Saturday, July 17, 2010

My WIP: The Opening Paragraphs

As many of you know, I'm writing a YA spin off of the novel I'm querying right now. I'm hoping even if this round of queries doesn't add up to anything, I can query this book and then go back to the other one once I'm rich and famous. :) hehe

So I found a picture to go with it. Paradise 21 turns out to be anything but a paradise. Surrounded by cosmic dust, the sky changes from twilight gray to purple and the sun is never gold.

Here's the opening paragraphs. Any suggestions would be awesome as long as you are nice.


Chapter 1

My great grandmom was a retired space pirate. As a little girl I’d visit her room when everyone else dreamed in their sleep pods and crawl onto her boney lap as she sat in her hoverchair, gazing at the stars. She’d tell me horrible stories about Space Pirate Central and how lucky I was to be born on the Ark. I’d sink into the cotton of her robe and listen to her trembling voice, careful not to disturb the tubes keeping her alive, sprouting from her arms like the strings of a marionette.

“You are special,” her breath felt light as a whisper on my cheek. “Because your generation will reach the paradise planet.”

Staring into her shining gray-blue eyes, I wondered why anyone would want to leave the Ark. The ship had everything anyone could ever need: food grown under the biodome, and rules dictated perfectly by the Guide. Back then I longed for nothing to change, to stay in my cocoon and never have to break free. But change is the only constant in our lives; it shapes us as much as it tears us down.


Keri said...

This opening is very interesting. I love the first sentence.

My initial comment would be kill 'as' unless it is part of a simile.

Also, this seems to be backstory and while it does work, you maybe want to enter the scene immediately instead of having the little recap desciptive paragraph at the start. Pull the reader right into the moment.

I like it. It's an intriguing premise.

Unknown said...

Wow Aubrie I'm honestly in awe. I have so many questions after reading this Chapter which I must say is something I enjoy as a reader. It has me dying to jump to the next page.

I love the first line, and then you elaborate that she's at the end of her days, I'm curious to know if because she's retired she's dying, what the guide is all about, what the ARK really is and more about Space Pirate Central.

This sounds like a world I'd want to know a lot more about. Seriously I would loved to have been your Beta reader to read more!!!

The Words Crafter said...

Loved the memory of Grandmom...those warm memories usually carry characters through dark times, so I'm wondering-what's getting ready to happen? I'm drawn've hinted at danger and disappointment....if I had it here, I would be turning to the next page to find out.

Sophia said...

I do like this intro for the questions it raises but I have to agree with Keri; it seems like backstory setting the scene rather than jumping into current action and dropping hints that 'we're not in Kansas anymore'.

I also wonder whether someone born on the Ark would know what a marionette is, it seems like they would only bring things necessary for survival?
- Sophia.

Unknown said...

Love the feel of this, it could be great.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'd leave the "As" because it makes sense in the sentence. Can't wait to see how this manuscript progresses.

I love the last sentence. I'm looking for something similar for the post I'm writing today.

WritingNut said...

This is really good - very intriguing. I want to read more!

And I love that last sentence, it's so true:

"But change is the only constant in our lives; it shapes us as much as it tears us down"

I'm with Theresa - I would leave the "as", because it works.

Talli Roland said...

I like it, Aubrie! Great opening line - and I want to read more, the true test of a beginning.

Sandra Cox said...

Excellent opening.

dolorah said...

Its passive, but for a beginning, I'm always more interested in characters than action. In short order, you've introduced the MC, the setting, and internal conflict to be resolved by the MC.

You've also introduced the premise I believe - that being why would anyone ever want to leave paradise.

The voice is a bit melancholy. I liked it. It felt cozy; like I could snuggle up with this novel on a cold rainy day and be transported into another world.

The only editing I'd suggest is to split the first sentence at ". .sleep pods and crawl onto her . ." Take out "and" so it reads like " . . sleep pod. I'd crawl into her . ."

This sentence is a little choppy also because it feels a little backwards: "I’d sink into the cotton of her robe and listen to her trembling voice, careful not to disturb the tubes keeping her alive, sprouting from her arms like the strings of a marionette."

Maybe smoothe it out like: ". .careful not to disturb the tubes sprouting from her arms like the strings of a marionette." I think the mental image that the of the tubes makes the the phrase "keeping her alive" redundant.

All in all, an engaging opening. I'd be turning the page to read more from it.


Saumya said...

This is very well written and I especially love the last line. The only suggestion I have is to smooth out the dialogue: One line of dialogue. Next sentence, "her breath...". It really looks great!

Tara McClendon said...

You have some great description in this that makes this "new" world come to life. Nice work.

This might just be me, but I was a little confused on the timeline for the great grandmom. I didn't know if the MC was visiting the grandmom while she was still a captain or after. From the description, I believe the answer is after.

Other than that, I enjoyed the opening.

Julie Musil said...

What beautiful paragraphs! I love the marionette line, that was great. The picture is really cool too.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your first sentence is great. I would separate from the body of the paragraph to spotlight it. Just a thought.

On Monday's post, I'm trying a 24 HOURS type blog experiment. I'll either entertain or go down in flames. But you can't learn to fly until you leap off the cliff.

"To all of life there is a shadow. The shadow of sadness, doubt, despair. Still it is but an echo of a heart moving forward."

Carol Kilgore said...

This is nice, but it is starting with backstory. So think about that.

Anonymous said...

Your first sentence is hooky. You establish the setting and genre right from the start.

The last bit is where I thought you could add a little more oophm. I'm guessing you from that point, you're about to launch into the story proper so, But change is the only constant in our lives; it shapes us as much as it tears us down. seems a little tame.

Other than that, I thought it worked well as an opener. I'll let you know if I think of anything else :-)


Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Very intriguing, Aubrie! It throws the reader directly into the new world. I'm very curious about the grandmom and about the changes to come. Well done.

Nighfala said...

I don't mind opening with backstory because a) it moves quickly, b) it has an interesting voice c) is well-written and d) introduces the main story question about what the ark is, where they are going, and what the child's future will be.

I think that opening with backstory is only really "bad" if it contributes nothing to the story at hand. This is what I would consider "narrative storytelling," and I think it's very well done.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Ooo, I like it: the premise, the voice, the backstory delivered in a teasing way. I would definitely turn the page.

~that rebel, Olivia

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be honest, as I know you want. This is a wonderful bit, but it seems like backstory to me. Is there any way you could push something to the front and come back to this maybe in chapter two? I hope this helps.

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