Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bring Them In

In these busy days before school starts, it is common to see shopping moms with two or three kids in tow. Inevitably, if there's a rack of books nearby, one of the children grabs a book and for minutes, despite the forest of adult legs around him, sits cross legged, flipping the pages. He or she is lost in another world.

How many of us remember as children, creeping off into a corner out of anyone's line of vision and opening a book...for an hour or three. Maybe it's not as frequent in these days of electronic entertainment, but my "survey" shows it's still happening. Writers, you're still needed.

So my task this month is to write and rewrite...and rewrite the first chapter of my manuscript to create the world in which my reader wants to step, and a main character he or she wants to befriend. Like the wardrobe in Lewis' beloved book, I have to make the first paragraph the door (why open it?) and the second paragraph the wardrobe (what's it like in here and do I want to push these coats aside?) and finally make the third paragraph the clincher (I think I'll just step into this cold world for a few minutes...)


  1. Linda:
    I love it! And I'm right there with you. Never underestimate the power of a brilliant beginning.

  2. Love your analogy, Linda. So true, so true.

  3. Well said, Linda. Very well said.

    One question: If the third paragraph is "the clincher," what would you call the fourth through final paragraphs? Anyone care to take a stab?

  4. J.L., I'll take a stab: I think Linda means the third paragraph is the one that should clinch the reader's attention and when that's accomplished, the story can progress.
    Make sense?

  5. Yes, I get that, Gale. I was trying to ask for a (fun) add-on to Linda's list.

    The door
    The wardrobe
    The clincher
    The _______?

  6. J.L.
    Sheesh! I get you now - guess my imagination was on vacation.

  7. I absolutely love this, Linda! This is such a great way of thinking about how to create a memorable opening!

    (And sorry I can't think of any wonderfully clever idea for the fourth through final paragraphs. Rosh HaShanah preparations seem to have have taken all creativity out of me! Hopefully I'll be creative once again in the new year! :o) )