Is this. Good opening?

2 weeks ago | AdamBolander (Member)

I just wrote the opening lines for my new book, but I'm not sure if it's any good. It's going to be a juvenile-YA level book, think Eragon but... better, hopefully. Does this strike you as a good opening?

Some adventures begin with betrayal. Others, with grief. For Falquin Mazwrath, who slept in the palm of a giant’s hand twenty feet off the ground, it began with something else.

It began with a bonk.

BONK BONK BONK.

The fiery haired young man mumbled sleepily, and opened his eyes. A parrot perched on his chest, looking expectantly down at him. When he didn’t immediately move, it bonked him on the forehead again with its beak.

Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com

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Responses

  1. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Is this. Good opening? (I sleep)

    Is this. Bonk opening? REAL SHIT

  2. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Is this. Phone type? Stupid touchscr. Een and giant thumbs fun times yay.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  3. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Stories beginning with the protagonist waking up are a bit overdone IMO, but if you cut the first line (and move its info later) and begin with "It began with a bonk.", that's some good shit there.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  4. Dary (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Just so you know, "bonk" is a British euphemism for sex...

  5. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    How does this one sound?

    One early morning, when the sky and the sea were the same iron gray, Falquin Mazwrath crouched in an alleyway outside Bell Tavar’s bakery, trying to ignore the incessant bonk-bonk-bonking on his skull.

    “Will you quit that?” he finally snapped, waving the green and blue parrot away.

    “Grass stained puke face!” it squawked indignantly.

    “One does not peck the greatest thief in Sylva’s head while he’s plotting a heist!”

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  6. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Neither of these are particularly good and are unlikely to catch a reader's interest.

    "Some adventures begin with betrayal. Others, with grief. For Falquin Mazwrath, who slept in the palm of a giant’s hand twenty feet off the ground, it began with something else.

    Who cares?

    "It began with a bonk.

    BONK BONK BONK.

    I've never met a reader who likes onomatopoeia (outside of children's novels), but I've met many who dislike it.

    "The fiery haired young man mumbled sleepily, and opened his eyes. A parrot perched on his chest, looking expectantly down at him. When he didn’t immediately move, it bonked him on the forehead again with its beak.

    The first sentence is very lazy, very obvious physical description. The next sentence is very tell-y, mainly due to the adverb use. The one good thing it has going for it is the bit of physical comedy at the end. As others have said, that should be what you emphasize. "It began with a bonk" could be a good opening line for an irreverent, comedic fantasy novel.

    "One early morning, when the sky and the sea were the same iron gray, Falquin Mazwrath crouched in an alleyway outside Bell Tavar’s bakery, trying to ignore the incessant bonk-bonk-bonking on his skull.

    How early? Is this early as in people-are-going-to-work early, or early as in the sun hasn't risen yet? Why is the sky and the sea the same iron gray? Who is Bell Tavar? Find a better way to communicate to the reader why the bakery is important: is Bell Tavar someone he likes or dislikes?

    A lot of amateur stories (and some less well-written professional ones) love to use 'trying' as a lazy shorthand. Always do your best to avoid it. A character should never try something, because it is lazy. It is your job to describe how they try. Instead of 'John Smith tried to reach for the ledge', go for something more like 'John Smith stretched out his arm, reaching as far as he could, but his groping fingers found only air'. Think of Yoda: A character should do something, or they should not.

    The next few lines contain some lazy adverb use, too. Additionally, when he waves at the parrot, you don't mention whether anything actually happens as a consequence: does it fly away, or does it remain on his shoulder? Is it even on his shoulder? Is this parrot a pet or has he never met it before?

    Let's see how it looks if you were to quickly punch it up.

    In the hazy light of a slow dawn, Falquin Mazwrath crouched in an alleyway and took an estimation of his target. Bell Tavar's bakery wasn't the most auspicious place to rob but, in this city where pollution blurred the sea and the sky into the same murky gray, the greatest thief in Sylva had to take what he could get.

    [Put some thiefy planny stuff in here.]

    It certainly didn't help when your sidekick was pecking away at the side of your head. Bonk-bonk-bonk, bonk-bonk-bonk. It was enough to drive him mad.

    "Will you quit that?" Falquin hissed, waving at his shoulder. There was a flash of green-and-blue plumage as [parrot's name] fluttered away to a nearby windowsill.

    [Parrot's name] cocked his head, giving Falquin an indignant glare as it hopped about, squawking. "Gross stained puke face!"

    Falquin sighed. Now he was really off his plan. "One does not peck the greatest thief in Sylva's head while he's plotting a heist!"

    I still don't think this is a particularly great opening. "Guy looks at thing while bird pecks his head" doesn't promise much initial drama. It might be better to start him mid-heist.

  7. Spivak (Member)

    Posted 1 week ago

    Not sure how much I can help, since I've barely started writing myself. But here are some random thoughts:

    - It's tough to ask for our opinion of your story start when it's so short, and we don't even know what's the story you're going to tell. We don't know its tone, or its themes. You know your story better than anyone, so in the end it's up to you to figure it out.

    - That said, as far as first things to put in a story, a reason to empathize with a character is pretty good. Why we empathize with characters is a whole essay unto itself, but we tend to empathize with characters that do something relatable, something we do often or something we see a lot in our day-to-day lives, and we tend to empathize with characters when something bad happens to them, especially if they don't deserve it.

    - We all know a friend who has a terrible pet, or maybe we are that friend. The pet is aggressive, capricious, destructive and somehow manages to compress the pure essence of evil into a small and fluffy form. They attack when someone tries to pet them, they attack when someone feeds them and, if are left alone, they destroy the furniture instead. But in the end you still love that pet, despite how mean it is and no matter how exasperated you get. That's a relatable experience. If you can convey that really well in your opening, then you might get the reader to empathize with your character.

    - I remember reading the first two chapters of this story a while back. Won't deny it seemed rough, but it has potential. You can keep revising and correcting your writing until the cows come home, but sometimes it's better to forge ahead with an imperfect start rather than get stuck revising it again and again. Accept feedback and consider it, by all means, but don't let it stop you from writing, or force you into a loop of endless revisions. It's ok to make mistakes. It's how we learn.

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