Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chapter One JESS

You'd think there would be only so many times you could rewrite Chapter One and stare at it and go stomping around the house and come back and save it as a doc and put it away and start all over again.

You'd think.

I've spent a week doing this.
I think I'm getting closer.

It's all a matter of slipping into VERY deep POV.


Here are some opening lines ...

This was England, so it was raining. Not clean, angry rain that might have done some good washing the street. What she had falling on her was a drizzle like a spoiled child, sullen and persistent and whiny.

or ...

It was London, so it was drizzling. Fog crawled up out of the Thames, smelling of ghosts and bad dreams.

or ...

Jess hated the dark. Worse than rats were likely to come for her if she was out after dark.

And the latest --

Once you get a taste for thievery, you never lose it. Papa mentioned that from time to time, with a little clout to the side of her head so she'd know he was referring to her.

Grumble, grumble, grumble ....

In other news, I took the dog out late last night. It was snowing fluffy wet flakes the size of kittens. We sat and looked at them for a while in the light from the front porch.

Mid April. Whole bunch of surprised plants in my front yard.

10 comments:

  1. Cathy (from Beau Monde)1:45 PM

    The former mentoree sets out to help the mentor-- probably silly stuff on my part, but here's what I like and why:

    "This was England, so it was raining. Not clean, angry rain that might have done some good washing the street. What she[Jess] had falling on her was a drizzle like a spoiled child, sullen and persistent and whiny."

    It sets the scene and the mood. It begs questions--why is she outside? Is she alone? What is wrong with her. I know something's wrong with her because the mood you've created tells me that, subconsciously.

    I replaced she with Jess because I've faced this before, where I'm really working in deep POV, so I want to avoid using the name because the hero/heroine wouldn't think that way, BUT, I'm told you have to use it in the first introduction.

    After whiny you go on to answer why Jess is outside, if she's alone, and what's wrong with her... and then unfold the scene in the deep pov, revealing.

    Feel free to ignore my comments.

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  2. Not at all silly. Very useful stuff.

    I do like the poetic and scenic beginnings. (Well ... I wouldn't have tried them out if I didn't like them.)

    But I want to slide into Jess as deep as I can, as soon as I can. It's a problem with the ms ... the first four chapters are largely in the hero POV. So I want to establish strong contact with the reader early and strongly.

    Right now, I'm working with --

    "Once you get a taste for thievery, you never lose it. Papa used to say that, clouting her on the side of the head a little to let her know who he was talking about.

    She missed picking pockets." and etc....

    JoB

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  3. I think these all have nice voice, but I particularly like the last one. Thievery is more interesting than the weather. ;-)

    /Sara E.

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  4. Jo,

    They're all good, but I like the first one and the last one best. The first is very evocative--it's moody and tactile at the same time. You manage to get conflict into a description of the weather--a sign of a truly good writer. It's enough to keep me reading, even without wanting to know what she's doing out in the rain.

    The last one is a good character hook. It gets us interested in Jess right away. It might be your best choice for most readers, and perhaps you can save that wonderful rain description for another spot.

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  5. Hi Beth --

    I'm afraid that first description is going to the 'wonderful phrases burial ground'.

    I will miss it.

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  6. Hi Sara --
    Thievery is more interesting than the weather. ;-)

    I have a feeling you're on to something there. Yes.

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  7. I'm afraid that first description is going to the 'wonderful phrases burial ground'.

    Not burial ground. Vault of Deferred Immortality. After all, waste not, want not. [g]

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  8. Hi Beth --
    You're right, as a matter of fact.
    I managed to sneak it in about 70 words later.

    Pretty much done with the final draft (hah!) of Chapter One.

    On to Chapter Two, which should be easier.
    (again hah!)

    You ...?

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  9. You would ask.

    I'm pulling teeth. Or hoeing out roots. Or treadmilling.

    At least, that's what it feels like.

    I'm also setting up a perimeter guard with bazookas and uzis and piles of sharp rocks to keep the dogs of discouragement at bay.

    So far, I can't tell if it's working.

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  10. As they say,
    you only have to worry about the page in front of you.

    But, of course,
    some folks have more pages in front of them
    to worry about.

    Hang in there.

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