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Author Topic: BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF, which opening is better?  (Read 2103 times)
Classic Camp
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« on: June 09, 2017, 08:28:05 PM »

A direct quote:

“Aaaack!”
A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.

Or just the description:

A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.

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Waterfall
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 04:39:22 AM »

B. Trying to replicate non-language sounds is notoriously difficult, and "Aaaack!" will remind readers of a certain age (ahem...) of the old Cathy comic strip, hardly a paranormal mood-setter.

Do screams "ring?" Or do they do something else? I don't have the right word for that...
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jcwrites
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2017, 08:40:08 AM »

Instead of opening with a portrayal or description of a sound, first give us the character who hears that sound, and show his/her reaction. (If, that is, you feel compelled to open with a sound in the first place.)
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Thanksgiving400
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2017, 12:59:57 PM »

A direct quote:

“Aaaack!”
A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.

Or just the description:

A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.



I'm not sure you want to start with an action and/or sound not coming form your MC (which I assume this isn't, the woman sounds like a victim). Its not a rule, you can do whatever you want, but openings should give some stasis and ideally some interaction with the MC). The accident/ violence may provide some stasis, but how about your MC's reaction to it vs. telling us it happened. "Jimbo dropped his glass as the scream from outside silenced the pub..."
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gushags16
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2017, 01:30:13 PM »

I would say the second is more effective, but I was unsure exactly what you meant because I felt it was a little ambiguous.

Quote
A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.

So this is going to be a little bit of a close reading, and maybe a little ridiculous, but especially for a first line I don't think you want someone wondering what you meant.

What tripped me up was "rang down." The clause "rang out" is familiar to me, right? So I thought, maybe this is another way to say it: a stylistic choice. That was the initial thought.

Then I realized you probably meant "down in the village." So maybe rearranging that sentence would be more effective:

Down in the village a woman's scream rang, followed by a loud crash.

Or, if you want to lead with the scream, maybe you do need to add the "out" --

A woman's scream rang out down in the village, followed by a loud crash.

So that's my reaction to this, but I think that @jcwrites has some good advice for you. I don't know that this is passive, but it could be more active. "A woman screamed" rather than "A woman's scream rang." Or, as she suggested, having someone react to the scream.

Final thought: "a scream rang" or "a scream rang out" seems kind of cliché to me as well. Probably best not to begin your story with one.
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Classic Camp
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2017, 12:15:28 AM »

Thanks for the feedback everyone. A round of karma for all.

Just a side note to one comment, the werewolf is the main character, and that is why the woman screamed, so there is interaction with the main character.

I will continue to look at this.
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MichelleG
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2017, 12:37:13 PM »

I like the second one.
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"You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of isolation and the impunity with which crime may be committed there." - Sherlock Homes, The Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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