It all Starts With the Beginning.

I had been struggling with the first few lines of my novel for a while.  It’s so important to hit the page with the right tone from the outset, and to draw your readers in, but all I seemed to be able to spew out was a load of wordy nonsense that didn’t really even make any sense to me.  But thanks to Ruth, a member of a writing group I attend, I think I may have got it (or close anyway).  I have posted it below and would like to hear any thoughts on it, if you could spare the time.

Chapter 1:

It was Friday and the winter was beginning to lose its grip, but the nights were still long and the air cool. I stood in the hallway and fastened my jacket. The mirror there threw my reflection back to me and for a moment I didn’t recognise those eyes as my own; it was as if the image of myself I could see matched my scattered thoughts – fragile, brittle, as if it might fall apart at any moment.

Any comments would be much appreciated, Rob.

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8 Responses to It all Starts With the Beginning.

  1. I’ve always thought of the first few lines of a novel being some of the last lines decided on. In my experience with novel writing, it’s more important to get as much of the material out as possible and accept that some of your darlings must be killed. There are dozens of scenes that end up getting cut! The paragraph is poetic and well written, but I’m worried that your own inner critic is stopping you from stretching those creative muscles.

    Great passage! Love the diction.

    • Thanks for the comment – the novel was finished a while back; it’s the first fifty or so pages that have been the problem, and I seem to have been going over and over it. It’s difficult because you find your voice later on and then have to rewrite the beginning to match what has come after. It’ll probably be changed again before the month is out!
      Cheers,
      Rob.

  2. bookworkgirl says:

    ok Here is how I would writ it. Remember, just my subjective suggestion.

    It was night and winter was beginning to lose its grip. The air was still cool and the night was still long. I stood in the hallway and fastened my jacket. I caught my reflection in the mirror. The eyes that looked back were not mine. The image I saw of myself matched my scattered thoughts. I looked fragile, brittle, as if I might fall apart at any minute.

    Terry

    • Interesting interpretation, but there’s a lot of short and simple sentences – I like to have a couple of simple sentences followed by some longer compound or complex sentences. It chimes with the rest of the novel then. Thanks for the feedback – much appreciated.

  3. bookworkgirl says:

    Here is my subjective suggestion.

    It was night and Winter was beginning to lose its grip. The air was still cool and the night long. I stood in the hallway and fastened my jacket. I caught my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the eyes that looked back. The image I saw reflected my scattered thoughts. I felt fragile, brittle as if I might fall apart at any moment.

  4. Reda Arnold says:

    I really enjoy reading your work. And, I wouldn’t change one word of what you wrote above. Good job!

  5. emilyramos says:

    What if it went:
    “I felt fragile, brittle. As if I might fall apart at any moment. It was Friday, and I stood in the hallway as I fastened my jacket. The mirror there cast back a pair of eyes – for a moment I did not recognize them as my own. My reflection matched my scattered thoughts. Outside was still cold, though winter was beginning to lose it’s grip.”
    And then maybe compare the winter to him? Even though I don’t know the story, maybe something like “Beginning to lose it’s grip, like I was” or how his eyes look like winter.
    I’m a fan of jumping right into the mind of a character rather than slowly entering it. And this is my opinion, but usually when a book starts with describing the setting (weather, day, etc.) I will maintain a distance from the book, no matter how good it is. I know it is a bias on my part, but lots of people share it. STILL, write the book the way YOU want it – the rest of us will just have to deal. 🙂

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