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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

From last night's post I learned my first chapter is nowhere near ready for prime time. I'm seriously considering cutting the whole thing and opening with the current chapter two. There are pros and cons to this idea, but it's feasible.

Thank you for all the feedback and advice. I'm grateful that I have readers who are willing to tell me when I'm doing it wrong. If you weren't here goodness only knows what kind of trouble I'd get into!

If I lose chapter one the new opening will look something like this:

Alabama spring heat blasted Sam’s face as she opened the door. One hundred percent humidity and ninety degree heat. Just trudging across the parking lot to the morgue left her sweat-damp shirt clinging to her like a bad boyfriend.

A ticking was the only warning she had before sprinklers turned on full blast. Black hair dripped into her eyes, so much for trying to curl it. Tomorrow she’d sleep in the extra hour.

The morgue door was warm to the touch, by noon it would be hot enough to burn flesh. She nudged the door open and walked into the freezer chill air with the aftertaste of antiseptic death. Sam tugged her hair loose, spun it around, and tied it back in a bun as she kicked the door shut.

Poised and professional was more than she could manage down here. Mother Mary, what she wouldn’t give to be back in Toronto!


  1. I like this opening better.

    Your other opening felt too much like it couldn't decide if it was a mystery or a romance novel. Not to mention leaving me wondering why she had closed her eyes after the chime rang.

    The question that comes into my mind here is what is she tugging her hair loose from? I could understand pulling it from her shirt and neck but it sounds more like it got trapped under her shirt where it has to be tugged loose.

    Perhaps this is a difference in the manner of speech between you and me. :) Like using freezer chill instead of freezing cold.

    Aside from that, a strong opening giving some insight into Sam's personality already.

  2. head -> desk

    I've read that so many times and never noticed the "freezer cold" line. It should be "freezing cold" and that's why this is called an editing draft, not a finished novel.

    I can fix this. I can. I can. I can.

  3. *laughs* That's why you have proof readers. :)

    *puts a soft pillow between your head and the desk*

  4. Hey Liana! I also like this opening better than the other one. (Just went back and read it.) I noticed a couple things that might need a second look. First, and I could be wrong about this, but doesn't 100% humidity only happen when it rains? Again... I could be totally wrong.

    I was also a little confused about the sprinklers. She's walking across a parking lot, and then there are sprinklers turning on. Are they watering the asphalt? How did she find herself close enough to a sprinkler to get that wet? They aren't usually placed somewhere where people will get soaked.

    Again, I do like it better than the other one!

  5. I got the impression that she was walking along the edge of the parking lot with the sprinklers on the grass nearby. Obviously, the person who placed the sprinklers had set them too close to the edge instead of a fair distance away. Happens a lot around here.

  6. I think this is a more compelling opening to the novel. There is something that rubs me the wrong way opening with a morning routine or routine disrupted.
    Starting more into the action gives a more immediate feel.

  7. I pictured a strip of grass between the morgue and the main building. I have a map!

    Now I need to get it on paper. Er... computer...you know what I mean. :o)