PDA

View Full Version : Hows this look for an opening paragraph my very first book



Burzum0727
May 17th, 2014, 12:48 AM
The Theikos and Fathac clans had lived in harmony for as long as could be remembered. They did not live in the same area of the forest, but nonetheless shared everything as far as the eye could see, and why not their was plenty to go around. They lived in harmony with nature and respected her and all that she gave to them. There was no need for greed or fear. They trusted all those around them, they had no reason to worry about their next meal because someone was always ready to hunt. Whenever a hunt had commenced they all shared in the wealth of the kill. When berries were picked and nuts found they would all share. They did not need to steal anything from each other because another would willingly supply his neighbor with all that he needed. If one person was in need of a new pair of pants, then his neighbor would exchange it for one of the mans services regardless if he needed it or not. They were surrounded by mountains and a stream that ran through the forest that separated the two clans. The only reason they were separate clans in the first place was that it was easier for each of the clans to work together and support their own families and help a smaller group. It helped the clans work successfully so everyone had the same opportunities, and not a single person would lack in any area that he might need help.

LeeC
May 17th, 2014, 01:10 AM
Well, you've set an initial mood and backdrop you can build characters in. You could have accomplished the same in no more than half the words though :-)


Write on,
LeeC

garza
May 17th, 2014, 01:52 AM
Closer to one-third, I would say.

You need to get into the story faster. I'm not much of a fiction writer yet, but I've been a reader of fiction for about 70 years. You ask how it looks for an opening paragraph, and, frankly, I say not too promising. As LeeC says, you've established a mood and painted a backdrop, but no one has appeared on stage.

From Homer we learn to begin in the middle of the action. That never fails to attract attention and draw in the reader. Setting a scene can easily settle the reader down for a nap if you are not careful.

Take all the information you have here, compress it so that it's clean, clear, simple, direct, and strong, and scatter it through a fight between two men, one from each of the clans. Say why they are fighting despite an age-old amity. Why has the spirit of co-operation broken down, and will the divide widen and finally engulf the peaceful valley in a bloody war? Or will someone arise who reconciles the clans? Or will one clan be driven out of the valley to conquer and settle elsewhere?

You need dialogue and action, conflict and resolution. You can't do all that in an opening paragraph, but you can drop crumbs that hint at what's to come.

Take what you have and mold it into an opening that makes us take notice, take an interest, and take time to read all that follows.

Burzum0727
May 17th, 2014, 02:33 AM
Alright thank you both very much. It was perfect constructive criticisms. This is very promising. I shall continue my work do some editing and supply the new version asap. Thank you both again for your time and response.

Burzum0727
May 17th, 2014, 02:35 AM
Also how could I go about introducing a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses?

Burzum0727
May 17th, 2014, 03:17 AM
How about this
The Theikos and Fahthac clans had lived in harmony for as long as could be remembered. They had thanked the Esbryd and other gods for their generosity. Today was very different from the beginning. The king of Ilius Vandi could see off in the distance coming in from the mountains a small group of men on horseback. They were approaching in a manner that the King could tell was not an attack, which he didn’t expect yet anyway. The plan was set but it almost turned out in failure had the king not seen them coming. The recent earthquakes had made it much harder to stop the near regular attacks the enemy had been making. Ilius had held its ground as a kingdom for near 150 years and no one had ever breached its walls, but the King still held the fear that the earthquakes would change everything. The kingdom had not been permitted to go to war but the king had decided this was more important than any ceremonial procession. Things had changed very much since the ancient days when there was only the two clans. The clans had split up in the west and were bent on a rage of greed taking anything they could, but the kingdom of Ilius had survived and its people had prospered in the face of adversity, unlike the others. The others had split themselves up so much that now they warred against each other. The king detested how they had forgotten their values.

aj47
May 17th, 2014, 06:27 AM
It's awfully long for a starting paragraph. You've got some issues here with wording. "They had thanked the god Esbryd for what he had given them among many others." Do you mean the god gave them, among others, the gifts or whathaveyou or do you mean the god Esbryd, among other gods. Your wording suggests the former but the latter is more plausible. Try "They thanked Esbryd and the other gods for their generosity."

I'm not going to nitpick this, for one thing, I've heard that you need to just tell the story and then go back and edit it because where it starts now may not be where it starts when it's finished. Wait until you have the rest of the novel or whatever it is done. Then come back and polish your first paragraph.

Burzum0727
May 17th, 2014, 06:47 AM
Thank you for that! I was having a bit of trouble with that sentence and its wording. I have been going steady now for a bit but that first paragraph I was a bit to nitpicky myself. I have edited the details. Thank you again

RubyEclipse
May 17th, 2014, 01:31 PM
I think it feels a lot like a history lesson and less like a story. Perhaps try and weave the information you have given in this one paragraph throughout the first chapter, or maybe it would be better to write a prologue. These can be used to give background information on a story without this history lesson feel. I'm curious as to where the story goes but this is a lot crammed into the first paragraph

MysticalMind
May 20th, 2014, 03:27 PM
As an opening it's good, however, it's not the sort of story that appeals to me. One thing I will say though is that the paragraph might be too long. It seems to deal with multiple ideas at the same time. You seem to have lead into the next idea quite well though I feel it would be better to break down the paragraph. Paragraph one would be setting the scene and you go onto give a description of how they view the world around them.

dmr400
May 24th, 2014, 07:03 AM
I think it would be helpful to save most of this information for another place, and begin with a more action oriented scene with conflict between two characters. This reads more like a summary to me?

InS_ght
May 25th, 2014, 03:39 AM
My suggestion can be summed up in two words: Expand, and Show.
As intro paragraphs - and I've read both that you posted - you have done little to draw me in.

In the first paragraph you presented a history lesson, which is where my suggestion to "Show" comes in. Rather than tell us what has been going on between the tribes, you can show the reader through character interaction and dialogue, or by elements of the environment and geography.

For example: If you have two tribes that are at peace with each other, you may have them building totems or signals along pathways to guide travelers. There could be decorative or celebratory wreaths, ribbons or gazebos in the surrounding countryside. Travelers would be less afraid of journeying at night, and there would be fewer weapons carried by merchants on the road. Small elements like this the reader can pick up on. Instead of saying outright: "The tribes had been at peace for years" you could consider having your characters remark on one of these points, or explain some details while your story progresses.
However, when these nations go to war, you would see effects of this in the world around them. No one would travel at night. There could be burned or trampled areas where conflict had occurred, decaying messengers left along the road - the unfortunate dead left over from the politics of war. Depending on the intensity of the conflict you could even look up historic traditions of war and dealing with leftover prisoners or soldiers; mass hangings of the defeated left in the trees - raided caravans where the dead were stripped of resources and clothing. You know, the real gritty stuff.

These elements will give personality to your world. It will feel less like a history lesson and more of an engrossing novel, where characters are in a real world with real danger and real consequences.




As for your second paragraph, you have done well to bring in progress of story line. In my humble opinion though, there is much to be expanded upon. I'm going to take a snippet of your writing for discussion.

"The king of Ilius Vandi could see off in the distance coming in from the mountains a small group of men on horseback. They were approaching in a manner that the King could tell was not an attack..."

Alright, we have been given a lot of information here. We have kingdoms, they're close to a range of mountains and messengers from another nation are on their way. But the information is fragmented and lacking in detail. Here is where you need to "Expand" your writing. Where is the king? Standing like a sentry atop a watchman's tower; hair blowing in a violent and chilling wind like the bad-ass he is? Or maybe he's looking through a window from within his keep, his Queen garbed in morning clothing peering over his shoulder with tender loving hands. You can get a lot of characterization in a small amount of time with the right details.
And how can the king tell if the group will attack or not? Do they carry a flag or banner denoting that they are messengers? Are they garbed in ceremonial clothing? Indeed, we aren't given much information about them but the king seems to know a lot. Fill us in on the details of your world and characters in real time - it will flesh out events and give you more to write about. Win/win, am I right?



In the end, I can ultimately suggest you take heed of @dmr400's suggestion. Give us some action! You can always fill in the world and political details as your novel progresses. Keep away from summaries and put some meat on the skeleton of your plot progression. Drag us into your story by the hair with danger, suspense and characters that we care about!

Looking forward to seeing what you can come up with. Cheers!

qwertyportne
May 30th, 2014, 11:12 PM
I like your story, but your first paragraph, and its revision, makes me think you are trying to write and rewrite at the same time? And inviting other writers into the process too soon? Let me suggest you play (create) first, then work (edit). If you get the first paragraph written to your satisfaction, it might point to the rest of the story in ways you have not yet discovered. How much of the story is written now? What is your criteria for the first sentence? The first paragraph? Do you have an outline with a beginning, middle and end? Or have you decided to free write your story by "following" your characters to see where they are leading you? Who is your main character? A person? A tribe? What is the problem your main character faces? Character, core, challenge, conflict, climax, choices, consequences, change, closure...

Sam
May 31st, 2014, 12:43 AM
How about this
The Theikos and Fahthac clans had lived in harmony for as long as could be remembered. They had thanked the Esbryd and other gods for their generosity. Today was very different from the beginning. The king of Ilius Vandi could see off in the distance coming in from the mountains a small group of men on horseback. They were approaching in a manner that the King could tell was not an attack, which he didn’t expect yet anyway. The plan was set but it almost turned out in failure had the king not seen them coming. The recent earthquakes had made it much harder to stop the near regular attacks the enemy had been making. Ilius had held its ground as a kingdom for near 150 years and no one had ever breached its walls, but the King still held the fear that the earthquakes would change everything. The kingdom had not been permitted to go to war but the king had decided this was more important than any ceremonial procession. Things had changed very much since the ancient days when there was only the two clans. The clans had split up in the west and were bent on a rage of greed taking anything they could, but the kingdom of Ilius had survived and its people had prospered in the face of adversity, unlike the others. The others had split themselves up so much that now they warred against each other. The king detested how they had forgotten their values.

It's an info-dump on top of another info-dump.

I don't want the life story of two clans at the start of a novel, no matter how relevant it is to the story. It's boring at the best of times, but doubly so at the start. If I picked this off a shelf tomorrow and read that first paragraph, what in it would make me want to part with ten pounds of my money to read the rest of it? Nothing. As a writer, your first paragraph (and first chapter) is your bread and butter. It's what brings home the dough. Most readers make judgement of a novel based on two criteria: the blurb and the first page(s). If those aren't up to scratch, it could be the best written novel on the market and it wouldn't matter. You need a catch. This isn't a non-fiction book about the Theikos and Fahthac clans. It's a story, and in a story something has to happen.

My advice to you would be to cut this from the first chapter and leave it for a later one. Start with something that will grab the reader. It doesn't have to be action, but there has to be some level of intrigue for someone to keep reading.

Misty Mirrors
June 1st, 2014, 02:38 AM
Sounds unrealistic to me.
Sorry.