Monday, February 7, 2011

(revised) It Was A Dark And Stormy....Blogfest Contest Entry


Name: Sharon K Mayhew
Title: Everyone Did Their Part
Genre: HF PB

ORIGINAL VERSION
I knew everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even here in Leek. 

NEW AND HOPEFULLY IMPROVED VERSION (That I entered...)
It was World War Two and everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even Mummy and me.

So this is my entry....Any suggestions?  I have today and tomorrow to make any changes before I enter it in Brenda and Weronika's contest....

Here is  the whole first paragraph just in case you'd like to read it...


I knew everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even here in Leek.  Daddy was fighting in France.  Grandfather joined the Home Guard and patrolled the beaches along the English Channel.  Grandmother worked at Stannards Mill on Buxton Road, sewing parachutes for the soldiers.  Mummy and I wanted to do our part too.  Mummy said we could host one evacuee.
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Thanks for your help and have a great week!

47 comments:

  1. Your first line gives a lot of good information. I like the first paragraph.
    bethfred.com

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  2. Maybe punch it up a bit.

    "With the world falling all around us, I knew everyone was expected ....

    or something to that effect.


    Michael

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  3. I like it, but Michael has a good suggestion. Something at the beginning or end of that sentence that gives a little more plight to the scene. I'm thinking danger is around the corner? Am I wrong?

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  4. As the opening to a novel (MG/YA/Adult - doesn't matter), it would work for me. As a picture book it doesn't quite have that read-aloud quality that'd grab me. The rest of your paragraph set themselves up as good visuals (something essential to picture books). Bring the first line up to the strength of the rest, give us a great image to attach to, and you'll be golden.

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  5. hi miss Sharon! that first line is just real nice for being a help for that war but its not very much exciting for being bout war stuff. im thinking mr michaels got a really good idea that it could need to have a big whamo. you could do something thats more loud like bombs or bad like soldiers dying. so then maybe you could say with bombs falling in london and soldiers dying us guys in leek knew we could need to something to help the war effort. i hope you get some good ideas and for sure i hope you could win that critique. …hugs from lenny

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  6. Hiya Sharon!

    It's evident that your story is set in an emotionally charged era. Awesome. So here's another vote for hinting at your conflict in line one.

    Maybe something like: Everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even if it meant sheltering the man who'd sent your father away to die.

    Or some such thing.

    I'm bettin' you can tuck character, conflict and voice into your starter line. Good luck!

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  7. Great paragraph! The story sounds so interesting!

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  8. I love your first sentence!!! I like the quirky sound of Leek but the reality of war makes this sentence immediate!!

    I like how your paragraph contains enough information to substantiate the first fab line!! Well done you! Take care
    x

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  9. I agree with Kate's comments above. Good luck! :)

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  10. I think you need more tension. Give me a reason to keep reading. Perhaps something like:
    When I saw the strange man standing in our house beside Mummy, I was scared.

    Everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even here in Leek. Daddy was fighting in France. Grandfather joined the Home Guard and patrolled the beaches along the English Channel. Grandmother worked at Stannards Mill on Buxton Road, sewing parachutes for the soldiers. Mummy and I wanted to do our part too. I just didn't expect it to include living with a stranger.

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  11. I agree it is a little quiet and needs something more exciting to grab the reader.

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  12. I loved what Michael said above
    Even the simple change strengths it - I can't wait to see what you go with :)

    Everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even here in Leek.

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  13. I like the way it is now. Very straight and to the point. But then, I'm not very good at openings, so do what you feel is right.

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  14. I like it the way it is. :) It intrigues me enough to keep reading.

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  15. I agree with the general consensus-it hints at everything but in a sort of bland way. I'd like some more voice/stakes/drama/something in it, rather than finding those things at the end of the first paragraph.

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  16. Argh, first lines are so hard! I admire you for entering this contest. I like your first line and think that adding a stronger voice could make it more exciting. Something to hint at the MC's excitement or maybe fear. I do like that you have the name of the town in the first sentence.

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  17. Nice and to the point. Give the setting immediately.

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  18. Personally, I find it too similar to the book's title to work as an opening line. This might grab me more if it were something specific - like the descriptions it leads into - rather than the general "everyone helped". Could we start with hosting the evacuee, and then explain why?

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  19. I felt like the 1st sentence needed to be "punched" up a little more, but it did a great job with the time and the place. It did seem a lot like other historical novels I've read about that time period, though and didn't catch me as much as I hoped it would. The whole paragraph had a good ending... I'm curious about the evacuee, now!

    Good luck with the contest!

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  20. I agree with several of the other posts that it needs to be punched up a bit more. It needs something more to add to the excitement and show the character's voice.

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  21. I also agree with the comments above in terms of finding that "hook". For this contest, it needs more wham. I think writing the hook is the most difficult part of a novel.

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  22. As an opening line/paragraph I liked it, but I agree with the other comments - you need to convey the emotion and tension of what the war meant. Give us a reason to be invested in the MC and we'll be hooked!

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  23. I think it needs some punching up too. I don't know where Leek is, so it's not really making me want to continue writing - maybe offer a bit of reason why "even here" in Leek everyone was expected... etc. Good luck!

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  24. I like it as is, and would read on. But, the 2nd commenter (gideon 86) offered feedback that I really liked. Bringing some drama right in there at the start - especially if there is a war going on.

    Good luck!!
    Corinne

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  25. You could add more tension to this, but I'd be worried about losing the authenticity of the voice. War never seems as dramatic for kids, especially if it's being fought on foreign soil. I think you did a good job capturing that in this first sentence.

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  26. I agree with what the others are saying about punching it up a bit and finding a way to insert some character voice. Other than that, though, this is great and I'd love to read on.

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  27. I think you need some umph to the line. Maybe you could add something that they have to do in Leek.

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  28. I like it ... but if you want a bit more 'jump right in' feeling maybe start with the evacuee and kind of work backwards. I think it works well the way it is too though.

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  29. I like the story you're telling! Didn't realize the protagonist was a child until the second sentence, though, which would be good to know right up front. Starting with the evacuee would make it more powerful, too. The evacuee is the source of the immediate disturbance to this child's life, so that's where her focus would initially be(in the first sentence). Then you could go to everyone having to do their part. I would definitely read this story.

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  30. Yeah, I don't think it's 'punchy' enough. But it sounds like an intriguing story.

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  31. This needs some more action, but I get the MC's voice.

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  32. Sounds like a great story, Sharon. I like Michael's suggestion. Put more urgency or conflict into the first line.

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  33. I like this sentence as it stands. These few words have a voice and give a sense of character and what's to come. I'm going to vote on the side of leaving it as is because if your character doesn't see this thought as needing urgency or conflict, the sentence shouldn't reflect it.

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  34. I love that you included your whole first paragraph! It's so hard to have no context.

    I wonder if you could back up one thought and start with how the character applies this "everyone must do their part"? Is the character collecting scrap metal? The detail might be more engaging:)

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  35. There's a feeling of empathy and sadness with this first line. Great use of emotion with so few words!

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  36. I feel like I'm cheating because I've read the story, but I'll throw in my two bits anyway. :) I love the voice -- it's very British -- and it sounds like a child. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Good job - and good luck with the contest, Sharon!

    Amy

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  37. Hi Sharon,
    Did somebody mention Leek? Very strange, because I am sitting in front of a computer in Leek! :-)
    The thing is, this is written from a child's perspective and thus, based on that, I think your paragraph encapsulates the ambience of the scene, very well.
    All the very best with the contest.
    Kind wishes Gary of Leek :-)

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  38. I've pulled up bunches of my fav books. None of them are epic, smack you in the face honkers. They're the beginning of an amazing story. My suggestion would be to get rid of WAS

    I knew everyone was expected to do their part for the war effort, even here in Leek INSTEAD

    We each contributed our part to the war effort, even here in Leek. Mummy said it was our duty. Daddy had to dodge bullets in France. Grandfather... or something like that.

    The novel seems like one the kids would enjoy reading and learn something as well. Good luck. =D

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  39. Great first line (and first paragraph), Sharon! It immediately sets the mood and timeline for the story. I want to find out what the heroine learns from hosting the evacuees :). Good luck with the contest!!

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  40. Sharon, this is absolutely intriquing. I lov ethe idea of this and I would be compelled to keep reading.

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  41. Wow. Your entered version is MUCH stronger than your first one. Nice job, Sharon. :-)

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  42. I like the revised sentence. :) Good luck, Sharon.

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  43. Lots of great comments! Good luck with this one. (It is of course one near and dear to my heart.)

    I would only suggest taking out "war effort" because it sounds too much like a grown up voice.

    Have a great week!

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