Well, yesterday I put up the quickly dashed out and then un-revised first splurge of the novella I’m working on. A lot of it was probably terrible, but I thought I’d shove it out there anyway. Be impulsive. Later that night I actually found myself revising the thing already. Here’s a little of how the story now opens:
This sort of thing happens all the time.
More often than you’d think, really.
Wherever the dark night falls and tired eyes falter.
Sam didn’t know that of course, because no one really does. The only people who do are those who it’s already happened to, and who are they in a position to tell?
Sam could hear a voice.
He thought he could.
He was sure he did.
Had? Would do? Is right now?
Sunlight crept through curtains, his forehead creased, eyes tight.
A boys voice, wasn’t it? Yeah. Or? Was it actually a boy, or-
Sam needed the toilet. He turned over, legs curling up to meet his stomach.
Not just a voice..? Had he been alone all along? Brown hair. A conversation. Laughter. Running and running and laughter and secret signs and-
Sam blinked. Once. Twice. Again. The picture began to fall apart.
What had he been thinking about again? He tried to grasp it and pull it close, but it was like trying to hold smoke.
It fuzzed and warped and fell apart. Sam sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he yawned, expelling the night and inhaling the day.
It was gone again, but an idea remained. Itching. Persistent.
I’m happier with that as a starting point. More mysterious, weird, suggestive. But I could fall into the trap of endlessly revising the first few chapters. The best thing to do is barrel forward, run until you get to the end, then start kicking it into shape, otherwise you could find yourself chasing your tail for way too long.
But that opening bothered me. I like an opening that feels secure and strong, so I’m happier sitting the rest of the story on the above words now.
So that’s that, on with the rest of the thing, and no more looking back and picking through until it’s done.