Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Number Fifteen

          Back when I was a member of East Tennessee Romance Writers (a chapter of RWA), I did a workshop on "Great Beginnings."  I bought several books (all fiction) in various genres--mystery, romance, romantic suspense and historical.  Some by famous, time-tested authors, some by newcomers.  We dissected the first three pages of each novel.  It was an education in what not to do.
The worst example opens the scene with a young woman walking up the steps of a typical San Francisco row house to knock on the door of her birth mother for whom she had been searching about ten years.  Instead of concentrating on the inner turmoil and nervousness of this young woman, the author launches into the history of San Francisco row houses.  Three pages later, she gets back to the young woman and her turmoil.
One historical we tore apart began with a love scene.  Okay, I can live with that.  However, the author stops right in the middle and describes the invention of the button and button loop.  Talk about a buzz-killer.
Several years ago, I read Peeling the Onion--avoiding the Too-Much Too-Soon Syndrome by Diana Whitney Hinz.  The basic tenet was don't release too much information too quickly.  Instead, create your hook, the exciting scene that draws readers into your story...THEN, get into the background little by little.
           Example.  "A flash of movement caused the attractive, divorced mother of two to slam on the breaks, sending the vehicle into an uncontrolled slide."

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