Opening Of My Novel–Critique + I Need Help

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  • #44296
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    So. It feels like I haven’t been here in forever. Literally, almost all summer, I did nothing on here.

    I’ll blame that on working a full time job and not just a ton of video games and Discord chat rooms. *cough* Ahem. *cough* *choke*

    Yeah. Okay. So I’m lazy. I don’t have internet very often, and when I do… well, I like my video games, okay? Can’t blame me for that. By the way, fellow anime lovers, have you seen the trailer for SAO S3 yet? I am soooooo excited for it’s release. And @devastate-lasting the trailer for Code Geass S3 was released as well, have you seen it? I was a little disappointed, but still! Season 3, after what, a decade? Yes!

    Anyhow. To the point of this post.

    I, apparently, have an issue. I have many issues, but this is the most pressing one. So I’ll run it by y’all.

    The opening of my novel is killing me. Slowly. I’m pretty sure if I don’t find a solution soon, I’m going to become even more of an insomniac than I already am and die of exhaustion and stress. So help me out a little.

    First off, I love my opening lines. Here they are:

    The day will come when you will learn what you were born for. Whether you will rise to fame and fortune—or fall to utter darkness. It may not come until the day you die, or it may come when you are thirteen and break you.

    But only one thing is for certain.

    It will come.

    Yeah. Is that awesome, or what?

    But the problem is… I have to get that awesome narrative to switch over in focus to my MC, Kirin, pretty quickly. Otherwise my writing and pace is going to bog down and then I’ll have to fix that.

    This is what I’ve come up with so far:

    The day will come when you will learn what you were born for. Whether you will rise to fame and fortune—or fall to utter darkness. It may not come until the day you die, or it may come when you are thirteen and break you.

    But only one thing is for certain.

    It will come.

    Sometimes it comes gently. Like a breeze in the summer, or a deep green pool in the forest.

    Other times, it doesn’t. It seizes you at fifteen, and throws you roughly into the world of knives and blood, of warfare and violence. Some survive. Some do not.

    Kirin was one of those who was given violence.

    I haven’t gotten farther than that. Mostly because even as an INTJ(yes, stereotypes, I know), I’m terribly lazy most of the time. Plus, I’m much to critical of myself to tell if the switch is as bad as I think it is.

    So. I want the opening to be a bit foreboding and dark, to match the feel of the entire trilogy. Because believe me, nothing gets better from here until the very end. Nothing.

    Tell me your thoughts/opinions/comments/etc. I’m tagging my guild master @morreafirebird, because she’s awesome, and I’m also tagging @the-inkspiller because I know your writing tends to be darker as well and you can tell me some of your own opinions on the feel of my opening.

    As for anyone else, spill your thoughts here. Let them trickle out and engulf the page, until your fingers drip black from ink and your heart is darker still…. okay, I’m stopping. That took an odd turn. (I’m still working on my dark voice in fiction, okay? Chill.)

    But seriously, have fun. Critique, voice, whatever you like.

    Au revior, mon amies. (And if I got that wrong, I blame Google Translate. They never do seem to get the plurals correct.)

    Arrivederci.

    *vader vibes*

    #44335
    Buddy J.
    @wordsmith

    @sarah-inkdragon

    Hey there! It is a pleasure to meet someone from another guild 🙂 I am a Lumenite.

    First off, I love your dark voice. It is so… beautiful? And I also really like how you trailed off there into your dark voice. I find the dark voice intriguing, and you do it well.

    I currently have a WIP that I think I want to hold dark foreboding. So this will be interesting discussion.

    I like your transition… Though here is how you might do it differently.

    If you have a short prologue (or maybe the beginning chapter) that says everything up until you mention the MC. Then you end with something like… “Some survive. Some do not. This one did.”

    Bam! Right there end your prologue/first chapter, or maybe a section out of someone’s journal, and go to your MC.

    How you have it I think is fine… But if you could build more tension around whether or not he is that character I think it would work even better.

     

    -Wordsmith- Author of short stories, Reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    #44345
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @wordsmith

    Beautiful, eh? I didn’t really think of it that way. But thanks! I don’t get much critique on my writing, so it means a lot. 😉

    I’ve actually thought of doing a prologue, to make things easier for myself, but I’d also really like to try and tie it into the first page… ’cause you know, first page impact ‘nd all. Right now I’m kind of debating between the prologue or not… XD

    Lumenite? I’m an Ereki. Erekdale be our guild, and we will destroy Avensbeck next guild war! *marching tune* *draws sword* We will…. *cough* *clears throat* I mean, we’ll offer some friendly competition… *cough* *choke*

    Yeah. I’m totally failing at not being competitive.

    *vader vibes*

    #44397
    K.M. Small
    @morreafirebird

    @sarah-inkdragon oooooh nice opening lines! Keep them no matter what 😉 Right now it has a bit of an omniscient telling feel, which if it’s a prologue, that could work. But since I have a similar transition in one of my WIPs, there are four other options I can think of:

    1. Have the character be writing or reading those lines (though you’d have to take off the last part: “Kirin was…”).

    2. Just do a scene break after what you have there. There’s no rule against it 😛

    3. I love first person, so I would personally have those lines go like that and end with “I hoped I wasn’t one of the ones who was given violence.” On that note, I think the last line is a bit jarring. It goes from “Some survive, some do not,” to a sentence about one who was given violence. The logic would flow smoother if it was about someone who survived (or not. I’d be more intrigued by having it say someone did not, and then hearing their story 😉 )

    4. Back cover blurb. You know the part in italics over the actual blurb on some books? Those lines would be epic right there. That may not be super helpful with where you are in the writing process, but I thought I’d mention it XD

    ~ Khylie
    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

    #44471
    Linyang Zhang
    @devastate-lasting

    Gah, I need to finish season 2 first. But I can’t wait!

    I really love this, but…is this gonna be from first person or third? I’m not quite sure.

     

     

    "Moving on and on and on we go,
    Shining lights above blown away..."

    #44476
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @morreafirebird

    Thanks so much! I was actually thinking about doing a break… but it seemed rather abrupt and untidy for the first page… I’ll experiment a little with it. 😉

    And as for surviving… I’m actually considering a sad ending to this story. So you might get your wish. 🙁

    @devastate-lasting

    Yeah, I’m about 3/4 through S1. But S3 looks soooo cool.

    And this story is going to be in 3rd person omniscent POV. Sorry for the 1st person lovers out there, but I despise 1st person POV most of the time. I just like the way I can reveal feelings and thoughts through other people in 3rd person. Like:

    I curled up on the chair into a miserable ball, ignoring Will’s outreached fingers. He tried to put his hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged him off and looked away, trying to hide my tears.

    V.S.

    Will watched as Emily’s shoulders hunched forwards and she huddled into the chair, her long red bangs hiding vibrant green eyes from sight. Gently, he reached a hand out to comfort her, but she went stiff under his fingertips and turned her face away, light glinting off tears on her pale cheeks.

    And ignore my terrible 1st person. I never bother to practice it because I despise it so. 😉

    *vader vibes*

    #44477
    Linyang Zhang
    @devastate-lasting

    Most of what U=I write is 3rd person, but I like taking a break once in a while and writing from 1st. it gets really fun then.

    I’ll come up with something and get back to you!

    "Moving on and on and on we go,
    Shining lights above blown away..."

    #44480
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @devastate-lasting

    Can’t wait to see it. 😉 BTW, have you heard the news about Code Geass S3? As how they’re presenting it and plot? Apparently it’s not a true S3(I mean, it is, but it isn’t), but instead it’s an alternate ending. So I guess if you end up not liking S3, you can just pretend it never happened and go back into mourning.

    *vader vibes*

    #44481
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    Hi Sarah! I get ya. I, neither, have been distracted by Monster Hunter and Discord. Not at all.

    double Kirin event quest flashbacks intensify

    …horses aren’t meant to scale cliffs…my dragon pods, they do nothing…that’s a lot of lightning…

    Anyway, the first thing that struck me is this seems like a fairly informal narrator considering it’s omniscient, which makes me wonder who’s telling the story. I think I get what your intro is supposed to do, that said, and I think you’re on the right track. I think missing what comes immediately after—this is really more prologue text than the beginning of the story proper—is hurting our ability to tell if it works or not.

    The only thing I can suggest as it stands is look closely at your last sentence. Can you make it a little more personal and focused? If you do, you might evoke zooming in rather than cutting the camera, as it were.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #44485
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @taylorclogston

    Yeah, Discord is totally not on my history…. neither is Sword Art Online or some random dragon-making game…. *nervous laughter*

    As for POV–I want the feel to be dark, and slightly cynical, so… I’m still working on that. It shouldn’t be to hard, considering how cynical I usually am… hehe…

    And I’ve changed the last sentence also, here’s a new look at what this piece looks like as a prologue:

    The day will come when you will learn what you were born for. Whether you will rise to fame and fortune—or fall to utter darkness. It may not come until the day you die, or it may come when you are thirteen and break you.

    But only one thing is for certain.

    It will come.

    Sometimes it comes gently. Like a breeze in the summer, or a deep green pool in the forest.

    Other times, it doesn’t. It seizes you at fifteen, and throws you roughly into the world of knives and blood, of warfare and violence. Some survive. Some do not.

    This is the story of one who did.

    So…. yeah. Same thing, just different last line. And italics. What do you think of that as a short prologue before the actually first chapter? *storms off to think up new first line* *realizes last first line took a year to think up* *despair*

    @morreafirebird @wordsmith @devastate-lasting @anyone-else-who-deems-themself-knowledgeable-enough-to-offer-input

    *vader vibes*

    #44487
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I don’t like the italics, but that new last line flows quite a lot better. Although remember that a lot of readers skip the prologue, so just make sure you don’t put anything vital in it if it’s clearly a prologue separated from chapter one =P I bank a ton on my own opening line to my prologue to try to hook readers, but if they skip it, no biggy.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #44491
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @taylorclogston

    Yeah, the italics aren’t my favorite. I already use a lot of italics for thoughts during writing, so to do the whole prologue in italics…. yeah, no. Just trying it out. 😉

    There’s nothing really vital in here, it’s just a little thing to add to the moral message of the story, and *grins* because it sounds awesome. 😉 I usually read short prologues like this, but skip over long, five-page ones. I’m one of those people that has to read the whole book to “finish” it. 😉

    *vader vibes*

    #44597
    Linyang Zhang
    @devastate-lasting

    Hmmm…so you’re hinting that Kirin might die at the end?

    Instead of ‘Kirin was one of those who was given violence.’ or maybe right after, how about one of my favorite lines to use: ‘Kirin never really wanted to *fiill in the blank*. But how/what/why…..’

    So it sort of adds more mystery and gives readers some more suspense and looking forward to and sort of like recap.

    And it also is a good transition right into deep 3rd POV.

    Wait, now that I reread it, I think that the line I gave you would work after a space/line/break thing. Keep the original sentence.

    Another one that could probably work would be ‘And that’s how Kirin found himself…’ to jump right into the action. Or, *line/paragraph break* ‘Kirin wondered how he had got here, *insert more descrptive stuff if optional*’

    But if you want to keep the dark tone of the book, choose whichever one sounds the darkest, to which you can add the darkest stuff.

    But only if you wanted to.

    (ooh, an alternate ending? Fascinating.)

     

    "Moving on and on and on we go,
    Shining lights above blown away..."

    #44667
    K.M. Small
    @morreafirebird

    @sarah-inkdragon I like it! Especially if it was centered on that middle page, in those italics, and maybe not even titled “prologue.” Sorry, there I go thinking about the published version again XD

    ~ Khylie
    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

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