Post the first paragraph of your WIP here and get feedback

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Post the first paragraph of your WIP here and get feedback

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    Technically what the title says. 😊 Post your opening paragraph from your work in progress here, and we’ll help each other improve and polish until that hook is practically gleaming (because I’m sure everyone here wants to get published, right?). So, what do you say? Are you up for it?


    Here’s mine:


    “Oaths were not meant to be broken.

    Ask Yahweh, the God of our fathers. When He spoke to our ancestors from Mount Sinai, gave them the Decalogue and made them swear before Him that they would serve Him now and when they entered Canaan, His intent was not for some of us to become apostates, worshipping Ba’al and Ashtoret. His intent was for us to trust Him, to serve Him wholeheartedly because He was Yahweh, the one and only El Shaddai.

    How many oaths have been broken even after our God said otherwise.

    Akhan, a warrior in Isra’el, took a Babylonian garment from the ruins of Jericho and caused our entire army to be defeated by the troops of Ai. Yahweh had commanded that all the spoils be destroyed or dedicated to His use. Akhan ignored His warning. The people stoned him as a result, his dead body staining the pile of rocks erected above him a crimson red.

    Bil’am, a prophet among our race, sold his soul for money provided to him by the pagan king Balak of Mo’av. His thirst for wealth caused him to betray our people, bringing women from both Mo’av and Midyan to ensnare the leaders not only with heathen sacrifices to their gods but their skill in bed.

    Shimshon, the strongest of our judges, broke his Nazirite vow by marrying a woman of P’listia, drinking the fruit of the vine, touching dead bodies and, in the last act of rebellion, let another woman, a native of the valley of Sorek that was renown for its vineyards, know the secret of his strength. She used it to her advantage; hours later his seven locks lay forgotten on the ground, along with his oath and his strength.

    Shaul, the first king of Isra’el, disobeyed direct orders from Yahweh to exterminate the Amalekites, tried to kill Yahweh’s Anointed, Daveed, and went to a sorceress to summon the demon that called itself Sh’muel. The oath that the Lord had sworn to him to keep his descendants on the throne forever was annulled, and another man took his place, a man the late prophet said was more worthy than he.

    Oaths were not meant to be broken, yet they have been so many times.

    I am the embodiment of an oath.”


    Any feedback to offer? This is for my WIP, Oath, the first book in my series Of Wives And Women, a HF.

    Don't blame me if I spill the ink of my mind on your carpet. I just figured it needed a makeover.

    R.M. Archer

    @esjohnson I’d probably trim down to fewer examples; two or three would probably be good. It gets kind of bogged down and repetitive after that, so I’d pick two or three that you like best and cut the other two or three. Also I think your third paragraph should end with a quotation mark rather than a period. The overall tone is interesting. 🙂

    Here’s the first few paragraphs of the fantasy novel I’m editing:

    Catessa stopped on top of one of the tallest buildings in the city and looked over her shoulder one last time for anyone who might have seen and followed her. There was still no one. Muffled laughter and talking came from the building she crouched on and she made her way to the gutter, sliding down to land on a pile of trash and mud in the alleyway.

    She walked around to the front of the tavern and stepped inside, savoring the raucous atmosphere and the sickly sweet smell of alcohol. This place was almost like home.

    She made her way immediately to the counter and saw that someone was already in her usual seat. His face was turned away from her, but the light from the nearby fireplace gave his hair a familiar reddish tint.

    “You’re in my seat,” Catessa said.

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.


    Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll consider that; after all, I tend to go crazy with examples, haha. 😂😂😂

    Catessa sounds like a determined girl! Someone’s following her, but we don’t know who it is– that REALLY adds to the tension. When she gets inside however, she approaches this stranger and applies some burn. 🔥🔥🔥 There’s no Hi, how are you, no Haven’t seen you here before, just You’re in my seat.


    I’d love to see a comeback to that, brother. 😎

    Don't blame me if I spill the ink of my mind on your carpet. I just figured it needed a makeover.

    R.M. Archer

    The next line is, “I know.” XD

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.


    Even better. 😂😂😂

    Don't blame me if I spill the ink of my mind on your carpet. I just figured it needed a makeover.


    Here’s mine. Cool idea.

    (note: it’s a very, very rough draft)


    Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five…

    So close. Freedom is so close.


    The bell rings, we laugh and scream. Chairs scrape backwards, canes scratch against cold tile, and books slide across weathered wood as we scramble to our feet.

    School is out, senior year is over. We are free.

    “Dude,” Lance grumbles beside me, “that took forever.”

    “I thought she’d never stop talking,” says Brenna, her cane brushing against my ankle. “Who cares about Abraham Lincoln at a time like this? We’re graduated.”

    Lance chuckles. “The rest of those losers are stuck in her class for another week.”

    “Hey!” I shove him away. “My sister is in that class, dummy.”

    He gulps. “Ah. Right.”

    To my right, Brenna laughs, the sound like a tiny bell, the triumph in it lost as we walk into the hallway.

    Lance curses. “God I can’t wait to get out of here.”

    Everyone is shrieking, hollering at one another as they slam their lockers shut. Voices like tiny knives pierce their way into my skull. Backpacks and walking sticks poke and jab at my ankles, my shoulders.

    One hand is at my side, the other grips my cane so tightly my entire arm trembles. It’s all I can do not to flail outward, spread my arms like wings and run out of this stupid hall, away from the smell of sweat and the sound of screams.

    I hate this place.

    Someone rams into me, sending me jolting forward. My cane flies out of my hand and clatters somewhere to my left. I lunge forward, a hand outstretched, but the cane is gone, and I am moving through darkness, darkness and a sea of bodies.

    “Whoa,” Lance catches my arm. “Chill.” He grunts as he bends down, cane clicking against the floor, and slides my walking stick towards my hand. “Got it?”

    “Yeah.” I stand, breathe in deeply, and start forward. “Thanks.”

    I can almost see him grin. “Few more steps, man. Then we’re out of here forever.”

    “Forever.” I nearly forgot Brenna was standing there.

    “Forever,” I say. It feels like a promise, a vow between us three, and I grin.

    We walk forward, shoving open the doors, and march into the sun-lit beginning of forever.

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    Princess Foo

    @esjohnson I liked how the names were slightly different than the ones in the Bible. Is that a Hebrew spelling of their names or something? As @r-m-archer, I think cutting down on the examples would be better.

    R.M Archer I like your paragraphs. I’m intrigued by “His face was turned away from her, but the light from the nearby fireplace gave his hair a familiar reddish tint.”  The only thing I would say is, not knowing what genre your story is, reading that she is on the tallest building in the city makes me picture a skyscraper above a city skyline. Then she just kinda jumped off, and I had to reread it a couple times to make sure I got that right, because you don’t just jump off of skyscrapers.

    Here is mine;

    It is a universally acknowledged fact that that a girl in possession of an arrangement to meet with her best friend must be in want of said best friend. And Rose was late.

    I scanned the parking lot again before stepping through the Dairy Queen door into the air conditioning. It was 98 outside, and my skin tingled at the sudden temperature drop.

    “Shouldn’t you be in school?” The cashier peered at me though glasses so big it gave her an owlish look.

    I shifted the stack of books in my arms and regretted bringing the whole series. We were on the last book so I thought it would be nice to have them all there to summarize, but I forgot that Rose had asked to meet at this Dairy Queen instead of at the library like we normally do.

    “I’m homeschooled.” I flicked a strand of brown hair that had fallen out of my ponytail away from my face. “Can I have a small caramel sundae?”

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com


    @elizabeth someone’s eager to get out of school, aren’t they? I can practically feel the excitement radiating off the pages, it’s that good. I’d probably read it. 😉


    it is Hebrew spellings! Glad you like it! (And go homeschoolers, cause I’m one of them and the freedom is exhilarating. That cashier has no idea what she’s missing. 😊)

    Don't blame me if I spill the ink of my mind on your carpet. I just figured it needed a makeover.



    I’m kind of curious to the main character’s name.  Is it revealed soon after?  (That could just be me, I like to know the narrator’s name pretty soon off. :))

    “Hey!” I shove him away. “My sister is in that class, dummy.”

    He gulps. “Ah. Right.”

    I was thinking they were joking around, but then the response is much more scared than I would’ve thought.

    Is the school not really a traditional school?  I get that people want to be free from school, but it sounds like they’re escaping something much worse.

    Also, I really like having a blind character.  I don’t see many blind people in fiction, so that’s cool.


    Cute beginning line. 😉

    In my experience, most people assume that I’m a year round student or there’s some holiday.  Not many people have accused me of skipping, so the cashier comes off to me as mean.  I’d change it to “No school today?” or something along those lines.

    “I shifted the stack of books in my arms and regretted bringing the whole series”  Maybe change it to “…arms, already regretting…”

    “but I forgot that Rose had asked to meet at this Dairy Queen instead of at the library like we normally do.”  I’m not really sure why this makes a difference.

    Home schooled characters are great. 😀


    Here is my beginning:

    Black Moon Academy – Academy for the Villainously Inclined.  I dropped my case to the ground, and looked up at the words on the wrought iron fence.  There wasn’t any other way but forwards.  My mother had sent me away early in the morning, into the windowless carriage and to the school I had been destined to attend for my entire life.  From the moment I had stepped into the carriage, there was no turning back.  I picked up the case, and entered the gate.

    The castle’s shadow loomed over me, yet the sun shone brightly on the grey stone.  There were equal parts grace and defense in the architecture.  For all of its tall, spiraling beauty, it was still a place that few would dare to attack.  Not that there were many attackers.  I wasn’t even sure where I was myself.  The location of the school was a closely kept secret, and only graduates of the Academy knew its whereabouts. For extra security, my mother told me that it was guarded with an invisibility cloak covering the entire school.  It was a reasonable precaution.  Villains have very few friends.

    R.M. Archer

    @aster You have a couple of extra commas in there, one after “I dropped my case to the ground” and one after “I picked up the case.” I’d also reword the line “entered the gate” to something more along the lines of “pushed open the gate” or something else that more clearly indicates that she stepped past the gate; what you have is fine, it’s just not the most accurate/clear way to say it. I also think you want “forward” rather than “forwards,” but A) I’m not 100% certain on that and B) since it’s first person that’s a little bit more flexible since people don’t always have excellent grammar.

    Your second paragraph is kind of info-dumpy. I’d rearrange the second sentence slightly so it says “The architecture was equal parts grace and defense,” which just reads smoother. After that you kind of leave the reader wondering why she’d mention immediately that people wouldn’t attack it; if she’s just gotten here, why is that her first thought? Is she worried that it will be attacked? If so, why? Otherwise it seems like shoehorned foreshadowing. Likewise the location and invisibility cloak: why is she mentioning these things now? The location thing would be better shown through her perhaps looking around trying to ascertain her whereabouts or something like that rather than just telling the reader that she doesn’t know where she is. During that you could explain that it’s a reasonable precaution because villains have very few friends (I do like those lines).

    And another question: Why does she drop her case just to pick it back up again? If I just stepped out of a carriage and I’m observing where I am, I’m not likely to totally set my bag down. I may rest it on the ground if it’s large enough to do so without being awkward, but I’m not likely to totally set it down. And it doesn’t appear that she stands there very long, so if she hasn’t been carrying her case and she’s just briefly observing, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for her to set down her bag entirely.

    All that said, overall it looks like the start of a good beginning, and it’s interesting enough even as it is that I’d be interested in reading more. (Generally the more I like something and the more familiar I am with a genre, the more I’m able to pick it apart, lol.) The hook itself is really good, it’s just the writing that could use some fine-tuning. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by R.M. Archer.

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.


    @aster a school for villains, eh? This is about to get very interesting, if I do say so myself. Invisibility cloaks? I’m hooked. 😉

    Don't blame me if I spill the ink of my mind on your carpet. I just figured it needed a makeover.


    @esjohnson @princess-foo @elizabeth @aster @r-m-archer

    Are these your whole first chapters? Most of them seem rather short. Not that my chapters are very long, or anything.

    Here’s mine. These actually are the prologue and pre-prologue. My first chapter is still in work. The pre-prologue is not having much to do with the rest of the story, but I would like to know if you think this is historically accurate.

    Here goes:

    Pre-Prologue: If Earth Was Round…
    Edward walked past tables upon tables of books, charts, and maps. He picked up one weathered piece at random, and gazed at the jagged outlines of the world, and its three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Along the edges of the map, far out at sea, were squiggly images of sea monsters, and other dangers that lurked near the edge of the world.

    Edward lay the page back down with a sigh. All the maps were similar, many of them older and not as updated, and others newer, and more updated. His entire life’s work was spread out on these tables.

    The cartographer of the king flopped down in his old leather chair as he thought about what had happened that day in the king’s court. A man had come in by the name of Colombus. He had wanted to be sponsored for a trip to the famed spice islands, but by a different means. He had thought earth was round. Edward had thought he was crazy. But, the more he had thought about it, the more he realized that it was likely true. He had observed things which could only account in a round earth. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t believe as the fact that he didn’t want to believe. What would come of his job, and the jobs of many other cartographers, if the earth was proved round.

    Edward ran his finger across the dusty bookshelf until he came to an old tattered manuscript, which he pulled out.

    “In the Shadow of the Falls,” he read, as he looked fondly at the book. It had been his favorite story as a child.

    He sighed as he looked at it. Not only would his job and the job of many others be destroyed if Colombus succeeded, but so many classics like this one.

    He turned the page, preparing to read it for what would be his last time.



    Prologue: The Fury
    A bright flash illuminated the dark sky and sea momentarily. A rumble like the breathing of a sleeping giant sounded through the night. A many masted ship pushed laboriously through the torrent, being tossed about by the waves as though it was a toy sailboat. Thunder crackled again. The storm clouds rolled closer, blocking out the last of the stars in a darkened embrace. A blinding volt of power from above struck the tallest mast, which burst into flames. Panic ensued on deck.

    “Everyone! Stay calm!” Came a bellow from the upper decks.

    Wind howled, and an icy blast soared through, forcing the scarlet cloaked speaker to clutch his cape tighter around him. His ragged black hair, soaked with the spray dashed out in the wind, wanting to fly free with the wind.

    “There is no need for chaos. There never is a need for chaos.” The man spoke calmly, and the crowd quieted. “I know you are frightened, but every problem can be worked out in an orderly fashion. And this situation will be worked out in an orderly fashion.” He looked out over the ship, especially at the main mast, which had stopped flaming, leaving the sail like a charred piece of paper.

    “Everyone!” The crimson clad man was now joined by another, stouter man. “Everyone!” The short captain bellowed again, “Lord Philip is right! We need every last man to fight this storm! We will not let this storm master us over the edge! How many of you has had nightmares of the edge of the world? Well now, let those nightmares fill your mind! But don’t let yourself give up! We need everyone if we are to break the force of these seas, to ride this storm, and to escape from the strangling of the edge! We will not give up without a fight, will we men?!”

    The stout captain was answered by great cheering from on deck.

    Philip the first turned, his cape a flash of red, and looked at his captain with admiration. “You handled that nicely.”

    The captain chuckled. “Anything for you, my lord.”

    A high octave schreech rent the night, followed by sevaral others.

    The cape swished as its wearer turned. “A great variety of sharps and flats.” He shook his hair, shaking quivering beads of moisture onto the rough deck. “Sounds like my wife when she sees a rat.”

    Philip raised his voice. “What did your captain tell you? Stay-“

    His voice dropped to a whisper as he saw what had caused the commotion.

    “That’s the biggest darn rat I’ve ever seen,” Philip muttered, and then leapt onto the lower deck, trying to draw his sword as he did.

    The rocking of the vessel threw him forward onto the deck.


    It wasn’t easy to unsheathe a sword while jumping. Not to mention on a rocking boat. Philip clenched his teeth and blinked rapidly, twisting his arm to look at his cut before reaching down to pick up the sword. He had already gotten a wound, and it wasn’t from the enemy. He held the sword menacingly; the thought, that he had absolutely no experience with weapons, only briefly crossing his mind.

    After straightening his cape and throwing back his dripping hair, Philip turned to gaze on his foe for a second time.

    A great alga covered serpentine body had risen out of the water, draped carelessly with sea weed and various mollusks. The cloaked lord stared with horror at the gleaming, marvelous teeth, and the foam that dripped out of the monster’s mouth. A feeling of sickness rushed through him, worse than the sea sickness he had felt only the night before. Philip slowly, almost carefully lifted his gaze. His eyes were suddenly locked into the deep, unending eyes, crimson a deeper shade than his own red cape, and even more frightening than the blood that was splattered on his hand. The crimson cloaked lord and the crimson eyed serpent stared each past the masking shadow of closely knit scales and ragged black, into the others eye. A simple glance in those shiny black eyes, and those huge, deadly red eyes would have told you a simple thing: one was triumphant, greedy, and deadly, the other was frail, timid, and helpless.

    Philip could not remove his gaze.

    “Rufus.” The voice was barely above a whisper. The speaker didn’t take his eyes of the monster in the water. “Take my son Philip in a row boat and escape with him. I will not fight this creature with a baby on board.”

    Rufus, nodded astutely, and made his way towards the lower decks in obedience. Plop, his iron-cuffed boots dashed grime about as he plodded through one of the many puddles dampening the rough deck.

    The red caped lord listened to the dying away taps of his manservant, and readied himself for battle, for his death.

    Philip could hear the rowboat splash the violent ocean as Rufus and his son, his only son, began their escape. He recognized the distinctive splosh of oars, as they cut through the water. Every oar stroke was lengthening the distance between him and his son. Philip thought back to the most recent time he had held little Philip the second and stroked his adorable pudgy cheeks. It would be the last time.

    But no. He would not dampen his spirits before the fight had even begun. The sound of oars had disappeared into the crashing waves, and he knew his son was out of danger.

    “To arms!” Philip shouted. “To victory!”

    Philip stepped forward, leaned all his weight onto his right foot, and swung, wildly, for the first, yet also the last time.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Brink.

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson


    @josiah @daeus-lamb @anybody else who can fix this.

    Why did my reply disappear? I don’t want to have to write it all out again. (Ok, it wasn’t that much, but it still is annoying.)

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson

    R.M. Archer

    @nuetrobolt No, just the first few paragraphs of the first chapters. My first chapter is a lot longer than that. XD

    I really like your pieces! You have a lot of grammatical errors and a couple of misspelled words, but the visuals and description are really well-done. I would definitely keep reading. 🙂

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    Josiah DeGraaf

    @neutrobolt Looks like your comment was flagged as spam for some reason. I’ve undone that so it should be showing up now. 🙂

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

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