|Review:||Penelope Inkwell says:|
As far as hooks go, this is one of the better first chapters Iíve ever read on this site.
Iím in a script analysis class right now, and Iíve just been reading about literary hooks--the details that catch the audienceís attention and make them keep reading, because they simply have to know. A lot of writers attempt to use the particularly potent ones in their opening line, which is good logic. But this is even better, because your entire first chapter is riddled with them. Iíve had to read all about how important they are in a play, but honestly, I think hooks are even more vital in fanfiction, because if you canít keep someoneís attention, well, theyíve got the whole internet at their fingertips. They donít even have to move. And here youíve packed them in so beautifully. Like, wow.
From the first paragraph, Iím caught. Thereís no way Iím clicking off this story until I know whatís going on. Thereís all the signs of an epic struggle--dried blood, etc., thereís innocent lives at stake, and the woman in question can speak a great number of languages, so Iím already completely fascinated, and I donít even know her name.
Then, apparently the dead are coming back to life.
Then I do get the name, and itís like, ďWhat? Who is that?! What on Earth is happening here? I need to know!Ē
And from then on itís just one after the other, characters weíve loved and lost, characters we donít know with connections to ones we do. There are so many mysteries just packed into this, whetting our appetites for the answers. There are romances to be considered, and apparently non-romances that still yielded children, and chats with Death, and Iím on the edge of my seat. Who belongs to whom? Who raised whom and why?
And then, at the very end, we have someone who sounds very much like a villain coming out of the woodwork, and I have to know whatís going on with all that, too!
Also, your writing is very good. It flowed. In so many stories I read, the writing kind of gets in its own way, stopping up the progression of the story, but you have a really nice, subtle style. Good visuals without over-describing the details (especially in a scene like this, with so much going on). There were a few moments I noticed the strength of the writing, particularly the first paragraph, and the appearance/descrition of Atrum. Mostly, though, it all ran so smoothly that I got through with it without at first thinking about the style too much. Then I realized how smooth it had to be for me to have gotten through all that information without ever getting caught up in grammar or awkward phrasing or a missed opportunity (gushing here aside, I really can be rather picky). All that to say, youíve done a beautiful job not just in grabbing the reader with facts, but in how youíve written it as well.
Overall, I just have to tell you that this first chapter is brilliantly done. You must have put such careful consideration into trimming it down just right. Or maybe you were struck with one of those perfect writing periods, where somehow everything just comes out right. I donít know, but either way, I hope youíre proud of what youíve got here. I have no idea whatís to come, but I can tell you that you write a hell of a first chapter.
I donít have much at all. There was this sentence: "It was not a lie, she had been to hell and back just to be there but it was important that she kept the court date that would clear the names of the innocent.Ē Iím fairly certain there needs to be a comma before the ďbut. Or it may need to be broken up after ďlie" with a semi-colon (I am not a semi-colon expert. Those things are confusing. But it seems like it might be right).
The only other thing is that itís a huge amount of information youíre delivering here, and I find I canít quite keep everyone straight. Just to the point that, a few times, I was like, ďWait, who is whose father? Who mothered whom? Just because thereís a lot of that info is being thrown around and it got a little overwhelming. That said, when I think on it further, I think it may just be the nature of the beast. The pile up and wanting to know how everything connects is also one of this chapterís greatest strengths. Itís just the flip-side of the coin. Iím thinking everything will be clearly explained in the next chapters, so really, itís probably not a problem at all. You just may want to make sure that youíre very firm in the future when you start unravelling all this information, because there seem to be enough connections that we could easily get lost, especially since fanfiction doesnít usually get read all in one sitting, and the audience has to remember the details over the course of the story being written and updated.
Overall, I am fascinated. Iím going to have to read more of this. I know Iíve said it, but it really is one of the most gripping opening chapters. Bravo, Rumpelstiltskin! Very, very well done.
P.S. I know you almost certainly know what hooks are. The only reason I explain it is to really drive home what a good job you did with them. And now Iím getting redundant. Iíll stop talking about it. But honestly, Iím not usually this gushy--almost always complimentary, but rarely so effusive. It was just really well done, so I felt that I had to be!
Author's Response: Sorry about the delay in responding (forgive me?)!
Whoo! Rumpel will give herself gold stars...and thank you so much! I don't know how to respond to that, otherwise.
There's just so much happening in the opening chapter! This poor chapter has undergone so much reconstruction, just to attempt to make things clear and understandable (it's an organized information dump).
My main goal of posting this chapter (because it could have worked chronologically in its place) was to create a hook, so I'm super excited that you thought it was effective!! :D You get gold stars for making my day!
Ah, thanks for the CCs (they are my best friends)! Yes, there should be a comma there (oops). Commas are one of my downfalls (as well as descriptions). I just need to remember to put a comma in before a conjunction (I should write lines).
As for the confusion, I'm still fighting with that. This first chapter takes place 22 years after the next chapter, so a great deal of the information won't become clearer until the end of the story. That being said, I still have a lot of work to do ;).
Yes, that's a great suggestion. I'll definitely be sure to reiterate some of these main points, so that the confusion doesn't spread.
Gah...just thanks so much! I don't know how to more clearly express my gratitude other than thanks and gold stars! :D