Okay, so I finished my manuscript. It's a paranormal romance bordering more on romantic suspense with a cozy mystery feel. And I love it. It's fast-paced, action-packed and I'm connected with my characters. Mostly. As I revisited my scoresheets for the SFARWA Heart-to-Heart contest, I started wondering if my beginning was as strong as I thought it was when I wrote it. So I went back and took yet another look.
I thought there was a saying somewhere about not looking back? Yeah, that one must not be geared for writers. Close your ears and type away anyway.
My opening scene still grabs me even after a million looks at it. I've gotten praise for its descriptions and the strength of the characters. Good stuff. Then comes the scene that follows. The one that's suppose to keep the action-ball rolling toward Best Selling lists...but it falls short. My heroine is introduced in this scene so its got to be great. Better than that.
My heroine has got to fly off the page, reach the readers face and pinch their cheeks. SHE'S GOT TO LIVE AND BREATHE.
I go back. I delve into her world, her thoughts again. I put her in a "less safe" situation. I challenge her. I challenge myself.
And I think it's better written for it. In fact I know it is. I went through with a fine tooth comb this morning, checking all angles, adding more depth, and that's when something hit me. I didn't need to add the two paragraphs of backstory that'd been staring me in the face on the first, tenth, millionth go-round. They came out in her thoughts, in her actions...naturally. Can you believe it? I didn't force my heroine to wade in her insecurities and expose them to the reader upfront. By challenging her right away, the reader KNOWS her insecurities and fears without her having to reveal them outright.
(Side note: Donald Maass really knows what he's talking about in his book "The Fire in Fiction." If you haven't read it, you should. YOU REALLY SHOULD. It's changed the way I write. Just ask the people who read my first work then compared it to my second. Uh-huh. That bad. Here's the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Fiction-Passion-Purpose-Techniques/dp/158297506X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262457808&sr=8-1)
So anyway, after rewriting my second scene, I think I'm in love with my heroine all over again. My cheeks hurt. And she just keeps pinching away. I think I'll let her.