agree with whoever said to get rid of the question

    @downeynl: I would just stop after “know” – otherwise, works great

    @ladonna: ooh! I was getting ready to say “eh” but now I want to know why her engagement ring is a string! Good hook.

    I would also like to see revisions, but agree that it’s gonna get crazy in here, hahaha 😉

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