Wednesday, December 3, 2008

F2S 15

I jolted awake, disoriented- my heart pounded so hard, it shook my
entire body. The blood in my head was on fire, spreading up into my skull at
the same time it moved down my face and neck as something invisible squeezed
my lungs, causing me to gasp for air.


Wulf said...

Active and engaging to be sure...

There is a little too much going on here, and "the blood in my head was on fire" is awkward.

Cut this in half and it will be strong, imo.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot packed into here. I'd rather know what's causing it, instead of all the physical symptoms.

Anonymous said...

A lot going on. Words have been written, but what does the reader actually know at this point? The POV character woke up. Not hooked.

Ardyth said...

I'm not real fond of waking up beginnings. The someone trying to kill the MC and they wake up thing feels a bit cliche... is there a way to start the story after the MC is already awake?

Heather Wardell said...

A lot of very active description of how the person feels. But I don't care much, since I have no idea who s/he is, why the sudden awakening, and what's squeezing the air out of the lungs.

Ditch the pounding heart part - cliche - and then let us know what's happening and why.

Merc said...

No. You have the narrator waking up--one of the most cliched openings I've seen. I've seen this and variations of the description of panic so many times it just ends up bland and gets an immediate "pass" from me as a reader. Sorry. If you start somewhere after the MC waking up and actually have him or her DOING something, I'll put up with it. Otherwise, no.

Bethlene said...

I'd probably read more to see what's caused the character to react in such a way.

Feywriter said...

The description seems overwritten. Does she really feel the blood spreading through her body?

Sponge said...


Actually this is only the second "waking up" (that I've noticed) sub. Judging by the agents commenting here on MSFV and what they say on their own blogs "waking up" beginnings are bad varmin.

That said, I would read a little more to see what's WRONG with him/her.

I did think that the blood was going in the wrong direction. It should be going up...

fairchild said...

Yeah, waking up bleeding and in panic is cliche these days. I've fell into that trap myself before during the last Are you Hooked contest on here, where there were literally dozens of these kinds of openers, I began to see why it is frowned upon.

Not hooked.

Barb said...


I don't care that he feels blood flowing thru his body. Now if you told me why . . . .

Anette J Kres said...

Wow. Good fast paced opener. I’ve never heard of a heart shaking a body, so that’s a great line. There is a lot of tense action here, but the sentence structure leaves something to be desired. It feels very runny (run-ons).

disorderly said...

This reads like you're trying a bit too hard. I think there may be too much sensory input crammed into a small space (for the reader, not the character). The first read spun me off into a wall, where I lay dazed for a moment trying to collect my own thoughts. ;-)

Obviously something has just happened, and I'd like to know what. Here's a suggestion, though: Back up just a tad and pick one or two symptoms of confusion, desperation and fear to deal with in your opening. Simplify.

The verb "jolted" seems wrong in the first sentence. (And, um, generally speaking, waking up in the first sentence is considered bad form, or so I've been told. If you're going to use that device, for heaven's sake don't come right out and tell us that's what's happening. Sneak up on us. ;-) )

The blood imagery seems a bit "off" and redundant. Instead of "the blood in my head was on fire," maybe just "My blood was on fire..." (which is a tad cliche, but might work anyway).

You might also get better effect in this type of scene with short, choppy sentences. People under stress usually don't engage in long, drawn-out analyses of their physiology.

Just my thoughts. :-)

Charlie said...

I like where you're going with this, but it's too complicated. Simplify the sentences to keep the action flowing. If that is done, I'd read on to find out what is happening to the MC.

Lori said...

Not a fan of stories starting out with the MC waking up--and a lot of agents aren't, either. Start right in the heart of the action, not the build up to it.

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

Too busy

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease (Wikipedia): 69.8
Aim for 60 to 80. The higher the score, the more readable the text.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (Wikipedia): 9.7
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Gunning-Fog Score (Wikipedia): 12.4
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Coleman-Liau Index (Wikipedia): 8
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SMOG Index (Wikipedia): 7.2
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Automated Readability Index (Wikipedia): 10.1

NYT bestsellers write at 7th grade level