Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Line Grabber #30

TITLE: The Girl in the Mirror
GENRE: YA fantasy

The two initiates gawked at me like I was a gutted animal agonizing in a corner — with equal parts revulsion and pity.

55 comments:

Milena said...

No. Trying too hard at first, and then overexplaining. It would read better if it stopped at "gutted animal", honestly.

Casey said...

No. Had trouble visualizing this and got confused on whether she was alive or dead with the comparison to a gutted animal.

Katherine Ernst said...

No. It's unclear who the "with equal parts revulsion and pity" refers to. Since it comes right after the gutted animal it seems like it's referring to that, but on a second read, you realize it's referring to the initiates' gawking. Should be reworded to make it clear.

Betsy said...

No - would be stronger without the simile.

Loralie Hall said...

No. There's too much going on here, and by the end it's not clear who it all relates to.

Alessa Hinlo said...

No. It's a little too unwieldy and overwritten.

JL Dannor said...

No. Less would be more here.

Cheyenne Hill said...

No. I would remove the analogy completely and then I'd say yes, i.e. "...gawked at me with equal parts..." Not sure what "initiates" means in this context though; maybe choose another phrase to make it clearer.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Yes. I want to see why they're looking at her that way.

Happy Dolphin said...

No
I do not like the image of a gutted animal agonizing... I mean that just makes me say no way.

Alice said...

No, a gutted animal wouldn't agonize, it would be dead.

Jean Davis said...

No. At first I was going to recommend ending at the corner, but then I wondered how anything gutted could be still living to be agonizing and why in a corner in particular?

KimberlyFDR said...

No

It feels like the sentence is trying too hard. Maybe simplify to only be "The two initiates gawked at me with equal parts revulsion and pity." though I'd still simplify that a bit more (don't understand the reference to initiates, unsure of the revulsion and pity was referring to the initiates in the first place).

Tyson said...

No.

The similie right off the bat makes me wary. Also, your syntax is off. It sounds like your agonizing in the corner is done with revulsion and pity, but it is their gawking.

Proper would be:

The two initiates gawked at me with equal parts revulsion and pity, like I was a gutted animal agonizing in a corner.

But it's better to end it with revulsion and pity! You don't need the last part at all. It would intrigue me without the similie!

GSMarlene said...

Yes.
I like the equal parts revulsion and pity. But I agree the gutted animal goes a little far.

S. Kyle Davis said...

No. I'm sorry, but the simile doesn't quite work for me right at first. Go with the emotion of the scene. The similie distances us from it. Perhaps something along the lines of:

"The two initiates gawked at me with equal parts revulsion and pity.'

I'm also not fond of the word "gawked." It's not quite emotionally evocative enough.

Holly Bodger said...

No.

You don't need both the comparison and the description of their gawk. Just pick the stronger of the two.

Spiral said...

No. The "initiates" threw me off right away - it feels awkward. Is there a stronger word you can use in its place?

Rick said...

Yes, because I'm curious enough to learn more but there are a lot of things with the potential to turn me off (as outlined by everyone above).

I also don't think the last part should be offset with a dash. A colon, maybe?

I'd read on for a bit, but it could be stronger.

Jessica Negron said...

No.

The sentence felt thick, like molasses. I had to trudge through it and then was left feeling a little tired at the end, not sure if what I'd just read was interesting or not.

This feels like it JUST crossed the line to being uninteresting. I think you have to note that the vivid simile doesn't necessarily make the scene interesting.

Put the animal guts aside, and you've presented us with two people looking at a third in horror/pity. Not exactly hooking.

A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

No - the gutted animal agonizing in a corner comparison was too harsh for a first line.

Erin said...

No. There's just a bit too much going on. I wasn't sure what the pity and revulsion were describing until a second pass. Agonizing in a corner seems superfluous. It has good potential but doesn't quite hit with me.

Liberty Speidel said...

No, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Rachel Menard said...

No. I agree with the above. It's trying too hard.

Sara J. Henry said...

No. Overwritten. Lost me at 'initiates' - and too many 'colorful' words: gawked, gutted, agonizing, revulsion, pity.

Amy said...

No.

A gutted animal would be dead. Some other visual would work better here.

Yttar said...

Yes. I like the imagery of the first part of the sentence and the second part makes me want to know how the MC ended up that way.

Kimberly said...

No, a bit too clunky for a first line.

rbgreene04 said...

No, "initiates" turned me off. The sentence felt clunky.

Annette said...

No. "Initiates" is vague and the entire thing is too "busy". IMO, first lines should draw the reader in, but not make him/her think too hard. :)

Ru said...

No, sorry. "Agonizing" in particular throws me off, it's far too specific a verb right after you've said "gutted animal," it seems overwrought.

Larissa said...

No--the gutted animal imagery is off-putting. Sorry.

Anna said...

No. The gutted animal agonizing is throwing me off. However, I like the combination of revulsion and pity. Maybe you could focus on those words to get your point across.

Shakier Anthem said...

No. The use of words like "gutted," "agonizing," "revulsion," and "pity" shows that you're going for a big emotional impact, but I don't know anything about the narrator yet, so it's hard to feel invested. (Also, "agonizing" means worrying, while in this context it seems like you meant it to mean experiencing physical agony.)

sarahwedgbrow said...

No. I don't know what's going on, and if the first line isn't clear...the rest might be the same.

Cheryl said...

No. I actually think "initiates" is intriguing, but I find the simile off-putting.

Heather said...

No.

The image is unwieldy. You shouldn't have to explain a simile, and if you do, your simile isn't working.

Aside from all the above objections to agonizing, gutted animals, this line really doesn't give me much to go on. Right now, two girls are staring at a third girl. That's just not entirely enticing and doesn't give me a clue what the problem is.

What I need to know is what they're staring at in particular. Is she wearing a giant sausage headdress? Do they know she's going to be a human sacrifice? Does she have some kind of disease? Give a hint about what has revolted them but simultaneously made them pity her, and maybe I'll care more.

Sarah F. said...

Yes. The first thing I think of is gang members and I want to know more!
~Sarah F.

sbjames said...

While the imagery is very strong, I think there's too much "ugh" for a first line. Don't turn the squeamish off so quickly (there's a lot of us) but most of us can handle a sentence like this once were invested in the story.

sbjames said...

Sorry. I forgot to say "No."

AG said...

No because the simile just doesn't work for me.

Wen Baragrey said...

No. My first thought was if the animal were gutted, it would just be a dead animal. Plus, the "with equal parts revulsion and pity" is just explaining the simile and if it worked well, there wouldn't be a need to.

Julia said...

No. It sounds like you're trying too hard to be interesting, which is too bad because this could really work, otherwise.

Beth H said...

Yes. The word "initiates" is a hook on its own, and I like the revulsion and pity. However, I'd change the part "gutted animal agonizing in a corner." I don't know what I'd change it to, but it's too much (and now that I look at others' comments above, I see I'm not alone in this thinking).

Steph Su said...

No. The simile is unwieldy and unnecessary. "Initiates" is cool but from this sentence alone it doesn't paint an intriguing picture of the narrator.

Komal said...

Yes. I want to learn more about what is happening to this person. However, the sentence is too complicated. It needs to be simplified and I think it should lose, "...agonizing in a corner — with equal parts revulsion and pity."

A.C. Turcotte said...

Yes. It is, perhaps, overwritten. But you've sparked my curiosity. I would at least read a little more to see if it was able to draw me in.

Nata ArtistaDonna said...

No. I had a hard time visualizing what's going on...and who are the initiates?

Vicki Tremper said...

Yes, I like the strong visual.

Stephsco said...

No. Because we don't know who the initiates are, it might work better to focus on the person being stared at. If it started, "They stared at me like ..." and cut off at corner, then followed up with another snappy sentence, I think it would be more effective.

Danika Dinsmore said...

No - I agree with those who say "too much going on." also, I'm not fond of the word "gawked" and the sentence is grammatically confusing. It indicates the gutted animal is looking with pity and revulsion.

A Little Push said...

No. I agree with those who said it went overboard. I might have liked "The two initiates gawked at me." then lead on from there.

Jo-Ann said...

No. On the one hand, I would have liked to know about the initiates, who they were, what they were being initiated into and why the protag wishes to join them.

But the simile sounds forced and attention seeking, and ultimately doesn't hold up for all the reasons listed. Kill that particular darling, it's not doing you any favors.

macaronipants said...

No. Feels a bit melodramatic. Gawked, gutted, agonizing, revulsion - all in the same sentence. Simplify.

Abbe Hoggan said...

No.

Too much crammed into one sentence and I don't have enough context to understand or sympathize.