Thanks for asking us to do this! You've almost got to mine on both lists! Here's mine again, slightly re-worked: (No, it's not an opening, though it is in my first scene. She's just watched a dragon materialize over a man who is lying in the street.)
Gianna pulled her cloak around herself more tightly and rubbed her eyes. Casualties were nothing new in Jarentho, but dragons that seemed to shimmer in the cold winter air were another matter completely. They no longer existed, except in fairy tales she could barely remember. True, this one's scales glistened with iridescent colors, just as those in the stories, but that didn't mean anything. Besides, people were walking through its body as though it didn't exist.
I like dragons.
Gianna pulled her cloak around herself more tightly and rubbed her eyes.
Don't work too hard to have her move. The pulling the cloak around her probably adds nothing (it's not an action connected to what just happened), and serves only to hide the actual meaningful action of her rubbing her eyes (expressing disbelief at what she just saw). Also, those actions are kind of in conflict. Act the motions out! Sounds dumb, but really, if you act those motions out, you'd get that they shouldn't be in the same sentence. If you gather your cloak around you, your hands are on the cloak and aren't immediately available to rub your eyes. Yes, you could take your hands off your cloak and apply them to your eyes, but really, if gathering the cloak doesn't add anything, why have it in there? Not all sentences have to be longer. Try this:
Gianna rubbed her eyes.
Now if you want the pulling the cloak around her to show that it's cold, that's good-- but not here. Here she has just seen a dead body and a dragon. If she's feeling the cold, she's probably not paying enough attention to the main event.
Watch out for relatively meaningless motions. If he's pushing his hand through his hair or she's smoothing her skirt and -- be honest here-- your only real purpose here is to use an action as a quote tag or as a "stutter" to break up the description or introspection, well, see if you can find an action that is more relevant to the moment we're in.
Casualties were nothing new in Jarentho, but dragons that seemed to shimmer in the cold winter air were another matter completely.
Good info here, but maybe too much for one sentence-- the info is getting lost. What I'd suggest is starting with two sentences and then combine them if that's better. A couple thoughts-- you're working with a "sight" motif here-- she saw the dragon, she rubs at her eyes, she sees it shimmer. So make the casualties a "sight" too. I'd suggest getting more visual there, but also more detailed. "Casualties" is a military term and deliberately distancing-- you use "casualty" to hide the reality of death and injury. You don't really need to distance here, do you? So think about a more vivid word, like "bodies". And elaborate. Remember, I'm saying to try a full sentence. Bodies were not an uncommon sight on Jarentho streets? Go with the sight motif-- don't lose your unifier.
... but dragons that seemed to shimmer in the cold winter air were another matter completely.
"seemed to shimmer"-- come on. Shimmering is a visual phenomenon. If it "seemed to shimmer," it shimmered. Watch the wimp out words.
They no longer existed, except in fairy tales she could barely remember.
"Dragons" is a keyword, and a come-on word-- don't feel you can't repeat it. You should repeat it here. That "she could barely remember"-- well, it feels sort of shoved in there. Whether she remembers them or not, she knows dragons are only in fairy tales. You got the important part in here-- that they did once exist. :)
Dragons no longer existed, except in fairy tales.
If you want to tell more about the fairy tales, good-- but modify fairy tales, like "fairy tales she'd heard as a child" or "fairy tales that frightened (place name) children." Or "fairy tales from the very dawn of history."
True, this one's scales glistened with iridescent colors, just as those in the stories, but that didn't mean anything. Besides, people were walking through its body as though it didn't exist.
Is it still there? I thought it had vanished and she was remembering. Don't know why I thought that. You might have (first line) she rubs her eyes, but it's still there.
True, this one's scales glistened with iridescent colors, just as those in the stories, but that didn't mean anything.
Well, actually, THAT doesn't mean anything. What do you mean? What does it mean or not mean?
The "just as" phrase is a bit clunky. Maybe try an adjective before "iridescent"? glistened with the same iridescent colors?
I'd suggest just going with the people walking through it. What you probably mean is that she's the only one who sees it, and besides, it's not solid, right?
True, this one's scales glistened with the same iridescent colors, but people were walking through its body as though it didn't exist.
I never like "people", but passers-by is clunkier. :) Pedestrians?
Now if the dragon is hovering over the body, are people also walking through the body? Are they just stepping over it? Is it just the dragon that can't be seen, or the body too?