Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Line Grabber #4

TITLE: THE DUEL
GENRE: Historical suspsense w/strong romantic elements

What did a man wear when he might die before sunrise?

34 comments:

  1. Yes, but I would change "did" to "does" to give it a more pressing feel. I like the calm, contemplative nature of mundane things, like what to wear, as this man anticipates death.

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  2. Yes. I want to know the answer to this question and see if it matches up with that I'm thinking in my head.

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  3. Yes - the conflict implied is obvious.

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  4. Yes!! I love the idea that the man is about to die, and that the reader gets the sense that he's numb about it. But I also agree that I would change "did" to "does."

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  5. Yes. Great conflict, and the fact that it's a question invites the reader straight in.

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  6. No, but partly because I've read this opening in more than one book. Seriously.

    It was cool the first time, and not bad the second. If this had been worded well I might have hung in, but the "might" and "before sunrise" actually removes the tension. The outcome's not only uncertain, it's pushed off into the future. (I realize that timeframe is less than 24 hours, but there's a big difference in the sense of tension and danger between "about to die" and "might die before sunrise.")

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  7. Yes, but unlike Leah, I haven't read this opening before. I'd change "did" to "does." I like the idea of dressing for one's death.

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  8. Yes. As others have said, since this is a general statement about men instead of a specific statement about a particular man, it should be in present tense rather than past.

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  9. Yes.

    But i do think it could be tightened just a bit, and the "did" really pulled me out.

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  10. No, but I don't personally like the question as an opening format. Also, and this is going to get me in trouble, the worrying about clothing seemed both girly and kind of inane. If I'm going to die, fashion is the least of my worries.

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  11. No. The weird tense does not prepare me for a good read.I am sure that was done on purpose, but it is too jarring. I know he is preparing for a duel, but the voice sounds detached and not emotional enough.

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  12. Yes, howver I agree it should be "does" instead of "did"

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  13. No.
    Only because I've heard this before. And Leah made a good point about "might".

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  14. No.
    I don't know enough about the main character to appreciate this possibly wry question.

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  15. Yes. I liked the image I get of a Victorian man with an interesting sense of humour

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  16. Yes- the voice is interesting and the question provocative

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  17. No. There's no scene or character yet to snag my interest and the voice otherwise feels outside of the genres I usually prefer.

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  18. Yes. I was intrigued at once. I wasn't distracted by the verb tense at all.

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  19. Yes. Like the character right away - so interesting theat the focus is on the clothing choice when, obviously there are some bigger issues.

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  20. Yes. I get the voice right away. I'd say "What does a man wear," but even so, I was intrigued.

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  21. Yes.
    I like the opening and the voice is excellent. I would caution though, that it seems like characters with knowledge of their impending demise is a common opening.

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  22. Yes. Partly b/c this is historical fiction and I love mundane details in HF that transport me to the other time period. Not particularly a fan of questions but this worked for me!

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  23. No. While I don't mind the concept I wasn't drawn in by the delivery. I think this could be much stronger.

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  24. No - But an almost for me. Some interest in the man's fate but seems too distant from the reader. Wonder if it were in first person or even if it was more directly about the MC if it would be stronger.

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  25. No. It's a personal preference. I don't like opening with questions. It makes me stop and think about the possible answers, which takes me completely out of the story. It would worked better for me if the narrator was pondering his closet picking out his possible burial clothes.

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  26. No. I'm afraid it just sounds like a concept that's been done too much before, and it also feels rather impersonal.

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  27. No. Starting with a question makes me feel like I should give a snarky reply. If this were worded differently, the concept could be neat.

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  28. No.

    I already know he isn't going to die, because then you'd have no story.

    If you stuck a name in there, and I knew who's story it was, that might pull me in.

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  29. No. I had to read the sentence twice for it to sink in. And I don't understand the genre. You might put all that information in a query, but when listing the genre, think about what shelf it will go on at Barnes and Noble or what category it will be listed under on Amazon.

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  30. No. But I teetered on this one. I do like that the MC has an Oscar Wilde sense of irony, but overall, the question seemed a bit fatuous. And I do agree that you should change did to does.

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  31. Yes. I don't love question openings, but I like the question posed here which fits with the genre. I think this would be stronger if reconfigured as a phrase.

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  32. Yes. Like this. Strong and plain words but gripping and unusual sentiment at the same time.

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  33. don't hate meApril 10, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Yes. I assume from the title he's going to a old fashioned duel he thinks he can't survive, so I want to know more. However, the sentence is clumsy. I agree with lisa that 'did' should be 'does'.

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  34. No. The attitude is so flippant I immediately don't feel any connection to him.

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