Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Words Workshop

To see how the workshop began, read THIS post: An Analysis of First Pages.

Here's this week's 50-75 word entry:

You can call me Lee.

It’s short for Leroy, but please don’t call me that. I know where my parents got the name, but I don’t know why they slapped it on me like a shiny new label, as if I was just another on a conveyor belt lined with dutiful sons. It was my grandfather’s name, and my father’s middle name.

One of them was a good man.

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My comments are in red:

You can call me Lee. I have no problem with second person POV to start off a story, especially if it's a bit of introspection.

It’s short for Leroy, but please don’t call me that. But if the author addresses the audience too much, it doesn't always sit well with me. It's a matter of taste though, and this probably works. I know where my parents got the name, but I don’t know why they slapped it on me like a shiny new label, as if I was just another on a conveyor belt lined with dutiful sons. I'd fiddle around with this sentence a bit to make it even tighter. It was my grandfather’s name, and my father’s middle name.

One of them was a good man. Awesome one liner!

Because I know what comes after these lines, I'll urge the writer to ground us in the story next. I want him to show us where he is and what he's feeling right away.



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Stina's comments are in blue:

This entry was great and drew me right in. As long as the writer shows me what's going on very soon (hopefully next), then I think this entry can stand as is.

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Possible changes (based on my comments):

My name is Lee. Short for Leroy. But I don't like to be called that.

I know where my parents got the name, but I don’t understand why they slapped it on me like a shiny new label, as if I was next in line on a conveyor belt filled with dutiful sons. It was my grandfather’s name, and my father’s middle name.

One of them was a good man.
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THANKS for this awesome entry! Add your two cents IF you want.

15 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I just want to say I love this series, it's such a great idea!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great job to both Christina and the author of the except. :D

Kelly said...

One of them was a good man was definitely the most intriguing sentence in there. Very foreboding!

Jessica Bell said...

I like it. I've got nothing against the second person. Couldn't handle a whole book like that, but here as it is, I think it works.

I love the line: One of them was a good man. I'd personally try to put this closer to the beginning. And agent would then take immediate interest I think. For example:

You can call me Lee. It was my grandfather’s name, and my father’s middle name. One of them was a good man. ...

Sarah said...

The final line of this is nothing short of awesome, but I share your concern about second person. My last project had several moments of direct-reader address, and a few agents told me to get rid of it because it pulled them out of the story (and when I did, I ended up getting rep for the project). If it's just here in the first lines, that might be ok, but if it continues, I'd be careful!

Ishta Mercurio said...

"One of them was a good man" was EXCELLENT! That line clinches it for me.

I wonder if you need the part about slapping the name on like a shiny new label. It gives us something about the character's voice, but does it add to the story that comes after this? The part about the grandfather and the father is the most interesting part here, and seems to be what leads us into the story. Just my opinion, of course!

Nice work.

Christina Lee said...

Great great thoughts everybody- keep 'em coming!

I think part about slapping on a new label gives us a clue about his parents, but it cetainly can come after that great line everyone is raving about ;-)

Bryce Daniels said...

I would agree with the sentiments above. "One of them was a good man" is an awesome line and probably belongs a bit closer to the beginning. Talk about a great hook! I, as a reader, want to know more.

Lindsay said...

I agree with the comment you and Stina made. Love the last line ;)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Excellent crit ladies! I love the way you approached this:)

Lourie said...

Wow! I feel so inadequate now. That was great. I am loving this feature by the way.

Matthew MacNish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine Danek said...

This is a great series, christina. I didn't mind the second person. I did love that last line. Totally sucked me in.
Great work!!

Lola Sharp said...

Great feedback...and I too LOVE the hook sentence. (nice job Matt :)

Lola Sharp said...

Testing...I left a comment and it is gone. O_0