Friday, May 9, 2008

Opening paragraph - Flower Wars - what do you think?

Here's the opening paragraph to Flower Wars. OK so I did say that the fire was out . . . seems like I can't extinquish that stupid fire. eeerrrrr I DO keep trying though.

Some said that it was her screams that caused the walls to vibrate, some thought it was her mounting rage because she didn't believe enough was being done, and yet others felt it was her despair as each moment ticked away and still no sign of her son. Regardless of what caused the vibrations, everyone in the Inner Realm Mega Market felt the energy building up. For those familiar with the sort of fury that kind of energy can expel made quick exits from the Market, or if an exit wasn't available, they took shelter under sturdy objects hoping that it would pass before the Market tumbled all around them. The unfortunate ones, looked on perplexed at the frantic display over nothing more than the Bage Pounder that was being used to clear out more land adjacent to the market.


What do you think? All opinions/thoughts/suggestions welcomed!

7 comments:

Tia Nevitt said...

It makes me wonder what happened to her son, but it's slightly confusing. However, I wouldn't worry too much about the opening paragraph right now. You're bound to change it. If you can get the Plot On Paper (POP!), you'll at least have the story down. Then, once you are finished, you'll probably rewrite the opening, anyway. I always do.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

LISA, I REALLY really looooved this. It makes me feel we're in a world where sound matters and has strange properties. It also makes me feel as if she has been waiting in the market for a long while. Don't know how long...but that it has built up inside her. Interesting and great choice that you chose to show the effect of what (may have been) was happening inside her through the reactions and thoughts of the onlookers. Interesting also that the onlookers didn't try to stop her wailing. Why not? because she is untouchable? because such public displays of emotion is normal or at least not odd? It seems that not everyone in this community understands how the energy works. Why? A world with different levels of knowledge. They also seem to know her. It's not as if she was a stranger.

Some said that it was her --IS IT NECESSARY THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHO SHE IS? screams that caused the walls WHAT WALLS? ARE THERE WALLS IN THIS MARKET? IT'S A MARKET SURROUNDED BY WALLS? to vibrate, some thought it was her mounting rage RAGE AT WHAT? because she didn't believe enough was being done BY WHO?, and yet others felt it was her despair as each moment ticked away and still no sign of her LOST? son. Regardless of what caused the vibrations, everyone in the Inner Realm Mega Market felt the energy building up. (For) those familiar with the sort of fury (that kind of) <-- WHY NOT BE SPECIFIC HERE? energy can expel made quick exits from the Market, or if an exit wasn't available, they took shelter under sturdy objects hoping that it would pass before the Market tumbled all around them. The unfortunate ones, looked on perplexed at the frantic display over nothing more than the Bage Pounder that was being used to clear out more land adjacent to the market. <-- UHM, THE LAST SENTENCE CONFUSED ME.

Lovely but don't confuse your reader unless you really want to. -C

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for the great advice.
The POP, Outline, Character description, points to hit are all on paper. The dissappearance of the son, what happens in the market, are all key.
Carole, I can introduce who she is now.
I was interspersing bits of history, who, what and where as I spoke of the action and how to quiet the trembling earth.
Is it better to tell all about the market first, then bits of history? Wouldn't that be boring?
(this question will make more sense upon reading the rest of the chapter.)

Good point in that I need to give a bit more description of the market, or maybe a different name . . . the market description doesn't really work in the first paragraph . . . need to do something about this.

I really don't want to confuse people - confusing people can frustrate them and cause them to throw the book aside!
On the same token, I don't want to focus on the scene prior to the son dissappearing, it's briefly mentioned later, and the key to how he dissappeared is explained much later, as it's actually key.

I'm curious if taking this first paragraph without the rest of the story adds to the confusion.
That is, if someone were reading the entire chapter they would read on, and feel that their question was answered, or . . . would they be so confuse from the first paragraph and stop there.

Anyone able to squeeze in reading the first 10 so pages?


Yes, it is a world where there are different skills, and different knowledge. The old way of channeling energy into the earth are no longer taught because of its destructive nature, but the down side is that means the way to sooth the earth is no longer taught so effectively. (Explained in the first chapter.)

Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it.
I need to stay aware, as I write, that I'm not confusing my reader. I try to avoid doing that even intentially as I think it's annoying.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

There's a lot of mental stuff going on -- which is good. That's how you write. But when we write from a point where we're describing the situation from the perspective of a character -- or many characters-- we really have to make sure the world is a bit more rooted than you've presented it. Some readers will be patient, some won't. Folks who have read a lotta books may or may not be confused but they will continue with you and trust you to make it all make sense. Folks who haven't read a lotta books, or who are not willing to be affected by the different style, won't continue. Some folks couldn't read Wind Follower and had problems with it because of the language. And some folks like clear exposition up front. Writers of Bestsellers do that.

I don't think there's really that much reworking to do. Again, I'll say that there is no need to confuse anyone. And you can still put in the required information in such a way as not to betray your narrative style.

Information actually needed: how long ago was her son lost, how did these folks know that enough hadn't been done? Is all this surmising taking place now or sometime later? Market should be described. Age of her lost son should be told. What exactly are the people around her doing that she thinks is not enough?

Thoughts to ponder: Is it necessary that her name be unknown? Is she a unique character in some way that she should have this special kind of energy? Or is the energy special because it's the energy a mom dispels when she loses her son? What exactly is a Bage Pounder? And could that Bage Pounder sentence be split in two?

Actually, I think you have the same problems I have:

1) Backstory -- hard to figure out what others don't know of our story... we have it in our minds already but they don't.

2) Use of vague pronouns -- signs to me are pronouns such as "she" "he" etc, pronouns that refer to things such as this and that, words like "kind" "thing" "ones" etc.

Lisa said...

ANY BETTER:
Some said that they heard Gelina Cloud's screams before they felt the tremors, others felt that Gelina was frightened since Paladia's ground never vibrated, unless summoned too, and supposedly Diorian's no longer knew how to channel into Paladia to cause such tremors. Regardless,whether or not her screams were heard before or after the start of the tremors, her piercing wail drew attention to the ticket taker's booth just to the right of the entrance of the Realm Mega Complex where Gelina was stooped over her baby pusher with her arms braced so tightly on either side of the pusher's rim that the back wheels had lifted off the ground. When she looked up, her eyes were wild with fury, fear, and a mad desire to locate who had abducted her baby daughter, as such, was why she didn't feel the ground trembling with increasing intensity beneath her.

Other shoppers who were either in the arena room, with its ceiling that was advertised as reaching to the sky, or one of the many satellite shops that were billed as offering the best of all merchandise from all three of the connected continents of Paladia, couldn't ignore the ground vibrations that were causing small fixtures to sway. They looked up at the ceiling over the arena with trepidation and the Fleurians and the Flukans began to disperse in all directions, stumbling because the ground beneath them trembled with a ferocity that was only spoken of through myths and legends from the ancient wars between the Diorians and the Fleurians.

-----

I did rewrite in order to address the questions and because I don't want any one confused.
I want to leave some questions open,as they need to be answered, like all stories.

I think I was guilty of trying to pack too much information into one paragraph. Because I get bored with a bunch of back chatter, I try not to write much of it. It's hard at times for me to know when to stop and describe now, or describe later.

My up most appreciation for offering your opinions!

I want to get off on a good foot with Flower Wars. I've already tried the route of writing pour slop to redo later and I found myself dreading wanting to reread it to redo it.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Some said that they heard Gelina Cloud's screams before they felt the tremors, others felt (that) SHE (Gelina) was frightened since Paladia's ground never vibrated, unless summoned too, (and supposedly Diorian's no longer knew how to channel into Paladia to cause such tremors.) <-- AM NOT SURE IF THIS IS NECESSARY NOW. IT DAMPENS THE IMMEDIATE NEED AND WORRY: FINDING HER SON. THIS INFO COULD BE SAVED FOR LATER. ENOUGH INFO, REMEMBER. NOT TOO MUCH. TOO MUCH AND NOT ENOUGH BOTH LEAD TO CONFUSION.
UHM...... YOU HAVE LITERALLY SAID A MOUTHFUL HERE. AND IT DOESN'T PACK THE POWER OF THE FIRST ONE. METE OUT THE INFORMATION. I LIKED THE OTHER VERSION BETTER. NO NEED TO TELL THE ENTIRE HISTORY. COMBINE THIS WITH THE OTHER VERSION. STRETCH THIS OUT INTO FOUR LONG PARAGRAPHS.

Some said that it was GELINA'S screams that caused the MARKET walls OF PALADIA TO vibrate. Others --THOSE VENDORS WHO KNEW HER AND HAD SEEN HER OFTEN IN THE MARKET PLACE AND KNEW HER TO BE A CALM WOMAN-- felt SHE was frightened BECAUSE Paladia's ground never vibrated, unless summoned to. THOSE WHO HAD INITIALLLY HEARD HER CALLING FOR HER LOST CHILD OR HAD SEEN HER BEWILDERED AND STOOPED OVER THE EMPTY STROLLER thought it was her mounting rage because she didn't believe enough was being done BY THE LOCAL GUARDIANS WHO STOOD NEAR HER LOOKING DUMBFOUNDED AND AS LOST AS SHE. AND yet others felt it was her despair as each moment ticked away and still no sign of her LOST CHILD. Regardless of what caused the vibrations, AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY CAME BEFORE OR AFTER HER SCREAMING, everyone in the Inner Realm Mega Market felt the energy building up. Those familiar with PALADIA'S HISTORY AND THE MYTHS OF THE WARS BETWEEN THE FLEURIANS AND THE DORIANS, THOSE WHO REMEMBERED THE PAST WHEN THE WALLS THEMSELVES VIBRATED WITH SUCH fury OF ENERBY, made quick exits from the Market, or if an exit wasn't available, they took shelter under sturdy objects --COLUMNS, AND XXX, hoping that THE XXX VIBRATIONS would pass <-- PASS IS A WEAK WORD before the Market tumbled all around them. The unfortunate ones, <-- NOT SURE WHY THEY ARE UNFORTUNATE looked on perplexed

REMEMBER, THE MAJOR BEAT IN THIS FIRST CHAPTER IS THE LOST SON. HISTORY OF THE CITY AND OTHER BACKSTORY WILL HAVE TO COME IN LATER. -C

Lisa said...

Carole - thank you!
What great advice you've offered.
I'm digesting. Yes, I too felt the first one had more punch but I was a bit at loss on how to keep the punch, but lose the confusion.

The lost child is really a catalyst, to demonstrate what the Diorians can do and to the reason for the war.