It appears as if we have a large group participating now, so I’m going to have to ask you all to please keep your show-and-tells to a reasonable length. I know you want to show more so you can get to the good stuff, but that is EXACTLY why I only want to see the first two paragraphs or so. If you can’t get to the part that makes you excited in a half page, you need to rewrite to get it in the first half page
Today, I’m going to showcase a character introduction. It is a first paragraph, and it’s in his POV, which can be tricky as the reader is starting cold–just like a first chapter, first paragraph. It has all the constraints and needs of the beginning of a book, but since the reader is invested (hopefully) already, the first few lines don’t need that heavy hook and can focus on setting more, or personality.
The pencil’s eraser bounced in a repetitive rumble one Formica table. Realizing he was doing it, Mickey set the pencil down with an exaggerated slowness. “Maybe next week,” he said into his cell phone as the pencil rolled across his sketches. It was headed for the edge, but his quick reach for it failed, and it hit the floor to fall into the RV’s tiny stairwell, totally out of reach.
Frowning, Mickey scrubbed a hand over his two-day stubble and looked up, his unfocused attention going to the RV’s tiny window over the sink as Jack droned on about his financial responsibilities and the consequences of avoiding them. “Jack. Listen to me,” Mickey tried again. “Maybe next week if I can find something. It’s not that I don’t want to give the bloodsucking troll her monthly feeding, but there’s nothing left.” Grimacing, he threw last-night’s empty cup-of-noodles across the narrow RV, an instant of satisfaction flashing through him when it made the trash.
What I’d like to point out here is that almost everything is in present tense. It is happening NOW. Before you post, take a look at what you have and see if you can move things into present if everything is being looked at in the past. A reader becomes attached far faster if they’re reading about something going on, instead of what happened yesterday and how they feel about it. Put in some movement to ground the reader, and make sure that whatever makes your eyes sparkles gets into that first half page.
Also, I’d like to plead for some pity from you. I’d like to keep this going for a few months more, aiming for two posts a week. But for that to happen, I’d ask that you only post one piece and maybe a rewrite of something previously submitted per blog post. Chit chat is great and welcomed, but only one first-paragraph per blog post please.
You guys are the best, and I hope we can keep each other motivated for a few months more before school kicks in and everyone goes back to work.