Monday, June 11, 2007

Where to Begin

I've struggled for some time on how to begin Crimson Swarm. It seems there is a lot of opinion on the subject. Some say never start with a dream sequence--never start with an info dump--prologues are frowned upon. As you will see on the link to the left of the 100 Best First Lines, I really like the subject. Therefore I've revised the beginning of my novel several... dozen times.

To make matters worse, from what I've read if you get past the query stage and a potential agent asks to see more, often times they will ask for the first two or three chapters. So you really have to nail the beginning, otherwise they will never see the exciting action of later chapters.

I had this really cool, Cate Blanchett kind of beginning for a while. That's gone. Then I added a prologue, that I felt just had to be there. I'm about to cut that. I completely rewrote the first half of chapter one. So when will I know I've got the beginning I need? Honestly at this point I don't have an answer for you. I'm pretty happy with the first paragraph of the first chapter now, but will I be in two weeks? What do you think?

"His first memory was the smell--a strange mixture of burning lamp oil, cooked meats and vegetables, and something else, something he could not quite put a finger on until later... the smell of death."

If this makes it to the final edit, I'll be surprised.

No comments: