Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Line Grabber #5

TITLE: Beyond the River
GENRE: Literary Fiction

Beneath harsh sunlight, the trail snaked through Ponderosa pines until it reached the gorge and hissing river.

29 comments:

  1. Yes. This sounds beautiful and I want to know more

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  2. No - I hate openings with setting, and it's not an interesting enough setting to warrant it being the opening sentence, for me.

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  3. No. I agree with Lindsay, I don't like opening with setting unless there's something really weird about it.

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  4. No. While this is beautifully written, is hasn't told me anything about what the story will be about.

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  5. No, the sentence is convoluted rather than beautiful. I actually used to live in a place that could easily be described that way and I got no visual from this.

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  6. Yes. Beautiful imagery. As the novel is literary rather than commercial, setting the scene before rushing to the story is perfectly acceptable.

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  7. No.

    I know it's literary, and so starting with the setting isn't a problem for me here, but i'm not wowed by the sentence. It doesn't really tell me much and i there's nothing in the sentence that makes me sit up and think "now THAT'S a description!"

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  8. No. To be fair, this isn't a genre I like, so part of this is subjective. However, this felt really generic to me.

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  9. No. Opening with setting details doesn't capture my attention.

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  10. No-It just wasn't very interesting.

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  11. No. Because it's just description, and beyond that, there is nothing unique or interesting about it.

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  12. No.
    I think there's a contradiction between the harsh sunlight and the trail snaking through the pines.

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  13. No - I don't like the sentence construction and there is no conflict introduced. Started with description usually doesn't hook me.

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  14. No- the combination of description doesn't match in my mind

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  15. Yes. I like the strong visual and the feeling that I'm being dropped into a place and scene.

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  16. No. I'm getting conflicting images in my head--harsh sunlight just doesn't connect with a trail snaking through trees. (though admittedly, I'm an east coast boy and not familiar with ponderosa pine country).

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  17. No. If the trail is snaking through pines, I don't believe it is also beneath harsh sun. Sunlight doesn't penetrate a pine forest to the point that it would be such a dominant feature. I also don't understand the hissing river. It's an unusual descriptor and makes me think this story is trying too hard.

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  18. No.
    Beautiful writing, but I think this might be better served later on in paragraph one. Why is your MC on the trial? What is he or she after?

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  19. No. I would like to know what is important about the trail. Opening with description doesn't grab me unless it's really unusual. A trail leading to a river isn't unusual.

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  20. No - Makes me feel like the trail is the MC. Very passive.

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  21. Yes. It nicely sets the scene and by using words like harsh, snaked, hissing, gives us an idea of the narrator's thoughts about his/her surroundings. But if you tell me in the next sentence that the narrator loves the place, I'm going to call foul.

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  22. No. While I like the idea, there's too much description going on here.

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  23. No.

    I don't have a problem starting with description, but I equate harsh sunlight with more of a desert area, and a trail through the pines would be shaded or dappled, and I can't imagine a hissing river. The sentence isn't doing it's job.

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  24. Yes. This creates a strong image of the setting. I'm partial to the locale as well, since (unlike JeffO!) I'm a native of ponderosa pine country. :) (And unless you're standing in the shade directly under a large tree, there's plenty of harsh sunlight, so that's a very accurate description!)

    However, I do feel this sentence could be reworked to make it more elegant -- it almost sounds as if you're trying a bit too hard -- and although the connection between 'snaked' and 'hissing' is clever, I'm sure I've never heard a river 'hiss'.

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  25. No. I love literary fiction, but this line doesn't tell me anything. I don't have a character or time period or anything to hang onto yet.

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  26. No. This reads a bit like a first draft without the benefit of voice and detail to set it apart. To start with setting, I need to feel a tone or a vibe.

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  27. don't hate meApril 10, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    No. Because harsh sunlight under Ponderosa pines messed with my senses. I think shade and reprieve from the sun when I think pines. So, I think it needs more detail.

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  28. No. While a nice image, gives me nothing about story or character. Also, if trail is snaking through pines, how can the sunlight be harsh? It would be diffused by the foliage.

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  29. No. The image is confusing - harsh sunlight on a trail that's winding it way through tall ponderosa pines? I want to smell and taste this place - not be told aboout. And a "hissing" river? How does a river "hiss?" It would be a great line in a SF/F novel because it raises questions about what kind of water is flowing - but it's a strange choice for literary fiction.

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