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Author Topic: First Paragraph--Marnie (romance)  (Read 344 times)
kwill79
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« on: February 08, 2018, 01:58:16 PM »

Any feedback at all is appreciated (even if it's just a 'yes' or a 'no'!).  Thank you in advance!

Marnie shoved her plump fingers through her curly gray hair.  Her ring, or rather her grandmother’s ring, became twisted in a stray lock and tugged painfully at the offending hair.  Marnie extracted the ring with a sigh and stared at her reflection in the mirror.  She turned left and squinted at herself.  She turned right and sucked in her stomach (not that you could tell).  She twisted around to view her backside.  “Depressing” she thought.  There was no way around it—at 42 she was so decidedly middle-aged that she could no longer talk herself out of it.  Her youth was behind her.  She would never again be a rosy-cheeked teen, a fresh-faced woman in her 20’s, or a confident 30-something attacking life with zest.  Most likely the best was already behind her.  With a groan of defeat she sat down on the bathroom floor, burying her face in her hands. 
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007 fan
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 05:01:49 PM »

Any feedback at all is appreciated (even if it's just a 'yes' or a 'no'!).  Thank you in advance!


Marnie shoved her plump fingers through her curly gray hair.  Her ring, or rather her grandmother’s ring, became twisted in a stray lock It reads like the ring itself became twisted when it would be her hair twisting around the ring, and likely around a stone set on the ring. and tugged painfully The ring wouldn't be tugging at her hair, that would be her hand. at the offending hair.  Marnie extracted ( Untangled) the ring with a sigh and stared at her reflection in the mirror.  She turned left and squinted at herself.  She turned right and sucked in her stomach (not that you could tell) Haha! Many of us have been there! Smiley.  She twisted around to view her backside.  “Depressing” (thoughts should be italicized...Depressing, she thought. she thought.  There was no way around it—at 42 she was so decidedly middle-aged that she could no longer talk herself out of it.  Her youth was behind her. Aw! She would never again be a rosy-cheeked teen, a fresh-faced woman in her 20’s, or a confident 30-something attacking life with zest.  Most likely the best was already behind her.  With a groan of defeat she sat down on the bathroom floor, burying her face in her hands. 

So, starting off describing your MC is probably not the strongest start you could have. Maybe consider starting a bit earlier, maybe with whatever is going on that leads your MC to assess herself in this way. Also, using the character looking in the mirror as a means to get out "what your character looks like" is frowned upon by many agents, considered weak/not very creative, and I can guess even more wouldn't want to see it in an opening paragraph. Just an F.Y.I.   Grin
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scarlett25oh
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 05:23:15 PM »

  I agree with what the previous poster said about starting somewhere other than looking in the mirror. I also think you might lose some of your audience if there's only negatives attached to being a middle aged woman. Maybe there's a way to keep it clear that even though the character believes her age is depressing it isn't necessarily reality. I loved the last line though and the name, Marnie.
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katD
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 09:12:03 PM »

I'd love to see this character in action before you focus on her appearance. Intrigue me with who she is, before you describe her.
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Munley
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 01:58:51 AM »

It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of where your character's head is at in the opening. That's good. But, as other's have suggested, this opening might not be the best way to get these feelings across to the reader. Having a character, who's alone, stand in front of the mirror, notice signs of aging, and muse about the best years having gone by is a pretty static scene.

You might want to consider having the character being content with her appearance only to be deflated and self-conscious when she's treated in some way that that demeans her, particularly in terms of her age. For example, my neighbor, 43, told me that a fifty-esh man behind her at a grocery store checkout counter got impatient because she had so many things in her cart.

He grumbled, "Nothing like having to stand behind some saggy old bag for a half hour when all you have is a loaf of bread and a bottle of pop."

On a lighter, yet bit deflating, note, I showed up at work one day with a pair of dress slacks, light gray with charcoal stripes of various widths. I'm a pretty casual dresser, often in jeans, and thought I looked rather elegant for a change. This was at an elementary school. The kids were hanging up their coats in the hall as I walked through. A kindergarten kid walks up to me and says, "Ms. M., are you wearing jammy pants?"

You don't have to have an encounter on this order, but some sort of encounter with another character might work better.
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kwill79
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2018, 10:50:34 AM »

Haha, ok!  Thank you all for the input, that is VERY helpful.  I didn't even think about the whole mirror thing being overdone, it just seemed like something I could see myself doing, but it probably is very cliché.  I certainly hope that in 4 years when I'm 43 nobody calls me a saggy old bag--hilarious in a funny, not-funny kind of way (sighs). 

At any rate, I will immediately get to work on revisions, though I've already changed it up a bit since posting the original, so thank you all again for the feedback!
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NextChapter
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 05:37:14 PM »

What if the mirror event happens right after something negative, like she thinks a guy is looking at her in a special way, only to realize he is looking at someone behind her, or she is fired from her job for not exuding the company image, or some such thing? Then she hides out in the office bathroom and accesses herself. Middle age is the most invisible stage of a woman's life, and perhaps she realizes for the first time that she is no longer young and relevant?
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