Tag Archives: opening lines

By Jove, I Think I’ve Got It!

It only took, in the end, five tries and six sessions to write the first sex scene I expect to publish.

I got it from an original ridiculous 5,ooo words to a practical 1869…enough detail to be interesting, not so much as to be tedious. I think. I hope.


Is that…worth celebrating? I simultaneously feel like the scene should have come easier (ha!) and am terrified I’m going to have to re-write it yet again.

Maybe also there is fear that I will have to start Chapter 1 over from the very beginning yet again.

I think I like this version…but I’m also worried there’s a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on with it, or just exhaustion with trying such that I’m settling for the current iteration simply because I am out of patience with it.

I am literally making this face about it, is what I mean:

I think I love my draft?

Which is maybe not the healthiest place to be.

I am just worried about this opening because normally openings come on an inspiration – to be fair, this one has a prologue that did – and I have never really had to sort of search and flail about and test different variations before finding the right thread to start with.

I am worried about having to do it over because I am so fucking sick of it AND because I am really excited to get into the meat of the story, both new scenes that are replacing old inadequate ones (events-wise, I mean, because I dropped a sub-plot) and tweaking extant scenes to better suit the themes I decided were most important after seeing the thing as a whole laid out in Scrivener. I am genuinely excited about the raw material I have to work with, and so ready – so very, very ready – to get to those parts and get this whole into coherent enough shape that I can enjoy reading it. Because it’s a story I’ve been waiting…

**stops for math**

…three and a half years to read! Actually more like 5 years. It’s been three and a half since I started writing it, but I’d had the kernel long before I started writing it out.

Well. Nothing else I can do about it tonight – I’ve shot my load (heh) word-wise and can at least rest easy knowing that I trimmed the inciting sex scene enough that it won’t be more than half my sample, and possibly a good bit less than half of it depending on what the revised final word count is.

Now THAT is a noble cause!


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How Many Times

…can I start the same novel?

Tonight makes four. Maybe it’s the magic bullet. One more and I’ve got a full chamber*, hey-oh!

If nothing else, it’s the first one that is starting in a substantively different place. Maybe I had it all wrong, trying to set the scene and be atmospheric before jumping into the action. That (that is to say, description and physical grounding) has never been my strong suit, so why attempt to lead off that way except that I thought it would make a great artistic pretension? Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and realize – I’m not artist enough to pull that off.

Lily just gotta be Lily, you know?

I don’t know if I’ll be any happier with this start later, but I was at least happy enough with it tonight to bring in the hero’s first point of view section from Chapter 1 (which did not need to change). And I gave myself a clear thesis for what the heroine’s goal and intention is with her actions. I gave up the idea of being able to tell the reader without telling them. Fuck that. I’m not artist enough for that, either. She can say flat-out, “I’m here to ruin his life.” Yup. Go get him, cowgirl. Just, ah, pro tip – make sure you have the right dude, first.

Or don’t. ’Cause if you did, there’d be no story.

339 words later, I have officially written something for the first time in I can’t even conjure how many months, and attempt #4 to (re)write the opening of this fucking novel is underway. Post integration we are up to 1824 of a projected 30K.

Now if only this feeling of empty, broken despair that leaves me barren of all fucks as far as quality is concerned will just stay in place for another (pauses and does math) 17 or so nights….

*my personal piece is a 5-shot revolver. So yeah. Full.


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Isn’t That a Wonderful Beginning?

I’m going to make a terribly self-aggrandizing confession: I love the way I open stories.

I realized this today as I was reading through the 7% or so of the Christmas short that I had written prior to my drop-all-writing-to-sew month. I know a lot of writers struggle with how to begin a story. I don’t. 99% of the time, I start writing a story because the opening pops into my head. I write it down and find myself curious about the story. I want to know more. I must know what happened, how the character came to be there or what happens from there or both. I am an intuitive story-starter, if you will.

I am feeling a little better about the short today. After reading through all thousand or so words I had written, as well as all pertinent discussions in the novel about how this courtship was conducted, I have a little more clarity about where the hero, at least, needs to be on the day everything comes to a head. I already knew the heroine’s emotional process; his was the one that remained elusive.

I am still not quite ready to start writing what happens next. I am still not sure which version of the story is the right one, but at least I have the possibilities narrowed down to basically two thematic choices, and what remains to be done now is to decide which is the more compelling story for this particular hero’s personality. In order to make that decision I had to spend a bit of time reacquainting myself with him, and his dynamic with his bride. Now I just need the peace and quiet of a darkened mind to think through the implications. I am hoping that tomorrow when I get up I will have attained clarity.

For now, I have a wonderful beginning that makes me, at least, want to read more. Now to be sure the rest of the story lives up to it….

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