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A little unclear as to what's happening and maybe you intended that. Did Alex get thrown into the tree? And if so, wouldn't that knock the wind out of him?Or did he do this of his own accord, for support or rest after his exertion?To me, there's a bit of disconnect between the beginning and end of the first sentence.However, I do find myself wondering what exact situation Alex got himself into!
Vincent makes a good point. With the slightest tweak, I'm completely hooked.
You have a solid visualization here, and that's great. It could use some tightening up, though. Slamming one's back into a tree isn't 'one of these situations' per se. I know there's more to the scene, but it seems a little premature for him to draw that conclusion at this point.
Since people don't go around slamming their backs into trees, I'm assuming he's been shoved. Perhaps follow up the first sentence with the reason why his back is being slammed into the tree, or with his reaction to that, rather than the aside?
I agree with the others. It's great to start with action, but you need to start the action at just the right point. I've struggled with this in my own opening.
Unless there's a kind of oak called "Wide Oak", I think i'd rather the sentence be "wide trunk of an oak". :)
I really like the way you've started this. I can see what's happening. But I don't think "slammed" is quite the right word??
I'm having trouble with the word 'slammed' too. It just doesn't seem to fit. I am curious to know what situation he is in though, especially as it seems like a regular occurrence.