Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#WipMarathon Intro

I've joined up with a group of writers running a writing marathon during the month of August. I love writing with others because it keeps me motivated.

So each week, we are instructed to post a "this is where I am" post. There's a certain format we have to follow and this is my first one:

Marathon Goal for the month:

I've targeted my goal at 80,000. I'm using the Book in a Month guide. I plan to take Saturday's and Sunday's off. This means I need 4,000 each day.

Stage of Writing:

This will be 1st draft of a historical fantasy. No title yet. Only an idea, character and a very rough outline.

What inspired this WIP:

A my family tree. I've heard and gathered so many fascinating things about my family and ancestors and some of the things I've stood in amazement thinking about them! This one involves my Indian blood line. She was a Cherokee princess and I'm writing her story. Obviously with a little make believe. Kinda.

What might slow me down:

Two things.
1. My daughter will give birth to my FIRST grand baby!
2. School starts and I home school, so August is always a hard month. Call me crazy, I know.
3. Just for good measure, my wips from Camp NaNo are going into revisions and edits, so this will be a busy month!

Thanks, and I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts:)

Have You Scene It? Workshop 4

I'm so thrilled to have a guest post to day by REUTS Editor Kisa Whipkey!! Not only is she offering to to help out with the workshop, she'll be critiquing scenes, answering questions, and participating in the pitch opportunity next week!! So without further ado, take it away, Kisa!
****

First, I'd like to thank Talynn for hosting this wonderful workshop and for inviting me to help explain the inner workings of crafting a powerful scene.

Today's lesson is Conflict & Tension.

Thanks to the previous lessons, you've now got a scene that deftly describes the setting, has a reason for existing and is grounded by character motivations. But none of that is especially exciting, is it? Essential, yes. Gripping, page-turning excitement? No. For that, you need conflict and tension.

What is conflict? Anything that stands between your character and achieving their goal. It can be large-scale, driving the entire story, or it can be small, affecting just a scene or two. It can be external, (Man vs. Villain/Antagonist, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. The World), or internal (Man vs. Himself). The point is, without it, your story will flat-line. Conflict is the basis for all entertainment, regardless of medium. For whatever reason, we humans are hard-wired to enjoy it. Just look at reality TV. Its entire existence depends on conflict, and audiences eat it up like a dieting person mows down on forbidden cake.

Alright, let's move on to the example. This is the opening scene to one of my short stories, meant to establish the world, character, and of course, the conflict. See if you can identify what that conflict is.

---------

The sharp raps of the scepter against the Judgment Stone may as well have been the sounds of an executioner’s crossbow; it sealed Amyli’s fate with the same finality. She didn’t want to be one of the Kindred, had never wanted to be one.  Her family had forced her to endure the training required of those chosen to interpret the will of the deities. All she had ever wanted was to wander like the many wolf packs, free and wild. Of course, that would have been impossible in any event, for even if she had not been inducted into the Order of the Kindred, there was no escaping the chains that bound her simply as an accident of birth. A princess was never free.

---------

Did you find the conflict? Hint, it's internal. Amyli is being forced to do something she doesn't want to by events out of her control, but the conflict is between her desire to be free and her responsibility to her family and kingdom.

Now, this scene does clearly identify the conflict, but it's also ineffective in making that conflict resonate with readers. Do you care that Amyli doesn't get what she wants? That's she's being forced into a life she hates? Not really. Heck, I don't even care, and she's my character! How do you get readers to care? Well, for starters, don't tell them the conflict like I did. Show it to them by adding tension.

Tension is created by prolonging the resolution of the conflict, building up the anticipation of what's going to happen, hinting that stuff's about to hit the fan. Conflict is what readers thrive on, but tension is what keeps them riveted, dying to know what's going to happen next. It pulls from a similar place as emotional empathy and when done well, is the difference between a reader being fully immersed in your story and merely passing time with it while they wait for the dentist.

So, let's take another look at the scene above but now rewritten to include tension.

---------

“Amyli Farenscal!”

The sharp rap of the scepter against the Judgement Stone pierced her like the bolt from an executioner’s crossbow. Silence descended like snowflakes as all eyes turned to her. She could see their awe radiating. Their whispered voices slithered around the room, discussing her fate with a joy she didn’t feel.

She was lucky, they said. One of the chosen.

Disappointment shackled her as she stood, her freedom bleeding from her with every step she took. She had known it was naive to hope the gods wouldn’t choose her, that they would prefer a candidate who actually revered them over one who barely believed they existed; someone devout who hadn’t spent the majority of their training confined in solitary prayer as punishment for multiple escape attempts. But she’d been wrong. Of course, they had chosen her.


As the space between her and the dais at the front of the hall shrank, the Kindred seemed to elongate, looming over her in their multi-hued robes like sinister goblins.
She froze at the bottom of the stairs, the overwhelming urge to flee scratching at the soles of her feet. Her breathing constricted as panic clenched its fingers around her heart.

She couldn’t do this. She didn’t want to be a Kindred, slave to whatever fickle deity they had assigned her to.

She had to run.


---------

Did you feel the difference? You don't get the same level of back-story that you did in the first version, (thankfully!) but you can feel her conflicted emotions, feel the tension mounting toward one question-- what's she going to do? That sense of mystery is what will drive a reader to keep reading, and by showing them the conflict instead of simply telling it, you'll manage to engage their empathy as well. Emotional resonance should be the goal of any writer, whether it be in the entire book or a single scene. Conflict and tension are just one more set of tools to help you do that.

Alright, your turn. Take the scene you've been working on all week and see if you can identify its conflict. If you don't have one, find one. Take whatever goal you created and stick an obstacle between it and your character. Once you've got that, add in some tension. If your obstacle is too easily overcome, your conflict won't resonate. Create mystery around the conflict's resolution, prolong the anticipation and really make us feel it. Happy writing!

Bio:

Kisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author and Senior Editor of REUTS Publications. To date, she has published three short stories and is currently working on several novel length projects when she can pull herself away from her TV addiction. You can find her snarky commentary on all things storytelling at www.kisawhipkey.com or connect with her on Twitter: @kisawhipkey. To learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit their official website: www.reuts.com

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Have You Scene It Workshop 3

I can't believe we are already on workshop three! Hey beautiful guys and dolls! How's it going on your scene writing? Have you scene it yet?

Today, I'm discussing MOTIVATION. So far, we've established the setting of your scene and goal of your scene. What motivates your character to accomplish the goal? why do they want to accomplish that goal?

**Note: I realize a scene is generally longer than one paragraph. It can be several pages of a manuscript, I know. But for the sake of the workshop and trying to keep classes short, I've limited my examples to a few lines.

Motivation is just as important as goal setting. Just like after you've read something and asked yourself, "What was the purpose of that?" you can do the same and ask, "Why did he do that?" It can be a subtle mention, which is usually the best method for weaving in motivation. You don't always have to spell it out:

"I want revenge because he cheated on me!" Obviously, the mc was hurt and seeks payback. But you can create a small detail that will satisfy your reader without being so bold and telling the motivation. Showing is always better.

Here's my example paragraph, but I've added Jasmine's reasoning behind her goal of getting Troy to stay:

The high noon sun bounced off the water and blinded my eyes. Even slathered with sunscreen, my shoulders burned as I laid my towel over the sun-baked wood. I traced the embroidered letters, Jasmine loves Troy, with my fingers. A boat sped by the dock, splashing water all over my feet. Rhonda and Carla squealed with me, but it felt so refreshing I thought about jumping back in for another swim. I didn't want the day to end. It was my last chance to change Troy's mind about leaving. School was so far away and Natalie was attending the same college.

Oooo. Is it love, fear, or jealousy? hmmm.

Your turn! Check the motivation of your MC and make sure it's evident along each scene goal. You can do it. I have faith in you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Have You Scene It? Workshop 2

Hey beautiful guys and dolls! I hope our weekend was wonderful:) To add to everything else, I spent yesterday in bed and so far this morning, I wish I could crawl back under the covers! I don't take to being sick very well...

So, today, let's get right to the lesson. We're talking MC goals today, and how important it is to make sure you have a goal for every scene.

Now, it's not always about life or death. Goals drive the story forward. Have you ever read a story and been like, "What the point? Why?" If so, it's because the author had no driving goal for the MC.

I'm not talking about the large picture goal. I'm talking the scene by scene goal. There should be one in every scene.

Every one of them.

Whether it's to find a missing book, wanting to look well dressed,needing to relax for the night, make dinner, go for a walk, sign on a new client, WHATEVER. There needs to be a goal.

Let's take our established scene, and add a goal for my MC. By the way, does the reader even know who the MC is? My guess is no. And while this isn't directly related to goal setting, it does touch the outlines because how can you establish a goal for someone who invisible?

Original scene (with setting added)

The high noon sun bounced off the water and blinded my eyes. Even slathered with sunscreen, my shoulders burned as I laid my towel over the sun-baked wood. A boat sped by the dock, splashing water all over my feet. Rhonda and Carla squealed with me, but it felt so refreshing I thought about jumping back in for another swim.

I'm going to add a very simple goal and add my MC's name:

The high noon sun bounced off the water and blinded my eyes. Even slathered with sunscreen, my shoulders burned as I laid my towel over the sun-baked wood. I traced the embroidered letters, Jasmine loves Troy, with my fingers. A boat sped by the dock, splashing water all over my feet. Rhonda and Carla squealed with me, but it felt so refreshing I thought about jumping back in for another swim. I didn't want the day to end. It was my last chance to change Troy's mind about leaving.

I know this paragraph isn't perfect. I see a lot of things that need to be edited. Remember, I'm taking one thing at a time, hoping to get it polished and shiny by the end of the workshop.
 

Your assignment for today is:

Take chapter one, read each scene and make sure you have a goal clearly outlined and clearly evidenced for the reader.

What did you find? Does your MC need a goal?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's post

Hey all:)

I'm taking today and this weekend off.
A very, VERY dear, sweet, and close friend of my family passed away this week.
And we just got word that his wife's brother, (whom I love like a mother) died last night.

So she is dealing with the death of her husband and her brother.

Enjoy your weekend, my friends, and hold those you love close. You never know when they will be gone.

I will return on Monday, and will have workshop classes every day next week.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Have You Scene It Workshop 1

You have a pretty new idea, and new WIP you're dying to write. But you have no idea where to start.

Hmmm.

Or maybe you've written a chapter or two, or perhaps just a scene or two, and it

F
  a
    l
     l
       s

FLAT.

What to do? How do you "make it better?"

Let's start with an example. I've written a basic scene starter and will walk you through step by step and explain what I add and how I can make it stand out from all the other FLAT ones.


The sun shined brightly down, burning my skin. I was alone for the moment, but Troy promised to return as fast as could. The day had been wonderful. There's no way I could have known it would be the last day my heart beat on it's own. If I had known, I'm sure I would have spent it the same exact way, with Troy and my best friends, and my family.


Now, what can you tell me about this scene, just from what's written? I know, I know. It's not a full scene. It's only a paragraph. But you should never write even just a word that isn't needed or adds depth to your story. And writing an entire paragraph just for the sake of space is definitely a no-no! Every word.
Every sentence.
Every paragraph.
Needs purpose.

Whether you are sneaking in setting, time, plot, character development, or an awesome twist or surprise, every word needs to count, pushing the reader further into the story.

So, what do you know about my story from the above paragraph? Very little I'm sure. Let's start with

Character:

1. Hmm, we know the character is possible sick, but not for sure. All we know is the person dies soon.
2. We also can assume the person was happy with how they spent the day.
3. Some guy named Troy was important enough to be named. Is the MC? hmmm...

Goal and/or Motivation:

Nada. Well, it could be she wants to enjoy the day. Create memories.

Plot:

1. There's the dying fact. and that's about it.

Setting:

There's sunshine. So maybe she's outside?

Now, obviously, in only a few sentences, there's no way I cover everything needed to developed a good scene. Today, I'll cover one thing: the SETTING.

Setting can be one of the hardest things to describe in a scene, without writing a boring list of features. Such as,

It was hot. The grass needed to be cut. The trees drooped with dead leaves. the water was stagnant.

We can do better than that, right????

In my sample paragraph above, my MC is a girl, she's spent the day at the lake with her family and friends and her boyfriend. They had a picnic on a ski boat and now she is laying out in the sun on the boat dock with her two friends, waiting on her boyfriend to return with some cold drinks from the cooler. (any red flags about what I wrote, and what I actually had in mind??)

Did you get any of that from what I wrote? ha! probably not:) How can I add detail to the scene? Details about the setting?

I could mention something about the dock.
What about saying "lake" or "boat?"
They are drying off in the sun, working on a tan. I can mention that.

Let's try again...

The high noon sun bounced off the water and blinded my eyes. Even slathered with sunscreen, my shoulders burned as I laid my towel over the sun-baked wood. A boat sped by the dock, splashing water all over my feet. Rhonda and Carla squealed with me, but it felt so refreshing I thought about jumping back in for another swim.

I thing the setting is a whole lot better grounded in the example. What do you think?

You assignment: Take a paragraph or two and work in some subtle setting words. Let the reader know where your character is so they can become immersed in the story, too.










Monday, July 22, 2013

Mixed Ink Monday: Have You Scene It?

Thank you, Flickr Commons!
Hey all you beautiful guys and dolls! It's finally here! The Scene writing workshop:)

Today, I'm posting what you can expect during the workshop and what I have planned during the workshop.

There are two things that make a book: Scenes and sequels. If you know how to construct a good scene and write a satisfying, engaging sequel, then you've mastered writing a book. Because that's the secret to writing a page turning keeper.

We'll be discussing:

1. Setting the scene
2. Goal of the scene
3. Motivation of the scene
4. Conflict and tension
5. Emotion in the scene
6. Decision and action

We'll also look at how to plan a better scene and it's sequel, how to write each of them, and how to use them together to write the next scene. You may feel like your scene is dark and flat. Don't worry! If this is the way you see your scene, have no fear. Help is right on the other side of the dark room. Can you hear it calling out to you?

There will be expert help from published writers, tips from agents and editors, and guest posts from literary interns and fabulous writers who really know their craft.

We have a 5 minute mentorship program. What's this, you ask? It's an opportunity for YOU to have your scene evaluated by an editor, agent, agent intern or published author. These wonderful people have agreed to to read through your scene and offer their advice on improving it! But keep in mind, it's called a 5 minute mentorship because its only a quick glance and advice on the first thing that catches their eye and what they think will improve it:)

And yes, we'll end with a pitch opportunity.

The workshop will begin on Wednesday, July 24th.

Any questions? Ask in the comments below!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Celebrate The Small Things Blog Hop

Hey everyone! I'm sorry I missed last week. I was traveling home from visiting my daughter. But I will be heading back that way very soon. the doctors have told here to expect an early delivery! She's 3 1/2 weeks from her due date, so any day now!!

Second, I'm ready for the workshop I promised a few weeks back. with my car accident and then my teenage daughter's car accident, it's been a very stressful month and I've just not had the time to spend blogging. So... on Monday's Mixed Ink, HAVE YOU SCENE IT workshop will begin. I will post the schedule of events and the classes we will have. I'm so excited!!

There will be prizes and surprises and AGENTS!!

You coming?
See you there:)

And don't forget to visit all the other wonderful blogs in the hop. It's nice to celebrate the small the things.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday's WIP

Hello everyone! We apologize for our semi-absence! Talynn and I have been very busy with life the last few weeks, but we’re back now and ready to go.

 

On today’s WIP Wednesday, I’m curious to know how you all go about starting a new project. Since finishing the first round of revisions on GYRE and now playing the waiting game on a few different levels, I’ve found myself at a standstill. Do I really want to start GYRE’s sequel, or should I start a new project?

 

I let my ideas run wild, and now have a first chapter to three new stories written with no idea on how to proceed on any of them. When I start a new idea, I either write until I can’t write anymore and then take a step back; or I write a query blurb for it and take notes. Sometimes I’ll make a Pinterest board for it, too. I’ve done all those things, and now I’m stuck!


So, you beautiful readers, how do you proceed after that nugget of an idea is born? How do you keep yourself from getting stuck? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a hybrid? Share all of your secrets :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

How much more to celebrate than the freedom of living? You may not celebrate the 4th of July, but you can celebrate the fact you are alive and well.

So celebrate today. celebrate life and love and liberty!

Have a GREAT weekend you beautiful guys and dolls! I'm so glad you are faithful to visit my blog:)

Make sure you stop by Vikki's blog, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, and say thanks for hosting this awesome blog hop:)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What I Learned From Revising GYRE

Hey all :) It's Jess. For the last month or so (ha! more like four!) I've been working real hard on revising my 2012 NaNo GYRE. And oh boy was that a mess that was-- still kind of is. So, without further adieu, here are the things I learned from revising GYRE:


1.) I cannot rely on fluff during NaNoWriMo anymore. I think I cut out 10k of just FLUFF. Extra words, writing Sea Satellite 5 instead of SeaSat5, etc, etc. It's a waste of time and only leaves you with a mess of a novel after November.


2.) SHOW!!! Just.... do it. Don't tell. SHOW. I still haven't gotten it down but oh man did I fix alot thanks to Talynn here.


3.) Which leads me to certainly the most important thing I've learned: CHERISH YOUR CRITIQUE PARTNERS. They are life-savers, miracle-workers, shoulders to cry on, your cheerleading squad, brainstorming buddy, and above all, good friend. Shower them in virtual cookies, and then return the favor they gave to you. So, THANK YOU, TALYNN, for all my rambles, rants, telling, plotline issues, and major indecisiveness. You lit a fire under me when I needed it (Pitcharama) and cheered me across the revising finish line. YOU ROCK, my dear, you simply rock.

 


I'd like to say the journey is far from over, but the truth is, revising GYRE was only the first round of edits-- a small victory in a long journey. But it is done, and now it's time to relax with some books that are not my own, starting with:Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.


Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ISWG July WIP'ed Ink Wednesday

Happy 4th of July you beautiful guys and dolls!! Hope your week is going well and your holiday is red, white, and blue! If you live in the USA, that is. If not, Happy Day, to you!!

I love this time of the month, cause I get to share my thoughts and insecurities.

This month, however, I'm going to talk about a rejection letter that at first, made me sad, but after I read the accompanying critique, I was like WOW!!

See, no one likes rejections. But if a writer takes rejection personally and uses it against their reasons for being a writer, discouragements settles in followed closely by quitting.

Don't get to that point! I'm finally to the point where I know how subjective this business is and rejection is just a fact that I haven't found the RIGHT agent to represent my book. That's all.

So, since today is also WIP'ed Ink day, I thought I'd share my original opening to one of my manuscripts and then show you the notes and suggestions from an AGENT who gave me marvelous advice on how to wip my writing into pretty colors and ink tints!

Original:



Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley. She hated being late, even with the good excuse her alarm failed to go off. The electric outage only affected her apartment complex. Just her luck. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal conditions, Kallie wouldn’t take the ally. But it was the quickest way to get to the school, where she worked as a tutor.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible. She hated wet shoes. Today, she was wearing her new hiking boots. As soon as she finished working, she planned to hike down by the lake. That is, if the rain didn’t keep her away. Thunder boomed off in the distance.
“I guess the storm will linger over through today,” she said. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms. The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper. From inside her pack, a knife glistened in the beam of her light.

New Version with notes: 

Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley. She hated being late, even with the good excuse her alarm failed to go off[p2] though it wasn’t her fault her alarm didn’t go off. It was just her luck: The electric outage only affected her apartment complex. Just her luck. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal conditionscircumstances, Kallie wouldn’t take the alley. But it was the quickest way to get to the school, where she worked as a tutor. [p3] But these weren’t normal circumstances.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible. She hated wet shoes.  Thunder boomed off in the distance.
“I guess the storm will linger over through today,” she said. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms. The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper. From inside her pack, a knife glistened in the beam of her light. (see note below...)


 This is a great line. What would be fantastic is to open with this line – almost like the opening line of Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (which is: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”) Bringing this to the front will hook readers right away because it creates so many questions: Why is there a knife in the backpack? What happened? What might happen? Etc.


 New Version:

Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley, a backpack slung over her shoulder. From inside her pack, a knife glistened. She hated being late, but it was her lot in life. She was always late, no matter how hard she tried to be on time. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal circumstances, Kallie wouldn’t take the alley. But these weren't normal circumstances.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible.  Thunder boomed off in the distance. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms
The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper.

 My opinion:
 This still needs work. I feel like it is jumpy and choppy. So, it's back to revision cave I go...

Thanks for stopping by today!
What are you struggling with as a writer?
Visit Alex's blog for more writers in the group! Be sure and visit at least 12 new blogs today:)




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bloglovin!!

I signed up today~ Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tinted Ink Tuesday

I'm so super excited for today's blog post! It's short and fun, but oh so AMAZING! Go ahead. Gawk over it, cause it is so worth it! The cover alone will make you want to read this, but if if for sme reason you need more inspiration, check out the book trailer:)

THE APOLLO ACADEMY by Kimberly P. Chase
Launches: 8.6.13



Cover Art by Cliff Nielsen

ABOUT: As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wantsóclothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.

Early praise for The Apollo Academy:
"I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!" -Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of LOSING IT.

ìExquisite worldbuilding, thrilling suspense, and a sexy flight instructor! Chaseís exciting debut novel is one you donít want to miss.î - K.A.Tucker, Author of Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie
Add The Apollo Academy to your GoodReads Shelf!

AND WE'RE ALSO REVEALING THE BOOK TRAILER! 
About the author:

Kimberly P. Chase holds a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which basically means she's kind of a geek and loves flying airplanes. Naturally, her books tend to include aviation, hot flight instructors, aviator glasses, andólet's not forgetókissing! When Kimberly's not writing or reading, she's hanging out with her husband, four-year-old son, and two dogs



WAIT! THERE'S EVEN MORE AWESOME....AN APOLLO ACADEMY SWAG BAG IS UP FOR GRABS! ENTER BELOW:

a Rafflecopter giveaway And don't forget to sign up for some swag freebie!! Go on. Do it now before you forget!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Mixed Ink Monday

Oh for inspiration and the time and ability to just sit down and write...

I love it when a story is just "there" and all I need to do it is move my fingers and it writes itself. How fun!

That kind of writing usually begins with a killer first line. And while your first line doesn't have to be the best one ever written, it needs to have a wow factor, a reason for the reader to keep reading. It should be interesting and intriguing. The second line should tempt you to read the third line and that leads tot he fourth...until you are knee deep in the mystery, the romance, the thrill, the scare, whatever, until you can't put the book down.

But there is a disadvantage to making the shock and thrill of the first couple sentences show off like fireworks. Don't you hate it when a read a book that starts with awesomeness, followed by a quieter 2nd line, and even milder 3rd line?

It all falls back to that fantastic, perfect first line. Which leads me to ask, "Why write an amazing firt line just for the sake of having that "wow" first line, if it's going to be followed by a disconnected first paragraph, which is the real beginning of the story?

I've heard is told you can't write the perfect first sentence until you've written the ending of the story.

Because it's not until you completed the story that the characters are all well-rounded and developed, you plot lines have all the wrinkles ironed out, and you know your story like the back of your hand. Once you are to that time, you can write a first line that not only intrigues, but also subtly foreshadows AND begins with something that fits with the story and is totally unique.

So if you are grappling with your first line and think you don't have it perfect, stop fretting and just write. After you've written the ten chapters, go back to that first line and think about how the story has progressed. If you changed it, would it make the beginning better? If not, keep writing.

Your first line is not written in stone. You can change it later.