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Twisted Tails (epic fantasy) hook at the beginning of chapter 1


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#1 Sreid

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:25 AM

See post #4.

 

Hi,

 

I've agonized over how to start my novel, and I thought I had a good hook at the beginning of chapter 1. Now I'm unsure. The following are two options I'm considering. Please tell me if one, both, or neither of them spark your interest. All I need in reply is "1" or "2" or "1 + 2" or "neither".

 

1.

If Stammnon had any foresight, even a hint, he'd keep his younger brother in the shepherds’ encampment that evening and avoid the bloodshed to follow. But Stammnon’s senses remained blind to the future, mired in the dusk of his uncelebrated twentieth birthday, the fall equinox. Father forgot, again, or didn’t care–more likely the latter.

 

2.

Later that evening, when summer turned to fall, Stammnon would long to roll back time’s scroll. With but a little foresight, he’d have kept his brother in the shepherds’ encampment and avoided such bloodshed. But Stammnon was no seer. His thoughts remained mired in the dusk of his uncelebrated twentieth birthday. Father had forgotten, or didn’t care–more likely the latter.



#2 kailam

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:22 AM

Think #1 flows better, although the tense of the first sentence reads a little oddly to me. Maybe: If Stammnon had had any foresight, even a hint, he would have kept his younger brother in the shepherds’ encampment that evening and avoided the bloodshed to follow?

The time's scroll mention in #2 feels a bit self conscious, and delays getting straight to the key info of 'avoided such bloodshed'.



#3 Sreid

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:54 PM

Thanks Kailam,

 

Here's an updated version of "1" followed by "2" again. Is it better this time?

 

1.

With just a hint of foresight, Stammnon might have kept his younger brother from leaving the shepherds' encampment that evening, avoiding such bloodshed. But Stammnon's prophetic talents remained hidden, perhaps nonexistent, in the dusk of his uncelebrated twentieth birthday, on the fall equinox. Father had forgotten, or didn’t care–more likely the latter.

 

2.

Later that evening, when summer turned to fall, Stammnon would long to roll back time’s scroll. With but a little foresight, he’d have kept his brother in the shepherds’ encampment and avoided such bloodshed. But Stammnon was no seer. His thoughts remained mired in the dusk of his uncelebrated twentieth birthday. Father had forgotten, or didn’t care–more likely the latter.



#4 Sreid

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 07:08 AM

Sigh. I've gotten some dismal responses to the above drafts (on another site). Here's another option for those all-important first two paragraphs. Please tell me if they grab your attention and make you want to read on, or if not, where did I lose you?

 

Shivers crept up Stammnon’s back, though not from the cold biting through his tunic. Some detail changed on the wind-swept alpine meadow as dusk rolled in. It might mean danger, or perhaps it was just the approaching storm. Stammnon’s gaze darted along the ridgetop one last time before he entered the walled enclosure, where shepherds had camped for time beyond memory.

 

A single autumn star shone between racing clouds. Stammnon knelt, shielding his flint and tinder from gusts howling over the high, moss-covered walls, built of local limestone and marble blocks from the old ruin.



#5 lionspaws

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 05:30 PM

I like this, it does make me want to read more; certainly the ominous reference to a change in the wind. I'm just a little confused if this is the first 250 words? Somehow, the opening line doesn't feel like an opening line. One suggestion is that you seem to be starting right out with the "change." At one conference, I learned that you should begin the story by setting what the main character's life already looks like--even if it's just a few pages--so the reader will have a "before" and "after" contrast. For instance, though it will seem less dramatic, perhaps begin with a few paragraphs about Stammnon and his shepherding duties? 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#6 Sreid

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 06:02 PM

Thanks secondstar for your kind remarks.

 

These are the first sentences in my story, and the change I hint at is coming, but in between here and there, I have about a thousand words, so you first get a feel for the characters involved. Of course, I weave in more hints of the coming event in those thousand words, so I (hopefully) don't lose my audience. The difference between "before" and "after" is unmistakable.



#7 TheBest

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 10:01 PM

 

 Shivers crept up Stammnon’s back, though not from the cold biting through his tunic. Some detail changed(Unnecessary) on the wind-swept alpine meadow(Too long) as dusk rolled in. It might mean danger, or perhaps it was just the approaching storm. Stammnon’s gaze darted along the ridgetop one last time before he entered the walled enclosure, where shepherds had camped for time beyond memory (love the last sentence).

(complicated. For a hook, I'd prefer something simpler.)

 

A single autumn star shone between racing clouds. Stammnon knelt, shielding his flint and tinder from gusts howling over the high, moss-covered walls, built of local limestone and marble blocks from the old ruin. 

(This one's great! Really heavy in imagery, you might even want to take a little out. This one really pulled me into the setting and tone, but didn't do anything about plot or character. Maybe elaborate on Stammon's actions?? Either way, this is a keeper.)

 






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