Thursday, August 12, 2010

And So It Starts

I am swimming in unknown waters. . . And I like it. Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my previous post about editing. After reading what everyone had to say, I put my book down for about a week and then I picked it back up with fresher eyes. I started reading it and. . . . Yickes! Did I write something so terrible? The delete key was most often used in my editing process. I ended up changing most of the opening scene. The action of the scene remained the same, but the wording was changed. I learned that editing is a lot easier and more fun then writing the actual book.

I also found myself changing the hero’s name. Looking back at it, Nathan Hill came off as a farmer’s name. Nathanial Thrillson works a lot better. What do you think? Which name works better for an inner-city cop who’s running from his own past?

For me, the first sentence and the first paragraph are very important. If they don’t grab my attention, I will not be inspired to read on. Here’s my first paragraph. Did it get your attention?

Her heart took a final beat and plummeted to her heals. After all of those years, Jordan Powell still recognized him. No, she thought and shook her head, hoping to death that it wasn’t him. He had to be a look-a-like with the same sexy face and chocolate bedroom eyes. Maybe it was the hot sun shining in her eyes. The man she remembered had jet black hair, and this one had a shaved head which gave her the impression of danger and seduction. Her memory also didn’t conjure up a six pack like the one she saw now. This man was running shirtless and his body was all tanned skin and sleek muscles.


  1. Hi Lia,
    Well, as much as I want to give you a thorough feedback here, I can't because I don't know the genre of your book. Believe me, it does make a difference knowing the genre. Is this the opening paragraph of the book? If it is, be careful with "final beat", it cannot be final if she's still alive. I thought she was on her deathbed, wounded, or about to commit suicide. But after reading the next sentence, I realized you meant to say her stomach turned when she saw this man again. Did I get it right? It's difficult to say just from this short paragraph. I hope this helps. I wish I could give you a more thorough feedback.
    Keep up the editing energy!
    P.S. If you need help, just holler ;)

  2. Claudia is right about genre. The last beat of the heart sounds clinical rather than literary.

    Also, I think you meant it fell to her 'heels', not heals. since beat is the last noun, you are saying the beat fell to her heels. You might want to forego this first sentence.

    One more thought. This paragraph is all exposition 'introducing' the characters. Most hooks (there are no absolutes) should grab attention with a moment that incites the coming action.

    Ask yourself what is so important about this man. Where is the conflict? If this woman hasn't seen him in so many years, what startles her so much now?

    Imagine yourself as the heroine. You run into a guy you haven't seen in ages. Are you going to go gaga about his looks, or are you going to wonder where he's been? Most people pick up on what is 'different' about the person they knew, not what is the same.

    If it's a chance encounter, amp up the tension by including something that grabs the reader. Jogging isn't enough. Her seeing someone from her past isn't enough. Show us what's at stake.

    PS I like Nathan Hill, or maybe Nate Hill.

    Thrillson sounds a little ott.

    Hope some of this helps.

  3. Hi Lia,

    I like that you begin the opening with tension.

    Final beat, though, sounds like she's dying? Not sure if that's your intent. I like Nathaniel or Nate better than Nathan. Has a stronger connotation, IMO.

    Keep going! :-)

  4. Thank you so much for your comments ladies. I’m sorry I forgot to mention the genre of the book (I thought I did. Oops.) It’s a contemporary romance. Also, you all had interesting points about the opening paragraph. I hated the original one I wrote, and the re-write was an improvement but I still didn’t like it. That’s why I put it out there to see if anyone could pin-point what’s wrong with it. I’m going to re-write that from scratch. Thanks so much for your input ladies.

  5. Hi Lia, I wanted to let you know that I awarded you the One Lovely Blog award. If you accept, you can pick it up here...

    Have a beautiful Sunday! I hope the editing/writing is moving along for you.