Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day Four: What do the cards have to say?

Back in September I had a tarot card reading. Some of the predictions came to pass, others I would venture to say were "misinterpreted." (When you spend $40 on that sort of frivolity, rationalizing is a great skill.)

So I went to The Observation Deck and asked the cards what they needed us to know during our BIAW. The card I pulled advised: Study opening lines.

From the book:

You have a world of powerful teachers sitting on the bookshelves in your house right now. Pick up a favorite book and look at the opening lines. Who is speaking? How does the book begin? What has the author done to draw you in? How does the opening relate to the end of the story?
But if you're not at the start of your book, perhaps today you'll start a new scene or a chapter. If you close your eyes and imagine your character, what is the first thing out of his or her mouth? What is she or he thinking in that moment in time? What do they see? Are they touching something or someone? Write it down.

This is my unedited, off-the-cuff opening of chapter 24 of my WIP:

Dori walked up the front door of Starbucks on the corner of F and Fifth streets. Her fingers wrapped around the door handle and as if she were in a dream, she slowly opened the door and the smell of coffee wrapped around her, drawing her in. She blinked and then saw her, the mother of the woman she'd shot and killed three weeks ago waiting at a table by the window.

It might be rewritten. It might become scene two of chapter 26 in the final draft or I may cut the scene all together. (These things happen.) But after writing that paragraph, I have to find out what Dori will say when she walks up to that woman's table. Will she say, "hi, how are you?" or will she sit down? I don't yet know but I can't wait to find out.

What are your first lines today?


J.K. Mahal said...

These are my first lines from a few days ago, on the personal project:

"The bones are unexpected. They fall from the earthen pot into the brown tide with sickening plops. A charred ulna, the grey-white head of a femur join the swirling ash. I am throwing my father into the river, emptying him out."

Don't know if it will stay in first person. Up in the air. But the story is started :)


J.K. Mahal said...

And P.S. -- Tarot cards (and those darned angel cards *someone* gave me led me there

Erica Orloff said...

Here's my latest first lines:

“The trumpet vine’ll grow in hell.” Charlie leaned on the handle of an ancient-looking iron and wood rake, sweat rivulets coursing down the wrinkles on his face to a faded red bandanna tied around his neck. He took another bandanna from his back jeans pocket and wiped at his forehead.

“So you’re saying my place is hell?” Cate Martin arched one eyebrow.

The whole book has a flower/Eden theme. And Cate is learning to grow things for the first time in her life.

I love first lines, in general.

inherwritemind1 said...

"Business is off at the Palace tonight."

lainey bancroft said...

She repressed tears when the answering machine kicked in, but the gravely voice from her past forced them to the surface.

"Buds Subs, Suds, and Cycles. We ain't a church. We don't do Sundays."

Mary Castillo said...

Wow. This is great stuff. All of you will share more, yes? (hint hint!)