1st Chapter YA

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  1. #1

    1st Chapter YA

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no such thing as a universally acknowledged truth.
    I mean, let’s be honest. Anyone truly can dispute anything. And they do.
    That jacket is blue.
    Nope, sorry, it looks red to me.
    But it’s blue.
    Sorry, my eyes say it’s red. Do you have my eyes?
    Based on this theory, is there really such a thing as fact? No one can tell you Santa Claus isn’t real. No one can tell you the sun rises every morning, that the sky is blue, or that gravity is what makes you fall.
    Or that your sister is dead.
    I walk into third period French and take my usual position at the back of the class. I open my French binder, place it on my lap, and on top of it place my copy of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

    My twin sister Fen enters about a minute later, followed by her boyfriend James. Despite this, every male member of the class looks up and stares at her for at least a minute before James notices and shoots them “the look.” Every guy Fen has ever dated has found the need to develop their own version of this look because, well, I’ll say it.

    My sister is hot.

    And that is precisely the reason that no one believes we are even related. But more on that later.
    Miss Schulz walks in and announces in the greatest monotone her vocal cords can produce that today we will be discussing spell changing verbs. A large groan immediately follows. I grab a pen, place the tip on my paper, and commence drawing squiggly lines while I continue my fifteenth reading of the best novel ever written. Surprisingly, this plan had never failed me until today, when I am pulled from the nineteenth century by:
    “Monsieur Kincaid, how did you answer number four?”
    Firetruck, firetruck, firetruck.
    “Um… I didn’t get that one.”
    Oh là là, it is in your notes, Monsieur! Mademoiselle Smith, show him.”
    She stifled a laugh. “He doesn’t take notes.”

    Thanks to Molly, I was then handed a pink detention slip.
    I sighed, completely unaware that detention would soon be the least of my problems.

  2. #2
    The paragraphing is a little confusing to me, but maybe that's how some people do it when they post things here? I've read quite a few excerpts and shorts, but it's been a while since I visited the forum. It kind of looks like a poem, or lyrics to a song.

    Is this the full chapter? Or a prologue/excerpt/something else?

    It would've been nice to be given a little information about the plot, title, themes, or anything really. Personally, I get more out of reading excerpts of larger works when I know something about what happened before or what will come next.

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no such thing as a universally acknowledged truth."

    The first paragraph was really beautiful in its own way, it's just that you almost lost me on that first sentence. I am of the belief that universal facts do exist. Blue is a color that will never be red, 2 + 2 is 4 and will never be 5 etc. That said, I've studied enough philosophy to understand the thought process behind this view, I just wanted to share my own experience when I read that. To me, it doesn't make sense at all. I'll bet you my life that the sun will rise tomorrow. Still, the last sentence, "or that your sister is dead", was perfect. If there is any other way you can create that exact same effect but without actually saying "There are no universally acknowledged truths" then I'd go for it.

    The rest is good, just two little things.
    "Firetruck. Firetruck, firetruck, firetruck." <- Huh?
    And maybe after "Mademoiselle Smith, show him" you could change it to: "My desk buddy stifled a laugh" or something like that. I didn't quite get who Molly was.

    I hope you continue this, because I'd continue reading if it was longer

  3. #3
    Yeah, I didn't realize how short it was until I posted it.

    Ironically, I took a bunch of stuff out because I was worried about it being to long. It was a lot more about his sister and him, general background stuff which I moved to a different chapter because, again, for some reason I thought it was too long. Right when I posted it, I thought, "Oh my goodness, that is REALLY short."

    The universally acknowledged truth thing might have to be made clearer, but it is something I want to keep. It isn't the idea that universal truths do not exist, it is the idea that you can't get everyone to agree on anything. There will always be someone out there who claims something isn't true: just as he claims that no matter what evidence he sees, his sister is not, in fact, dead- and no one can make him believe otherwise.

    The firetruck thing makes no sense. I know. I just wanted to make sure that it made no sense before I took it out.

    And that probably also makes no sense. Thanks so much!
    Last edited by theatregeeksu; November 8th, 2013 at 02:09 AM.

  4. #4
    But the part after "or that your sister is dead" is from before she died, right? He doesn't have two sisters? Not that you need to clear that up in the story, I'm sure it will become obvious soon enough.

    I too think you should keep the first paragraph, but if the idea is that no one will ever agree on everything then you should make that clear. That's less "provoking" (at a lack of a better word) than saying there are no truths. For example, green might be a color with a clear definition, a color that will never actually be red, but if a colorblind man comes up to me and says "No, that's not green, it's red" then who am I to say my reality is more true than his? Maybe you could say, instead of "There is no such thing as a universally acknowledged truth", that "One person's reality will never be the same as another's" or something like that? Or, instead of stating it as a fact, you could say "Descartes thought we should doubt all things. He was on to something too, because let's be honest - anyone can dispute anything. And they do."

    I don't know. This is just one person's view, so take it with a grain of salt. Maybe the next ten people commenting on this will say the first paragraph is perfect the way it is.

  5. #5
    I agree that the transition from the first paragraph "Or that your sister is dead" to the second where "my twin sister...enters" is a bit confusing. I immediately assumed that the narrator was crazy and was imagining her or she was a ghost of some sort. Which I have no issue with. That could be interesting.

  6. #6
    Member Breila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    North Carolina, US
    My first instinct is to go "Wrong book!!!!" If you're going to go with that opening line, the favorite best book ever should be Pride and Prejudice, no? I know it isn't the same thing, and perhaps you have a compelling reason to use GE, but it seems like mixing metaphors to me. Why start with a play on the most famous line ever from P&P if it doesn't figure into the story in any other way?

    Putting that aside, it sounds interesting so far. I'd be keen to see where you go with it. Is the sister dead, or not? Why is GE the best novel ever? What happens in detention (or before that)? If I'm curious, I'll keep reading, so I'd say that's a good thing!

  7. #7
    It's always best to actually introduce characters before letting a character describe them. What I mean by that is have the characters do something in the story. Then the narrator can comment if need be. Otherwise it can seem like just a summary

  8. #8
    The concept of this story is interesting. Your main character (I'm assuming it's a boy) has an excellent voice, and he doesn't follow the mainstream stereotypes of male protagonists. I would like to continue reading this. Good job!

  9. #9
    Instead of the saying blue is red thing, I would say, "How do we know that what is blue to one person is not red to another? We are not in each other's heads," or something to that effect. The opening is great, especially the last line. It hits you right in the gut, and it comes out of nowhere. Plus, it gives this kind of supernatural feel to the piece, which could lead into some spectacular stuff about why he thinks she's still alive. Either that, or it could pull the reader into a world of pain and loss, which makes you feel for the character and makes him relatable at the same time. Make sure that your first chapter delineates between the two because they are very separate things.

    This is, however, not really a first chapter. We know nothing about the character, the plot, or the setting. Pick one and elaborate. You said you had more stuff on the brother and sister pair? Include it! Worried it's too much for the reader to handle? Then try to be subtle. A short, three word description of each suffices: he's brunette, short, and thin. That puts an image in the reader's head; it humanizes him. Put him in four walls, white and concrete and lifeless, or at a desk with names scratched in it, or talk about the teacher's voice, how it's grating and awful. Or go completely the other way if you have to. She's a soft-spoken, sweet-toned woman with rounded eyes and pink lipstick. Whatever it is, make sure it fits with the voice of the character.

    Also, the young-adult novel is riddled with cliches. What will set you apart from everyone else is something novel, if you'll excuse the pun. I might take the supernatural route, or I might give this kid something that other people don't have. Either he's plagued by the memories of the day his sister died, or her finds out that the two of them are adopted from different parents, or whatever you can think of. Give him an edge over all the other angsty tweens that we read about, just don't make it a gimmick. Please, we've got enough vampires out there as it is.

    Great job, keep it going. Include more please!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I do believe that you should include background information as many readers might be dissuaded by jumping right in to the characters and the story. Also, I would definitely work on the overall length, though i obviously don't know how long you intend your story to be so I can't put much input there. I will say that I do like the first paragraph and believe that it could make a great introduction into whatever plot line you are going for. I like the idea!

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