Paragraph Help!

Hey, guys! I just need a quick help with these opening paragraphs from one of my books and I had no idea where to beg for it, so why not a new thread?

Anyway, this is from the first chapter of my Adventure/Apocalypse story, The Start Of The End. I will be quite grateful if you could help me figure out all the errors, right from grammatical to story wise or anything else that you feel like is put of place.


They ran through the ankle deep crystal clear water of the great Amazon river, washing their dirt and blood-laden trekking shoes in the cold, ever-flowing river. All it took their ever-growing paranoia, or alertness, as they believed terming it, a few seconds to notice the seemingly quiet environment around the river base. The bubbling sound of the water as it crashed through the rounded, smooth rocks and pebbles in the river bed was the only companion to their own ceaseless panting voices as they had begun darting that morning to the finally found route out of the jungle.

Amanda, Dean and Lexi were earlier going deeper in the more untouched parts of the inside the great, old, mysterious Amazon jungle. The heat of the scorching sun as they travelled all day through the more complicated routes to avoid the man-eating dangers lurking on the more spacious ways of the forest burned through their bruised, dirty skin. As they came to the end of the huge, looming tropical trees , the trio audibly gasped at the scenery in front of them.

The lush Savannah grasslands drifted in the strong, cool, evening gales. The churning gold colour of the long grass that expanded as far as their sights went brightened their hopes as well as ashen faces. They would’ve taken a minute more to admire the beauty, but the suffocating silence of the forest in which they still stood hit them in the head. They had no time to wait because their malicious, mindless hunters whom they had fatally hurt and even slain were still looking for them. And even if they were not in sights, the escaped trio of a fun-gang that had ventured a fortnight ago in the Amazonian border to do some exploration knew they were closing up on them.

Three of them perched lifelessly on the ground covered with lush Savannah grasslands. As far as their gazes reached, everything was quiet, empty and lost. Nothing out of the place, as they knew. But something about the whole environment didn’t feel right to them. The missing burning sun as the evening approached, the unnatural humidity in the wind, the difference between the immediate exteriors and interiors of the forest.

“Does this feel the way it should?” The black-haired, freckled faced young woman unclipped her lustre hairs and fell on her back on the ground, gazing up in the empty sky. She appeared the least injured one among the trio, her clothes were dirty and damp, skin full of bruises and cuts, but apart from that, she was in a single piece.

“Yeah, I think we’re quite alright. This is the road that’ll be taking us to the city, isn’t it?” The only man in the whole group of seven explorers that had gone to uncover the mysteries of the Amazon forest, untouched and unknown, and had survived all the atrocities of past one fortnight, raised his field glasses. As expected, nothing was in his sight. An unknown colour crept up in his dark brown eyes as he turned to the forest behind him. The one where they had fought for their lives for fourteen deadly days, thirteen sleepless nights and only half the group survived.

“It’s alright, Dean. We’ll have to trudge a bit before we reach the main entrance route. It is gonna take some time, but sure that this part of the forest is meant to be this silent.” The olive-skinned, tall woman, with an athletic build, the mature-looking among the trio removed her t-shirt and flailed it to get rid of the dirt and dampness. The blood on the clothes, some injuries, a deep cut on the thigh and yet, she as she stood against the wind in all her graciousness, nothing could beat the beauty and power of her lone presence. She was the one among the surviving two who had killed to escape.

“Let’s get out of this place before night. We can stop somewhere else, but not here; not with the forest and its demons still so close.”

A mixed feeling of fear, anxiety, anger and sadness shadowed on all their faces. Amanda Cox, the leader of their group who had taken up with much pursuance, the responsibility of leading the group through the forest checked their backpacks. Resources had almost run out except a few wild berries and chocolate bars that they weren’t sure about.

“Nothing to worry about. Lexi, you take this bag. It has the…you know.” She handed the heaviest bag to Lexi Hiddleston, who took it without a word. The bag contained all that that remained of their four fallen fellow explorers. “Dean, you take this…”

She looked up when there came no response, almost alarmed. A few metres away from them, near the edge of the dark forest Dean Parkour stood with an axe in his hand. His knuckles had gone all white and so was his face.

Amanda walked next to him, gazing inside the hell that they had escaped from. She trembled, remembering all that they had gone through for the past fortnight. Nothing could stand against the living nightmare that they had left behind them.


Well, I agree it’s not quite the opening paragraphs, but it will still be okay if you guys could help chalk out the errors or give suggestions for improvement for first three paragraphs.

Well, something has happened to the coding and it’s looking quite a crap.

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So, I’m not reading anything after this because you lost me in the first sentence. The reason is there’s way to much detail. Does it matter that it’s ankle deep? Not really, telling us it’s cold can be shown instead, crystal clear is an unnecessary cliche phrase, clear is more direct, and who are they?

The second sentence is a fragment. What are you trying to say by, “All it took their ever-growing paranoia, or alertness, as they believed terming it, a few seconds to notice the seemingly quiet environment around the river base”?

Also, if they’re running, likely from something, why would they stop to admire their surroundings? That’s how you die.

The last se6nt is the last of a long drawn out purple prose paragraph that still has only told us two things: some people are running, and they’re in the Amazon jungle. Are they talking? What are panting voices? Instill don’t know who they are.

Here’s how I would’ve written it (using random.names).

Levon and Allie tore across the Amazon river. Their hearts raced as they continues to look over their shoulders every few seconds. Leaves and branches slapped against their face.

“Hurry, Allie!” Levon panted, “Thia has to be the road out!”

“I’m coming!”

Action needs to be direct, so if you’re going to start in the middle of the action, you need to pace it fast right away. Save the detail for later. Their shoes don’t matter, their surroundings only matter if they create obstacles or give minimal detail someone who’s running for their lives would notice, their appearance and clothing doesn’t matter, but their names do.

The name is the first connection we get to a character. It’s the handshake and the “hi, I’m so and so” that establishes that first, important impression and sparks the ember of trust that hopefully makes us fall for the characters and root for them. First chapters have to ignite that spark. First paragraphs have to give us that handshake in a way that grabs out attention and puts its arm around our shoulder to show us the rest.

The rest of what you posted could be the best writing the world ever saw, but most people have already quit after that first line, more after the second, and by the end of the paragraph, I’d say 90% of potential readers dipped. That’s why I chose to only focus on that. That and whatever code block you used is a nightmare to read. Just use plain text. Seriously, simplicity is a wonderful thing.

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I have fixed your coding issue. The problem was you indented the paragraphs.

They ran through the ankle deep crystal clear water of the great Amazon river, washing their dirt and blood-laden trekking shoes in the cold, ever-flowing river. All it took their ever-growing paranoia, or alertness, as they believed terming it, a few seconds to notice the seemingly quiet environment around the river base. The bubbling sound of the water as it crashed through the rounded, smooth rocks and pebbles in the river bed was the only companion to their own ceaseless panting voices as they had begun darting that morning to the finally found route out of the jungle.

Amanda, Dean and Lexi were earlier going deeper in the more untouched parts of the inside the great, old, mysterious Amazon jungle. The heat of the scorching sun as they travelled all day through the more complicated routes to avoid the man-eating dangers lurking on the more spacious ways of the forest burned through their bruised, dirty skin. As they came to the end of the huge, looming tropical trees , the trio audibly gasped at the scenery in front of them.

The lush Savannah grasslands drifted in the strong, cool, evening gales. The churning gold colour of the long grass that expanded as far as their sights went brightened their hopes as well as ashen faces. They would’ve taken a minute more to admire the beauty, but the suffocating silence of the forest in which they still stood hit them in the head. They had no time to wait because their malicious, mindless hunters whom they had fatally hurt and even slain were still looking for them. And even if they were not in sights, the escaped trio of a fun-gang that had ventured a fortnight ago in the Amazonian border to do some exploration knew they were closing up on them.

Three of them perched lifelessly on the ground covered with lush Savannah grasslands. As far as their gazes reached, everything was quiet, empty and lost. Nothing out of the place, as they knew. But something about the whole environment didn’t feel right to them. The missing burning sun as the evening approached, the unnatural humidity in the wind, the difference between the immediate exteriors and interiors of the forest.

“Does this feel the way it should?” The black-haired, freckled faced young woman unclipped her lustre hairs and fell on her back on the ground, gazing up in the empty sky. She appeared the least injured one among the trio, her clothes were dirty and damp, skin full of bruises and cuts, but apart from that, she was in a single piece.

“Yeah, I think we’re quite alright. This is the road that’ll be taking us to the city, isn’t it?” The only man in the whole group of seven explorers that had gone to uncover the mysteries of the Amazon forest, untouched and unknown, and had survived all the atrocities of past one fortnight, raised his field glasses. As expected, nothing was in his sight. An unknown colour crept up in his dark brown eyes as he turned to the forest behind him. The one where they had fought for their lives for fourteen deadly days, thirteen sleepless nights and only half the group survived.

“It’s alright, Dean. We’ll have to trudge a bit before we reach the main entrance route. It is gonna take some time, but sure that this part of the forest is meant to be this silent.” The olive-skinned, tall woman, with an athletic build, the mature-looking among the trio removed her t-shirt and flailed it to get rid of the dirt and dampness. The blood on the clothes, some injuries, a deep cut on the thigh and yet, she as she stood against the wind in all her graciousness, nothing could beat the beauty and power of her lone presence. She was the one among the surviving two who had killed to escape.

“Let’s get out of this place before night. We can stop somewhere else, but not here; not with the forest and its demons still so close.”

A mixed feeling of fear, anxiety, anger and sadness shadowed on all their faces. Amanda Cox, the leader of their group who had taken up with much pursuance, the responsibility of leading the group through the forest checked their backpacks. Resources had almost run out except a few wild berries and chocolate bars that they weren’t sure about.

“Nothing to worry about. Lexi, you take this bag. It has the…you know.” She handed the heaviest bag to Lexi Hiddleston, who took it without a word. The bag contained all that that remained of their four fallen fellow explorers. “Dean, you take this…”

She looked up when there came no response, almost alarmed. A few metres away from them, near the edge of the dark forest Dean Parkour stood with an axe in his hand. His knuckles had gone all white and so was his face.

Amanda walked next to him, gazing inside the hell that they had escaped from. She trembled, remembering all that they had gone through for the past fortnight. Nothing could stand against the living nightmare that they had left behind them.

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I spent 16 minutes trying to fix this and finally gave up. My suggestion would be to rewrite the whole thing, cutting out the flowery descriptions and speeding up to the action. As is, I don’t even have a clue about what’s going on. I think there’s zombies after them that used to be hunters that they killed or something? Yeah, I’m just confused.

2 Likes

Agreed with the others! Would work on making the description more concise and the action more clear. All your sentences are so long we get a little lost… and as others noted, even in three paragraphs we’ve still got nothing on our main characters or the primary conflict. We need at least one!

Don’t get discouraged, and please do post what you get when you’re done editing.

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Isn’t it too flowery? My thoughts exactly. Because the first three paragraphs were simply three lines in one paragraph which I had to edit out because someone suggested that it’s too simple. And I felt this not quite right but since I was already confused, I thought it’s the best to sought a few more advices.

I am so sorry about that. I didn’t do anything. It just happened on its own…and I couldn’t fix it. Sorry again, you had to face that stupid thing.

But seriously, thanks a lot. For explaining it all. Trust me, I had that first paragraph summed up in barely five lines and it looked fine to me. I shouldn’t have listened to them, honestly.

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My apologies again. As I mentioned it, I was led astray! But seriously, I myself felt the whole first three part cringy and too long.
And thank you so much for fixing that coding. This post couldn’t have got more weird.

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Ah! Lovely to read a similar opinion! It’s quite relieving, really.

No, not at all. If I were to get discouraged I wouldn’t have asked for all yours opinion. I am glad I did.
I have the older draft saved on my laptop. I’ll post the initial opening material as soon as I get home. Thank you so much for your time and help!

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Tell the story you want too first and foremost. When you get feedback, don’t rush to change it based on 1 or 2 people’s thoughts. I ignore most of the feedback I get that’s content related because it wouldn’t fit with the story I want to tell.

Things I don’t ignore are typo comments, and pitfall comments like info dump, etc. The rest doesn’t really matter to me unless I like the idea it brings to mind better than what i had planned. If they can construct a good argument as to why they think something should be changed, I’ll think more critically about the suggestion then as well, but simple comments like “this should be worded different” or “I don’t get what’s going on here” (especially in the first chapter) almost always get ignored.

I realize this isn’t what you were asking for, but there are a couple of factual errors that pulled me out from the very beginning.

First, the Amazon isn’t a river where you can run along the edge. It doesn’t have shallow rocky parts. It’s deep, and it’s muddy.

Second, the entirety of the Amazon is bordered by rainforest for many, many (maybe even hundreds of?) miles. There are many rivers that come into/out of it, but I think only one of those comes close to a savannah – the Negro to the north. It would take a LONG time to trek through the Amazon rainforest to a savannah unless they’re following roads.

Third, most savannah actually has a lot of trees – it’s not just open grassland. The trees are just more widely spaced without a lot of underbrush.

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Ah, yes. I believe my research went astray with that. The wiki page regarding Amazon is way too long so I just made an image of what the forest felt like. Maybe I should’ve used the name of the forest.

But now that you’ve taken all tha pains to point that error out and present the facts, I’m sincerely grateful for it! I’ll fix the misrepresentation right away! Thank you so much.

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