Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Just for fun — comment, please, on the opening of a novel I started a few years ago


I’ve mentioned from time to time that I’ve got some novel manuscripts started and gathering dust on my hard drive shelves. Here’s the opening scene of one. All criticisms, critiques, and suggestions welcome:

She tries to breathe, but only sucks in more dirt. She knows her eyes are open, but all she sees is darkness. It’s darker than any night she remembers. It’s so dark, she can’t even tell the difference when she closes her eyes. She definitely knows her arms and legs are still there because her whole mind is focused on the intense pain from all four. She wants to be rid of the pain, to make it go away somehow, almost more than she wants to breath.

Happily, as she twists a bit trying to squirm away from the pain and darkness, she touches her arm with her head and knows there’s an air pocket around her face. She thinks that air pocket might last if she takes just tiny breaths. She guesses she’s alive, though just barely.

But, really, Maddy Rice knows she’s the same as dead. The air trapped around her arm and face might keep her alive a little longer. But there’s no life for very long down in this hole.

That thought suddenly reminds her of why and how and where she fell. With a firmness in her that she’s never in her eight years of life felt before, Maddy knows she’s got to get back to the air, got to get out of the dirt, got to live. Except, and she realizes this at the same time as she feels more pain from her arm, if she even gets out of this deep dirty hole somehow, the monster’s still up there.

She takes even smaller breaths now, instinctively knowing the air pocket is getting empty. She tries again to squirm around slightly. The only lucky thing for her besides the air pocket around her mangled arm is that he threw her Momma down the old dry well first. She understands the only reason she has lived was that her poor Momma’s dead body broke her fall into the hole.

Here’s my number one question for you: Does it “grab” you and make you want to read more, to find out more about 8-year-old Maddy Rice and what happened to her? Your feedback and comments, please?
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