Monday, August 23, 2010

Things you hang on to

You know how when your kids are little, you hang on to EVERY picture or art project they finish because each one represents some major milestone they managed to accomplish?

A circle. A real circle that is round and doesn't look like a squished eyeball.

A line. One that makes the house touch the ground instead of floating in the air.

A face. With features and more than three strands of hair sticking straight up.

I sort of feel that way about one of my middle grade novels.

I keep trying to rewrite the opening because the general response is that it sets a great tone, but no one is sure where it's going. Readers feel like they are floundering, and they don't trust it.

Now...I understand that the world of the story is very foreign. I also understand I can't let that be some excuse not to draw a better circle, line, or face.

But each rewritten opening completely loses the heart of the character at the middle of the story. It becomes a plot line of information to help the reader understand the foreign world.

So I'm trying to decide...

Do I keep coming back to the original opening because it belongs there?

Or is it just one of those pictures I'm hanging on to?

And I need to decide soon, because I'm going a bit crazy...and I sort of feel like I'm floating in the air with squished eyeballs and only three strands of hair left.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, here's my opinion. I hope it helps. I think that you go with your gut. You know how the story should unfold. I have to establish another world too, and the easiest thing to do is start simple. One or two characters doing something mundane in your world. Something that sets the tone and that you can USE to build the world.

    If you do it carefully, the reader will feel like they're in the hands of a great storyteller and will go with you, even when they don't understand.

    Does that help?