First Paragraph of my Novel in Progress

Well, I decided to be brave today and post my first cut at an opening paragraph to my novel in progress. What I’m seeking is a little feedback. Does the paragraph catch your attention? Would you want to read more? Is there anything there that really doesn’t work or turns you off? I’m not particularly interested in grammar, though if there is something glaring there, please let me know. Please take a few moments and give it a read. I would like to stress again this is a first draft. Anyhow here is the excerpt:

“The only way to rid humanity of disease is to eradicate humanity” read the first and only line of Number 43’s report, and Owen sat staring at his computer screen, stunned silent for the first time in his life. This was bad, very bad. Unfortunately, there was no way he could risk sharing this information with Steven, his friend and only human co-worker. If one machine heard them discussing the report they would all know about it, including Number 43, and all hope would be lost. Instead, Owen decided he would go about his daily business of pretending to be busy, warming his seat, and annoying Steven. He would also have an alcoholic drink or ten at lunch. Some days it just doesn’t pay to be human, Owen thought, even when being human is the primary reason you are paid.

13 thoughts on “First Paragraph of my Novel in Progress

  1. I’d keep reading. Never been much of a sci-fi fan when it comes to reading. I’m not sure why because I love the genre when it comes to movies. I’d love to read more.

  2. Interesting opening. Here are some small quibbles.

    Density: For a novel’s opening paragraph, this has a hell of a lot of information in it. It’s not outright infodump, but it strikes me as being a bit too dense.

    Hooks: This one’s chock-full of hooks, which is nice to see, but it might be a bit of overkill. You’re hooking with plot (opening sentence), character (Owen’s response) and concept (final sentence). This ties back to the last point again, but there’s a lot here to digest in very little space.

    Paragraph Setup: That first bit in quotations is your huge, giant, mega-hook. It deserves its own line, italics, whatever. Don’t let it blend into the rest of the paragraph. On its own, it’d be a much more powerful statement, showing the seriousness of what your characters are up against.

  3. Thanks all for the comments.

    VintageFan – I’m always looking to make people laugh, so I’m glad you did.

    Chris – I’m glad to hear you would keep reading and want to read more. That means a lot to me. That gives me motivation to continue. The plan is to post the entire novel here if I finish.

    Cavan – This is good information. I was trying for a hook and seem to have accomplished that. I thought it may be a bit dense actually. I may try to split some of it up.

  4. This paragraph definitely caught my attention and I want to keep on reading. Lots of questions were raised in my mind and I wanted to find out the answers. I think I would agree with Cavan, though, that maybe there are too many hooks. Perhaps it might be an idea to spread them out across the chapter? That way the reader can consider them one at a time.

    I thought it was funny too!

  5. Thanks Helen! I’m glad you liked it. This is an example of writing without any plan whatsoever and also an example of someone used to short fiction. I try to get all the ideas on “paper” before I forget them. I will try to spread things out, though.

    I’m also glad you thought it was funny. 🙂

  6. It’s definitely got me interested.

    One thing I’d suggest, and this might just be a personal style thing, so feel free to ignore it, would be to make that first line stand out even more by making it a paragraph of its own. Perhaps;

    “The only way to rid humanity of disease is to eradicate humanity.”
    Owen stared at his screen, stunned into silence for the first time in his life. This was bad, really bad. He read number 43’s report again…

  7. Pingback: My Novel Strategy « The Struggling Writer

  8. Hello. I am also an author only younger (proberly as only 13) and if i wrote that i would be proud. Although your preciseness to the individual details are a positive in this enterprising paragraph, the reality is that there are five senses not two. Uncovering better detail to something -even if just one thing- would add to the readability. There is a boy, or a man. Staring at a tele, or a computer and this is meant to be the most stunning thing of his life! You don’t use any exclamation marks to show his interest and that makes his most interesting moment bland, that is the worst thing any author could possibly do.

  9. Hi, few quibbles.
    First of all; if he is allowed to ‘annoy steven’ as part of his pretending to be busy, why can’t he then talk to steven about the destruction of humanity.
    Also, if I were going to destroy humanity, the last thing I would do would be to send my ideas to humans.

    Why would all hope be lost if he was found to be talking about his comming destruction? Surely the machines would assume this human would talk about it with his co worker. Is he afraid of been fired?

    Yes; I would keep reading, I want to know why he is paid because he is a human when the machines have decided to destroy the humans.

  10. crappy……… jk i love it so far i wouldn’t put 2 much up. there r some people who will stael ur work and publish it.. so be carefull.

  11. Great! I’m also a struggling writer… I have this idea for a story in my head that’s been there for months, and I can’t think of a beginning:( I don’t want to post what it’s about though, because of prying eyes O.o

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