Miss Snark's First Victim
YES: Because when I read it I laughed out loud, and was totally creeped!
No. Good line, but too squicked out by the phrase "my dad's penis."
No. I really don't want to think about my dad even having a penis.
No. Not a good visual for a kid to see their dad's penis. Sorry.
No. My first thought was 'How does the MC know what his/her dad's penis looks like?' and then I got grossed out.
No. No way. It immediately squicked me.
Yes, I would read more only because I'm curious about how the author will recover from saying 'my dad's penis.' This first line should probably convey a little more disgust or horror, but I'm assuming that comes in sentence two.
Yes, it was funny and shocking!
No. Would be much better "a photo of a penis." Bringing the dad into it in the first line is a mistake.
Yes. But I'd have used the last clause, first, or maybe not at all.
No. The image you create with this is just a little too disturbing for me.
No. It's definitely a good line and creeped me out, but I think it's too soon to put something that awkward in the story. Tell us about the MC first.
Yes. But make the sentence shorter. We don't need to know that sweaters were in the drawer.
Yes. Yikes, my YA self would have been scandalize, but I certainly would have read on.
No. I would put this down, I'm not sure I'd even read the next line. Why, oh why in the world would this be the start of a story? I don't see any place this would lead to that I'd want to read.
No. I agree the image of 'dad's penis' was too much, plus then you have the question of how the narrator knew it was the dad's and not someone else's which definitely ups the 'ick' factor. But you have a lot of good things going on here. I wondered why this person was digging through their parent's drawer in the first place. Perhaps if rephrase the start slightly more generically more people would be drawn in. And I disagree with the comment about the sweater. You're setting up the idea this image is tucked away with the unused/out of season/'past' of their lives, very nicely by putting 'sweater' in there, IMO.
No -- sorry, but the squick level came on too suddenly and pushed me right out of it.
YES because OMG HUMILIATING!!! I gotta know why she was rummaging around in the drawer to lead her to this unfortunate discovery!!
No. 'Penis' and 'Dad' should never be in the same sentence, unless you're V.C. Andrews. Maybe if say something in the vein of 'I once found a nude photo of my dad...' it wouldn't be so icky. On the plus side, I am intrigued and would probably read on.
No. My initial "ugh" reaction would stop me. Perhaps softening it to "I once found a photo of my dad naked" would help. I don't know if this is what you intended, but as is it sounds like his genitalia was the only thing in the photo, which leads to the HIGHLY disturbing question:How did she know it was her fathers?
yes. funny and great voice. want to know more - and i love the title
Yes, absolutely yes. Though I wonder if this would be a hard sell as YA.
No, for the same reason B.E. Sanderson noted above.
No. I'm trying to decide if I'm more repulsed or curious, but a start like this doesn't sound like it's going to be the type of story I'd enjoy.
No. Can't get past the dad part. Sorry.
Yes, I'd probably read the next line out of curiousity, but I'd be in a grossed out frame of mind and wouldn't read further if things didn't improve.
No. First of all, ick. Second, how would she/ he know it was her dad's penis? Does it have a label on it or does she/ he know the penis really well?
Yes, funny! The stuff counseling is made of!
No. It was just awkward, dad's penis and YA. Great humor in there but it doesn't hit me as an opening line. Maybe one for later on in the opening. Otherwise all I'm thinking is 'uhhhhh'...
No. Ew. And, like everyone else: how does she know it's her dad's penis, exactly?
No. First sentence didn't really have much uniqueness except for the squick factor.
Yes. Absolutely yes, I personally would have left off the clause at the end. It dilutes the punch.
YES! I'm not a contemporary gal, but I need to know why MC was looking in the drawer in the first place, and what the #### that picture was doing in there. Nice!
No, it was over for me after 'dad's penis.' Sorry.
Yes - the subject matter may not personally be my cup of tea but it grabbed me. I definitely want to read the next line. And there's a market for edgy YA out there.
No. Too graphic for YA- might use slang words for anatomical parts.
No. Seemed like the sentence was all about shock value.
Yes. It's disturbing. It's different. I would read on.
YesIt's funny and I'd want to see more of this voice.
Yes. Jarring, but in a good way.
No, I couldn't get past "my dad's penis" either, and how did she know it was a photo of her dad's penis, unless the photo showed all of him, in which case, it wasn't just a picture of his penis.
Yes. But I would still get rid of the "penis" and replace it with naked, because THAT wasn't what hooked me.What hooked me is: Why the rummaging, and why is there a naked photo in a drawer full of sweaters AND tax returns?Who on earth keeps tax returns in a drawer with sweaters?!That's what hooked me - so I still say remove penis and replace it with "nude photo"
Yes. Whoa. Very bold.
Yes. Because I want to know why Dad has such a photo.
No -- although it made me laugh, and cringe, I don't know that this works as an opening. It may work later in the story with some context, but right out the gate, I don't know if it would make it through editing!
Yes! I want to look away, but I must keep reading.
No. How does she know it's her dad's? To think she knows what her dad's penis looks like is too creepy.
No with a caveat. I think this is a good sentence, but the ick factor would make me close the book.
No- I just can't get over the question of how would he recognize his dad's penis in a photo? Seems like too much of a leap...a gross leap.
I tried not to read all of the comments before commenting myself, so in case this has been said, I apologize. First off, I don't know if this is a boy or a girl, nor their age when the photo was found. The thought of a story beginning with the discovery of a photo of dad's penis is disturbing to imagine for any child/teen. Next, if she/he knew it was dad, the photo must have included his face, which would make it a nude photo of dad. Not just dad's stuff. Or, if it was only his stuff, it would have to be identified by his name written on the photo or some familiarity for the kid. And I don't want to go there. You definitely got my attention, but Dad can't be a part of this. Eew factor.
Yes! Intriguing! I want to know more about this character and what they were searching for.
Yes. Call me crazy, but I enjoy controversy. This is definitely controversial. And it is funny as hell.
Yes.Not even sure why but penis and tax records together just say read on a bit to me.
Yes.Sounds funny and makes me want to get a bit more story so I can get past the WTF momnent. I read the previous comments and was fascinated by how 99% of them assumed it was a girl without having any justification for that. It may be the eye of the beholder thing but a guy would be just as horrified by dad's ding dong as a girl. But, very fascinating how that is there in almost every comment - "she". Shows how much we bring of ourselves to the work when reading. Poor author!
No. Not sure I want to know why the photo was there. :)
No, personal taste.
No. This kind of squicked me for reasons noted above: How does the character know the penis in the photo belongs to his/her Dad? Ew. No thanks.
No.I wasn't at all squicked, but I don't like it when I feel like writers are just trying to shock me. I don't like feeling like I'm being played.
No, because I don't think the kid should ALREADY know it's his dad's penis, and because I just don't think this is really appropriate for YA. For adult, yeah, I think I'd read on.
Yes. I have an affinity with snoopers and all they don't intend to find.
No. I don't want to know how this narrator knows for certain that "it" is his/her dad's.
Yes! Totally agree with Owl and Carey T.Something similar happened to me with a sex book at 12 so I am instantly hooked! Would love to read more :-)
No. The sentence itself feels long and complicated. Perhaps cut at "drawer" it would have a better impact, or if there was more a hint of the character's reaction. Right now I'm not sure how they feel about that.
Yes. Very icky, but very compelling.
My first instinct is YES, because it made me laugh. But, Ellie has a point. How does the narrator know it belongs to her/his dad?If that one line causes this much controversy, perhaps we have to at least read the first paragraph.
Yes. It's a first line. 3 seconds of your attention bnefore you go onto the 2nd line..and 3rd. It's funny and it means the author and MC might be fun to go along with. Everyone who is trying to say that it is creepy because how does he/she know it belongs to the dad should get a freaking life and look in the mirror. Obviously what you are implying is sexual abuse and molestation which means that is how YOU see the world. Sad, really sadcommentary on where we are as a people and all I can say is whoa! When I read the comments I take note of the names and I think, if that is how your mind works then I don't want YOU anywhere near my kids.
No. Not for YA. No way.
As a teacher, I have to agree with the above. The problem with YA is that it is taregeted at a non-living entity. The real "YA" audience is sexual, active, profane, and has no idea what PC means. Yet, the books that are written for that age group are as the above commenter suggested, sanitized of everything that is in their everyday life. Including, may I add, language, before the bell rings, my toes curl at the language I hear from my students in their discussions with one another - it is really profane. The average "young adult" will be spewing more profanity and talking about more sex than the also average 30 year old man or woman could wrap their head around in a week. So, I think we need to get real and realize that when we say YA what we really mean is we are writing a version of teenagers that would be palatable to a 10-12 year old. Because the real teenagers of that age - dayam, they are not reading us.
Yes. Squeal & ewww! Then of course the question arises: how did she know it was her dad's? Did he tattoo his name on it? Okay, I'm imagining worse than you probably wrote now. It's an attention getting opening line, that's for sure.
Yes. Because it's obviously intriguing/controversial enough for so many people to get into the debate - and I think that merits some exploration!
No. Too angsty-therapeutic-needy. Weirded out, I guess.
Hmm. How does she/he know it's Dad's penis? No. Too squeamish about this one.
No. Completey turned off. How does she know it's her dad's penis? Why not just a nude photo of her dad or parents? I feel like the line is for pure shock value.
Most definitely YES! It's a funny image. I want to know not only the kid who remembers this but also the parents who do something like that. Fantastic.
Yes.Hilarious opening - esp. the justaposition of the tax records. Super.(on a side note, I see a lot of comments here saying it is an "ick" factor. Well, wait for the next line. Perhaps it says, "Of course I did not know it then that it was dad's..." etc.Anyway, it is funny. All those seeing abuse need to get thee hence without delay to a therapist (and stop watching cable TV)
Yes...but...I agree with commenters who stated take the "dad" out of it in the first sentence. Stating where the MC found it gives mystery. It is definitely shocking and readers will either know immediately if they love it or hate it. No gray area here! : )
No.I squicked out. That doesn't often happen to me. Sorry. But I also thought the sentence was too long and the extra clause softened the punch too much. And I wondered how it was identifiably "Dad's."
I know a lot of you are turned off by the squick factor, but if our MC is male, boys and dads often pee together. You know, public restrooms with walls of urinals? Also very helpful in potty training ("See dad, see dad pee.") Males grow up with this and think nothing of it. (I already voted yes for it, but I love the controversy it's creating! And it's interesting how us females just assume the MC is a girl.)
I just came from a summer in Greece and Austria. And, on the beaches I was at, the girls were naked and , god forbid,so were the guys. Mom, dad and little Sven and Aphrodite were also as God made them. So, I think this American presumptiom (from women in this case) that "penis" = abuse is th emost disturbing part of this ONE LINE. May I say again...ONE LINE!
No. Not only does this make me dring it has the potential to trigger someone.
No. I wondered how she knew it was her dad's penis. Had she seen it before?
Yes. I'm curious about the snooping, and why the photo is where it is. It didn't squick me out - I read the usual suspects like Forever when I was in middle school.
Yes. Because we've all found *something* in our parents drawer that squicked us out. And I want to see the MCs reaction.
No. It's too gross. How does she know it's her dad's penis?
Once again....all the above commenters need therapy. There is no "she" in the opening line. Maybe it is a girl, maybe it is a boy but we don't know that yet. I am stunned by the assumption and also the first thoughts in the comments. Obviously, this blog has a lot of girls with daddy issues.
Yes. I found it funny!
No. Not because I'm afraid of the word penis but don't understand the nonchalant attitude - like in assign they ration - once I found a picture of my dad's penis. The tone seems off.
No. Good line but I think it needs some tightening. Also, why would he keep tax records in there? I do like the concept of finding a photo of your dad's wang in a drawer - good conflict.
Since voting is done, I'd like to respond to Owl. I have to say I'm shocked at such a judgmental and accusatory statement being made here. If you look at new YA being published, it's heavily female-centric. If you look at NPR's list of top YA novels, it's about a 60-40 split with the majority of narrators being female. (http://www.npr.org/2012/08/07/157795366/your-favorites-100-best-ever-teen-novels) So it's not a far stretch for many of us to assume the narrator here is female. Questioning how the narrator knows it's his/her father's penis does not mean the commenter has "daddy issues" and needs therapy. Yes, boys grow up seeing their dad's pee, but I doubt my brothers could look at a random penis snapshot and know it was my dad's. In the same way that I, despite growing up changing in front of my mom as a child, wouldn't recognize a random snapshot of boobs and know whether they were hers or not.We are judging whether the first line grabbed us as a reader, and why or why not. We are not judging one another. I certainly hope your statements don't prevent blog readers from commenting in the future for fear of such harsh judgment.