I. Thanks for all the kind comments about my review of Starcrossed by Elizabeth Bunce. Seriously, if you like fantasy or YA or both you need to go out and get this book. For a lucky one of you, that won't be necessary because
you have won a free copy. Come on down to the Price Is Right! *cheers!* Please email me your shipping address, friend, and I'll mail the book out to you ASAP.
II. As a (pitiful) consolation prize for the rest of you, here is a bedtime story... a FLASH BACK FRIDAY edition!
Once upon a time there was a blog that didn’t know how to reach out to followers. Faithfully the posts came, but clueless was the author. It’s a good thing the author believes in recycling. Here is her virtual attempt at reusing garbage:
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON SEPT., 19th, 2008
“Good Beginnings or Best Beginnings”
I'm doing a crazy amount of rewriting right now. Sometimes it feels like time well spent, others... not so much. I know editing has a big learning curve, but sometimes I wish I was preprogrammed to know what effective rewriting was. And I suppose like 99.9% of us, the only way to know is to keep at it. Over and over again.
Anyway, with all the rewriting--especially working on the first few chapters--I've been thinking; what makes a great beginning?
I was at my local Barnes and Noble buying a book for a friend when I began reading the design on the shopping bag. Now some of you will know that they are quotes from famous books, but for those of you that have never read them, this is what I saw:
"All children, except one, grow up."
"Call me Ishmael."
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
"Happy families are all alike."
"My purpose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live dearly."
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
There are others printed on the bag and though not all these quotes are at the exact first of the book, they have something in common. They are the first statement that set up the reader expectation. Perhaps some people will not agree, but I think these sentences are the lights that direct the eye to the center stage. They let us know where the book is going and provide something to draw us into the main plot. And these sentences do it so well that it's hard to think of them being expressed any other way.
Now my problem: come up with my own stage spotlight in my rewrites. I have good ones now, but I'm looking for something unforgettable and inevitable, just as these are.
October 1st, 2010 Update: I’m still rewriting (a different book) and asking myself the same questions about beginnings. Perhaps that learning curve was even steeper than I anticipated back then... le sigh…. :)