Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First 50 Words #21

TITLE: Stoned
GENRE: Paranormal

Who knew that going for Chinese take out would nearly cost her her life? One minute Jameson was admiring the familiar aromas of The Paper Lantern's famous General Tso's chicken, the next a splintering pain in the back of her head stole her breath before it was lights out.


  1. I believe "takeout" is one word (or at least a hyphenated word), and "would nearly cost her her life" would probably work better as "would nearly cost Jameson her life," since the two hers are a bit much and not using the MC's name feels a little coy.

    Also, I'm not completely sold on this beginning. You start with action, which is good, but I don't know anything about Jameson, so it's hard to drum up anything more than casual sympathy for her. It's like seeing something bad happen to people on the news - it holds our interest for a couple of seconds, but it's easy to flip away from those people's suffering because they're strangers.

  2. Personally, I wouldn't start with a question. Simply tell me about the pain, the setting etc., give the action and keep me reading : ) Good Luck

  3. See? MSG will kill ya every time! Or try to.

    I like this a lot, with just a few revisions. I'm okay with starting with a question because I do it so often (I think it's trait of the sarcastic adult), but if you wanted to change it, you could go to something like "My momma always warned me take-out food was bad for my health." (Just an example.)

    And I think "admiring" is wrong for smelling. Maybe "enjoying" would work better, something in that line.

    Great title. But then, I am a child of the '70's!

  4. Although the writing could use some help, I'm very interested and I like the opening, although I'd make it more personal rather than 3rd person. But that's just me.

  5. The first line sounds as if it comes from the Narrator of your story. The second pulls back a little further, describing things that happened to Jameson in the past - "Jameson was admiring..."

    You could bring us closer into her experience by cutting the first line and describing what happens as it happens. Something along the lines of, "Jameson inhaled the familiar..." Help us feel what she feels to draw us in and make us care about her.

  6. It's a telling, passive openening and would work better if you showed it and made it active.

    I'm also wondering where you go from here, since she's blacked out. It seems whatever comes next will have to come after she wakes up, (although it is paranormal so it could take place in some dream world) but the point is, it doesn't lead me anywhere or hint at what's to come. It could go anywhere, so it doesn't have the pull it might if I had a hint of where it was going.

  7. I like it but I'd also like it this way:

    Jameson was admiring the familiar aromas of The Paper Lantern's famous General Tso's chicken when a splintering pain in the back of her head stole her breath before it was lights out.

    I think the first sentence (Who knew that going for Chinese take out would nearly cost her her life?) is more pitch-blurby than novelly, but what do I know? Nothing, really, but there it is.

  8. I love the name Jameson for a girl!

    I agree with nixing the question opening. I like the next sentence, I would keep reading. :)

  9. I like the opening line, but agree the first "her" should be replaced with the MC's name. My problem lies with the scene itself. I'm not sure where this starts. It's good to start with action. But, as someone else pointed out, the MC is unconscious by the end of the paragraph. I wonder if the MC is regaining consciousness and this bit is a reflection on prior events? If so, that can be a hard scene to pull off.

    Start where the action is. I don't think it's where the MC gets knocked out a few sentences in.

  10. Thank you all for the helpful comments. I knew something wasn't quite right! Also, thanks to the Authoress for this opportunity :)

  11. The opening line is cool, but ultimately I agree with the other comments. I like the thought behind the question, but not so much being asked the question. I think a natural reaction when we read rhetorical questions is to answer them in our minds before we read on--and that slows your pace.

    Perhaps if you phrased it as a statement instead? "Going out for Chinese nearly cost Jameson her life."