Opening Chapter

I’ve not allowed anyone other than a few very close family & friends to see what I’ve been working on with this novel.  But I would Really appreciate any feedback, good, bad or otherwise, that you could give me.  Is it enough to hook the reader?  Below is part of the opening chapter of my novel.  


Sarah’s first thought was “Did I nap that long?”  It was almost dark.  Then the pain hit.  It was an excruciating, blinding, pain in the back of her head.  She reached up to put her hand on the back of her head.  It felt wet and sticky there.

Her eyes adjusted and the memory came flooding back.  She and Rick were walking through the field behind house.  They came upon the old well with the boards lying here and there.  Rick moved a partial sheet of plywood aside and shone his flashlight down inside.

“Why had he brought a flashlight?” she thought.

She peered over the edge.  That was the last memory she had until now.

Damn!  Her head hurt!  Was that stickiness blood?  She rubbed her fingers together as she looked around her.  She was at the bottom of a deep shaft.  The walls and beneath her was a mixture of crumbling rocks and dirt.  The ground under her was wet.

She looked up.  There was a small rectangle of blue sky.  Boards were thrown haphazardly over the opening, but there was a slice of daylight.  How far up?  She wasn’t sure.  The distance was much higher than she could reach, that was for sure.

She stood up slowly.  Everything hurt.  Her legs were like rubber under her.  She put her hand against the mossy wall to steady herself.  She was dizzy.  She leaned her head against her hand and closed her eyes, trying to will away the nausea.

The nausea finally passed and she opened her eyes.  Looking up, she called out “Rick?  Hello?  Anyone there?”  Silence was the only response.  She tried again, louder this time.  “Hello?  Anyone there?  Help!  Help!”  Nothing.

How long had she been out?  She shook her head, trying to clear it.  Bang!  There was that stabbing pain again.  “Whoa!  Guess I better not do that!” she said to herself.   The nausea threatened to rise again, but she was able to will it back.

Sarah looked around her again.  It was so dark down here, it was hard to see.  The shaft was about 5 feet across.  Her feet were in squishy mud.  The walls were damp.  She shuffled across the muddy floor feeling the walls as she went.

Her foot struck something hard.   She bent down to see what it was.  (“Whoa girl, not too fast or you’ll black out”) What she felt was part of an old board.  It must have fallen down here from above.  “Just like I did.” She thought.

“Wait a minute.  I didn’t fall.  Rick pushed me!”  The memory came rushed back like a lightning strike.  Rick’s hand on her back and that hard shove.  She also remembered part of the fall.  She remembered putting her hands up to protect her face and then…nothing.


19 thoughts on “Opening Chapter

  1. You start with interest which is good. This is how I’d write it. You can disagree with me and that’s okay. One of the most important things I’ve learned about writing is to keep the action moving. I’m not sure how well I do that myself, but I’m trying. ~ Connie

    How long was I out? Sarah’s thought was followed by an excruciating pain in the back of her head. Hesitantly, she touched the painful area. It was warm and sticky.
    As Sarah’s eyes adjusted to the near darkness a memory came flooding back. She and Rick were walking through the field behind his house. He stopped at a long-unused well.
    He joked about all the junk he and his brother threw down the dry well when they were little. Rick took off a couple boards covering the top and shone his flashlight down inside. Her last memory was peering over the edge.
    Sarah moved again. Damn! Her head hurt! She touched the area again. Same old stickiness, no new bleeding.
    There was not much to see at the bottom of a well. The walls felt like solid dirt and rock. The ground beneath her was damp and cool. Looking up, a small rectangle of blue sky shone through a gap in the boards.
    How far up? Sarah was not sure. The distance was much higher than she could reach.
    Sarah stood up slowly. Everything hurt. Her legs felt like rubber, but still managed to hold her slender weight. Dizziness engulfed her. She inhaled deeply trying to will away the nausea.
    After the nausea passed Sarah opened her eyes. She turned her face upward and yelled, “Hello! Anyone there? Help!”
    Sarah wondered what time it was. She wondered why Rick was not around. Was he trying to get help?
    She walked around keeping her hand on the wall as she went. Sarah stretched her arms from one wall to the another, almost able to touch each side with her fingertips. That made her cell about five feet, as wide as she was tall.
    Suddenly she realized it was getting darker. Her toe touched something. Sarah bent down to see it better. It was an old board. She smiled. It would be nice to have a dry board to sit on.
    Her hand caused a small stone to fall. It crashed down beside her making a loud clunk as it hit another stone buried in the ground. She jumped at the unexpected noise. That noise triggered another memory–Rick’s hand on her back and the hard shove.
    This was no accident.
    Sarah moved to the other side and sat on her board. Now what? She had no cell phone and doubted one would work down here anyway.
    What would she do when the last rays of light disappeared and she was left in total darkness?


  2. I certainly want to know what’s going on. Who is Rick to Sarah? Why did he push her in? How’s she going to get out? What else might she find in the well? Good start Penny. It does hook the reader.


    1. Thank you!! I appreciate your input Audrey! As much as I love my family & friends, I don’t think that they are always objective. (They love me 🙂 )
      This is my first draft. I have a long way to go.
      Thanks again!


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