Today I talk about those edits most likely to affect the start of your book -- things like Point of View, slow beginnings, and back story. In Part Two, we go into pacing of the scenes and dialogue versus narrative. Then in Part Three, we talk about the plot of your book itself, as well as conflict.
For those who visit here on Straight From Hel, I’m giving you an extra, two examples of possible openings for the same book. Here’s the first version:
Birds, squirrels, frogs, and rabbits shared the woods with me. There was nothing to fear, except the occasional snake. I sat on one once. Or more accurately, I plopped down on a rock, only to find a snake crawling out from underneath. Frozen, I watched it slither across bare toes like a cool water current.And the second version:
Mama knew everything and could kiss away scrapes and bruises, but the summer of my twelfth year, I learned Mama could be wrong.I like the first version, but feel the second is better. It's immediate, not backstory, and it sets the tone of the book. Plus, right away, you meet two characters, Mama and Rose (notice Rose is the point of view character).
“Rose! You get yourself back up here, hon. There’s snakes in those woods,” Mama yelled through the backdoor screen. “And that red clay, you can’t get Georgia clay out of clothes. Play in the front yard where there’s grass.”
Unlike Mama, I know the hardest thing to get out of clothes is not red clay. It’s blood.
You’re welcome to comment here or share examples from your own work. You can also stop by The Blood-Red Pencil and ask questions or leave words of wisdom for your fellow writers.