A blog for aspiring authors
NoTimbre and chewing on a balloon don't seem to go together as a parallel.
YesInteresting analogy, though I would have preferred if you named who 'her' was.
No.It didn't really have the immediacy I prefer in openings.
No. It strikes me as trying to be clever and not getting there. Timbre is a bit of an old fashioned word and it doesn't fit here.
No. I want to like this because I can see something clever going on, but it's not there yet.
No. I can't envision it. Almost seems as though it is trying too hard.
No. If this means that when she talks, it sounds like someone chewing a balloon, I think I'd prefer it just said that. I like the sensory image it calls to mind, but something about the way this is phrased doesn't really work for me.
yes, I wondered if spit was running down her chin as she talked.
No. Doesn't tell me anything about what the story is going to be about, there's no conflict.
No.Though I do believe you used "timbre" correctly, I think that's beside the point. The sentence itself didn't place me anywhere; it didn't make me wonder about anything. If he finds her voice annoying, you should say so; that creates conflict. The description can come later.
No, to me this analogy is awkward. I can't picture what the author is trying to say and it doesn't tell me about the story.
No. I like the chewing on a balloon metaphor, but using "timbre" feels like it was pulled out of a thesaurus.
No.It's an interesting image. The problem I have with the opening is I had to actually look up the word "timbre" to check the exact meaning. The sentence reads like it's trying too hard, although I do get a feeling on what the sound is like. I'd re-write it to something more familiar. Good luck with your novel.
No. Timbre, for me, associates with music and chewing on a balloon isn't exactly musical. While I like the analogy of the balloon I think timbre is the wrong word. Also, a pronoun instead of a character's name turns me off as a reader.
No, but I waffled on it. "Timbre" doesn't strike me as quite right, although I like the "chewing on a balloon" part because it's a good sensory clue.
No.I'm confused right away. How do you speak while chewing on a balloon? And how would the average person know what this sounds like?
Yes. It's a bizarre analogy but I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.
No. I'm with everyone else. I don't need a dictionary to know what the word timbre means (I don't think it's that hard of a word, but what do I know?), but I agree with an earlier poster that timbre holds the connotation of musical, and so that doesn't fit with chewing on the balloon. [Although I love that comparison.] I think the voice of this sentence would be greatly improved if you changed it to something more like: "Her voice had the quality of someone chewing on a balloon."
Yes. The oddness of it interested me -- I want to know who you're talking about and why you'd describe her that way.
NoThe comparison doesn't work. What is the timbre of someone chewing on a balloon?
No, "timbre" threw me off and the sentence doesn't give me enough about the setting, story, character. I love the title though and would read further based on that.
No. I don't know who 'her' is and while I like idea of the balloon chewing, I don't know what that would sound like so it's not really working for me.
Yes.Although the description doesn't immediately present action, I do get a very specific emotional anchoring here. The MC is listening to someone whose voice grates. I cringe just reading it, so I'm well set up to be annoyed by this woman whenever I do find out what she's saying.I think "timbre" is well chosen as far as meaning goes, but as evidenced, the word is a turnoff for most readers. You might consider something like "Her voice reminds me of..." or "brings to mind."If you decide to swap out the pronoun for a proper name, be careful not to phrase so that it sounds like the MC has a voice like someone chewing on a balloon.
No. I'd rather hear what she said first, then hear the MC's reaction to her voice.
Yes.Although I can totally imagine the timbre of chewing on a balloon, I do get more of a sense of the taste of chewing on said balloon and that's kind of yicky. But I'd read on just to find out who this person is and what her relationship is to the MC.
No. I have no idea what that means and can't imagine it.
No. I wanted to like this, but couldn't meld 'timbre' with 'chewing on a balloon' - maybe 'has the garbled sound of someone chewing on a balloon'? But even then - I've never seen anyone chewing on a balloon, so it's an awkward image.
No-just description- no tension implied or otherwise.
YesMy god, some of these comments have put me into full facepalm. If using the word timbre, accurately, makes one a pedant, then I quit. And no, it's not old fashioned. I've heard it used many times on very popular singing shows and even in sitcoms.It is funny and tells me a lot about the narrator: he or she is, at least, a musician with very good ears and a feel for sound. And that the other woman was probably singing. But even if she wasn't, it still works for me, and I would read more.
YES!I love the analogy. When I read timbre, I wasn't expecting anything as discordant as chewing on a balloon (what an AWFUL! noise), so it immediately made me smile. At the same time, it's also set me on edge, making me dislike the speaker (or singer) and feel concern for whoever is hearing her speak (or sing).
No. Call me a softie, but I don't want to start a book on a negative note. There's no conflict, and I can't tell whether this will be the mc or the antagonist. Either way, I would prefer to see the person in a more neutral light before these sorts of details are added - let me form my own opinion of the character.
No. Timbre and chewing on a balloon don't mesh for me. Sorry.
No. I don't have a visual...just an audial tone that is really grating (that's the narrator's point, I guess).
No, sorry. Although timbre can be used regarding speech (or singing or an instrument), the balloon thing didn't work for me, mainly because my mind immediately jumped to Chipmunk territory, because I associate balloons with high squeaky voices from people inhaling helium.
YES! I can totally picture this. I remember blowing up ballons as a kid and occasionally chewing on them. Also, I've noticed a lot of the "no" comments seem to have never seen the word "timbre" or if they had they would only associate it with music. What I find interesting about their "no" is that is based solely on their own ignorance. Also, someone said they wanted to post "yes" but then didn't. Well, then you didn't want to did you? Otherwise you would have. Final parting shot: Those of you expecting the one open sentence to give you all the information you need to move on must not read fiction books often. Neil Gaiman and Herman Melville would get no love from you.
Yes. Just because this made me laugh. I don't even know if it's supposed to be funny, but I found the notion amusing.
Yes.This is a good first sentence because it gives you an idea how the rest of the book is going to be. It's also good because it's clever and it makes you think and imagine rather than just being an easy read.
No. I don't think this actually makes sense, or else I'm just having a hard time imagining it. Either way, I'm not hooked.
No. I'll admit I am a younger reader, but I like to think I have a descent vocab. Yet I didn't know what the word timbre meant until I looked it up.I also don't know what you're trying to get me to think of because I've never chewed on a balloon.I do have to say, though, that I can hear the voice in just these few words.
Yes. I've known several people with squeaky voices and this is an apt analogy. It can be cute or annoying. Which is it this time?
YES-- what a weird and awesome description!
Yes. Because either that is the strangest voice ever, or there's a freaky reason for it.
Yes. It's really unexpected, although I'm not sure of the word "timbre" here. But I love the analogy overall, and would keep reading.
No. I don't think "timbre" and "chewing on a balloon" should go together, but that's just me. :) I also hope for something more alluring--I want to know why I should care about this person's voice. And unless it is very quickly revealed why in the next sentences and plays a major part in the story, I myself would go with a different opener that portrays the book more... prominently, for lack of better wording.Good luck! :)
No. Much like others have said, timbre just did not work with chewing the balloon. Timbre always brings to mind voices that resonate, to me, not squeak and make you cringe. A different word to timbre and I think this would work.
Yes, just to find out what you actually menat. Ok, this has interesting associations for me, because a few years ago, my kid used to do just that. He loved to mouth and bite on balloons until they popped. So I dont know if you're referring to speaking on the surface of an inflated balloon (because the voice can sort of reverberate through it and give it a vibrating tone), or you mean the bang when your teeth sink through the surface, or the squeaky pitch your teeth make when speaking with a mouth full of rubber.
Yes. While many believe the word timbre has it's closest association with music, it is actually a descriptive of resonance, tone and pitch. It is unfair to completely disregard this in its context if you are not aware of the words evolution through the dialects and true meaning. It works, and perfectly describes the writers characterization. It also makes you want to find out just how much more vexatious this person could be in social situations.
No.Timbre is too much of an awkward word for me in the first sentence. I'm not really interested in learning who has this horrible voice. I don't think it's a particularly interesting thing to start a story with.
No. They metaphor doesn't work. Also, "chewing on a balloon" made my teeth crawl.
No. 'Her' threw me off immediatelythen timbre and balloon? confused.
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No. Chewing on a balloon makes a squeaky sound I would not consider a "timbre."
Yes. Totally made me giggle.Edited to add (after reading some of the comments above): Yes, timbre is a musical term, but it refers to the character or quality of an instrument or voice. So I thought it was totally appropriate here. Also, "timbre" might be a little advanced for MG or YA, but this is adult fiction. I don't think it's an unusual or pretentious word, and there's no shame in looking up this or any other unfamiliar word if a reader doesn't know what it means.
No. I don't have any idea who the protagonist is.
No. This feels like a sentence that should come after this girl speaks, maybe in the second paragraph. We need to know who the main character is first before we know her reaction to someone else talking.
No.I'll agree that 'timbre' does work, yet 'chewing on a balloon' makes an association in my mind with feeling rather than sound. I don't hear a voice when reading that line, I feel a sensation in my teeth (and I've never chewed on a balloon, as far as I know), and it throws it all off for me. And it just doesn't feel like a strong way to start something.
No. Whatever this is, it doesn't (imo) belong in the first line!Readers form images and it's hard to say what the author actually wants us to picture for this.
No.My first reaction was "hmm, interesting." But when I actually thought through the comparison, it didn't work for me. "Chewing on a balloon" invokes taste and texture, primarily, with sound a distant third.I do like that it's concise, a single image, the words flow smoothly, and you've offered a fresher comparison than the cliche of fingernails on a chalkboard. I just don't think it's the right comparison.