Friday, February 29, 2008


This is about beginnings as in writing and came about when I was talking to my friend and co-author of Becoming Your Own Critique Partner published by Zumaya Press. I had just finished reading her novel Nightingale Man which I enjoyed very much, We talked about the beginning part which I wasn't sure she needed. She agreed with me. We talked about starting in the middle of the action a good rule in general. Sometimes this can become a very confusing opening if there is too much action or too many people. The trick then is to begin a moment before the action or a moment following the action.
Sometimes writers think a cute or exciting first sentence or paragraph is what will catch the reader's attention. It will but only if the action continues or the cleverness follows along.
I often start a book more than once until I find the right opening scene. A cast in point is my current project, The Dragons of Fyre. My first attempt began with the hero escaping from slavery and traveling through a mountain tunnel to reach his home. A sort of exciting moment, but then nothing was to happen for a year. I could have used this as a prologue but I sort of don't like prologues. I think I've written maybe one or two in the nearly thirty books I've written. So I began again, this time with the heroine. That read well until my critique group thought the villain was the hero. Not a good idea. So once again, I tore up the pages and began for a third time. This was from the hero's viewpoint. A better start but I got involved in the writer's need to know cycle and threw in too much backstory. I tore up the first three pages of the scene and wrote them over and with some tweaking, the beginning works and reads the way I wanted.

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm the same way. I get an idea first. After I start writing, the character develops, sometimes in ways I don't suspect. All of a sudden the character is driving the plot along.
Morgan Mandel