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  1. #1
    Marty DeLand

    The First Sentence

    Not long ago, there was a thread about the importance of opening lines. Would the sentence, below, catch your attention for an opening to a story about my disabled son? How about the following paragraphs?
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________

    There are days when I have almost become a Satan worshiper, just to wound God as deeply as He has me.

    Our home is haunted with the hoots of the damned; not of a soul condemned to hell, but rather of one destined for heaven. My sonís brain injury, at birth, insures that he will never know right from wrong, and so has no fear of a judgment day. Neither have I, anymore. I figured Iíve done my time in hell.

    Then there are days when he climbs from a bath as innocent as a 150-pound toddler. He falls into the towels I hold up for him and we giggle to-gether while I rub him dry. He will always be my baby, and in those sweet moments I make my peace with God again. But the armistice never keeps, and I am beginning to worry that I may find the end of Godís patience. That day cannot be far off.

  2. #2
    Cammy Stevens

    Re: The First Sentence

    Hi Marty,

    First I want to say, God bless you for what you are doing. This is my first time hearing about your story. My heart goes out to you.

    Second, I have a comment, and I want to preface it by saying I am coming from a background that is influencing my words so I would wait and hear others comments as well, as I'm sure you will.

    I would be very careful not to define yourself or him in some severe fashion other than speaking about the illness itself. What do I mean? The Satan worshiper part got to me at the get go. After I continued reading I got the just of the story and it pulled at my heart, but that comment still left me feeling uneasy. My advice would be to descriptively explain the situation as the evil, and strongly suggest not portraying yourself or the child in that way. I can only imagine it feels like hell. As a reader I want to know why it feels like hell. What daily struggles define it as hell to you.

    I could understand 'A slave to the situation' or 'Satan is trying to suck away...' or how ever you feel in your own words.

    aka the difference is that the way I wrote it shows the situation is evil, not you. And if you do feel almost evil for loving someone who is so sickly and helpless to this disease (or what ever he had the brain surgery for) you can show the reader that by explaining situations which will lead them to come away from the book with some of the similar emotions that you have.
    Satan has invade your home and attacked your little boy's mind. That makes me want to help you get through this and save that little boy, not see you as some evil Satan worshiper. Know what I mean?

    I guess I'm asking the other readers as well. Is this just me, or does 'Satan worshiper' sit uneasy with anyone else? too?

  3. #3
    Janice W-D

    Re: The First Sentence


    A friend of mine lives in your neighborhood. Her toddler turned 30 recently. Once upon a time I took care of an adult relative after an accident left them paralyzed on one side of their body. Getting them from wheelchair to bed or vice-versa without re-injuring my bad back and bum knees required ingenuity and frequent prayer.

    The Satan reference didn't bother me but the sentence construction needs work. My understanding of the magnitude of your day-to-day struggles comes from my experiences and from my friend sharing hers with me, not from the words you've given us. The abundance of modifers and weak linking verbs (was/are/been and other forms of "to be") drain the potential impact of your story. Please try again to show us the physical strain, emotional pain and spiritual crisis you deal with daily.

    Please give your son a hug and kiss from me.


  4. #4
    l m

    Re: The First Sentence

    a Satan worshiper...wound God...haunted...hoots of the damned...soul condemned to hell...judgment day...done my time in hell...end of God’s patience

    Marty, these terms and phrases do tend to catch the reader's attention.

    But...to begin a story about raising a mentally disabled son? Have you considered the question of tone?

    Such terms and phrases seem peculiar to this reader.


  5. #5

    Re: The First Sentence

    There are days when I have almost become a Satan worshiper, just to wound God as deeply as He has me.

    This says the story is going to be about you. GIven that it's your son who is truly the wounded soul, your self-centered tone is disturbing. This may not be your intent, but that's the way it comes across to me.

  6. #6
    Battle Angel

    Re: The First Sentence

    "There are days when I have almost become a Satan worshiper, just to wound God as deeply as He has me."

    I actually like the meaning of this sentence but maybe it can be reworked without the Satan reference.

    I don't have a problem with the self-centered sound of it, but then I've never had this type of burden.

    I like your tone but some of the sentences need work.


  7. #7
    Simon Says

    Re: The First Sentence

    I don't mind the satan reference - you are making an extreme point and there's nothing more extreme to someone who believes in god than worshipping Satan. Unlike others I like the uncensored feel of your brutal, raw honesty about your circumstances and your reaction to them. i don't agree with jayce about it being self-centered. I have had enough contact with parents and spouses of those who have suffered such traumatic brain injuries to know how wounded the souls of those parents and spouses can become. Tell your story how you see fit. I applaud you for acknowledging the toll that it as taken on you. I'm sure that by doing so, you will make many others in similar circumstances feel less alone and less guilty about their own emotional struggles with their situation.

    As for the first sentence - I do have some trouble with the sentence construction which could use some tightening. In particular I'm bumping on "have almost become" maybe "I've considered becoming" or some other phrase.

  8. #8
    Author Pendragin

    Re: The First Sentence

    Actually, the idea of the first sentence is a little frightening. Assuming that you think you would hurt God by turning to Satan, or that you think God is even responsible in the first place.

  9. #9
    Joe Zeff

    Re: The First Sentence

    I help take care of my mother. She's 89, with Parkinson's and short-term memory problems. She can't stand up without a walker, and most of the time it takes two people to get her upright because if there's only one, she'll sag off to the other side. Her needs come first; they have to, and I understand that.

    However, there are times I resent the way she'll call for help, not because it's an emergency, or she really needs anything, but just because I'm in the next room and she wants a little company. Or maybe because she decides she's hungry and wants something right now, five minutes after I went to bed. It's only natural to feel a tad self-centered at times, no matter how much you love the person you're taking care of. The question is, is the narrator serious about this, or is it just a way to express frustration?

  10. #10
    Marty DeLand

    Re: The First Sentence

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts, and honest assessments. They gave me much to think about. I woke up with that first sentence in my head. It is indeed self-centered, but the wounding of God can only be attempted by me; my wife and daughter are devout Christians, and our son doesnít have a clue. Sometimes we have to take on a battle that we know we canít win and fight it anyway.

    I do believe that God is responsible for everything, and itís not just frustrating, but infuriating when He/She/They, wonít do what I want. (Thereís that Me thing) But we humans can be arrested for turning our backs on a fellow needing assistance. Yet everyone lets God off the hook when He looks the other way. Where does a disgruntled subject go to file a complaint on their God? God? So far His Majesty hasnít responded. To Joeís point: Does anybody have a spare copy of the Black Mass?

    I have no set plan for this story; it will come out as the ďadventureĒ progresses. But I assume at some point in the work, that God and I will reconcile. Or rather Iíll be reconciled to Godís will, as badly as I think it sucks.

    The question of tone is an important one. This is intended as a short shock-opening, only. The first chapter will ditch the anger and deal with how badly frightened we were when our boy was suddenly born in his second trimester, our initial thrill at watching him breathe on his own and raise holy hell, and the horror of monitoring his brainbleed (stroke) as it advance over the course of a few days from a Sub-grade-1 to an eventual Sub-grade-4.

    Our upcoming hurdle is puberty. There are so many carnival rides to be taken when our sonís hormones kick-in. And yes carnival was not chosen by accident. Thank you.

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