Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rules, rules, rules

I've mentioned that I've re-re-re-rewritten my opening pages. And I think I've tightened them, given a better feel for the heroine, her conflict, goals, etc. I was feeling pretty happy with it. So last night, I ask my husband to read it.

He doesn't like it.

In fact, I think I got an 'Eh...' He likes the original better where I sort of start mid phone call and break up the phone call with internal refelction and mini-flashbacks. I thought that seemed kinda choppy and excessive on the internal reflection. (I've also heard that from contest judges and my own personal family readers.)

So, I sent those first three pages to my sister and mother to see what they think.

There is no dialogue in those first three pages. Is that really a problem? I hear all this stuff in writing workshops, online, from contest judges, etc. and then almost everything I read breaks all the rules. By nature, I'm a rule follower, but I just can't seem to do it so well with my writing.

I'm thinking the rule is this: If they like your story, they'll forgive you anything.


Lucy said...

I would say your understanding of the rule is a lot closer than you think. You also should consider the target audience. Is your husband (or people of his age and gender) your target?

Not to mention, bottom line is that YOU need to be happy with what you've written because it's your story - your voice.

Okay, I'll shut up now. :o)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

No, my husband is not my intended audience, but he hasn't been for anything I've made him read, and he's mostly agreed with me.

And I know, I know, I'm the one that needs to be happy with it, but it's those others I'm worried about...

Sandra K. Moore said...

My experience is that if your voice is engaging and the details you choose to reveal in those opening pages are intriguing, an editor (or reader) will go with you -- especially if you're revealing character.

My first novel opens in hypothetical third-person for the first couple of paragraphs, which I thought for sure the editor would want to hack out, but she didn't.

So my experience has been: Give it a go and see how it flies. Editors love to see things done differently, and they'll tell you if it needs to be changed.