Miss Snark's First Victim
I liked this a lot. A piano on fire on a beach is such a strange, unexpected image, but I could picture it exactly and love the sort of surreal tone it sets. I also thought the hints at the character's voice as she imagines what her parents would say were really well done. I tried to find something to nitpick but I really couldn't :)
I really like the description in this, though I was a bit confused and had to re-read it before I was sure that you were actually describing the piano ha d washed up on the beach still burning, because it didn't occur to me that could happen. I kept thinking the bits about the water must be a flashback, and the bits about fire must be the present, because the two didn't seem to fit together. The description itself in eloquent though, and you've got emotion and conflict in there, so even though it's all description of one static moment, I still think it's a good opening.
Beautiful imagery and a great hook for the beginning of a book. I don't usually read this genre, but I'd read this.My only suggestion is to use fewer adjectives and adverbs. I don't usually mind them, but here I noticed their number, rather than getting completely lost in your prose. I think some can be trimmed without loss.
You have a very poetic writing style. It's beautiful. I would just try to incorporate a bit more of her situation and mental state into the opening so, as a reader, I have more to relate to, and therefore, more to hook me by.I love your description of the piano burning, but think it's a bit tedious to read through in order to get to the meat of the subject. If it were a few pages on it'd be perfect.You could engage the reader a bit more with your beginning by using a more active voice and cutting out a good portions of all the 'had' phrasing. Just my two cents. Really lovely imagery though.
Not sure how I feel about it being called Piano Fire and then starting with "The piano burned." Feels a bit too on the nose for me.You do paint a lovely picture of the piano burning, but it's dragged down by the 'Woe is me' feel around it. Up until the fourth paragraph, I had no idea where your character was. I thought they were standing on the island, or far away at least, gaping at their burning piano, not in the water itself.I do like the Father and Mother lines.I'd read a bit more, just to see where it goes.
I had to laugh:Title: Piano FireFirst line: The piano burned.The end?Sorry, it just struck me. I think losing the very obvious first line creates a little mystery with the second. The second line really works for me as an opener, I want to know what the prized possession is; given the title, i can infer but it's not so obvious. The next paragraph fills in the details nicely. Yes, please lose "The piano burned," your opening will be much improved!My only other suggestion is to move up the characters physical reaction with the lungs after the third paragraph. This will ground the reader a bit more to who is experience the loss of the instrument, and probably that this person is also washed ashore from a sinking boat. Ground us in the character and not just the piano. Just a little rearranging will improve the pacing. Nice job.
I really like this and until today I had never heard of speculative fiction. The simple sentence "The piano burned," was so evocative. It just resonated with me somehow.I agree with Stephsco in that you should move the last paragraph to after the third paragraph. Where it is now felt a little disjointed to me especially after what the character's mother would say. Overall, I really like this and would love to read further!
I would change the title rather than the first line. "The piano burned" is such a strong image to begin with, and it's unusual. EVen if it was burning on a concert stage it would be unusual.The rest could be strengthened immensely if you changed all the passive writing to active and turned the telling into showing.
These opening paragraphs have a really arresting visual image—that of a piano burning merrily on the sand as a castaway watches. The descriptions of the piano burning are a bit overwritten, however, and detract from the moments of very nice writing – especially the protagonist remembering what their parents would say about this unlikely survival. I would also recommend thinking about changing the title, as "Piano Fire" feels a bit on-the-nose.