How is this for a beginning?

Trying different things that can make my opening interesting lol.

New beginning:


hm, it’s not bad but I don’t love it. Like if this were already on my bookshelf I wouldn’t mind, but this opening wouldn’t convince me to take the book home.

There’s just not a lot to hold on to? Like I can’t tell what the setting is, who Nicolas is, what the Victorians are, or why I should care about a proposal that’s not happening. And it’s a lot of words to say “Nicolas loved a woman but didn’t want to rush into marrying her despite the rampant war threatening his young life every day”

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There’s also a bit of repetition to it, which can kill excitement this early.

Repetition is for reminders, which is needed when you have to keep things in mind for chapters on end or when the story meanders and you have to refocus.

Repetition is also useful if you’re showing that your character is nervous, but you have to show actions at the same time, to make it work.

See, like reading the opening to Moby Dick, in this list, made me realize why my husband wrote a paper ranting his hatred for that book.

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I thought it was intriguing. With the very last broken sentence at the end, I know immediately that the thoughts are going to shift into setting and action (or at least, that’s the promise it gives me from this snapshot), and that we’re going to meet this woman soon. Which, to me, makes me eager to read on. Especially as someone who doesn’t know the story premise, since I don’t pop on here all that often. Like, my thoughts right now are why do Victorians have hover-cars? xD I would 100% pick this book up for a couple chapters.

My only critique is some of the word choice and sentence structure. I agree with JLO that there’s some repetition that could be worked on. Perhaps having a short description of what the woman looked like, "the woman he loved with her could help make this opening a bit more vivid and have an image to hold onto.

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Yeah, I thought it was interesting enough for a high-volume reader. Picky readers are harder to cater to and relaxed readers need modest interest and not to be annoyed early on. So the target audience would be the issue.

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Thank you!! :blush:

Making a beginning for this sci-fi fantasy book has been the bane of my existence. :sweat_smile: But I’ll somehow get there lol. Hopefully.

All of that comes after this, though. Though, I haven’t exactly explained who the Victorians are (they’re magical creatures) but after this whole scene, there’s an attack and it’s explained through context clues.

I’m trying not to be one of those writers who explains every little detail about everything that doesn’t need to be explained in such a way nor info-dump. Like, you know how some writers can be if the character already knows things. They’ll say things like, “I go downstairs and my step-mother greets me as she sits at the table. My parents divorced ages ago and now I’m forced to live with my dad.” Yada yada yada. Like, I want to show the world and life without telling it… But I also want to create a good hook for the beginning because what I originally had before I rewrote it was that bottom line, the one about hover-cars lol.

Also, that line of yours got me thinking of something… :smirk:

Thank you! :blush:

I’ll definitely rewrite it. Maybe I can strengthen it a bit… :thinking: haha

And it’s kind of ironic that you posted that list because reading that one and a few others like it made me want to rewrite my beginning. I had realized the whole “walking into a restaurant and the sounds of hover-cars faded away” didn’t exactly sound too interesting.

Thank you! :blush:

And yes, that’s exactly what happens. It shifts over to setting and action right after that second paragraph.

It’s kind of a long exposition, but it’s kind of needed because before I rewrote everything, it went right into action (like… literal fighting) and then the inciting incident which didn’t take very long. There was no setting to set up and not much else to go on. So, I rewrote it to give a little bit more exposition for the reader to breathe before fighting happened and to get a little familiar with the characters and setting.

And to clear up a small bit of confusion:

It’s a YA sci-fi fantasy. It takes place a few thousand years in the future, and it’s about a young soldier who goes on a quest with his crew to avenge his murdered family. The Victorians are a race of magical creatures—they’re technically witches, but are never called that as they are from another planet. They also don’t drive hover-cars, though it’d be kind of funny to see them do that haha. They teleport instead. :wink:

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A bunch of beginnings really cements a style you would like to emulate and crushes anything else.

Not every writer of that era wrote books poorly, but people were more patient with novels “picking up steam” so there is a tighter market for attention spans. That MD paragraph was a “why did I waste my life on this?!”

If you wanted to keep the same opening, having the guy feel insecure about his decision, even if he’s outwardly calm is a good way to up the drama.

Just much later, if someone does or comes to nearly die, he ought to regret his decision, or if it gets to a proposal, he can contrast how much more focused that symbol makes him. Because people do need symbols, which is what marriage itself is, to hold onto in hard times.

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I’m currently revising the book and just rewrote the beginning. How is this?

That’s a lot tighter. Watch the word happy 3 times in the same paragraph. Second one (after day) could be “made him so” or “was pure joy/bliss”, third (after only) could be “be this way” or “maintain it”.

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Ah. Repetitions. Fixed! :sweat_smile:

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