Well, folks. It was fun while it lasted.

As you can see, not much has been happening on this blog lately.

There are several reasons for this, but I will only hit on a couple:

First: It's amazing how much can change in a couple of months--both in our personal lives and on the writing front. A couple of us have signed publishing contracts, and so the need to write, edit, market, promote HAD to take preference over this blog and the services we were providing.

Second: Running this blog, critiquing submissions, providing feedback...well, that's a LOT of dang work. We weren't getting paid for this service. We had a concept and we went with it--for free--not realizing how much time it would involve with very little (nothing) in return for our effort.

Third: Probably the biggest factor that made us come to this decision, was the fact that a good portion of the submissions we received just weren't ready. They needed more revision. We were wanting to give out reviews on AMAZING, fully complete, well edited novels. 90% of what we received didn't come close.

So we've shut it down. We've moved on.

If you liked our comments and our posts, you can check us out on our individual blogs:

Angela Scott: www.whimsywritingandreading.weebly.com or @whimsywriting on twitter or http://www.facebook.com/AngelaScottWriter

D.S. Tracy:

Kacey Mark:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our First Pimped Paragraph #01 (Do you agree with the Hook'ers?)

Posted by Ready, Aim, Hook Me at 5:00 AM
(Your comments are welcomed and highly encouraged. The author of this first paragraph submission is looking for all the constructive criticism they can receive to improve their opening hook.  Do you agree with us Hook'ers? Or were you hooked and would want to read more? Let this author know).
Original 1st Paragraph Submission: 
The frigid, pre-dawn wind cut through the hooker’s fake fur jacket, her uncovered lower extremities already numb. One shaking, ungloved hand lifted the receiver of the payphone, the other hand fumbled for change in her pocket, and the crumpled business card.  The card had been slipped into the coat pocket weeks ago by a young detective, from the precinct in downtown; the one cop who had ever reached out to her, treated her as something more than what she appeared to be. 

Here goes: 
The frigid, pre-dawn wind cut through the hooker’s fake fur jacket, her uncovered lower extremities already numb. One shaking, ungloved (Pick one or the other, but not both) hand lifted the receiver of the payphone, the other hand fumbled (in her pocket for change and the crumpled business card) for change in her pocket, (remove comma) and the crumpled business card.  The card had been slipped into the coat pocket weeks ago by a young detective, from the precinct in downtown; the one cop who had ever reached out to her, treated her as something more than what she appeared to be. (This entire sentence is telling. You could remove this and simply show us who gave her this card by asking for the detective. We will see the kind of man he is through their dialogue. Let the reader determine what kind of a man he is, instead of telling us he a good cop) ~The Reluctant Hook'er
*******

The frigid, pre-dawn wind cut through the hooker’s fake fur jacket, her uncovered lower extremities already numb. One shaking, ungloved hand lifted the receiver of the payphone, the other hand fumbled for change in her pocket, and the crumpled business card. (I'm not a fan of starting with any sort of description of weather--at all. I don't know why it bugs me so much, I did it myself, but it comes off tired and played out. You have too many adjectives going on, I agree with what Angela said above. It makes it read a bit clunky.)The card had been slipped into the coat pocket weeks ago by a young detective, from the precinct in downtown; the one cop who had ever reached out to her, treated her as something more than what she appeared to be. (this sentence is huge and passive. "The card had been slipped..." should be: "The detective slipped the card into..." Besides passive voice, I agree with Angela on this being telling. It takes away something for the reader by telling us what kind of guy he is, especially if he is a major character in the story. I want to make my own judgement about him, not be told he's a stand up guy right away.) I have to say I am intrigued and would continue reading. BUT, you definitely need to declutter your sentences a bit. No worries, we all have to do it. Best of luck. 


~ The Skeptical Hook'er


*Only two hook'ers were able to comment this week. The Rabbit In The Hat Hook'er is tied up at the moment(she writes romance so take it as you will). 

11 comments:

Marc Mattaliano on August 16, 2011 at 9:51 AM said...

I absolutely understand the concept of telling vs. showing, and have been doing my best in things I'm working on to fix it, however at the very beginning of a story, I think telling is a bit more forgivable just to give what's going on some context. The way I read things like this, depending on what perspectives the story is being told from, how deep the "narrator" subconsciously gets into a character's mind and how much the character's feelings bleed into the narrative, "telling" things like that give a good idea of what the character feels, but doesn't necessarily guarantee that character will be that way.

I love doing that, :-) Having a character's narrative "tell" the reader about other characters and events, making the reader think they know, but then having them "show" differently. It gives the reader more of idea of how particular characters feel about other people, and still lets readers make their own judgements.

In this particular case, you're probably right that the last sentence there says a bit too much. However, what are the chances that later in the story, that detective reveals that he slipped the hooker that card because he wanted the hooker to rat someone out or blackmail or something? If that's ALL that's said before the phone call, we're seeing that she THINKS he's an upstanding guy, but depending on how the phone call goes, what he says on the other line, and how he acts, he may not be upstanding at all. That may be just what the hooker here is assuming, ;-)

Don't believe it till you see it. They say it about real life and it's my belief that a good author will do that to throw readers curveballs. Some characters are good at reading others and have good gut intuition about them. Others make snap judgments and are in denial and those "tells" vs. "shows" still do demonstrate that, :-)

Juliana L. Brandt on August 16, 2011 at 10:47 AM said...

I almost feel as if I'm watching this scene from afar and am not apart of the experience. I think if you use an actual name instead of hooker this could make the paragraph more personal.

Otherwise, I completely agree with what the hook'ers said. I'd definitely keep reading to figure out the relationship between girl and detective.

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on August 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM said...

Oh, by the way . . . did anyone notice that our first pimped paragraph started off with a hooker? Hmmmmm . . . interesting, isn't it?
hee,hee,hee

So fitting.

! on August 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM said...

First off it is important as an editor NOT to let one's biases come into the editorial comments. Saying not to start with a weather description because it is tired and played out is personal bias.

I'd tell someone NEVER to sound like a Harry Potter novel, for example.

It is perfectly OK to let weather introduce a piece and, when done through showing writing, can be quite effective. This particular example of weather description, however, was poorly written, It felt as if a writing group weighed in on it with too many cooks in the kitchen. THAT should have been the focus not an editor's idiosyncratic bias.

After that, the commentary about this paragraph nails it to the wall. The passive voice and telling writing is just lazy writing and that needs to be called out.

Overall? An A- critique.

Nicole Pyles on August 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM said...

What I think would have made a great first sentence was actually the second one...and out the first one after it. I totally agree on the description part...not a big fan anyways of descriptive scenes, so this would have been a turn off.

I also agree with a "show, not tell." Does the character know its a good cop? Or is she assuming? Focusing on who the card is or what it reads, and then having the dialogue come out is a great way for it to speak for itself.

I actually like the idea of this book, though. Because you would think this would be at the end...a character finally seekin help...but that it's at the beginning tells me she has a loonnnnngg journey ahead. So, despite the changes that are needed for the beginning, I would read on.

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on August 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM said...

Great comments everyone. As far as the weather description goes, it is just my opinion. I am not an editor, never professed to be one. The most important thing in any critique is taking any nugget of good or bad feedback with a grain of salt.

Skeptical Hook'er

RGian said...

In the first sentence, I would just say legs rather than "lower extremities". Sounds awkward. I agree with the hookers that the passive voice makes the last sentence clunky. But, I agree with Marc that the "telling" could actually be interpreted as the characters internal dialogue.

Hookers, can I have a bit of clarification? Sorry, I'm new to the website. I don't get the different colors. Does each color represent something specific or is it just to show the different sentences? Also, is this paragraph a "2 Hookers Hooked"? I'm confused about about that.

RGian said...

In addition, the writer never says he's a good cop. People are reading into it. The writer said that he was the only cop to treat the hooker with some dignity...

! on August 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM said...

As an editor, I find my biases coming up sometimes and I have to beat them back into submission. The value of this particular posting is to show writers the depth of surgery expected to really work a piece before publication. I do the same color coded commentary thing when I alpha or beta read. This is such a great posting. Enjoyed it like mad. And if you're not an editor, maybe you should step up because you know a thing or two. :) Your site is a favorite of mine.

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on August 16, 2011 at 5:12 PM said...

RGian,
This is different from our rating system. This is just a way for writers who maybe don't have a full 'script done to get feedback on their hook. Some of these paragraph submissions are also submissions for the full manuscript. As far as the colors go it is just to highlight something we see. It is something that Angela and I do when we are critiquing one another's work. The colors are just colors--no meaning.
It is inferred that the cop is "good". This is a good example of taking feedback with a grain of salt. It is so important to trust yourself as a writer and learn what may have merit and what means nothing. It is just one paragraph after all and we have yet to really see what/who this copper is all about.
Skeptical Hook'er

Melinda on August 18, 2011 at 8:55 AM said...

First, kudos to the brave author for allowing us all to critique! We all learn from this, so thanks for sharing!

I agree with the hookers (hehe love that) here, but wanted to add my own humble opinion to the mix. It's helping me to think out loud on this one.

To be honest, my first thought as I read this was "bored." The next...exhausted. I ended up skipping. Which is a bad thing considering this is the opening paragraph. I can't say if I like the story idea or not because I have no idea what the story is about. There's a hooker, but I don't care about her at all. I know nothing about her. I'm told about a detective but don't care about him either, as I haven't met him.

All I really know is it's cold. Hmmm. Not gripping, at least for me.

To me, it might help if instead of all the description of the scene (which really can be summed up as it's cold and she's at a pay phone) and telling me in passive voice what happened before...how about starting where the story starts. In other words, whatever makes this story unique. A hooker calling a detective is not, in itself, unique. But I bet something is. Also, her being nameless is not helping me connect with her. If you started with her dialing the digits with trembling fingers, and a gruff voice on the line "Who is this?" "It's Jackie. Help, I'm being followed." THAT would draw me in. Now I know she's cold, and in trouble, and that someone has promised to help her. His response would tell me more about him. And suddenly I'm there, I'm interested. I don't even need to know she's a hooker, at least not immediately. I can find that out as we go along.

That's just an example of course. Again, just my opinion and meant purely to offer assistance. If it doesn't help, ignore me! :-)

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Hey! Where Is The Comment Box?

If you can't see a comment box below post, scroll up to the top and click "comments" in the header. *shakes hook'er fist at blog template*

We seem to be having some technical difficulties with commenting. Hopefully, it is just an issue with blogger and it'll be easier in the future. Sorry for the trouble.















 

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