With my first novel, I rewrote the opening soooo many times. It's because my story kept changing. I was a pantser, and didn't have anything outlined. So I ended up wasting so much time redoing parts of the story I had previously polished and perfected. Over and over and over again.
I've learned my lesson.
This time around, with the advice of a dear friend, I vomited my whole WIP out from start to finish. No more wasting time rewriting. I know how it needs to start and that is that. (You can read that beginning here)
I wanted to do a post on beginnings because I find my whole first experience PRETTY COMICAL. I'm going to paste three different openings that my first novel displayed at one time or another. And I don't mind if you laugh because, yes, each of them could be completely different stories.
Here's take one of my first draft:
I’ve always known someone was watching me. At least I was pretty sure someone was watching me.
Let me explain.
I’m crazy. Not crazy in the sense that I do wild, foolish, idiotic things. Crazy in that I’m mad, insane. I hear voices and see things. Things I know shouldn’t exist. Or should they? It’s hard to tell when you’re delusional.
Okay, ready for take two?
I heard my name spoken over the hum of the car. I glanced to Ricki, who was on her phone, texting. My eyebrows pulled together as I continued driving.
Clara… the voice whispered again. My heart accelerated and the steering wheel became slick beneath my palms. I checked the rear-view mirror. A semi-truck followed behind, not tailgating, but closer than I wanted. I looked out the open window. Was the voice coming from outside?
Blinding white light suddenly flashed into my vision, searing through my mind like a hot blade. I screamed, clutching my head, feeling as if my eyeballs were about to burst.
My footsteps pounded down the sidewalk, urgent. I didn’t have much time. The storm would be here any minute. I darted around the busy shoppers and dashed into the restaurant where Mom worked, panic gripping my throat. Mom was behind the bar, wiping the counter.
“Mom!” I yelled.
The sea of customers didn’t flinch. They ignored me, like always, their eyes passing through me as if I were a pane of glass.
You’re not going to make it.
I felt my mouth quirk up to one side. “Wanna bet?”
I pushed my way through the crowd, grateful for the presence of his voice. The feel of him inside my head was like chocolate. Smooth, comforting.
It isn’t safe for you to be out. There’s nothing you can do for your mother.
Gritting my teeth, I shook my head. I had lost Dad to the storm and wasn’t going to lose Mom too.
I dug my fingers into Mom’s shoulder and forced her toward me. The usual look of confusion traveled over her face before a hint of recognition hit.
“Clara, what are you doing here?”
“No time to talk.” I dragged her from the restaurant like a mad bulldozer, ready to flatten anything in my path.
It’s here, he said. Clara, you need to run.
I peeked over my shoulder and stumbled. The familiar dark cloud moved toward us, gliding down the street like poison. Crap. We were too late. I shoved Mom into the car, the hair on top of my head crawling. Within seconds, we were immersed in the dark fog, the chaos churning, curling along the windshield. My heart sped and the steering wheel became slick beneath my palms. Outside, people came to a chilling halt. Faces slackened and eyes went blank.
***Funny, huh? (it's also fun to see that I think my writing has improved since these drafts)
I've come across several writers that believe beginnings should be written last. I guess it depends on how you work. What about you? What do you do? Is there some secret that the rest of the writing community is hiding from me? *winks*
Red. Head. Out. :D