Author Topic: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction  (Read 189 times)

Offline MsGretaGreen

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SEE REVISED OPENING under reply #4

Hello All,

I recently rewrote my opening paragraph, and don’t know if I "broke it.” Any insight on how to tighten it would help. Is the first sentence okay or too long?

I slit my eyes against the Spanish sun and tracked John and our nine-year-old son running amuck in a sand-filled arena. Tristan shrieked and laughed, clambering up and down the tiered seats while his father pretended he was a bull and chased Tristan until he hid behind a wooden barrier. I scurried one step behind, snapping photos and wiping sweat from my hairline. Eureka! I thought. A point scored for parenthood.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 03:35:07 AM by MsGretaGreen »

Offline rivergirl

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Re: First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2021, 01:44:30 PM »
You change tenses in the first sentence. I slit is present tense and tracked John is past tense.  The second sentence I believe with dad chasing the kid around is a bit long. Only for the sake of flow would I edit the part about him pretending to be a bull. Either that or create a new sentence in there somewhere.

Also as a personal preference I would edit “I thought” with the italics it’s clear it’s a thought. Otherwise great start to a story.

Offline MsGretaGreen

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Re: First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2021, 02:00:40 PM »
Hello Rivergirl, It is my understanding that slit is also the past tense of slit. Per the following websites: https://pasttenses.com/slit-past-tense (slit
past tense of slit is slit.) and https://www.usingenglish.com/reference/irregular-verbs/slit.html
Conjugation of 'Slit'
Base Form (Infinitive):   Slit
Past Simple:   Slit
Past Participle:   Slit
3rd Person Singular:   Slits
Present Participle/Gerund:   Slitting
I agree that the second sentence (and probably the first) are too long. Now I just have to find some clever way of rewording the sentences without losing content...
"I thought” has been cut.

Offline rivergirl

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Re: First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2021, 02:50:04 PM »
Sorry, Google’s  dictionary had it as slitted. I would trust Webster.

Offline MsGretaGreen

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Re: First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2021, 03:32:56 AM »
TAKE 2/ Paragraph one revision:

I slit my eyes against the Spanish sun and tracked John’s back as he chased our nine-year-old son. Tristan was running amuck in a sand-filled arena. He clambered up and down the tiered seats, shrieking and laughing, while John pretended he was a bull and charged Tristan until he hid behind a wooden barrier. I scurried one step behind, snapping photos and wiping sweat from my hairline. Eureka! A point scored for parenthood.

Offline Viddiest

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Re: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2021, 05:54:13 AM »
Works for me! I noticed you replaced “his father” with John. I prefer “father” because it clearly establishes the relationships, but it’s a very small thing. I think it reads really well.

Offline MKWrites_318

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Re: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2021, 09:05:06 AM »
I like it. And I see what Viddiest is saying, but I think saying John and then following with "our son" clarified the relationship enough, at least for me.

Offline Viddiest

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Re: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2021, 03:06:30 PM »
Oh yes, MKwrites. I see it now. I missed that.

Offline JMB

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Re: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2021, 10:00:27 AM »
I like the opening image of father playing bull and chasing son in the arena. Maybe you can amplify it by describing dad’s hands to his head like horns, stomping his foot, snorting. And I am thinking the “Eureka-parenting victory” claim is a bit over the top. It’s a sweet, fun thing, but not more unless, say, the kid is a bookworm who never plays outside, hated the idea of going to Spain, is angry with Dad for some reason, etc. Since we don’t yet know the characters, it reads over the top to me (mother of four here:-).

Second, I would remove slit. I understand your technical grammar point. However, like Rivergirl, I stumbled on the word and interpreted it as present tense. Plus, I’ve never heard the expression “I slit my eyes”. I squinted? Or Maybe the mom can hold up her hand to block the glaring sun. You don’t want an awkward phrase to slow the reader’s entry into your story.

Offline MsGretaGreen

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Re: REVISED - First Paragraph Nerves - Being Brave - Adult fiction
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2021, 08:33:26 AM »
JMB, Thank you for the good points! The tinkering never ends :)