Author Topic: Opening paragraph for Eight-sided Mountain  (Read 1306 times)

Offline pamelalpan

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Opening paragraph for Eight-sided Mountain
« on: April 04, 2019, 07:01:41 PM »
Here is the opening for my historical novel set in 1930-40s, China. Please let me know how I can make it stronger. Thanks for all your suggestions!

“Damn the dwarf bandits!”

Mei looked up in surprise at her father’s words. Her half-peeled breakfast egg slipped from her hands onto the plate. She had never heard him curse before. Face flushed, he threw the newspaper he was reading on the table, took off his grey jacket, and flung it on the chair. He slammed his fist on the table. “Heaven, pray strike these monsters with your thunderbolts and send them straight to hell, right now. Before they murder more people!”
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 05:14:15 PM by pamelalpan »

Offline Drachen

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Re: Opening paragraph for Eight-sided Mountain
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2019, 12:22:13 PM »
Looks pretty good, but I'd prefer to see Chinese-styled colloquialisms rather than English.

"Damn" "Heaven" "Hell" "Pray" "Strike with thunderbolts" all strike me as very Euro-centric. If you want it to feel like China, then the translations for the Chinese expressions should be different from what we'd expect from a European or American's mouth. I don't know a ton of Chinese, but I have a few Chinese friends, and I know for instance, a common (and supposedly devastating) insult in Mandarin is "turtle egg" (is this Mandarin or Cantonese they're speaking? That also makes a difference). That would make a huge difference to the voice and overall feel.

Offline drakenwood

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Re: Opening paragraph for Eight-sided Mountain
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 05:06:32 AM »
Hi. The dialogue strikes me as a little stiff for most modern readers of English but I liked the action, with the exception of the daughter looking up, which is soft. Perhaps your opening lines could be the father throwing down the newspaper and thumping the table, followed by his verbal outburst, then make the daughter's response stronger and more defined. Love the title, by the way. Hope that's helpful.

Offline HolyMac007

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Re: Opening paragraph for Eight-sided Mountain
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2019, 08:58:22 PM »


“Damn the dwarf bandits!”

Mei looked up in surprise at her father’s words. She had never heard her father curse before. Her half-peeled breakfast egg slipped from her hands fingers onto to the plate. She had never heard him curse before. Face flushed, her father threw the morning newspaper he was reading on the table, took off his grey
maybe pick an adjective that describes the jacket more uniquely, like... maybe something such as: sports or flannel or suit jacket, and flung it on the chair. Then He slammed slamming his fist on the table, he yelled, “Heaven, pray strike these monsters with your thunderbolts. and Send them straight to hell! right now. Before they murder more people!” This may not be a complete sentence on the end here, but it is in dialogue so you can get away with it I think..
[/quote]

I like the daughter’s reaction to her father... the egg slipping from her hands or fingers... nice. I switched around some sentences and split others into two or three just to tighten the sequencing and flow. I thought the adjective, grey, was sort of an empty description and suggest maybe something that tells us more about the father. I removed the description of the newspaper “he was reading” because I think that’s a given... I added, morning, as a bit of a descriptive adjective because it helps to make the point that the father was reading the morning newspaper. Anyway, good stuff. Keep at it!