Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6 #56 Anonymous

Here’s the thing about new beginnings: they’re not easy, no matter how brave you pretend to be. Take my first day of fifth grade, for example. There I was, gathering my ponytail in one hand while I picked up the scissors with the other, ready to chop off all my hair with one graceful snip. But as soon as I glanced at the photo on my dresser of Anna, I couldn’t help thinking about that day back in third grade when we walked into Sassy Salon. Arm-in-arm, wearing our Best Friends necklaces.


  1. This is an intriguing situation with some hints of tragedy that would make me keep reading. But I am confused. I'm assuming the beginning she's describing in the first sentence is the hair cut rather than the first day of fifth grade? Try removing the first sentence to see if you can add more punch. Remove "for example." It isn't needed. Is the hair already in a ponytail, or is she just gathering her hair? Rephrase the next sentence so that of Anna modifies the photo instead of the dresser. Is there a reason you've split the 2nd to last sentence and added the fragment after it?

  2. Hi! I like the idea of your protag cutting off her ponytail (very visual) until she's stopped by a glance at Anna's photo. :) In general, I think you can get more bang from your beginning with fewer words. Maybe if you started with: I gathered my ponytail in one hand and picked up scissors with the other. Then I glanced at the photo of Anna on my dresser.

  3. I am hooked- I want to know why she's going to cut off her hair!
    However I do agree with Barrie about starting off with the action sentence. There are some stories that are told in a very folksy, adult recalling the past way but in my opinion it's hard to pull off. And hard to hook a younger reader with that style. You have a very dramatic situation here. But your first two sentences are very reflective, someone remembering the story- not experiencing it, so that distances the reader from the scene.
    Also try to minimize long phrases like "I couldn't help thinking about that day back in...." - instead say "I remembered-" again to make the scene more immediate to the reader.
    I think this is a great opening scene though- I would definitely keep reading!!

  4. I agree with everyone else so far! Just snip away anything that isn't completely necessary to get the point across. Can you tell I'm a minimalist? I do want to know what's going on though! Why does the photo make her stop??

  5. The direction you're headed is nice - I definitely want to know why she's about to chop off her hair. But I have to agree with the others - first, we're taken to a scene in fifth grade only to be moved to another scene in third grade all in the same sentence. See if you can simplify.

  6. I agree with the above comments. I think that you have an intriguing hook and you definitely draw the reader into the story. The first few lines are a confusing with the transitions from the introduction to the action of her cutting her hair to the memory. I agree that simplifying everything would make it more readable.


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