Author Topic: Opening paragraph for CLOVER - YA Fantasy  (Read 1493 times)

Offline nkilpatrick

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Opening paragraph for CLOVER - YA Fantasy
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:34:05 PM »
The room smelled of sweat, cigarette smoke, and a tad bit of spilled beer drying on hot concrete. The stench of inebriated desperation was palpable. Theirs hadn’t been the only poker game when Nick O’Leary first came to the gambling den, but now everyone had gathered around their table to watch. Everyone looked so strange to him all of a sudden. It was as if his frayed nerves had somehow made everything sharper and more focused. The lad in the pale blue suit, too handsome. The lady who smelled of lilacs, what was up with those ears? The whole lot of them seemed caricatures of their former selves, and in the center, staring at him with the greenest eyes he’d ever seen was Alistair.

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Opening paragraph for CLOVER - YA Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 07:50:14 AM »
The room smelled of sweat, cigarette smoke, and a tad bit of spilled beer drying on hot concrete. The stench of inebriated desperation was palpable.

I think the detail for sense of smell is too much here. I don't know what kind of room it is so even though you're describing how it smells , I'm still imagining little - a white space - and only understanding how a few people in the room smell.

I think it might  help place reader to start with something like

'The poker game...' etc because then we can picture a stereotypical poker room with dim lighting etc.


 Theirs ( I'm not sure who 'they' are. And starting the first intro of a character with 'they' feels weird to me as it feels like the pov is 'they' ) hadn’t been the only poker game when Nick O’Leary first came to the gambling den, but now everyone had gathered around their table to watch. Everyone looked so strange to him all of a sudden.

I can't picture 'everyone'. I don't what kinds of people or how many. I think you're relying on assumptions from the reader here, but specifics will make the situation feel real.


It was as if his frayed nerves had somehow made everything sharper and more focused.


I need more specifics.

His senses were sharp from the adrenalin of ----( for examplel the sudden turning of his hand. He now had a chance to win the game with a ( poker term, flush etc )



The lad in the pale blue suit, too handsome. The lady who smelled of lilacs, what was up with those ears? ( When you said this I didn't know what to picture. I know it' voicey but you didn't actually create an image for me to know what narrator means. Does she have peircings? Elven ears? Bunny ears? )  The whole lot of them seemed caricatures of their former selves, ( I'm struggling to picture them so telling me they seem like caricatures doesn't help me picture them. I don't know what he means by this observation, either. How are they caricatures? Also you've used 'them' again, when I would rather a specific. 'The other players' 'The other poker players sitting around the table and the cocktail staff, even the bouncer ) and in the center, staring at him with the greenest eyes he’d ever seen was Alistair.

I know first paragraphs are very hard. I'm still not happy with mine. I've been pretty picky here, but I hope you can see what I mean.

I think maybe the problem was telling rather than showing.

If you can be more specific, even though it's only a few lines, I think that would help the reader picture what is going on better. But also I am wanting some direct explanation of what is happening.

Oh yeah, one neat trick for placing the reader in the mind/body of MC quickly and easily is body language. If you tell us he is holding a hand of cards, for example, then we'll immediately be able to get a basic picture of him.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 09:34:52 AM by Pineapplejuice »