Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Line Grabber #20

TITLE: The Roaring Silence
GENRE: Urban/Historical Fantasy

Soil fell through Harrison’s fingers and onto his grandfather’s casket.



33 comments:

  1. No. Honestly, I think it's the word "soil" that's the best explanation for why it doesn't work for me. That's so clinical and straightforward. I want to feel the despair of burying someone you love, not have a technically-accurate breakdown. Just the simple connotation of the word "dirt" vs. "soil" or even "earth" makes a huge difference.

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  2. Yes. I'm drawn in because I can relate to this character. I want to know what happened.

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  3. Yes--quite a nice imagery set-up already with only the one line

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  4. No. This is a little too wordy for me.

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  5. Yes. I love the imagery and the personal loss. One caveat: Starting with a funeral is difficult because you're asking your readers to sympathize with someone's loss when we don't know that person yet. Make sure your first page stands out.

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  6. No. This sentence is very passive. The narrator isn't doing anything, he's just letting the soil sift through his fingers. It also talks about characters we don't know or care about. I don't get a sense of how the narrator feels about being at a funeral or his grandfather.

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  7. Yes. I think it creates an interesting situation. I am going to disagree (contingently) with Leah on the word 'soil'. It does feel clinical, and for me that created a sense of emotional distance from the events, which can happen if one is in shock. So, if trying to build that feeling it works. If not, and the next thing is the narrator expressing strong emotions, then it may not work.

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  8. Yes.

    I think it's cliche to start a story at a funeral, but i liked the language and the scene it evocated.

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  9. No. Cliche to start at a funeral.

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  10. Yes - I'm immediately seeing something of the character and I'm interested to know what happened.

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  11. No. Opening with a funeral is a cliche, in my opinion

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  12. No-Too cliche. I think you could start at a funeral with much more interesting imagery than soil falling onto a casket.

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  13. No, this sentence doesn't grab my attention because it's hard to care who's died when you don't know the characters. At the same time, it doesn't turn me off. If I'd picked this up to read I'd keep going another few lines or paragraphs to see what was happening and if something else was there to grab my attention and pull me in. I personally don't think every beginning line needs to be an attention grabber. Just not a turn-off. . .

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  14. No
    -because it's too passive and I don't know the mc at all yet, so I don't really care about the mc or the man in the casket. Now, if he kicked dirt on the casket... maybe

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  15. Yes.
    I'd read a little more, but it's not setting up to be a book I'd finish. The genre is not something I've heard of, and that could mean that this will be difficult to sell.

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  16. No, because the soil has the action/verb instead of Harrison. If you start with a passive sentence I'd worry that the rest of the book would follow suit. Maybe if Harrison crumbled that soil himself.

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  17. No. Openings related to a death are overdone.

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  18. Yes.
    I love the imagery in this opening. I’d definitely keep reading to find out more about the main character and his relationship with his grandfather. My own grandfather had a profound influence on me so I guess I’m projecting the feelings I had when he passed onto the story, but it makes me want to read it all the more.

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  19. No. It's a bit too passive. If you put us in Harrison's head and let us watch with him as a clump of dirt passes between his fingers and drops onto the casket... that I might be able to get behind. It's just not a close enough POV.

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  20. No. It's too passive and too cliche.

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  21. Yes. I found it touching and it's rare to be moved by a first sentence.

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  22. Yes. Strongly yes, actually. I liked the word "soil." Sure, there's something very plainspoken about this, but I think it also captures the sense of heaviness and passivity you can experience when someone you are close to dies. Not sure if that's what you're going for... but I'd read on to find out more regardless. I also liked that we get a name, a relationship (to H's grandfather), and a suggestion that H is unexpectedly alone and that his life is upended and H is going to find himself in an adult role. All this because it doesn't strike me as commonplace for a *kid* to throw dirt on a loved one's casket.

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  23. Yes. It created a vivid picture in my head, but it would need to move away from the cliche funeral fairly quickly.

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  24. No - Nothing really different, unique, interesting here. Plenty of kids have said goodbye to a grandparent.

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  25. No. While this starts at a moment of change for the MC, it's just not enough to hook me. It's a funeral not unlike any other.

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  26. No, for many of the reasons stated above. The cliche of starting at a funeral. And the clinical sound of "soil fell" when word choice here could mimic the tone or protag's emotions and make it more interesting.

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  27. No. Losing a grandparent (as hard as that can be) is not enough to pull me in. It's normal to lose your grandparents. Some people have never even met there's. If it were a sibling or a parent or a child, that would make me question things and spur me to read on, but a grandparent doesn't carry that same weight. The character may have been extremely close to the grandfather, but we don't know that yet, so it doesn't have enough impact for me. Sorry.

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  28. No. This feels very generic, I'm afraid. And as others have mentioned, starting at a funeral is also a bit of a cliché.

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  29. don't hate meApril 10, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Yes. Though not the best sentence and it's a bit clumsy (I don't like the word soil either), I'd read on--because it's fantasy.

    I don't think it's cliche as other do.

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  30. Yes.

    Because it's a real first sentence and not a gimmicky one, and it leads us into your story. He's at a burial and his grandfather has just died. I have a character, I have a setting, and I have context.

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  31. No. Sooooooo passive. The soil 'fell through' his fingers... and there's absolutely no impression of his thoughts/feelings.

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  32. No, but it's close. I like the image, but I wish there were some emotion conveyed along with the imagery. I assume this is supposed to be sad, but this would be more compelling if there were some explicit emotion attached. That said, I would not hold this first line against a story I was interested in from the back cover blurb.

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  33. No. I don't know enough about this character, or the grandparent, to care.

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