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:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pimp Your Paragraph #2

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 Paragraph: 


"Wrath, he asked of me. Waste your immortal voice singing of the destruction wrought by pitiless Achilles that cost Greek and Trojan lives alike. Glorify with a golden lyre fleet-footed Achilles whose insatiable blood-lust left mountains of corpses in his wake. Inspire bards in the years to come with praise for he who made a thousand widows mourn... Achilles’ wrath, he asked of me. Not piety nor wisdom should I honor. No, my father asked for wrath: celebrate the murderous rage of he that was doomed to die at the Skaian gate."
***

"Wrath, he asked of me. Waste your immortal voice singing of the destruction wrought by pitiless Achilles that cost Greek and Trojan lives alike. Glorify with a golden lyre fleet-footed Achilles whose insatiable blood-lust left mountains of corpses in his wake. Inspire bards in the years to come with praise for he who made a thousand widows mourn...(reconsider ellipses) Achilles’ wrath, he asked of me(huh? repeater). Not piety nor wisdom should I honor. No, my father asked for wrath: celebrate the murderous rage of he that was doomed to die at the Skaian gate."  hmmm, I'm not sure how to comment on this. I had to read it a few times and still don't get it. I'm confused. Can you break it up with action or something? I have no context of what's going on or who's speaking. I'm sure I'll get that in the next graph but . . . ? 

~The Skeptical Hook'er
***
Just bare with me here whist I take you on a tour through my dizzying intellect as I read this...
"Wrath, he asked of me. <Okay so we're talking to Wrath, right? okay. We're hitting the ground running. I like that>Waste your immortal voice singing of the destruction wrought by pitiless Achilles that cost Greek and Trojan lives alike. <Holy cow, long cumbersome sentence. It sounds more poetical than anything. Which could be a good thing if it's pulling us into the culture of Ancient Greece, but otherwise... For now let's go with the Grecian theory>Glorify with a golden lyre fleet-footed Achilles <Okay so we've got a new character in the mix. Great. I love a party, but why did we invite him if he's just going to stand around the punch bowl all night? Why is he here?>whose insatiable blood-lust left mountains of corpses in his wake. Inspire bards in the years to come with praise for he who made a thousand widows mourn... Achilles’ wrath, <Okay now you've officially lost me. Are we talking about Achilles? Or Wrath, Or Achilles' wrath? Now its like I'm stuck in a dark coat closet and I can't tell who's who or what's what.... and I'm missing the party>he asked of me. Not piety nor wisdom should I honor. No, my father<Oh crap! Party's over. Now dad's home! How did he get here so fast? And why is he here?> asked for wrath: celebrate the murderous rage of he that was doomed to die at the Skaian gate."

I hope that you will take my comments as nothing more than good natured. I don't mean any harm and I'm not really trying to mock your work. I'm trying to make the point here that we have no clear vision of time, place, character or setting. It could be in ancient Greece, or at a USU Toga party for all I know. Monologues are fine, but this one comes off difficult to understand and the story is still in the dark as far as I'm concerned.

~Rabbit in a Hat Hooker
***
"Wrath, he asked of me. Waste your immortal voice singing of the destruction wrought by pitiless Achilles that cost Greek and Trojan lives alike. Glorify with a golden lyre fleet-footed Achilles whose insatiable blood-lust left mountains of corpses in his wake. Inspire bards in the years to come with praise for he who made a thousand widows mourn... Achilles’ wrath, he asked of me. Not piety nor wisdom should I honor. No, my father asked for wrath: celebrate the murderous rage of he that was doomed to die at the Skaian gate."

Okie, Dokie. Something is going on here. Something is being said, I get that by the use of quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of this passage. Quotation marks tend to indicate that--my deductive skills did help me figure that out.

Is this a a voodoo type curse to bring about the immortal destruction of Greece? A prayer? A student reading out of  text book? I don't know. I give up. I'm trying to understand what is taking place here and I ain't got a clue. 

I almost get the feeling that someone is reading this, quoting this. If so, we need something to indicate that. Starting off your novel in the manner, without the use of, "he said, while reading from his Greek Theology  book" or "he said, speaking to the heavens" leaves me very, very confused. I'm with The Rabbit in the Hat Hook'er on this one, I need a scene or a sense of time and place, something, anything to clarify this for me. This paragraph is cumbersome and really, tells me nothing. Perhaps the second paragraph would help or even the first chapter would better help me understand this passage, but since this is about the first paragraph only, I really haven't a clue what this story is about or where the author is planning to take me. 

~The Reluctant Hook'er









6 comments:

L. on August 25, 2011 at 6:37 AM said...

Just to disagree with the hookers a little... (dives for cover)

As an opening paragraph, you're throwing down a gauntlet here. I'm willing to take it as an indicator you're going with a dense, high-maintenance (some would say pretentious) style.

Personally, I don't always go for that because it's not what you'd call relaxing to read. Some readers eat it up. Some are already throwing the book away. YMMV.

The next paragraph after this is critical, because you've only given me a hint of a conflict (between the poet and his/her father).

Some commas would help with the readability, to separate out the clauses.

Rgian said...

I think I disagree just a bit too. Okay, clearly this is somehow related to ancient Greece/mythology and I think the tone is spot on. As I understand it Achilles is the narrator explaining how it was his father that told him to kill so many people. Writer, is this correct? I agree the language makes it hard to understand. But, I also think the format of only reading one paragraph is the culprit here. I would be compelled to read on.

Clio on August 25, 2011 at 1:05 PM said...

Hey, I'm the author :)

Thanks! That actually affirmed what I needed to know- which is that I really only make sense to classicists. :/ And I will have to work on accessibility.

In case you wanted to know: In Greece, when beginning an epic the nine Muses (daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne) are invoked; usually in the form of 'sing in me' to some extent. (We get the word 'inspire' from spiro, spire ; -to breathe into from this process.) 'Wrath' is the first word of Homer's Iliad (or 'menin' divine wrath) and the speaker is an irate Muse who hates Achilles. Most of the 'cumbersome' sentences are derived straight from period-fearing Homer. To be fair though, I usually post the opening lines of Homer at the top of the page before I have anyone read as an opening quote.

@L. - Yeah, it's likely to seem outright pretentious. A lot of the syntactical style is from a translation, ancient authors think very highly of their characters.

Amber Plum on August 25, 2011 at 2:15 PM said...

I agree. I felt pretty lost and disconnected. There was nothing to grab me and pull me in to the story. Give me someone more specific or someplace/ something to set the stage of what is going on.

Michael A Tate on August 25, 2011 at 3:10 PM said...

To be brutally honest, I don't know what's going on. It doesn't matter what else might be right or wrong with this graph, but I'm so confused I can't offer any suggestions other than figure out what exactly you want to say and then try to err on the side of being too blunt.

Lesli Muir Lytle on August 25, 2011 at 11:33 PM said...

I get it. I got it. I don't know if it's because I've seen enough Greek stuff or what, but I got it.

I get the use of something Homerish before the story begins, to set the tone, but I think your punctuation is your main problem.
"Wrath needed another quotation. Or if it's inside a quote,
"'Wrath,' he said to me. Then you can go on with more quotes when needed. And tell us who he is. "Wrath," my father said to me. "blah blah blah."

I'd cut down to one descriptor per line, like you said, to make it more accessible. But I don't think you need to take away the poetic tone.

And you should think about hooking an agent with this. If it's not over the top, they won't trudge through to the end of the paragraph, let alone see what you start the real story with.

Good luck.

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