Today let’s share an opening line or opening paragraph from one of our stories.
It can be from a work in progress, something you’ve already sent out into the world and are proud of or even a line you think might make a great opening line. Let’s see what we’re all up to!
Here is one of the two competing opening paragraphs for my in-progress novel, “Darkness Falls”. I have written two chapters which could serve as Chapter One, but I am leaning toward this one as of now (ask me tomorrow and I may think differently):
Olas groaned loudly as he slowly picked himself up from the oozing pool of his own blood and vomit, carefully scanning the horizon for the pale, yellowish-green streaks which signaled the impending arrival of another round of the retched Ipecac Bombs. Seeing no streaks and hearing no sound of any nearby or imminent danger, Olas allowed himself to collapse wetly back into the muck which surrounded him, waiting sickly for the help that deep down he knew was not coming. He lay there, wallowing, alone in his misery for what felt like forever. With the unending darkness and heaviness of the sunless gloom he had no indication that it was not, in fact, forever.
Ipecac bombs Rob? Now that’s clever; clever and very, very nasty. I think that would stop wars very quickly 🙂
One would hope any wars that involved Ipecac Bombs would, well… not happen…
Feel free to heed my advice or completely ignore me, but I have a bit of constructive criticism. First, your opening sentence is too long. It would probably sound better if you broke it up a bit. Also, you seem to overuse adverbs (loudly, slowly, carefully, wetly, sickly, etc…) One of the first rules of editing is to go back and get rid of any unnecessary words. If you can form the sentence without those words, most likely they’re just adding to your word count. Sometimes trying to add detail can lead to being too descriptive. Try simplifying your opening (ie: Olas groaned as he picked himself up from the oozing pool of his own blood and vomit.)
Thank you for the advice. I should have added the word “unedited” to my description. I tend to be a very wordy writer, so editing becomes a painstaking slog through the words. Ultimately, it almost always boils down to a simpler sentence such as what you’ve suggested. But when I’m just getting the story out, I just put the words on the page as they come to me.
But yes, you are correct that there are a few unnecessary words in there and when I go back to edit I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!
From an old an abandoned work:
““I am looking for a Ghost writer to write a technical book which address some of the technical aspects of the technology, Which I can explain. I am not good at writing so I need help.”
LOL I can see a beautiful relationship developing between them 🙂
As soon as I found the first body I knew it was going to be a bad day.
I’m intrigued. This would definitely keep me reading 🙂
I don’t know why, but this line reminded me of the opening lines from an abandoned short story I worked on several years ago:
I removed my shaking hands from the battleaxe that was now lodged securely in his skull. I hoped I would awaken to find it had all been a terrible dream, but I knew all too well that death by battleaxe has no odor when it is in a dream.
I love it!
The wind shifted, spinning in her direction and she knew that they had found her.
Yep, this would hook me and reel me in 😉
Ed McAlister stretched his right leg to ease the cramp in his thigh and the pain in the calf. He almost found it amusing that his leg should ache when it was no longer there. Phantom pain, the surgeon had said, occurs in fifty to eighty percent of amputees. McAlister grimaced – phantom or not, the bloody thing hurt.
Interesting! I obviously have no idea of the circumstances which caused the amputation nor the situation which is causing the phantom (or not) pains. My first thought was that the leg may have been amputated from him, but put on another person… and his aches and pains are real aches and pains for the recipient of it which Ed McAlister can still sense for some reason. Pretty sure that’s probably not where you went, of course, but your opening got me thinking of possibilities!
McAlister is a former Royal Marine, who lost his leg while serving in the Middle East. He is about to be thrown into an unexpected and unwanted situation when the bus he’s on crashes in the middle of the Australian outback and he becomes involved in a murder mystery.
I’ve got one set in the Australian outback too. 🙂
“The endless desert stretched on to the horizon, a barren plain of red dust and sand and scrub brush, scorched bare by the eternal hot winds and the remorseless sun. And flat – so flat you could have used the distant horizon to rule lines. Above, the sky was a crystalline blue unbroken by even a wisp of cloud. The air shimmered with heat and thirst. The worst extremes of the day were past but it was still a good forty degrees in the direct sun. The land was a dozen shades of red; even the scrub brush had an orange hue. If there was ever a place that deserved the name “sunburnt land”, Jess thought, this was surely it.”
Yep, that’s the Nullarbor for you. And on good day, it’s made even redder by the setting sun 🙂
One from my novel: Lance stumbled up the slope in confusion.
And one from a children’s story:
Heather and Corwin and Connor and Tim
Decided to go for a summer swim
No, make that
Corwin and Connor and Heather and Tim
Decided to go for a summer swim
Now look at that – you edited your work from seeing it on the blog! I also like the second version better. It trots better.