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For an opening line I think it works. What do you think?
See what coming? Exactly!
The reader is going keep reading to find out, and isn’t that the overarching purpose of the first sentence—to compel the reader to read the second sentence. Etc.
I was going to write a blog piece on “openings.” By examining the first paragraphs of my upcoming book, The Writer in Love, I would assess the effectiveness of my beginning, see if it…
Established a Central Question
Made a promise
Set a trajectory
But that opening line got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. It wanted this blog post all to itself.
I sure didn’t see that coming.
Then it hit me—that line echoed far beyond Page One. So innocently tossed onto the page many months ago, it infected the entire manuscript, becoming a major motif throughout the book.
The cheetah is the first and most obvious thing I didn’t see coming. It approached me from behind and grabbed my hand in its mouth and wouldn’t let to. True story. I didn’t see it coming was the perfect way to establish an essential fact of fiction:
Protagonists never see it coming.
Drama depends on it.
Protagonists don’t see what coming? That which will destroy them. For their own good! It’s amazing how many times we can hear the poets and the mystics say something like this…
“Our body is a ship that sails on deep blue waters. What is our goal? To be shipwrecked!”
And still we complain, “I didn’t see it coming.”
Neither do writers see it coming.
We get in over our heads, trust me. We get excited about creating the kinds of payoffs that give readers their money’s worth. We find ourselves writing about characters whose only way out of Act II is to surrender to the storm, and by that I mean forsake who they’ve always thought they were.
I didn’t see that I was laying a trap for myself by trying to write in depth about such sacred story mechanics. I was in way over my head. I was drowning, myself. I almost quit. I didn’t see that coming, either.
I wrote a scene in which I drown. (That was fun.) I didn’t see that coming, either.
I never expected to take almost two years to write The Writer in Love.
To be honest, I never anticipated becoming a writer. I was going to be a mapmaker.
I never thought I’d have children until I tended my grandfather on his deathbed.
Nor did I imagine my children having children!
I didn’t foresee my website vanishing a few weeks ago. I thought I’d lost everything. I was resigned to starting over, but most of it is resurrected, and with a new design. Look, I’m blogging again!
The cool thing about blogging is you can start with a line like, I didn’t see it coming, and see where it goes. Because we don’t write to explain, we write to find out.
We might equally say that we live to find out.
I’ve found out a lot while writing The Writer in Love. And it all started with this opening scene:
I didn’t hear it coming.
It hadn’t finished devouring the bait when my Bolex ran out of film, so I retreated but slowly, walking away through the elephant grass when it surprised me from behind by clamping down on my hand hard enough to hold me but not break the skin. The growl in its guts, I could feel the vibration in my arm if you can imagine that. And then in my own belly. It’s a funny thing when your life stops suddenly dead in its tracks, it’s not funny at all because there you are for the first time without a future. As for the past, well, it’s your fault—myfault!—I had been carrying the bloody bait in that hand. Of course, the cat could smell it. I could see that now.
For those new to my posts, here is a link to the project I am doing called Inktober. Basically it is to create a drawing with ink every day for the month of October. This little character has shown up in many of my drawings, especially the ones that include my little adventurous mouse.
I seem to be locked out of my hotmail account, which I’ve used in the past for corresponding through the site. If you’re having trouble getting in touch, or you haven’t received a reply, please email email@example.com
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Last night I was late at work after the game, trying to remedy a computer problem. Computers can be the most enjoyable experience, but every once in a while the monster rears its head and it can be one of the least fun experiences!
Happy Saturday. I will post 11 when I get home from work.
A majestic unicorn for today. Created with graphite pencil on Strathmore drawing paper and inked with Micron Pigma Brush Pen in black.
I have been really enjoying the inktober event. Not only seeing everyone else’s contributions, but also for my own creativity. I am not one to usually like to ink, but lately I have found it quite zen. I remember telling my fellow comrades on #Zero2Illo that I really hated inking. When asked to clarify why, I found that I really could not answer except that I just wasn’t experienced enough with it. Now that I have been dabbling ever since, I find inking more and more relaxing than frustrating. Thanks to Inktober, I am able to improve my skills even more.
You probably haven’t noticed but my website vanished into the e-ether for ten days. On the fifth anniversary of my blog!
My brother has been working hard to track it down, talk it down, and convince it to come home.
It appears to be back, but you can never tell for how long. It may escape again before I’ve appeased its wanderlust with promises I might not be able to keep.
Should that happen, it might take off with my subscription email list. In which case I’ve lost track of you. My worst nightmare! If you don’t hear from me for a while, manually log in to http://www.pjreece.caand re-subscribe.
I hope it doesn’t come to that.
I’m sure I can come to some understanding with my blog. I suspect it’s feeling under-employed of late, what with my once-a-month postings. Perhaps that’s the lesson it wanted to teach me.
I’m going to make amends, starting soon with posts of the first few chapters of my new book. It’s almost finished. It’s called The Writer in Love, a hot and sweaty read.
I should add that the heat and stink issues mainly from the jungle river up which my literary expedition travels in search of the story heart. But there’s a little sex as well. You should hear crocodiles mating! Seriously.
Okay, that’s my quickie for today… hope this publishes before the digital house of cards collapses again.
Spent some time in Ireland with my best travelling companion. We stopped to edit the final re-write of Bagger Island and spent a morning of total detachment overlooking the quiet water. What a magical place!
We really enjoyed this tale about various construction vehicles and the job they do. Each vehicle describes their function and then happily sings a song set to the tune of “London Bridge” about their work. At the end they all sing together about how they work as a team to get the job done. Great message for young children about having a positive attitude and teamwork. You can purchase this ebook for $2.99 at Amazon or get it for FREE using Kindle Unlimited which is a new subscription service by Amazon to read up to ten books at a time for a monthly fee of $9.99. They are currently offering free 30-day trials if you want to check it out. As always all of our children’s books are available in the Kindle Unlimited program as well.
**We received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
We are so excited about our next children’s picture book release, Ten Thankful Turkeys. Stay tuned here for more details and promotions we will be doing. You’ll want to gobble up these deals before they disappear.
One of the best things about living in New England is the beautiful autumns here. The leaves are just starting to fall to the ground and the colors are so vibrant. It is just beautiful. Here is my third entry for Inktober. I am all caught up now. Hooray!
Note: Sorry if I spammed anyone on twitter while I was tweaking my feed burner. Hopefully it is all straightened out.
We are so excited to announce the release of our latest children’s book, Ten Thankful Turkeys. This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book. You can get the kindle version of this book for a special launch price of $.99 for a limited time or FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited. We also have paperback versions on sale now at Amazon for $8.99.
Be sure to gobble up this deal before it disappears. :-)
It is raining leaves! – Micron Pigma Brush Pen Black & Graphite pencil
Autumn leaves are falling to the ground here in Western Massachusetts. The fall colors are becoming more and more vibrant. As I walked on campus yesterday, I noticed the leaves coming down, just like rain. Beautiful!
I purchased a black Micron brand Pigma Brush pen. I really loved the feel of it. It is my first time using a brush pen for inking. I love the loose line it allows yet still with the control of a pen. I will be using it again!