Your Opinion The First Paragraph

in Entertaining nonsense and profound thought, I need you

I had a lovely post scheduled to day about Richard Snow, Edward Sanderson and Kristan Higgins, but I’m postponing until Wednesday because I have yet another question to ask. Are you tired of giving your opinion – No, according to my last poll 100% of you enjoy giving me your opinions, so I’m taking you at your word and picking your brain some more.

I took what you all said about the first line of Glimmer Girls and synthesized it, swirled it around in my brain and then edited it the crap out of it. And now I’m asking you not only to tell me if you would read on, but also what you do and do not like about this paragraph. Honestly now, because I’m sending it in for a cold read – if I’m lucky it will get picked – and I need it to be the absolute best it can be, without having all the juice edited out of it. Tall order, I know.

As usual a little thingy will pop up, if it hasn’t already, and ask for your input. And I’d really, really like it if you could bring it upon yourself to make comments. Because if something isn’t working I need to know. Conversely if something is working, and you don’t tell me what it is, I might cut it because I don’t know what it is.

You see why you are so important to this process – without you I’m blundering around in the dark. Especially as my own sense of humor, among other things, is slightly wack. And I’ve been influence by at least three different cultures. They are all mushed up in my head and come out in strange ways. (I grew up in both California and British Columbia – plus I had English grandparents and grew up loving everything English. And then there was the over abundance of Monty Python in our house growing up. – “There’s a penguin on the telly!”) I’m asking you to save me in the only way you can… tell me what you like, and don’t.

Here’s the paragraph:

At twenty-four, Clara DeLamare no longer believed she was the victim of genetically altered tomatoes, although her mother certainly had been telling her that for years. No, Clara thought it was much more likely that she was descended from mermaids, and as it happened there was a village on the New England coast where mermaid sightings were once thought to be commonplace, although none had been recorded in recent history. Clara had come to see for herself. Because if it was true that Mabble was home to both magic and mermaids it might be the one place in the world she could find the truth

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

londonmabel May 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

Hmm well I’m late to this party. But for what it’s worth, or for future reference… 😉

(1) Facebook version: The protagonist leaving town cause she doesn’t fit in–it didn’t sit right with me. Maybe because part of my brain thought: How’s that going to solve anything? Even in New York, having scales is going to get unwelcome attention!

This version: It makes more sense to me to know that she didn’t just leave town to escape unwelcome attention, but rather she set out on a quest to find out more about her condition. That makes sense, and now I’m interested! What are we going to find out in this town of Mabble?

(2) On the other hand, I do like knowing right up front that she has scales. Cause just knowing she has a condition that her mother claims is related to tomatoes makes me think she’s all red or something. Also, I liked Barb’s idea of saying more than just “scales” but stretching that out a bit. I think a visual snapshot would intrigue me. I also think you could get more comedy out it that way. For example…

At twenty-four, Clara DeLamare no longer believed that the shimmering silver scales that cascaded across half her body were the result of genetically altered tomatoes. No matter how much her mother insisted.

Okay not saying that’s a good phrase, lol, but I think the real key to your opening joke is a juxtaposition between these magical and mysterious and beautiful scales, and mundane GMO tomatoes. Maybe even a longer description, really stretched out and romantic sounding — and then those three words “genetically modified tomatoes.” I think that would have a Douglas Adams lilt to it.

–> My only other comment: I can’t remember where I read this writing advice, maybe in Betsy Lerner’s book on writing. But it was an author who said, if he noticed a certain criticism of his writing over and over again in the reviews, he then magnified that quality in his next book. It was his *magic*, to use the Storywonk parlance. It was what set him apart.

So if your humor is wack, I hope you’re going to use lots of it, and not hold back! 🙂 I personally love British humor, and I find that most of the books people claim made them pee laughing, get nothing more than a smile from me. I’m always looking for more good quality comedy.

Best of luck!!


KarenB May 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I’m far too late to help with this, I bet. Did you rewrite to your satisfaction?


Kate George May 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Well, we’ll see. If what I wrote gets results then it will be to my satisfaction! If not, then oh well.

I like it. The tone is a lot lighter and it’s based in action instead of description. even though I liked the description!


Julie May 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

Deargawd I love this story.


Judy, Judy, Judy May 8, 2012 at 9:56 am

You’re asking for MY help. Do you know how wack my sense of humor is?


Kate May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

I’m counting on it being at least as wack as mine. My how I love that word. Wack, wack, wack!


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