Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Line Grabber #9

TITLE: Freddie and Bean
GENRE: MG

Dad had to be bailed out of jail for disorderly behavior at a sit-in.

53 comments:

  1. No. A bit too bland and passive for me, but could be easily enlivened. (As in, what WAS the disorderly behavior. What WAS the sit-in for or about. WHO bailed him out?)

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  2. No. Not enough punch from the get go to make me ponder what this is all about. Why did he get a disorderly? What prompted it? Some more info right away would be great.

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  3. No
    I think change 'behavior' to 'conduct' since that would be the charge. A sit-in could lead to DC charges so there is nothing unusual about it. Maybe you could change it to something that is inherently peaceful and non-disruptive. That might punch up the opening. A funeral, an Easter pageant, a nativity scene, a first grade play, etc

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  4. No.

    Too generic to keep me reading. A little more detail could add more punch though.

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  5. No. Sounded too old for MG as a start. I liked the premise though.

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  6. No. It doesn't strike me as MG. Something's not quite right.

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  7. No.

    The reason for this is because sit-ins can be pretty heavy. Maybe if you indicated it was a peace-ralley, then it would make it humerous and interesting.

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  8. No. Agreed that it seems out of place for an MG. And I may be dense, but I don't know what a "sit-in" is.

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  9. Yes,Yes, I love this. what could his father possibly done at a sit-in to be arrested.

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  10. Yes,this brings up images of something Dustin Hoffman would do in Meet the Fockers! That said, I think the sentence could maybe be a little clearer.

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  11. No, but it could be close. Punch it up, add some excitement. I would have liked to see it have a 'not again' feel. Or is the narrator embarrassed? Some emotion would have hooked me for sure

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  12. No. Maybe if it wasn't for MG, it'd be fine, but as a parent, I'm not sure I'd want my MG children exposed to the concept of a sit-in--or what the dad could've done that would've gotten him arrested. Kids grow up fast enough as it is, there's just some things that don't need to be foisted on them at a young age.

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  13. No.

    Almost had it. You set up the intrigue, but then you gave us the answer in the very same sentence.

    I'd get rid of the last half. "Dad had to be bailed out of jail." Then, as a reader, I'd want to know WHY and would read on. But you've already said why a few words later, and now I have no reason to continue.

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  14. No.

    It's really close but something doesn't sit right with me. I think you need to go with something that shows more of a reaction like, "My father is the only man who gets charged with disorderly behavior at a sit-in."

    Also, your title is way too close to "Ivy and Bean" which is a hugely successful MG series.

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  15. No. Not much punch or immediacy.

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  16. No.

    It's not jumping out as something I'd want to keep reading. It's hard to say off just this one sentence.

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  17. Yes. The disorderly behavior at a sit-in is funny. I would switch behavior to conduct as someone else suggested because I believe that it is the correct term.

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  18. Yes, although it's on the line for me. I feel like it could be punched up a bit.

    As for people's comments regarding it being MG--I completely disagree. There is absolutely nothing here that indicates that this couldn't be written by a 12-year-old, and the idea that kids 8-12 shouldn't be exposed to the idea of a "sit-in" is ludicrous to me. Kids that age should have already learned about the civil rights era in school, and why shouldn't they have? So I'd say to ignore those comments.

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  19. No. It's a weak sentence that trips over itself between "had to be" and then "disorderly behavior at a sit-in" is perhaps too much information at once.

    This is a case where I'd think less is more - start with the bail. Bring the rest in during the following sentences.

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  20. No. It feels like it's trying to be funny but we need a few more details to make that work.

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  21. No

    I like the attempt, because it sets up the personality of the father, but it felt a little too flat to me. I'd change behavior to conduct, too.

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  22. No. I liked the beginning, but by the end of it you lost my attention. I think this could be great -- you've obviously got a great story to tell, here -- but it just didn't keep me interested. There's just... not quite enough here to make it a fully constructed first sentence.

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  23. Yes.

    It made me laugh, and this is a great way to show the MC is embarassed by the father, rather than telling (stating) that fact.

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  24. Yes, I'd keep reading, but I think this could be spiced up quite a bit to show more voice.

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  25. Yes. Made me want to know more about this sit-in. The voice didn't come across as very MG though so this was almost a no.

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  26. No. Most middle graders can't conceive what disorderly conduct is (not behavior-the legal term is Disorderly Conduct), and, unless Dad is your MC, I can't care unless I know how it affects the MC.

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  27. No.

    I really do like the idea behind it, and I think it could be a really attention-grabbing line if it were reworked a bit.

    1) It's too passive, especially for MG. Get your MC in there and make it more active. "We bailed Dad out of jail on Tuesday..." or something like that.

    2) It's too vauge. Details provide punch. Give us a specific behavior at a specific location or event. Something like, "We had to bail Dad out of jail for spray-painting himself in front of City Hall."

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  28. Yes- the irony makes me curious

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  29. Yes, but in your revision think about turning it active:

    The first thing we did that Saturday morning was bail Dad out of jail. He's the only person I know who could get arrested for disorderly conduct at a sit-in.

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  30. Yes.
    As the child of hippy parents, this made me smile. I do this disorderly conduct is the correct term, but you may have a reason for phrasing it as you did. I also like some of the ideas to make it more active, but I think you have a great start.

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  31. Yes. I'm amused by the idea of disorderly conduct at a sit-in -- the implication that it wasn't the fact that he was participating in an otherwise peaceful protest that got him arrested, but that of all the people sitting in, this guy was disorderly about it.

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  32. No. Too many conjunctions for me in this sentence: of, for, at. They make it feel like you're trying to cram in too much information, though some of the suggestions above for rewording would fix a lot of that. Good luck!

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  33. No. There's really no voice here, and the language isn't very MG.

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  34. No, because it starts with the father and not the MC.

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  35. Yes. Although it's not exactly there yet. I just like it because it seems different. I also like when kids are the "grown-ups" and vice versa. Funny.

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  36. Close enough to go with yes, but it's kinda passive. Funny, but passive.

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  37. No. I'm not sure why, but I actually found it kind of jarring.

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  38. No. The concept is funny, but the wording and vocabulary are off.

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  39. Yes, I thought it was funny.

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  40. No. I don't hear a unique enough voice here, especially not for MG.

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  41. Yes. I want to know more, and why the narrator is saying this in such a bored, straight forward way. Does this happen often? Is it a normal sort of thing in her family? The next couple of sentences are going to be pretty crucial though, as I'm not 100% hooked, here.

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  42. Yes. Coming in this late allows me to agree with both the pro and con entries above. Love the "bored" voice and alos love to see what he did at the sit-in. Would also agree the line can be tweeked to dash it even more with bits of detail (without over writing/over reaching).

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  43. No. Disorderly behavior and sit-ins are pretty hand in hand, since just being at a sit-in can be considered disorderly behavior. Sub sit-in for something else and maybe.

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  44. Yes. I want to know why they were at a sit-in, protesting what, what Dad did, etc.

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  45. No. Didn't get my attention.
    'disorderly behavior at a sit-in' I'm confused as to what sit in?

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  46. No. It has potential, but I would get it out of the passive voice. *Who* has to bail him out? This could tell a lot about the family dynamics, but it's not doing so at the moment. There's a big difference between "Mom had to bail Dad out of jail" and "I had to bike down to the police station to bail Dad out of jail," or grandma, or whoever.

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  47. Yes. Disorderly behavior at a sit-in tells alot about the dad's character and the mc's life. You've hinted at a larger picture in one sentence. Good work!

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  48. No. Too passive for me for a first sentence.

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  49. No. This might be a true fact central to the story, but the first line should be about the protagnist. Maybe seeing his dad arrested and describing it, or how he felt when his dad was arrested.

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  50. Yes. I'm surprised by all the no's.

    Sure, you could change "behavior" to "conduct" or put it in less passive terms, but that didn't keep it from intriguing me. I thought the idea was interesting and original. I have friends with hippie parents, so it made me laugh.

    As far as appropriateness for MG, I think MG books can take on tougher topics than this and still work for that age level (MOCKINGBIRD was about the aftermath of a school shooting, for instance). I don't think we should condescend to children and there are probably plenty of children who could relate to this.

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  51. No. You're telling us this and there's no voice or sense of the MC. Show us what happens. Does the MC's mother get a call? What's her reaction? Does the MC see his father get dragged off by the cops?

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  52. No.

    As Heidi mentioned, "arrested" and "sit-in" go hand in hand. In fact, sometimes getting arrested is the point of the sit-in, so there's nothing surprising there. Also, the rhythm of "bailed out of jail" is kinda sing-songy.

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  53. Yes.

    I liked the quirkiness of this voice and idea. Like someone else mentioned, I like how it shows in the first sentence how the narrator feels about the father. I'm sufficiently intrigued to keep reading.

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