Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Sentence #34

TITLE: Brew
GENRE: Historical Fiction

The Elisabeth’s grimy floor lurched underneath Thom.

37 comments:

  1. NO. I'm not getting any sense of the main character or the time frame, or why they are there and the risks involved. There is no micro-tension in this start. Even one of these elements would be enough to begin with.

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  2. No, too vague.

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  3. No. It's too generic somehow. Maybe add in where the boat is heading and you'll have a way to pump it up.

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  4. No. I'm not getting a sense of the story.

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  5. No - I had to read twice to see that "Thom" is a person (it was the second name in the sentence, the first being a boat, the second a person), but I'd already like to know where Thom is going and what his mission is.

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  6. No: I got that they're on a ship, but this could be better off as a second or third or fourth sentence.

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  7. No, sorry. I think the name of the people's house should be cut in favor of some more detail about the lurch.

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  8. Yes. I liked it and i'd ead on to see where the Elisabeth is going and who Thom.

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  9. No. It needs a little more detail.

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  10. No. Not enough context to make sense of the terms of reference (e.g., is the Elisabeth a ship? I assume so, but can't be certain).

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  11. No. This is missing character, I feel. I don't have much sense of anything, except that Thom is on a boat. That said, I would read on; this just isn't a hook.

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  12. No, I think you need more info about your MC (presumably Thom). I also think it would simplify things to just say "the ship's grimy floor..." instead of calling it by name and making us assume what it is.

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  13. Yes. It's a quieter start, not a huge dramatic hook, but the "lurch" hints at danger ahead and I imagine (hope!) the second sentence builds on that. To strengthen this, you might shift the emphasis from the boat to the character. E.g., Under Thom's bare feet, the Elisabeth's floor lurched. (And then follow up with a zinger second sentence.)

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  14. No.
    Can a floor lurch?
    I think I'd have Thom as the subject and find an active verb here.

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  15. No

    I mean, it's not bad, it just doesn't have any sort of wow factor. Which is fine sometimes. Not everything needs to start with a bang.

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  16. No. Seems a bit vague. A little more detail to set the stage could help.

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  17. No.

    There's not enough here to entice me. Not enough about the character. You could revise to include something more about Thorn, such as "When The Elizabeth's grimy floor lurched underneath Thorn, he regretted... (something to reveal who he is, a stowaway (eating the scones he stole from the galley)? the captain (delaying the launch for Lady Bigshot)?)

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  18. No. Simply confused. I'm unsure what is going on. Needs more detail.

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  19. No. Start with the MC instead of the setting.

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  20. No - doesn't do anything for me

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  21. I'm not having any strong feelings either way—yeah, it works (I got a strong sense of time/setting from the name of the ship), but it doesn't make me just itch to read on.

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  22. Yes. Enough to read the next line to see if he is at sea. I like seafaring stories.

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  23. No. Naming the ship in your first sentence is completely unnecessary, and hints that you're going to squeeze more information the character would not be thinking about into this opening.

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  24. LIKE: The fact that you reveal that he's on a ship.

    Could you give me Thom's reaction to this lurch?

    "The Elisabeth's grimy floor lurched underneath Thom, [making him stumble/ making him heave/ skidding his steps sideways as he pressed towards the . . .]"

    You could even embed something about Thom. He could have a peg leg (what do I know?) so his wooden leg slips. He could be young, so he slides into a larger, brawnier (and probably fragrant) sailor. He could be an inexperienced passenger and he ducks out of the crew's way. He could be the experienced one and he steadies someone less experienced. Do you see where I'm going? His reaction to that lurching movement of the ship can tell me something about Thom and, thus, make me care about him a bit.

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  25. No. I'm thinking why would a floor lurch? If you mean the deck of a ship or something, you're using the wrong word. If you just want to convey that a whole ship lurched, leave out floor.

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  26. No
    The sentence doesn't read well. If you read it out loud it doesn't make sense.

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  27. No. Not dramatic enough. If I already know this is HF, then the name of a ship and the fact the ship's grimy and is lurching are not going to be enough to draw me in. Why does it matter that the ship is lurching? Why does Thom care? Maybe rewrite from Thom's close POV?

    Hope this helps!

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  28. No--sorry, this feels awkward for a first line with the italicized Elizabeth's. This reads like a line best served further down the page. I would start with something a little clearer to establish setting and character.

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  29. Doesn't quite hit it. Feels seems like something's missing, but I can't put my finger on it.

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  30. It's not fair, but Thom takes me straight to the Wheel of Time.

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  31. Yes. I like that the sentence is short. I would agree that you could leave out the name of the ship.

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  32. No. Why is Elisabeth in italics and why is Thom spelled like that? That's all I care about at the end of this sentence, which doesn't compel me to keep reading.

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  33. Almost. I had to read it twice to work out that the Elisabeth is probably a ship, and "grimy" doesn't really give me any sort image. Was the floor made of timber, rough laid, holes, laid precisely. You could create a much better visual here.

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  34. No. The sentence leaves me very confused and not entirely sure what's going on.

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  35. No--It doesn't say what you want it to say. The floor on a ship would be a deck, and the deck wouldn't lurch. The ship might, and Thom could. It's also not a compelling moment.

    Why is the ship lurching? Is there a storm? Is it turning swiftly, preparing for battle? Is the sea choppy? Perhaps add the reason to the mix, and then give us Thom's reaction. If the story's about him, we should be seeing everything in terms of how it affects him.

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  36. No. I don't feel like there's enough action or things out of the ordinary here to hook me. But hopefully the next couple of sentences will bring that in.

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