Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Sentence #27

TITLE: Flying Home
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

Randolph hauled himself out of the mulch pile and shook his feathers to remove the debris that clung to them.

48 comments:

  1. No-ish.

    I think if this weren't middle grade I'd like it better. It sounds too grown up to me. Among other things, "debris" and isn't a word I'd associate with a 12ish year old kid that just fell into moldy leaves.

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  2. Yes.

    This is interesting. Between the title and just the first sentence, you do a nice job of hinting at what this book is about. So he has some sort of wings? Is he a bird? Or is this some sort of Icarus story? I'd keep reading to find out.

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  3. No.
    For MG, the language is a bit stiff for me. I might replace the word "debris" with junk, or something more lighthearted. Or why not end the sentence "right after shook his feathers"?

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  4. Yes, but I'd put the period after feathers.

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  5. Yes, love the idea of an MC who's a bird. But I agree debris may not be a great word choice for MG.

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  6. Yes. We start in some action and the MC is already in trouble. Also, each verb does a great job.

    (Reading above comments--I'm not against using "big" words for younger readers. I guess it depends how often they come up in the story. I like the idea of putting the period after "feathers," though, because it emphasizes he's a bird (or a kid doing something unusual).)

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  7. Yes, had me questioning who or what the MC is.

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  8. Yes. I want to know more about Randolph.

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  9. Yes, because I want to know what Randolph is (is he a bird, or a boy with wings?). But I do agree that the language is a bit formal/grown-up for MG.

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  10. Yes - I'd like to know more about Randolph (as mentioned before) and why he has feathers.

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  11. Yes, because I'm always curious about winged things, though I'll agree on the debris word being a bit stiff.

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  12. No. It doesn't have a middle grade voice.

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  13. Yes because I'm curious about the feathers and why the protagonist was buried in mulch. However, "to remove the debris that clung to them" sounds very awkward to me.

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  14. No. The image itself is fine, but it feels like a sentence that requires context rather than an opening line.

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  15. Hmm... yes. I like birds. I like birds as characters. The sentence didn't parse especially well for me, though, especially 'mulch pile' and 'to remove the debris'.

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  16. No. Interesting, but too wordy. I'd prefer to see a tighter sentence, like this: Randolph hauled himself out of the mulch pile and shook the debris off his feathers. Or this: Randolph shook the debris off his feathers as he hauled himself out of the mulch pile.

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  17. I'm on the fence.

    The voice doesn't sound MG, but it makes me wonder why Randolph has feathers.

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  18. No

    It's not bad or anything. It just doesn't have much of a wow factor. But sometimes that's completely fine

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  19. No, I would probably read on to see more but this alone just doesn't say "I must know more!" Is he a bird or something magical? If he is magical maybe a few words to let me know. That may make me want to find out more.

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  20. Hmm - was really torn, but I'm going to say yes right now just because I do find the voice a bit interesting. especially if it is from a birds point of view

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  21. I'm on the fence, but i thinK i'd want something a little more playful for a MG. "Debris" is a tough word for a youngster.

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  22. Hmm. I'd say yes-ish. I'm curious about why he has wings and why he ended up in the mulch pile, but this isn't exactly gripping.

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  23. Yes... because "shook his feathers" made me laugh out loud.

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  24. Yes. That is, it hooked me, but I thought you could also trim the sentence down and convey the same information. E.g. "that clung him him" could go -- if he's shaking it off, I'd assume it had been clinging to him. Love the wings and apparent crash landing.

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  25. Yes, but I agree with others about ending the sentence after feathers. It's the feathers that intrigue me.

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  26. Yes. I'm curious about Randolph. But i also liked the suggestion of putting the period after feathers. Lying in mulch already implies that he'll be mucky when he gets up.

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  27. Yes. Why does Randolph have feathers?

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  28. Yes. I think it would sound stronger if you ended the sentence after feathers. :)

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  29. No. The voice feels off. Also I may be slightly weirded out by talking animals, and it feels like that's where this is going.

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  30. *Meh* I'm going to go with no but I could have easily gone with 'yes' if the sentence were tightened up.

    Randolph hauled himself out of the mulch and shook his feathers free of the debris.

    LIKE: good use of verbs. Excellent job 'showing' us this character (as opposed to telling us).

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  31. Yes. I'm interested in a main character that has feathers; it stands out as unique.

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  32. No. Mainly because I just feel "meh" about it—is he a bird, or a kid wearing feathers for some reason? Neither of these options makes me particularly interested to read the story, so that's why it's a no for me. Others might love that sort of thing, though! I didn't necessarily think there was anything about the sentence itself that wasn't working. :)

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  33. A hesitant NO from me.
    While I'm slightly intrigued the sentence reads to clunky.

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  34. Yes. I like the details. I'm also wondering why Randolph has wings. Maybe he's a bird? Or a bird boy? Either way I'm interested, and I have a feeling the story will have good details.

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  35. Yes. This is quirky enough to make me read the next sentence. I want to know why Randolph has feathers, and why he was in a mulch pile.

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  36. Yes! Randolph is in the middle of something interesting, and I like seeing him coming out of a pile of mulch debris.

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  37. No. I agree with @ilenegold's first suggested revision. A tighter sentence would have more appeal.

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  39. No--the end reads pretty clunky. The first half of the line sets up magic! The second half's energy is sapped by the explaining.

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  40. Yes but I think you can lose the last bit.
    Randolph hauled himself out of the mulch pile and shook his wings.

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  41. No. Although this could be a winged humanoid, this makes me think an animal is the MC and that doesn't appeal to me.

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  42. Yes. I want to know who Randolph is. It´s well written. I like the choice of words.

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  43. Yes. I'm intrigued by this Randolph character who obviously likes to keep himself primped and preened. I would love to read more.

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  44. Yes--You have a boy with wings in a mulch pile, so you've created a situation. How did he get there, and why does he have wings? Both are questions that make me want to read more.

    You might end the sentence at feathers. What follows can be implied. If you do keep it, I don't think debris is too hard for middle-graders.

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  45. Yes - I like the image of a bird (or other feathered character) coming out of a mulch pile. I would end at feathers, too.

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  46. Yes. But I didn't think debris was the right word.

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  47. Yes. Commenting on comments: I am assuming this is about a bird, which makes it interesting to younger readers. Actually, if it is about a person + feathers + debris--hmmmm! Also, I think that there is a room for "big words" in a MG book--just be careful to not use too many and to repeat them in fun ways.

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