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Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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MiracleMummy
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby MiracleMummy » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:46 am

Heart pounding and eyes wide, I screamed as the air roared and the earth shook.

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glorybee
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby glorybee » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:56 pm

MiracleMummy wrote:Heart pounding and eyes wide, I screamed as the air roared and the earth shook.


I'd keep reading!
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MiracleMummy
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby MiracleMummy » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:39 pm

Thanks! There's not much else yet lol. We went through major earthquakes here and this is how it started....

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Deb Porter
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby Deb Porter » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:57 am

MiracleMummy wrote:Thanks! There's not much else yet lol. We went through major earthquakes here and this is how it started....


OT, but are you from Christchurch? Last year's Page Turner Contest winner was from your neck of the woods, if that's the case.
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MiracleMummy
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby MiracleMummy » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:08 am

Yes I am. That is great that another Kiwi did so well!

Beverly Waller
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby Beverly Waller » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:08 pm

I'm thankful for the one who recommended these lessons! I have hope that my writing can improve. What I've read so far from other's comments is really helpful!


Favorite Title: Redeeming Love
I like it because this book is a beautiful story, and the title has a double meaning.

First sentence:

Raven-haired Tamara flushed and scowled when she read,“We Want You”, and her heels clicked rapidly as she left the mall.

Beverly Waller

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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby glorybee » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:45 pm

Thanks, Beverly. I like that title, too.

I'm glad you've found these lessons, and I hope they'll be very helpful for you..
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby Beverly Waller » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:27 pm

Thanks Jan! I'm glad that you like that title too. I'm left to suppose that my first line was not great. I' admit that I have a lot to learn, so I'm thankful for your lessons. In my case, I thought of a better first line After I'd posted. I hope I get more chances. Here it is:

Tamara read a sign posted on a window, “WE WANT YOU”, I clenched her fists and spit at it, and strode out of the mall with her raven hair flying.

I hope someone will comment on it now!

Beverly Waller

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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby glorybee » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:04 pm

Beverly Waller wrote:Thanks Jan! I'm glad that you like that title too. I'm left to suppose that my first line was not great. I' admit that I have a lot to learn, so I'm thankful for your lessons. In my case, I thought of a better first line After I'd posted. I hope I get more chances. Here it is:

Tamara read a sign posted on a window, “WE WANT YOU”, I clenched her fists and spit at it, and strode out of the mall with her raven hair flying.

I hope someone will comment on it now!

Beverly Waller


Sorry, Beverly. I'm on vacation and not giving things my full attention, since I'm on my phone instead of my computer. I thought that first line was from the book you cited. I'll comment on both of your opening sentences when I get home, either tomorrow or Tuesday.
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby glorybee » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:37 am

Beverly Waller wrote:First sentence:

Raven-haired Tamara flushed and scowled when she read,“We Want You”, and her heels clicked rapidly as she left the mall.

Beverly Waller


Hi again, Beverly--

There's quite a bit to like about this first sentence--particularly your use of great verbs. You've also introduced conflict right away, which is a good way to hook your reader. The only thing I question is your use of 'Raven-haired.' The color of Tamara's hair probably isn't relevant to what's happening to Tamara right at this point, and the adjective slows down the action a bit, making the reader pause to picture her raven hair rather than pay closer attention to her actions.

In some genres (mostly romance), descriptions like 'raven-haired' are expected, but possibly not in the first words of the first sentence. In addition, that particular phrase is a bit of a cliche.

Beverly Waller wrote:
Tamara read a sign posted on a window, “WE WANT YOU”, I clenched her fists and spit at it, and strode out of the mall with her raven hair flying.


The same things that work with the first sentence also work with this one--strong verbs, action, conflict. In addition, you've moved 'raven hair' to a more effective position.

However, this sentence has a few errors. Here's an edited version:

Tamara read a sign posted in the window: WE WANT YOU. She clenched her fists and spat at it, and strode out of the mall with her raven hair flying.

I'll leave it to you to analyze the minor differences in the two versions--if you have questions, let me know!
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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby Beverly Waller » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:27 pm

Dear Jan,

Thank you so much for replying! I hope more will join this class. I have a question about titles. I haven't noticed anyone posting sample titles. They seem to be the hardest thing to write.

You said in the lesson that,

"Finally, under no circumstances should your title be the same as the topic—and if possible, avoid even putting the topic word in your title in any form."

Why is this true? i thought that a title should give you some idea of what the article or book is about. This rule makes it very hard to come up with a good title. For instance, a title might read: Wildflowers of Northwestern America. Is your rule for non-fiction as well as fiction? Most, if not all, of your students seem to be fiction writers.

Here are a few of my own titles. What do you think of these?

Never Alone Again

You Can Go Home

People of Elohim (This one is for a novel I've thought about writing some time.)

Thanks for any comments you have. I'm looking forward to the next lesson!

Beverly Waller

 

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Re: Beginnings (#1)--the 4th judging criterion

Postby glorybee » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:24 pm

Beverly Waller wrote:Dear Jan,

Thank you so much for replying! I hope more will join this class. I have a question about titles. I haven't noticed anyone posting sample titles. They seem to be the hardest thing to write.

You said in the lesson that,

"Finally, under no circumstances should your title be the same as the topic—and if possible, avoid even putting the topic word in your title in any form."

Why is this true? i thought that a title should give you some idea of what the article or book is about. This rule makes it very hard to come up with a good title. For instance, a title might read: Wildflowers of Northwestern America. Is your rule for non-fiction as well as fiction? Most, if not all, of your students seem to be fiction writers.

Here are a few of my own titles. What do you think of these?

Never Alone Again

You Can Go Home

People of Elohim (This one is for a novel I've thought about writing some time.)

Thanks for any comments you have. I'm looking forward to the next lesson!

Beverly Waller

 


The advice about the titles is aimed primarily at those who enter the writing challenge. Since there are dozens of people submitting entries for the same topic, if you use the topic word (or a variant, or a common phrase that contains that word) as your title, you run the risk of using the same title as someone else. In addition, if you stick too closely to the topic word, your title may seem not particularly creative.

Nonfiction titles -- particularly academic ones -- will of necessity be more indicative of the content of the article. But there's no reason that creative nonfiction can't also have a creative title.

Of the titles you listed, the first two use what I call "rice cake" words (nothing wrong with them, but they're a bit bland). In addition, they're close enough to familiar phrases that they sound vaguely familiar--just a bit safe.

The third title -- People of Elohim -- has the advantage of the "salsa" word (Elohim), but there's not a lot that's particularly fresh about the title.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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