How’s your summer writing going?


I’m up to chapter four in my WIP (SKINS), and because I miss my writer’s critique group, I’ve opened up the blog for you guys to share your own first paragraph on a chapter by chapter basis. Hopefully we will keep each other motivated until we get our rough drafts done.

I have been so impressed with the skill showing in the first lines that you have been sharing with me. It only goes to prove my thought that there is no wrong way to write, except perhaps not to. I hope you keep it up! And because I know summer is busy, don’t hesitate to post when you can, and don’t sweat it when you can’t. 🙂 This is supposed to be fun, right?

Chapter four brings me back to Nat’s POV. It’s not one of my more exciting first-paragraphs, but it does tie back to my first paragraph of chapter three where Fenix thought about “her being down in the kitchen” and here we not only see “her,” but hear in her own POV about “her leaving the kitchen.”

I’m hopeful that this tie between the two chapters is enough to give it some oomph. Admittedly, it’s not that effective, but we are a ways in. On the plus side, I tried to start with an active action instead of passive, got a reference to the season, weather, and her job in there to help reset the world/scene, and a bit of curiosity-based tension with the noises from the woods ceasing when she showed up and a promise to stay out.

Chapter four

Nat’s gaze kept returning the nearby woods as she walked the site and placed her flags for a rough reference: red for perennials, blue for annuals, and orange for woody plants. It was quiet in there now, apart from the buzzing rattle of an early cicada, but there’d been all manner of snaps and pops of breaking branches when she’d emerged blinking and cool from the kitchen with a generic plan in hand. It was all Nat could do to not cross the drive and step under its cool umbrella to investigate, regardless of her promise to keep herself and crew out of there.

Share away! Quick, like bunnies!


Filed under Drama Box

51 responses to “How’s your summer writing going?

  1. Pandora’s Hell –
    It was late in October, the fall was in full swing and I was on yet another mission. Running full tilt through the Black Forest, the trees skimming past my face as my heart raced in anticipation of the hunt. That was when I saw her, she was standing in the middle of the woods, turning frantically from left to right. It was almost as if she was scenting the air. I approached her carefully, after all it was part of my mission to recover some lost children and she appeared to be just that, a child. I will admit she looked more like a teenager but, she was a child nonetheless. I was being cautious, wanting to be sure this wasn’t a trap set for me and my team by The Fallen.

  2. Liz

    I stood at the top of the ravine trying very hard not to run down into it and touch Tim’s corpse. There was power in the dead, for necromancers, just waiting to be claimed. I won’t feed from corpses. It binds you to the land. The more bound you become the more trapped you are.

  3. This is the 1st paragraph of the Prologue from my WIP for Blood Ties, the 2nd book of the Blood Promise series:

    The large wolf quietly stole through the small house, scenting the air to find his latest victim. It didn’t take long—he just followed the scent of sex and booze. _At least he got some action before he dies tonight._

  4. I already posted my first line for Chapter 1, so here’s the whole paragraph! I’m currently editing Chapter 5 and hoping to get to Chapter 6 soon because my critique group, Mutinous Crew, is meeting again in two weeks! Thanks for letting us share, Kim!

    Chapter 1
    Brush strokes were as immutable to Mira as her life—unchangeable and only able to be destroyed once created. Her fingertips were a nasty color of brown from the excess paint on the brush. She swiped the side of her hand against her forehead. A floral ribbon was twined around her short and untamable, raven black hair. Side swept bangs curled around her electric, bluish gray eyes. She shifted her weight and stretched to the corner of the canvas, her overalls lopsided against her black tank-top.

    • Andreah, this is wonderful. Mixing action with your descriptive lines prevents a kind of description dump, and keeps the action moving. Very good.

  5. Eden

    *I love this idea, thank you Kim! <3*

    Shooing me under the bed, she made me promise not to come out. No matter what. She made me promise to plug my ears and close my eyes. Pinky promise. I did as I was told, as I always did. Then the pounding of heavy feet drew my eyes open. Men, three of them burst into my mother’s room. All I could see of them were their black leather boots. I hate those kind of boots, that clomped everywhere they went. All nine years of my life experience could never prepare me for what happened next. Thud. Even with my fingers jammed deep in my ears I could hear her struggle, fighting for our lives.

  6. Cale H

    The rogue ran, they always run. It doesn’t matter how many times we tell them we just want to talk, they always run. And what do myself, and my partner always end up doing? That’s right, we chase them.
    Fortunately, my partner had anticipated this, she’s good like that, and was waiting ahead of me, somewhere, I hoped. I was just about to skid around the corner, out of the alleyway the rogue had decided to run down, and of course I just had to run after him, when to my surprise, the rogue ran back past me in the other direction.

    ***** EDIT BY KIM
    I’m sorry, Cale. It reads well, but I had to cut it down for length as the point to this is to look at first paragraphs.

  7. Jhen Fry

    I just found this project. And you’re on chapter 4. So I’m going to try an experiment and start here with my own chapter 4 and move forward from here. Thank you Kim, for being yourself and sharing your gifts with the rest of us.

    Have I ever mentioned how much I hate parties?

    The only saving grace for me is that Ogura Masahiro’s house and property were once part of a large traditional Japanese tea garden. He inherited the property from his grandfather, and with his money and connections he brought in the best architects and landscape designers from all over Japan and transformed it into what looks and feels like a 16th century feudal estate. All dark woods and sloping tile roof tops, the house itself is a small, three level castle, right in the middle of one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens on the entire west coast. Being the head of a very large, multi-national, criminal organization has it’s perks.

    • Jhen, this is a wonderful descriptive start. My WIP takes place in a Japanese meditation garden being renewed/discovered under years of neglect, so I especially like it.
      You have a great, sedate description, followed by the tension of the crime organization. Very nice mix.

  8. “Rourke,” Ahnya gasped out. “What are you doing here?”
    “Can’t I come visit my mother?” He sneered.
    Ahnya glanced over her shoulder at the shocked then stormy look on Daegan’s face and swallowed. She could see the explosion getting ready to happen and wasn’t disappointed.
    “What the hell is going on here, Mila? Who the fuck is this?” Daegan bellowed.

  9. Retaliation – Chapter Four

    When Ody was centered enough, she turned around to find a young girl sitting up against the wall trying to steady herself from the room switch. Any other time, she would be elated to finally have a female cellmate again, but Conley was gone. She tried to fight the angry sad feeling. They both knew this would happen eventually, but they were only together for mere weeks. The girl seemed to be in her young teens with long blonde hair. Her thinness was a sign she had been here for too long. How dare the Regime steal her life away. Oh she hated them. She couldn’t wait to get out and fight them.

    • Good start, Mel. Just for fun, try rewriting it with one line of dialog inserted, and see how it shifts everything to active action rather than passive.

    • You are amazing!
      Passive voice is my arch nemesis.

      “I’m Seda.” That tiny voice centered Ody’s thoughts enough to turn around. A young girl sat against the wall steadying her own spinning head. One day, they would never have to feel that room switching dizziness again. Conley gave her something she hadn’t felt in a decade. Hope. And hopefully she would see her Conley again. Hopefully he was able to escape with the switch.
      “Hi Seda.” With a closer look, Seda wasn’t as young as her voice sounded. Young teens maybe? Her long blonde hair and bony figured showed Ody she’d been there too long. Damn the Regime for stealing her life away. She couldn’t wait to get out and fight them.“I’m Ody. So you’ve had five other cellmates?” Any other time, she would be elated to finally have a female cellmate again, but Conley was gone. They both knew this would happen eventually, but they only had mere weeks together compared to the years she had with other cellmates.

    • Mel, this is much better! Keep it up!

  10. ~ A Second First Chance ~ A Time Travel Romance

    R1. 2012, January – Harley
    “My precioussss…”
    Harley jumped as the voice hissed in her ear. “Damn it Dylen, are you trying to kill me?”
    Her daughter laughed, and perched on the bench beside her. “Mum, I’m surprised you even noticed. I don’t think you’ve looked at me once since you found that thing. I am feeling seriously neglected.”
    Embarrassed, Harley slid the ring from her finger and shoved it into her pocket. “Well if you weren’t such an ugly child, I’d look at you more often, but really, this…” she waved her hand in Dylen’s face,” only a mother could love. Lucky for you, yours does.”

    • My story switches POV quite regularly, so I am not sure I should post every first paragraph. But here is the corresponding one from my MMC
      ~ A Second First Chance ~ A Time Travel Romance

      R2. 1992, June – Oliver
      Oliver leaned back against the closed door of his apartment.
      He pushed off the door and tossed his backpack on the table as he passed. It toppled off the edge and hit the floor. Contents spilled across the floor. Oliver fought the urge to curse. What as the point? It was nothing more than a prime example of how the rest of his evening had passed. Why should things be any different now he was home?

    • This is great, J.C. I’m getting a clear picture of your main character from just this little slice. Action is always a powerful grab.

    • And again, nicely done, J.C.

  11. ~The Dragon Cries~
    Paragraph of last chapter.

    The ocean still loomed in every direction. I could tell much easier now, as Sophie was only a few yards over the white capped waves. She was exhausted. But she would not stop. I could –feel- the urgency in every agonizing lift and drive of her wings. If I could help her, I would. I would lend her what strength I had. The very real idea of plummeting into the water below washed through my mind. And for a while it hung in my thoughts like a cobweb. If she fell from the sky…I think I could be OK with that. I managed a slow breath or two, ragged and thin, and retreated back to the numbness of slumber again. Wherever we were going, it didn’t matter. I was so tired…

  12. Jennifer Vanderkamp

    Part of me, very small as it may be, wishes Adara would ask more questions just so I can get a better sense of her and what’s going on in that head of hers. Watching her spoon hash into her mouth as she stares at the wall, eyes blank and unfocused, makes my skin crawl. She most have questions. It’s not every day one gets trapped in Hell. I’d take the annoyance over this subdued demeanor. Maybe she’s catatonic. Everything she’s seen is finally hitting her. Then again, the way she trudged on after the hellhound bite was impressive. And, being trapped in Hell with a demon dragging her across its wasteland, should rattle her cage, but until now she hasn’t shown any terror. How is a mortal blocking me from reading her thoughts?

  13. Alicia Leatherdale

    I paced up and down the quiet aisles, answering the occasional question. The odd pencil drop, frantic scrubbing of an eraser, clicking of white out, or banging of a head against the desk top were the only disruptions. Cam sat on the other side of the field room very intently scribbling on his exam paper. I did not envy him and his thermo-something something design final. Every so often, I’d find myself twisting the platinum band around my finger; it was still an alien feeling on my finger.

  14. Summer? Bleeecchh! I had five days without ‘net due to storms so no access to my docs in the cloud. I can spell withdrawal…

    Tate’s phone pinged as he and Jilli were cleaning up the kitchen, “I got Gordy’s text regarding tomorrow. He requested Tori set up the appointment for around 2:00 because of shift change and some police in their street clothes, a perfect cover for Drew and Jimmy.”

  15. “Another Shitty Day in Paradise.” That’s what the sign said. It hung on from a shelf on the back wall of my bar, right beneath a stuffed toy iguana and above a poster that declared mermaids could drink for free. It was meant to be a joke to amuse the tourists coming down to vacation on a beautiful tropical beach. Only sometimes, the humor was lost. Like on this day.

    • Nice start, Tony. I’m getting a really good feeling for who the protagonist is, and then ending with the hint that all is not as it should be. Great.

  16. Chapter 1/ paragraph 1:

    Rachel glided through the dark hallway and nervously clutched the paper in her hands. Her stomach pitched at the thought of what she was about to say. Four more hallways to go before she arrived at the monsignor’s office. Right. She was going to tell Monsignor Rhodes that bad things were going to continue to happen if someone didn’t stop the killers. She didn’t know exactly what she was dealing with in her research. She just detected a very startling pattern of murders that might be connected with Elizabeth Bathory’s contingent.

  17. Vampyre

    Something is wrong, that bunnie’s fire has gone out.

    My summer is going way too fast. I am more or less retired now and have applied for SSI disability.

    Now that my Sundays are free, I’ve started going back to church. I know you have had some bad experiences with “Christians” in the past. Just remember you cant judge Christianity by “Christians”, they are all flawed and not one of them is perfect. 😀

    I don’t read your paragraphs because they are spoilers to me. I am very happy to see you posting in your blog again. Taking the time to help others hone their skills is a wonderful thing. Hopefylly, we will be reading some of their work some day. That would be great.

  18. Cathy S

    Amazing writing from everyone. I haven’t been writing this summer. I have my niece down from NJ so we took the kids on a vacation to Florida & Disney. Hope to get back to writing in August when it slows down. Look forward to reading more!

  19. Amber

    Finally! Not a nightmare!

    Jess shoved her way through the brush, bending the dead branches to the side as she entered the dark stillness on the other side. The brush sprung back, grabbing her hair and catching her clothes. With an impatient noise, she pulled herself through and stood in the middle of the road, paved stones underfoot. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, taking in her surroundings. It was still, and quiet. No wind swirled around her legs, and no snowflakes hung in the sky. The air seemed to be a bit warmer. It wasn’t the warmth of spring, but it wasn’t the cold of the dead of winter like it had been a short time ago.

  20. T.K. Eldridge

    Chapter One: Hybrid Chronicles: Battles of Jericho

    The adrenaline raced through him, leaving a bitter, metallic taste in his mouth. Jericho shifted his grip on the rifle and nodded to Lieutenant Hernando a pace and a half ahead of him as he lifted a gloved hand to signal that he was going to go around the corner first. The smell of dust and sweat filled his senses and he clenched the rifle tighter, then stopped as he heard the soft intake of breath that seemed to echo over and over again. The one sound heard…just before his whole world went white, then red…then black. The explosion was oddly silent for him, just a flash of colors as his eyes widened and then everything stopped.

    • T.K. this is excellent. There is a technique to increase tension within a paragraph by writing shorter and shorter sentences as you get to the end, and this might be a great paragraph to play around with it. Try rewriting it and breaking up some of the last sentences Into shorter bits. See what happens. I’d love to see the second version just for fun.

  21. Cheryl Harley Sanger

    My paragraph 1- chapter 1 of Kindread /alt title “A Witch In Name Only.”

    “If you cut off a man’s leg and make him a cripple, he’s still a man,” says Rachel, who, as my father’s older sister thinks it’s her duty to shepherd us Wallace girls through our dark times. “Likewise, if you cut a witch off from her craft–discharm her–she’s still a witch. But while the man can replace his missing limb with a prosthetic and get on with life, there are no peg legs for discharmed witches. We’ll always sense the presence of our phantom magic, even though we’re powerless to command it. Some of us can’t deal with it. And that, dear Cady, is what’s wrong with your sister Laura.”

  22. Chapter 1
    Galessel cooed at the elfling in her arms. Her newborn niece had a tuft of dark hair on top of her head and lavender eyes, taking after her mother, Miniel. Her caramel skin tone was her father’s. The child grabbed playfully for Galessel’s braid but thankfully missed as she set her down in her crib. “I will miss you, little one,” she whispered. She was alone with her niece, but the nursemaid was just outside the door, probably flirting with the guards who followed her everywhere. Little Talindra was the only one in the castle who didn’t avert her eyes when Galessel wore her hair up, exposing her mutilated ear tips. Even though the story of the attack that rendered them so was common knowledge throughout the palace, people tended to avoid her. An elf without ear tips was sikevra—an outcast. At least until the Fallana Sian could be performed.

  23. Love first lines/first paragraphs!

    When the half-drunk graveyard-shift cook with the singed eyebrows and the Johnnie Walker breath tells you you’re looking rough, you know you’ve got problems.
    From Fire in the Blood, Alice Worth Book 2 #WIP

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