Friday, 8 June 2007


Okay my lovely, maggoty companions, enough talk.
I would like to invite you all to critique my new opening paragraph.
By the end of this paragraph, a professional reader will have already formed a strong impression of my proposal; she will have an understanding of my style and tone, of my ability to immerse and hold a reader, and of my competence as a writer.
I have attempted to:
Set the scene;
Bond reader to Penpa;
Create first-stage 'big cat' image of Blinky;
Define the part of Penpa's character that will undergo the greater change;
Introduce tone by communicating my chapter keywords (excitement, danger, thrill, wonder, curiosity, naivety);
Introduce and allude to backstory;
Introduce relationship (dominant and passive switches) between Penpa and Blinky;
Introduce style;
Create anticipation.

Furthermore, I am endeavouring to conclude each paragraph with a mini cliffhanger.
Hope this works for you :o)
If it does not work for you, I will be indebted to you for the opportunity to make amends.


Penpa climbed from Blinky's back and bounded to the edge of the precipice, where the snow and the eidelweiss plummeted away into rock. She stood, concealed in the dark perfumed huddle of the needle trees and watched with them, surveying an ice-smoked valley.
'Keep still!' hushed Penpa.
Blinky stopped pawing at the dewy frost that always formed on his whiskers when they ventured beneath the clouds. Below, the valley glistened like a sea of orange fire. In the near distance, a crown of mountain peaks doused the valley with indigo shadows. Penpa had never before witnessed such a glorious sight; she had never been so far from home so close to sunfall. It was a terrible risk, but her curiosity was more persuasive than her responsibilities. Then she saw them: A caravan of obsidian shapes emerged from the shade and snaked about the rocks and snowbanks below. Penpa's cotton breaths panted into the cold as she raised the spyglass to her eye.


R1X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R1X said...

Loved it; profound. Niggles:

1. End of 1st paragraph suggestion: add below - ... watched with them, surveying an ice-smoked valley below.
Though she's peering down I was confused that you hadn't put the valley was actually down there.

2. Make us aware of Blinky pawing before Penpa hushes him. At the mo' it has the feel of an after thought as we've had no hint that she's heard him scratching.

3. Penpa's cotton breaths - should that be Penpa's cottonwool breaths?

PS: this is all personal perception, take it or leave it ;)

esruel said...

Aha! Knew you were hatching something - the silence was deafening. I love it, really. I always did think this story had real possibilities.
Agree with Rich - expand the looking down into the valley.
Later on, you begin a sentence with 'Below' - perhaps make that 'Far below', accentuating the precipice and distance to the valley.
You could also say 'Keep still, Blinky'. Kids love to show they know names - a sign of authority and cleverness, and maybe have Blinky yowl back, as if annoyed a bit - cats like to paw at stuff, don't they!
Obsidian? Hmmm? Can you expand on that?
The telescope appeared out of nowhere, I feel, though not mightily important.
Great stuff!!!!

solv said...

Thank you my learned chums!
I'm very close to submission day now: I'm hoping to get this out before the summer sun beats the creativity out of me.
I'm also having further problems with my temperamental machine which is restricting my time on my pc.
I'm worried that I have too many adjectives in my opening. I'm going to see what happens if I remove them all.
I'm also worried that I'm attempting to do too much in those opening lines. I decided that I wanted the reader to understand Blinky as a big cat in the first paragraph rather than by the end of the first page.
I'm also not happy with the visualisation: I don't think 'crown' is quite right; I was using it by way of introduction to a theme of royalty. I'm going to refine again and try to simplify everything, and I shall be sure to give your thoughts very serious consideration.
Thank you.