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Hello Team Jericho, I'm putting together my agent packet and struggling over the first page. Right now, the book starts when the protagonist is eight and goes forward, The main inciting incident for the book comes at the beginning of the next chapter. I'm wondering if the opening chapter is too slow and whether I need to scrap it (much as I'm attached to it) and start with the next chapter. I am attaching both versions, hoping people can weigh in with some advice.

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  • Evening SLR 😊  

    This story looks very interesting! It definitely makes me want to read on. 

    Personally I prefer books that cut to the action, so I'm in favor of going with version 2. If you feel version 1 is important to the narrative, perhaps it can be weaved in later on? 

    You may also want to consider a more hook-y first line i.e. It was 6:00 a.m. when Anni learned of her father's death. And then unravel the build up to that moment. 

    You have great use of 'showing' in v2 i.e. the mother's shoulders slumped etc. However, the word 'slowly' has been used twice in the last paragraph, so maybe consider cutting one of them? 

    That's just my opinion, but I hope it's somewhat helpful! 

    Good luck with the submissions. 

    A

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    • Great, thanks!

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    • I really liked the first version and makes me whant to keep reading. I would edit a few more times. I would be happy to try my hand. I really like the sound of this story. If you like to send me the first two chapters I would be happy to take a close look. Kerry 

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      • Thank you, Kerry! That would be wonderful. How do I send something to you?

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        • I’m not sure but if you like you could send it to my email which is...kerryatbeach@gmail.com

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        • I can see why you like the first one. I love the image you close with. The second one puts us into the action more quickly but is full of filtering. Whatever you decide, I’d suggest a filtering edit. Here’s an excellent blog about the issue.


          https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2016/07/filtering.html

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          • Good point, thanks.

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          • Better? I left a few of the filters in where I thought they were doing something. 

            It was six o’clock on an August morning when an old war hero hobbled up to the front door  as Anni was sitting in the kitchen eating a boiled egg from a porcelain egg cup and drinking a cup of the bitter chicory that nowadays stood in for coffee.  The room was dappled with early morning sunlight streaming in through the trees and reflecting in the cupboard windows.  Anni was listening to a bird and trying to decide what kind of warbler it was when its song was drowned out by the sharp trilling of the bell, a signal that traveled from the front door of the big house down a cable in the hall to the kitchen, where a series of clappers mounted on the side wall vibrated with alarm.  She stood up from the table. Her mother was coming down from upstairs, where she had been putting an inexperienced young housemaid through her paces.  There was murmuring in the hallway that passed into the parlor.  A few minutes later, the front door opened again, and the old soldier took his leave in low tones, his single boot crunching on the gravel as he retreated down the path.

            Anni’s mother closed the door and stood in the hallway with a field post dangling from her hand.  Her back was to Anni, her shoulders slumped. Slowly, Anni walked over and took the letter from her.   Slowly, she opened it and glanced at the official type, the heading from a command post in the East, and the string of code that directed the message back to the army base in Stolp.   It declared her father a defender of the Reich and announced that he had fallen in a panzer operation near Kursk. For his bravery, he was to be awarded a third and posthumous Iron Cross.  

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            • I feel the opening sentence should be short. The first sentence is very long with a lot of background information in it that may not need to be there. Your second paragraph feels like it could actually be the first. You have shown us a great deal of emotion and introduced the plot too In the second paragraph.

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              • Most enjoyable, SLR. Yes, as with Kerry above, I also thought the first sentence much too long. Short and punchy may be the way to go. The work incited a positive response and I would definitely read on. I don't think you need either of the 'Slowly' sentence openers. Maybe she shuffled or some such. Great start.

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                • Thanks muchly! I think I will start with a shorter first sentence if I decide to go with that version for the opening. If it's the start of Chapter 2, it's probably not so important.

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