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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 year ago

Readers, is my opening dialogue convincing enough that you would want to read further?

‘They’ve come back? Who have they to choose from but the old and the women?’

‘The children.’

‘Pfft!’ old Cyphrid Mael’s cheek twitched, ‘An army of lions they’ll be, no doubt about it!’

‘I was warned they already took a great number of children from the next village over, and now they’re coming here. They took Ida’s son, and he was not beyond his tenth year.’

‘It matters not, they have already stripped from us everything we own; our sons, our grain.’

‘Oh, will you sit and calm yourself? Your cheek trembles agai– ‘

‘When should we expect the dogs?’

‘T-they arrive on the morrow.’

‘On the morrow? Have they the strides of giants?’

‘Please, my love, will you not sit and calm your temper? You said it yourself, what have we to offer but our empty larder? I am sure the soldiers will pay us no mind when they arrive.’

‘When did you speak to Gilfred’s wife last?’

‘Two afternoons ago. Now, please, will – ‘

But Mael heeded none of it, and departed before she could even avert her eyes to offer a chair.

6 Answers

  • 1 year ago

    So here's the thing; first lines are way overrated. I mean, how often have you read the first passage of a book and thought, "Wow, that was really enough for me to decide I don't want to read this anymore,"? In my experience, the answer is usually never. Don't overthink it! Just write what you want to write. Save agonizing over individual sentences for when you start editing. :)

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  • Marli
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    The dialogue is good, but it takes place behind a black curtain. It's all dialogue. Except for a man's twitching cheek, I could not see the characters. Who was talking to Mael? His wife (my love)? I think from what he said and the way he said it that Mael is an impatient, fretful old man. That's good dialogue because I can guess from it what he is like; but what if I guessed wrong?

    Break up the dialogue a bit. Have Mael run his gnarled hand through his hair, or have his wife put a bowl of pottage in the table.

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  • 1 year ago

    It's a pretty good dialogue, but it's very condensed. I suggest you break it up with a few beats here and there. Also to keep the reader grounded in who's saying what.

    The one thing that wouldn't make me read further is that I've read a lot of fantasy (assuming this is fantasy) and I've seen this opening in one form or the other quite a few times. I'm the same way with prologues describing the history of the land or the gods, or openings introducing the farm boy who will turn out to be "the chosen" one.

    If you can't change the opening theme, then I suggest you put a spin on it. Switch the POV from the adults talking to a child overhearing them. Or have them take action instead of waiting like sitting ducks.

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Uproariously hilarious.

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  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    Not my cup of tea.

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  • 1 year ago

    For me that is just bombarding me with too much dialogue. I feel like I am overhearing a conversation by strangers and landed in the middle of it.

    After a few lines I begin to lose track of who is talking, it would be easier to follow if you added a few more details about the characters, or hinted at the setting. It doesn't paint enough of a picture for me to really start visualizing the scene.

    Your dialogue is good, I just prefer a little more prose laced into a conversation, especially when it's how the story opens.

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