Writing Has Started on OBaB Remade
As of February 22, 2020 I began writing the first draft to the rewrite of my first published novel. Today, I’d like to present the opening paragraph as it stands, and juxtapose this new beginning with the original. I’ll let you decide which is better.
The New Beginning:
“Chaos magic drizzles from the leylines in the sky, spattering fear onto Grier Solemn’s face. Would it happen today? How many would be lost to the lightning? Master Tolk shows no such fear, standing defiant against the streaming tears of gods.“
What I like about this paragraph is that it asks questions all the way through. There’s a touch of purple prose. There’s a sense of scale. At this point, I’m free to describe what’s happening and dig into the story. Hopefully, in future rewrites, I can get rid of the literal questions in the middle, but still have readers asking about the lightning. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a bit for the answer. Well, actually, the questions about the lightning do get answered in Chapter One…
The Original Beginning:
“Grier Solemn is facing death. The Prince of Shadows hangs precariously from a rock jutting out the side of a massive cliff he is instructed to climb. Not a minute ago, his poise had been cool and collected; but when he found a handhold in the small boulder and grabbed for it, the rock shifted. Only just catching itself within the cliff somewhere, Grier still lives rather than having fallen the many meters between him and the ocean’s glassy surface. Unfortunately, this does not solve his problem. The top of the cliff is still twenty meters above him; and if he moves, the boulder may move again. This time his luck may not keep the rock from breaking off the cliff completely.”
Now, I do like this beginning. Unfortunately, by the time you finish reading this paragraph, every question asked has been answered. It says nothing about the greater world. All you know about Grier is that he’s hanging off a cliff…which is allegory to what he’ll face later in the novel, but in all these words, the reader is never told that Grier is a warrior and this is training. That first sentence, then, is as bad as opening with a dream sequence- it doesn’t matter. Also, I give Grier the moniker “Prince of Shadows,” which sounds all cool and mysterious, but the question of what it means never gets answered throughout the one-hundred thirty thousand-word novel.
What do You Think?
Which opener do you prefer? Also, what are your thoughts on rewriting a published work in the digital age?
Thanks for joining me today, I’ll see you soon.
James Neal is the author of Paints the Invisible Eye, which can be found on Amazon. Granted, exercise machines can be found there too, but don’t tell James, he likes his chips and bread too much.
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