Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beginnings and Endings

I couldn't help myself. I've been working on the crucial last scenes of Shifts of Perception, but the second Brenna book, Bridget's Forge, was too tempting to leave alone. So I worked over the first chapter I'd already written and came up with a different opening, based on some concepts I'd been studying from Les Edgerton's book, Hooked.

It's the typical next-book-in-a-series conundrum: how much backstory can you get away with so as to orient the reader to what's going on and how the character got to where she is right now--without going into so much backstory that the inciting incident is shoved off into Chapter Two? Fortunately, Mr. Edgerton covers all the prerequisites of a good opening chapter in his book. No matter what backstory you might need later, the inciting incident had better be as close to the beginning of the book as possible; given that, whether you're on book two or thirteen shouldn't really matter. A boring opening is a boring opening, full stop. And that's just what the reader will do if you can't hook them right away--stop. Exactly what you don't want to have happen. So I re-worked the opening I had and put the inciting incident much closer to the beginning of the book, and...we'll see.

So I've been working on a beginning and an ending. Two different books, two different worlds, on two sides of the timeline. It may look like a circle, but I think it qualifies as progress.

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