Monday, December 5, 2011

Restarting at the Beginning.

The debate between redoing or replacing the opening scene of my WIP.

I've been stalled on my work in progress for a while. I've been debating the rewrites, the plot flow, character development, all the things that come after writing the first draft. The biggest challenge with this one was the timeline. I was seriously debating backing up the starting point a few months, but that would mean my current opening scene would have to be deleted entirely. As it is one of the areas that need the most work, it's plausible, but difficult to accept as I love the way it starts everything out.

After the critique with Doc Harvard, a lot came out about those first few pages in my WIP where my main character is snowboarding. I haven't ever been boarding or skiing and it turned out my TV-educated descriptions paired with my writer's imagination weren't enough. So, after waking one morning with a great way to restart the scene, I crammed in a few more YouTube videos and headed out to the sports equipment shop where I got a brief hands-on course on gear and was able to try some on (not most of it due to packaging and my 7-month pregnant belly).

I definitely have more sensory details to add. The plan is to hit up some boarding blogs in the hope of digging up some more.

The difficulty is, I want to make this feel real, but snowboarding is not the topic of this book. It is the opening scene, offering movement and action while introducing the main character. She is not part of snowboarding culture - she is too sheltered to be a part of it. She needs to be good at snowboarding because she is good at being physical, not because she's an expert of the sport - she gets to go so rarely, after all.

What a balancing act. I have an idea of how to pull it off, but it's going to take a lot of experimenting with words and re-polishing in one of my weakest areas of writing. Sure, I could re-write the story to not include this. As it's a physical activity, an exercise I know better would work. I may decide to move the timeline after all. However, I can't get this imagery out of my head. I'm going to try and make this beginning work, first. I suppose that even if I do delete it, the practice will be good.

And the brain starts humming ...

Just a quick apology for not blogging about the book experiment this week. A flood hit our house last week and I wasn't able to read more than a chapter, which I need to re-read. My family is fine and so are most of our belongings, including the book I'm reading. I should be able to return to it this week and continue writing about it next week.


  1. One of the questions I ask myself in this position is this: Is the scene *right* or is it there because I love it? If I have any doubts or my readers are at all ambivalent about it, I let it go. Another way of looking at it is to figure out what several goals each scene accomplishes. If a scene isn't carrying its own weight--accomplishing more than one goal--it needs work. And once you know what each scene needs to accomplish, it is easier to change the specific details of the scene.

    Good luck with the revisions. And my sympathies about the flood--been there. Not fun.

  2. LJCohen-

    Thanks for the advice. I'll take another look at it keeping your tips in mind. Right now my answer is, I think so. :P Not strong enough by far.

    And thanks for the sympathies as well. We were lucky enough to have flood insurance. Not everyone in our area did.