Hooked, Chpt. 2


By Les Edgerton

“The opening scene should be relatively short – a good working length would be one to four pages – so it’s important to be concise and make the language work in more than one way”(36). I read this with confidence. After all, I began my writing career writing short (50 minute plays) pieces. I cut my teeth on concision so surely I had done this well. Of course, along with this we need to include those ten components also. Hmm. I printed out my first chapter of the YA. It’s a short 2.5 pages. Let’s see how I did.

Ten components:

Inciting incident: Thanks to Les, I think this is good.

Story-worthy problem: Yup, feeling good about this, too.

Initial Surface Problem: Oh, yeah. It’s there. I’m on a roll.

The Set up: Think this is in place also.

It’s looking good, right? We’ll ignore that, other shoe’s about to drop feeling I’m having.

Backstory: A personal bugaboo of mine. I’ve done well on this. Included just a hint of backstory that is essential to the plot and foreshadowing. Oops, that’s later.

The Opening line: Thud. That’s the other shoe. I have short stories with great opening lines. But my novel does not have a great opening line. And I’m not really sure how to fix it given that she opens in the middle of present tense action. I’ve boxed myself in a corner on that one. Ugh. Les offered great suggestions on this one. So, I’m off to fix it.

Language: I’ve spent more time on the first chapter than I have on any other one chapter. It’s truly gotten the work out. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there.

Character Introduction: I introduce Ginny, the main character,  but not the antagonist. However, there is the suggestion of one. In the first chapter Ginny refers to the kidnappings so we know there is a bad guy out there somewhere…possibly enough? Hmm. Think on that one.

Setting: In grad school they referred to me as a minimalist. I think some considered it an insult, but I didn’t take it that way. I like to read minimalist fiction so it makes sense I’d write that way. I don’t like fluff in life, and I don’t want it in my writing. However, the other side of that coin, is being too minimalist. I have to ground the reader in this place called Layton. It doesn’t happen in the first scene, but I do ground them in Ginny’s house…well, maybe that could use some work, too.

Foreshadowing: See Backstory above. I love the foreshadowing thing.

I can see that in spite of my repeated work on the first chapter, it’s still  not ready. Sigh. Back to the keyboard for me.

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4 Comments

Filed under Writing

4 responses to “Hooked, Chpt. 2

  1. Oh my gosh, I like the minimalist thing too. I hate description so have a hard time writing it. It feels forced to me. I can have 2 pages of dialogue with nothing else but a couple of tags to identify who’s talking.

    I think if you ground the reader that they are in a house, everyone knows a house is somewhere in a town, in the country, it can come later.

    Good luck I know your angst.

  2. I love the minimalism but I have a tendency to fill in too many details and then the writing seems too heavy until I edit it down… a lot. But these ten components made me start to think about my own story and I think I may have to rethink a few things involving plot. Editing always brings us back to the drawing board; and some times I think fiddling with the story is the best part.

  3. I think this is why we counter-balance each other so well at critique group. I checked my current WIP against those ten components and think I’m right were I need to be.

  4. dawnall

    🙂 Yeah!

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