Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Sentence #35

TITLE: An Absence of Light
GENRE: NA Sci-fi

The dark rind of blood wasn’t coming out from under my fingernails no matter how hard I scrubbed.

42 comments:

  1. Yes. I want to know more. Did the MC kill someone? Or perhaps he/she was trying to save a life? I would read on to find out.

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  2. No. Blood is too common a hook to snag for me, as is the inference that this is clean-up post-crime.

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  3. No. The story question is there, but the word "rind" didn't work for me. Looking up the exact definition... "a thick and firm outer coat or covering, as of certain fruits, cheeses, and meats" also "the bark of a tree." When describing a crust under your MC's nails, a word that solely denotes things on the exterior of an object feels like a mistake instead of a creative choice.

    I know it probably seems petty to say no over one word, but when I feel the author is misusing words when we're only three words into a story, I'm not that inclined to read further. Sorry :-(

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  4. Yes, blood under fingernails in the first sentence, intriguing indeed.

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  5. Yes. Definitely need to know why there's blood under the nails.

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  6. Yes. While it is a common opener, there are so many ways it can go, and none of them are good for the characters.

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  7. yes, but I would consider rearranging the sentence. "No matter how hard I scrubbed, I couldn't erase the dark ring(??) of blood from my fingernails." "coming" is kind of a boring/vague verb.

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  8. No: seen too many narrators washing blood off their hands.

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  9. Yes - I want to know why there's blood under the fignernails, where it came from. NA + blood = :)

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  10. No. Nice solid image, but the overall concept (someone trying to get blood off their hands) feels too common to be a unique hook.

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  11. Yes, I like the no matter how hard I scrubbed. I had to read the dark rind bit twice though. Maybe a different description would clarify.

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  12. No, the sentence seemed a little heavy to me for what you were trying to pull off -- the 'OMG who's blood is that?!' response. I think I'd feel more intense about this if I was introduced to the character before she washes the blood from under her fingernails.

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  13. Yes. And I actually liked the 'rind'.

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  14. Yes. I liked the imagery, and I think I got what you meant by "rind" - like what you'd find on one slice of an orange. I'd read on.

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  15. Yes

    But i went back and forth on this. I don't really like "rind" as a description for blood, because rinds are firm like leather, and dried blood is flaky so the metaphor didn't work for me, which almost pulled me out

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  16. Yes. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi and this intrigued me. Although, it may also be because my mind jumped to something paranormal (which I am a fan of).

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  17. Yes. Love the image it creates in my mind--and the MacBeth reference.

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  18. No. The imagery was a little too much for me.

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  19. No, mainly because it made me go eeeeewwwwww (something about the phrase "dark rind of blood" just turned my stomach). Also, I think it would help to start with "No matter how hard I scrubbed, the dark rind…"

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  20. Yes. A clear image. I wanted to know whose blood it was, and why it was there.

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  21. Yes. Not only because it presents immediate conflict, but also because I've never thought of a sliver of blood/dirt under someone's fingernails as a rind (yet it works perfectly.)

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  22. YES. I liked it. I would have to be in the mood for one of those snarky, modern adventures because that's what it sounds like to me, but (given the right mood) I would keep reading.

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  23. I got hung up on "rind". I say this a lot, but in sci-fi or fantasy, I'm open to just about anything, so when you say a rind of blood, I'm wondering if this is some world-buildy reference to a fruit or a cheese or something. Once I realize it's just blood under a fingernail, it feels anticlimactic.

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  24. Yes
    Although I wouldn't refer to blood underneath the fingers as 'dark rind' it kind of threw me...

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  25. Yes. I want to know where the blood came from and why s/he can't let anyone see it. Simple as that!

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  26. No--but only because I think this can be said in a more interesting way. It's not the information that isn't engaging, it's the way it's told. Maybe flip-flopping this, starting with "no matter how hard I scrubbed..." I would play with this a bit to see what works best.

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  27. Good start. You want the reader to ask a few questions so they keep reading. This one does.

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  28. Yes. The set up doesn't feel unique, but I like the language in this line. And the tension it creates makes me want to read on.

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  29. I'm on the fence. Yes, I'm intrigued. No, I think you can deepen the hook.

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  30. No. A "rind" makes me think of a chunk of dried blood, which would dislodge farely easily. A stain of blood would be harder. That one word took me out of it completely.

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  31. No. I agree with the suggestions to flip the sentence and replace the word "rind."

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  32. No. Rind didn't work for me. Also, personally, blood in the first line isn't going to make me want to read on.

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  33. I'm on the fence. In some ways, I feel like we're leading into a scene that's been done a thousand ways to Sunday. On the other hand, I want to know where the blood came from...

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  34. Yes. If you change the word rind.

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  35. Yes--you have a character in a situation, doing something that leads the reader to ask questions. I do think it could be better though. Perhaps change the telling to showing.

    I worked the hard-bristled brush over my fingers, but no matter hard I scrubbed, the dark rims of blood under my fingernails would not come off.

    That could be better, too. Perhaps play with a bit.

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  36. Yes. 'Rind' seems like an odd word choice, but I'm definitely curious about the blood.

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  37. No.
    Macbeth in the 21st century?
    I think it's in the "close but no cigar" category. You are definitely moving in the right direction but not quite there yet.
    As it stands, for me, it's bordering on boring because there are so many benign causes of blood under the fingernails and no indication that it is more than beef blood from dinner prep. If I could feel perhaps panic or fear in the narrator's voice? Some sense of impending danger or threat averted? Let me feel what the speaker is feeling when I read the line and maybe I can care about why he or she has blood under fingernails.

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  38. Yes. Creepy and cool all at the same time. Is this a female serial killer? And what does it say about me that I want it to be about that??? LOL.

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