Tuesday, October 12, 2010

And in the beginning....

Last week after attending the Emerald City Writer's Conference (sidenote: A barrel of fun but I definitely won't volunteer to coordinate the bookfair again!), I had an idea for a novella. I have the whole thing losely plotted in my head. I know the characters. I know the journey they have to embark on. But I can't figure out where it all begins. Do I begin with the hero entering the city or the temple? Do I begin with the heroine being summoned so that she can set out with the hero? Or do I give the reader a sweeping view of the capital city on the bluff above the sea, setting up the place their story begins?

I love beginnings. I love opening sentences. It's always key for me to nail down that opening sentence and paragraph. I've thought about just skipping that for now and writing some of the other scenes. I already have a few humming around in my head. But it's hard for me to do that. Once that opening is written, I have no problem bebopping around. But I want that opening, that key piece that sets the stage before I can move on.


Sheila said...

Not knowing all of the details involved, I vote for starting with the heroine being summoned. I'm guessing there's at least some conflict involved -- maybe she doesn't want to go, or maybe she just doesn't want to go with him.

Perhaps you could save the sweeping vista for when they depart the city -- might be a good time for the heroine to look back at what (I presume) she's giving up/leaving behind.

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase something I've heard and read in a couple of places: mentally outline the first few chapters (or write the outline, if that helps). Once that is done - the book starts at chapter two (or sometimes chapter three).

This is much what Sheila described. The hero came to the city, saw the sweeping view, and went to the temple. This is all prologue. The story starts with the heroine's summons.