WeWriWa | Opening Lines

I was scrolling through my past excerpts and realized that you don’t know how The CyberWorld ACTUALLY starts. I did post the first few sentences of the first chapter, but I like to include a prologue, which I usually write halfway/at the end of the book, when I know what’s happening. So this excerpt is unedited (from my very first draft!!) and I’d love to hear your feedback. 😀

It was dark and quiet in Wing 22A. The whizz and whirr of computers and the streak of light flooding from the room nearest the long hallway were the only sounds that could be heard. Everything else was dark and dimly lit, making the walls blacker than they usually seemed. Not that it made such a big difference. The walls were usually a factory-shined gray and the hallway’s walls were probably just as smooth. A rustle of noise could be heard, and the slightly ajar door filled with light was pushed silently open; A man stepped out and the lights of the empty, new hallway flickered on.
He walked down the short corridor, his shiny black leather shoes clacking firmly on the hard ground. “Breeze?” the man spoke the name written on the sheet; there was no last name.

Blog Post, Idea, and Novel Excerpt © Sabrina Wolfheart & the Books and Bark blog

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Well… what did you guys think *chews nails nervously* Not much creative punctuation this time, I guess! Yay!

This is sort of like a prologue, but I hope it’ll be interesting enough to draw readers in. My description of the world, which is the beginning of my first chapter, was probably much more compelling, but, well, the opening lines are what they are, I guess.

This week I read Gracefully Grayson (ARC courtesy of Disney Hyperion), and OHMYGOSH I can’t wait for you guys to read it when it comes out in November (!!). It was SO. SAD. It’s only 250 pages, but IT WAS AMAZING. Ami Polonsky seriously needs to write more novels. Like, a LOT more. This book gave me the serious feels. I’ll probably be reviewing it in October, as per publisher request, so you’ll have to wait to hear my thoughts 😦

I’m also trying out Wattpad for the first time; it seems like an awesome book reading service, and I’m hoping to post some of my short-stories-in-need-of-critique there!

My life has been pretty boring, other than lots and lots of homework, occasional reading, and the very rare writing time.

Happy 8Sunday!

Sabrina signature

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16 responses to “WeWriWa | Opening Lines

  1. First off, let me say that you write very well for a teenage girl. You made some wonderful word choices and used multiple senses in your description. You also introduce an intriguing storyline with the man and his clipboard. At your age, my writing stunk!

    The best tip I got on how to improve my own writing was to “watch out for be verbs like was and were.” You can add a lot more detail to your writing by using action words. For example, “It was dark and quiet” vs. a quiet darkness settled over . . .

    Secondly, there is no need to chew your nails or get nervous over what people think of your writing. It doesn’t matter who has gushed over mine because no agent or editor has ever wanted it, and I’ve been trying for a lot of years. But what does matter is keeping an open mind to the suggestions you receive. Some will be helpful and others need to be disregarded. Either way, your best friend is a strong critique where someone tells you what doesn’t work rather than what does. Good luck on your writing journey, and I LOVE your beautiful lab!

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2014/09/wewriwa-on-last-weekend-of-september.html

    • Thank you so much! Joyce, this comment made my day. ❤ I'm working on making a little wall in my room of comments that make me happy, and this will definitely make it on!

      Oh! Thank you for pointing out the active vs. passive verb thing. I've heard people talk about it, but I haven't really had any examples given to me, and now I get what everyone's talking about. It makes so much more sense!

      I guess that's very true. I should know that, as a book reviewer as well as a writer; sometimes, I just don't like books because they aren't for me, but so many other people have loved them. Critiques are wonderful, and I guess that's why I love WeWriWa so much ❤

      Thank YOU, Joyce, for the wonderful constructive comments 😀

  2. Hi Sabrina. 🙂 I’m glad you’re still finding time for wewriwa. 🙂 I like Joyce’s comment.

    I think your opening is intriguing. It asks questions (and that’s good). There was one thing, and I’m not sure of the fix except to rewrite a sentence. “…and the slightly ajar door filled with light…” It gave me an off visual. The door wouldn’t fill with light, right? A “doorway” would though.

    It’s a very good snippet–and a good opening. 🙂

    This might interest you, Sabrina: http://firstpagereview.blogspot.com/

    • I’m so glad I’m finding time, too! 😀 I just love the community here so much 🙂

      I didn’t even notice that, but now that I look back at it, it DOES sound weird; it might just be that I’m still too close to my writing and know what I mean to see the funkiness witht eh sentence.

      That looks really cool, Teresa! Thanks for sharing it with me. 😀 I might do it next weekend instead of WeWriWa; I’m running out of snippets to post anyways. 😛

  3. You paint a very vivid picture here- it seems very stark and institutional. I’ll second Joyce on the active vs. passive verb thing, but otherwise it’s really good!

  4. Ooooh, I loved the last paragraph, “He walked down the short corridor, his shiny black leather shoes clacking firmly on the hard ground. “Breeze?” the man spoke the name written on the sheet; there was no last name”

    The shoes clacking give an ominous feel to the scene. So much of who we are is tied to our names. Animals only have one name, sometimes singers or celebrities, like Cher, Lady Gaga, etc. It would mean something different if everyone only had a first name. I’m curious if this is just the case for Breeze or for everyone in this society.

    In this line, “A rustle of noise could be heard, and the slightly ajar door filled with light was pushed silently open.”

    The verbs “be heard” and “was pushed,” are passive voice. This is how the sentence would sound changing those verbs to an active voice, “There was a rustle of noise. A sliver of light filled the corridor as the door opened, silently.” In active voice the door is opening and the noise exists. I believe passive voice means an action is happening to the noun instead of the noun doing the action. Does that make sense?

    I’m not a huge fan of the Hemingway app because you can’t use its advice indiscriminately, but it does have some good uses. One is that it will point out passive verbs for you: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

    That combined with an explanation of what passive verbs are will help you understand. I didn’t give a great explanation, but I’m there is one on the internet 😉

    I think Wattpad is a good place to get followers, kind of like Fictionpress, but it’s not as good in terms of receiving constructive criticism. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends what you are looking for 😛 Every literary critique site or platform has it’s own personality. No harm in trying something to see if you like it 🙂

    Joyce is right, not every critique will be helpful. I think over time it gets easier to sort the good advice from the not helpful, and sometimes demeaning advice. It’s something I’m still working on. I rely a lot on Friend A to help analyze feedback if I’m not sure of it’s merit.

    • Thanks 😛

      I like your active verb voice much better; I’m very guilty of using passive verbs in my writing!

      I’ll be sure to check the app out!

      Hehe, part of the reason I joined Wattpad was so that I could follow other bloggers 😛

      Thanks for the constructive feedback, as always! 😀

      • I just learned about passive voice recently. I used it quite a bit until someone pointed it out to me 😄

        I was having fun on Fictionpress till I realized I gave away first publishing rights of my short stories to the internet D: With novels it’s a bit different, and you don’t have to worry as much about posting it publicly. I’m not as fond of the configuration of Wattpad, which is why I hung out on Fictionpress, but I don’t want to get into it publicly. It’s probably not even relevant for you 😛 Different things work for different people, and you might love it. Certainly doesn’t hurt to try 😉

        I think the best part of Wattpad, Fictionpress, and literary critique sites is connecting with authors you love 🙂 I became friends with one of my favorite fanfic writers. In turn she gave me honest feedback, which wasn’t always easy to hear, even though she was super gentle about it. She also gave me great story recommendations. She’s the one that introduced me to Cormac McCarthy and Gardner 8D Took me years to read October Light, but now that I have, I see so much of both McCarthy and Gardner in her writing. I met Friend A through fanfic, and not only is she my best friend, but she helps me a lot with writing. I don’t know that I would recommend fanfic to anyone given what happened, but I met some friends and other great writers that way 🙂

        • Well, I don’t really plan to post my work on Wattpad; I’m very aware of publishing rights, and even if I clean up and rewrite my novel, the plot twists will remain the same at the end and will be given away if I publish it on Wattpad. 😛 I’m mainly on these sites because (1) a lot of my blogging buddies have accounts, and I want to follow them, and (2) I sometimes write little short vignettes or something to demonstrate a point and publish them on my blog, as I did with “The Fork In the Road,” if you remember that from a while back. So I guess I’m not going to give any of my publishing rights away. It’s just that I want to interact with my community. 😀

          • I wrote a blog post about this issue. . . Technically, if you post a short story on the internet where it can be accessed by anyone, you cannot sell First Publishing Rights. This is only important if you want to submit it to a literary journal later. 90% of the prestigious ones won’t accept a short story if it has been published on your blog or other publicly accessible internet site. 75% of literary journals (not as prestigious but still good) also won’t accept it. You can try to erase every trace of your short story from the internet, but that’s hard to do.

            I didn’t know this when I posted my two short stories on my blog and Fictionpress. I deleted everything, but I’m too scared there are traces left, so I’m not submitting to those literary magazines that want First Publication Rights because I don’t want to be blacklisted for being deceitful. It’s not worth the risk IMO.

            The only way around this is to post your short stories on a password locked forum or blog. That’s when I made the shift to a password protected literary critique site, lol. I needed feedback if I was going to improve. You can publish your story anywhere after a literary magazine has published it. The publishing rights revert back to the author after publication. You no longer can give away First Publishing Rights if it’s published anywhere in literary magazines or on publicly accessible internet sites.

            That’s why I don’t post short stories on my blog anymore, and I don’t use the titles to refer to them either 😦 I can’t post on Fictiopress either. I can post them post-publication but not before :/ It takes me so long to write it’s not practical for me to write short stories just for my blog. Maybe flash fiction, but I haven’t been inspired to write a flash fiction piece for a while. Oh wait, I did think of a cute idea the other day 😄 I almost forgot about it.

          • That’s why I mentioned that it depends on what you are looking for. If one is looking to publish in literary magazines posting your piece publicly on the internet decreases the number of magazines you can submit to. But if you are just posting for fun, then it’s not an issue 😉

            I was enjoying Fictionpress when I discovered the issue with literary magazines and First Publishing Rights. *sigh* That’s when I deleted everything. I’m submitting to those that say they don’t care about online posting or don’t mention it. I’m hoping they change this in the future because it seems a bit ridiculous to me. . .

            I get why they do it. Who would buy a literary magazine if you could read all of the stories for free? But in this digital age, it’s difficult to refrain from posting it or even mentioning it on your blog. I’m just letting you know because I wish someone would have told me this before I posted my short stories on publicly accessible internet sites :/

  5. A couple of very specific comments. At the beginning, hear the computer noises is fine, but you wouldn’t HEAR the streak of light. Likewise, the visual effect of the opening door is basically the widening of a vertical bar of light to a rectangle, possibly broken by a human silhouette.

    • Oh, hmm… Didn’t catch that one either. And yeah, it IS broken by a human silhouette, that’s the effect I was going for… Sometimes I think I just know what I’m saying too well to edit 😛

      Thanks for the comment! 😀

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