Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Write On: Ready, Set, Go, Face Plant!

Seems like a long time since I’ve given an update, eh? Yeah, funny thing happened…

I was just about ready. I’d compiled my list of prospective agents, and then re-sorted it once I figured out exactly how to categorize my writing. I’d sketched out a query letter (which I’ll talk about some time soon, just can’t even right now). I was just about ready… but not quite.

A bit more research! I told myself. I didn’t want to just be ready – I wanted to be ready. So I started googling the agents at the top of my list. Turns out one of the agencies had a blog. Okay, great. I start reading… and here’s an interesting series: nine posts on story openings to avoid.

I read the first post, and then spend the next 15 minutes kicking furniture and cursing up a storm because of course that’s exactly how I opened my story. 

The agent is absolutely correct: While I poured my heart and soul into creating a striking, brooding image of a lonely young lady reaching the top of a hill as the sun set on an icy winter day, nothing is actually happening – and that’s the problem. All that ruminating is great for conveying exposition, but it also means I wasn’t starting at the true start of the story. It’s the literary equivalent of a movie that opens with endless voice over or text scroll. Boooooring!

So I had to throw on the brakes and reconsider my opening. It took some time, but I found the starting point I needed. In case you’re wondering, it looks a bit like this:

I guess it could have been worse: I could have opened with #8.

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