Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Line Grabber #7

TITLE: The One Called Coward
GENRE: Young Adult

As we crowd together waiting for the signal, the smell of sweat, the faint perfume of roses and the stiffness of tension fill the chamber.

31 comments:

  1. No. The two smells didn't flow well with the stiffness.

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  2. No. The "stiffness of tension" feels a bit awkward to me.

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  3. Yes. I want to know what's going on and where the character is. The smells are unusual in the same room, but if there's a mixed crowd, that would work.

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  4. No - I get annoyed when opening sentences talk about things I don't understand as if I should already know what they are - like "the signal" and "the chamber".

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  5. No. The use of the two smells and the stiffness don't flow with each other.

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  6. No. The style's too wordy for me.

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  7. No, but it would be improved vastly if you started with "The smell of sweat..." and moved "as we crowd..." to after "chamber." That way there's some atmosphere and voice before you put us in a fairly common situation. I'd recommend giving some clue as to what the signal is for, too. Just a word or short phrase that makes us wonder and want to read on. "Signal" alone is far too vague.

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  8. Yes but barely. Sensual details are great and must be used, but I'd rather get a sense of a story in the first line. The one thing that made this a yes is the fact they're waiting for a signal does hint that something's about to happen.

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  9. No.

    It needs tightening, and the commas are either missing or not in the right places. But outside of that, scents filling a room doesn't do anything to encourage me to keep reading.

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  10. No, but it's close. With some tightening of the language, this could be a really interesting opening.

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  11. No.
    "Stiffness of tension" is awkward. Tension doesn't need a description.

    Too many descriptions are crammed in that chamber. Pick one of them. Both sweat and tension could be implied in a confined space with lots of people. I'd pick the roses.

    We crowd together waiting for the signal, the faint perfume of roses filling the chamber.

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  12. No
    -because it's too wordy and extra-sensory for me. Not sure which chamber they're in, but you shouldn't have to tell me there's tension. I should feel the tension.

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  13. No.
    Conceptually, I might be intrigued. But I joined the character in waiting for a list of things: the signal, the smell of sweat, the faint perfume.... Oops.

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  14. No. If you'd focused on the signal and the tension associated with it, probably Yes.

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  15. No. Good sensory touches, but not enough to intrigue. Maybe save the sensory details for 2nd sentence and focus in more on the signal, make it raise more of a question or heighten the intrigue.

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  16. Yes. I may be of the minority but I am intrigued. There's but so much you can fit into a first line and I'm already interested.

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  17. No- you had me until you got to 'the stiffness of tension'- not sure what that means.

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  18. No - but close. I had to read twice as I thought we were waiting for the signal AND the smell of sweat, the faint... and the sentence seemed to be a fragment. When I reread it, it made sense, but that tossed me out of the story.

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  19. Yes.
    I like the description of the setting. However; this feels like it could be very ‘Hunger Games’ to me. I would probably read on but I’d be wary for too many similarities.

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  20. No. Disjointed.You lost me with 'the stiffness of tension'

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  21. No - Too much description that led to nowhere for me. Also the wording was a little awkward - the stiffness of tension really threw me off.

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  22. No. How can the stiffness of tension fill a chamber? You seem to be starting at a tense moment, which is great, but you're tried to weight the sentence with too much information, throwing the reader off.

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  23. No. The sentence has an awkward structure. It does a decent job of setting an image of place. I like the sensory combination of sweat and roses. That conveys a sense of both battle and ceremony. Consider moving the opening clause to the end.

    The smell of nervous sweat and roses filled the chamber as we crowd together awaiting the signal.

    Not great, but you get the idea.

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  24. No. There's too much going on here.

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  25. No. Too much detail, not enough action. I think you could cut this back and make it much more compelling: We crowd together in the chamber waiting for the signal. The tension is lost in the all the sensory stuff.

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  26. No.

    The important thing in this sentence is the chamber, and you're emphasizing sweat and roses. Tell me what kind of chamber they're in. A torture chamber? A hyperbaric chamber? A deep cavern? Use your adjectives on that.

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  27. No. Too many concepts together and feels muddled for a first line. This reads like a line further down the page.

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  28. don't hate meApril 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    No. Too many descriptors that don't blend well together. It's a little disjointed.

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  29. Yes -- barely. In spite of the fact that there are several problems with this, I'm drawn in by the use of specific details such as odors, which always help to make a scene come alive.

    But I think you're probably starting the story in the wrong place; it can be more off-putting than mysterious when the reader has no idea who 'we' refers to. And I agree that 'stiffness of tension' doesn't work, and it also doesn't fit when listed after the two smells -- you'd have to work it in differently. For instance, if you kept the same details, you might try something like this after 'signal,': 'tension fills the chamber like the mingled smells of sweat and the faint perfume of roses.'

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  30. No. Two smells and then stiffness? Also, so vague I have no sense of what's going on, who the MC is, and why I should care about either.

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  31. No. Too much in one sentence. There is much that is good - the contrast of sweat and roses. But the "stiffness of tension" is awkward. Clearly people have been crowded into a chamber - which raises an interesting question - but it is all too much.

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