Wednesday, December 3, 2008

F2S 51

I woke to the smell of smoke, something I would recognize anywhere, anytime. I resisted the urge to inhale the acrid scent hanging in the air, instead glancing to the bedside table, confirming that I'd extinguished the candle before falling asleep.


  1. The first thing I'd do if I smelled smoke is jump out of bed, not think about trying not to inhale it, then looking at the bedside table, etc. The first sentence has an immediacy that gets kind of lost in the second sentence.

  2. I think the second sentence needs some editing. I would change it to:

    "I resisted the urge to inhale the acrid scent hanging in the air, instead I glanced to the bedside table and confirmed that I'd extinguished the candle before falling asleep."

    I'd keep reading though.

  3. Wouldn't everyone recognize the smell of smoke anytime anywhere?

    It seems to slow here. I would jump out of bed at the smell of smoke, too - if it was strong enough, I guess.

    I would read on to find out what's going on. :)

  4. The premise could be exciting, but it feels like this is focusing on the wrong parts.

    Who wouldn't recognize the smell of smoke? If the MC isn't already coughing, why would he/she start trying not to breathe it now? Why isn't she jumping out of bed and looking for the source? Worrying about her kids/spouse/favorite painting instead?

  5. First sentence - could chop out the part about recognizing the smoke. Because, er... it doesn't seem necessary and leaves us wondering about the protag.

    The second sentence has a lot of uncessary (-ing) words, which normally don't bother me, but in this case I thought the sentence would have been strong if they weren't all crammed in there.

  6. If I woke up to the smell of smoke, I'd be jumping out of bed and getting my children out of the house. React, don't analyze.

    And I don't know anyone who doesn't recognize the smell of smoke.

    "Resist the urge to inhale," makes it sound like the character enjoys getting high on the smell of smoke.

  7. I'm not sure I get the MC's train of thought.

    There's nothing special about recognizing the smell of smoke. Why hold your breath instead of leaping out of bed?

    If I smell smoke, I'm up and darting around looking for the source. I think shorter sentences and quicker action is needed here.

  8. No... needs editing. "confirming" isn't urgent enough for waking to the smell of smoke.

  9. This can easily be one sentence:
    I woke to the smell of smoke and glanced ...

    If the character's first thought on awakening is that the odor is caused by a burning candle, it makes sense that a moment is taken to check that out.

    I agree the smell of smoke is so familiar to most people that you don't need to stress how the character recognizes it.

    This is a strong beginning for a story. I know something is going to happen right away.

  10. Good start. I'd read on to see what is happening.

  11. Too slow an opening. Smoke means fire means an immediate response is needed, like a knee-jerk response. Also, it's kinda cliche and weak to start off with a character waking up.

  12. The first sentence hooks me, mainly because I’m curious why the narrator would recognize the smell anywhere, anytime. The second sentence loses me a bit.

  13. For something potentially dramatic, this falls a little flat. More reaction and less thinking about what's going on would be a more successful hook, in my opinion.