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In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

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Alexandria Gibbon
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Alexandria Gibbon
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Starting Sentences Empty Starting Sentences

on Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:04 am
Starting sentences. Hardest thing ever, right? I seriously spend a good five or so minutes sometimes, trying to figure how to start a thread or start a post when I have to reply to a particularly wonderful post from whomever I'm writing with. But I've come up with some basic types of starters that you might want to try out. I know it's a lot of links, but they're just one sentence each, and worth a look.

One thing to note in some of my examples: sometimes my "First sentences" are actually two sentences or two one-worders that go together to make up one complete thought. I'm including those in this topic, as they generally feel equivalent.

1. Directly Post Related: Your first sentence replies to something specific from the previous post. Sometimes you won't have to specify what you're talking about, considering the other handler might just know what you're referring to (DPR A). Other times, you may choose to restate something (DPR B).
Example of DPR A: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p20-fixer-uppers#386260
Another: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17881-just-the-paperwork#379163
Example of DPR B: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454-week-twelve#387019
Another: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17881-just-the-paperwork#379159

2. Obscurely Post Related: This sometimes refers to other posts that thread, but it can also refer back to an instance between the characters in an earlier thread. The sentence can also refer to a thread you are certain the other writer has read or been informed of.
Example of OPR: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069-go-ahead-make-my-day#380357
Another: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18813-you-say-that-it-s-hard-standing-still#389032

3. One Worders: Usually for me, one-word sentences often state something like an emotion or an action.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18448-theories-of-relativity#383774
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024p10-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#370040
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p30-go-ahead-make-my-day#384327

4. Location Specific: What does your area look like? Is it dark, light, cold, warm? Let your fellow handler know so they can set their character up accordingly. It gives the other person something to go off of for clothing, the mood a character is in, etc.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18637-you-can-only-be-brave-when-you-re-afraid#386871
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007-fixer-uppers#379761
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p20-fixer-uppers#382463

5. Plot Specific: If your characters are running into each other to push part of a plot, use that to shape your opening. Or you can refer to a habitual event or favorite pastime if it gives you a starter.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454-week-twelve#383866
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454p10-week-twelve#387724
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069-go-ahead-make-my-day#380484

6. Rhetorical Question: Ever a favorite of mine, the rhetorical question sets up a number of options for your first paragraph. Answer it? Don't answer it? Up to you. Both are viable options.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18448-theories-of-relativity#387555
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17881-just-the-paperwork#380124
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18801-poker-beer-and-bros#388927

7. Character Opinion: If your character does or does not like something, reference it. It gives a new start, rather than going straight to what was said last time.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18448-theories-of-relativity#387914
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024p10-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#370053
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p10-go-ahead-make-my-day#381107

8. Action Specific: Your character's brow furrows, they wave a hand, or move across the room. Any and all actions could be excellent starters.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454-week-twelve#383896
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454p10-week-twelve#387671
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#369783

9. Appearances: What does your character look like to those around them? What are they really thinking or feeling?
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454-week-twelve#383956
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17881p10-just-the-paperwork#380319
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18813-you-say-that-it-s-hard-standing-still#389066

10. Contradiction: If your character does NOT do something, what do they really do? Or feel? Or think? Or want? Maybe your character was wrong and corrects themselves. Any sort of "no," "didn't," or "not" generally works.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#369780
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p20-fixer-uppers#382303
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18706-ties-that-bind#388191

11. Gesture Specific/Habit Specific: If your character has a particular quirk, you could always start the thread with that (HS). Or maybe they just change their expression or move their hands some way (GS)
Example of HS: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007-fixer-uppers#380371
Another: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024p10-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#370214
Example of GS: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18454p20-week-twelve#388410
Another: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024p10-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#370222

12. Character Backstory Reference: If there is a specific story that your character can refer to, go ahead and do it. It might give some insight into why a character says or does something, and often lets the other handler learn something new about your folks.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18637-you-can-only-be-brave-when-you-re-afraid#386874
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18706-ties-that-bind#387933
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18471-endeavoring-to-believe#384269

13. Timeline Specific: Say you need to time jump. Tell the other writer just how much time has passed, and what your folks have been up to.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007-fixer-uppers#380399
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p20-fixer-uppers#382811
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p20-go-ahead-make-my-day#381555

14. Quote: If another character says something and it just strikes you as perfect, use it to your advantage. Reference it, put it in itallics, whatever. USE IT. Take the opportunity you've been given. Quotes can also be actual quotes or lyrics, which should also be put in italics most of the time.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p10-fixer-uppers#380632
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18117p30-221b#386024
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18117p30-221b#386786

15. Dialogue: It's never wrong to start a post with talking, whether that's an NPC or your own character.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t17024-my-achy-breaky-quidditch-heart#369576
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18799-choices#388922
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18007p10-fixer-uppers#381510

16. Actions of Others: It's totally okay to rephrase what another character did if it leads into your folks doing something, changing their mind, or just saying something in reply.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p20-go-ahead-make-my-day#381567
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18471p10-endeavoring-to-believe#384785
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p10-go-ahead-make-my-day#381110

17. Repetition: If you have a certain word that your character latches on to, feel free to use it a couple times as needed. Avoid being tooooo over dramatic with it, but if it fits, go with it.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18069p20-go-ahead-make-my-day#384066
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18813-you-say-that-it-s-hard-standing-still#389059
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18843-under-the-weight-of-living#389416

18: Definition or Reference: Sometimes we find ourselves using a word but wanting to qualify it with a specific description or way of using it.
Example 1: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18117p20-221b#383651
Example 2: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18448-theories-of-relativity#387914
Example 3: http://www.pottersarmy.net/t18474-dearest-cousin-have-a-drink#384309
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