That First Sentence

by RS on January 19, 2010

A couple of nights ago, I got an idea for my next novel. I hesitated to even write anything since I’m not even finished with Julius, but I had numerous scenes floating in my head that I had to get something down. So I wrote the first scene of the first chapter, which starts off with the following:

Jacob Tober shaved for the second time that Saturday.

That sentence just rung in my head over and over, and I had to write it. Will anyone be interested to read on? At this point I don’t know. I have another 500 words that follow, and they’re garbage, but that’s to be expected during the first draft phase.

Julius has gone through too many drafts. I think I am on the seventh go-round. Each revision seems to improve the story, but I am reaching the point of saturation. Don’t get me wrong, I love my characters and their exploits, but now I am a little intrigued by Jacob Tober and Sasha Powell, the story’s two lead characters.

As more scenes pop up in my head, I’ll write them down and see if I can form some sort of narrative. If all goes well, I’m sticking to three drafts, and that’s it. I think I’ve learned enough from Julius of how to cut to the chase without dragging it on and on.

Time to do some writing . . . .

4 comments
Carol
Carol

A coffee table book with lots of pictures. Do you post your photography online? My daughter (16) has some of hers on Facebook (search "Claire Kean"). She'd love to see your work (so would I). Go for it! What are your favorite subjects>

Carol
Carol

Rebeca, it's a great first line! Next, look at Judith's "A Place Called Winter" for inspiration on how to tell the reader just enough to rouse our curiosity, but not all the explanations (I as a writer excel at clogging the narrative and logo-jamming the story with that stuff). Did you read Edith's "Ruta 5"? Another great first paragraph. Rather than Gregor Samsa awaking to find himself a cockroach, Edith's Lotta wakes up to find her geeky co-worker in her bed. And he's smiling, and happy about what just happened, while she's hung over and horrified. Please keep writing your new chapter one, while continuing to work on Julius. And send me Julius offlist. You know I don't keep up well with daily or weekly submissions. I love your writing.

Scott Sheperd
Scott Sheperd

I love that first sentence. I can see how that would run through your head and offer a variety of possibilities. I'm a new friend of Karyn Hall on facebook and see that you both are also writing articles. Are you writing for something like EZ articles or for a magazine? I've had a few books published (non-fiction) so I'm really impressed that you're doing a novel. I'll ask to be your friend on fb. Best to you

RS
RS

Thanks Scott. I'm writing articles for magazines. I just finished one for Hand/Eye. Which I'll post on this site tomorrow. I'm the one who's impressed! I would love to write a non-fiction book sometime, but I'm thinking along the lines of a coffee table book with lots of pictures.

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