Some of you may know that I’ve dreamed of writing a novel since the time I first starting reading them as a little girl. Matter of fact, “write a New York Time’s bestseller” has been on my bucket list for quite some time, though we will see if that dream is ever realized. Yet, for perhaps the last year and a half, I have been slowly crafting the storyline of a tale that I do hope is one day published – whether it becomes a bestseller or not. My heart has not been quite ready to commit to the endeavor fully, knowing what vulnerability and honesty is required of good authors. However, I’ve found myself adding a word here, a phrase there, a chapter break where needed to my early attempts.
This morning, I want your opinion . . . would you be my editor? This is only the brief introduction at the beginning of chapter 1, yet I feel that the first few paragraphs sometimes hold the most potential power in a book of worth. They set the stage.
What do you think?
Children’s storybooks start at the very beginning. There is a problem, a likeable set of characters and an upstanding moral. Solutions are always cut and dry, black and white. There is no grey, no shadow. You can tie a pretty ribbon around their thick, crinkling pages and hand them to wide-eyed children without compunction.
Romance novels commence with the typical damsel in distress and a roughish knight in shining armor to rescue her. Even contemporary chick flick versions don’t deviate much from this sappy, tried-and-true formula. While some consider this the perfect antidote for rainy-day syndrome, others turn away in disgust at the plot’s naivety. Their hearts have been broken one too many times by would-be crusaders. They would rather just sip rich wine and lose themselves in blissfully dark chocolate.
Memoirs pretend to tell events as they actually occurred – a heterogeneous mixture of strict journalism and acidic autobiography. They bare raw emotions and uncover naked wounds, sometimes stirring up more memories than they heal. At other times, though, they are delicately, transparent masterpieces – soothing balm to fellow sojourners.
I have chosen to write none of the above. My story has shadows and murky waters. It’s neither fairytale nor dime novel. Sometimes my own soul-searching leaks out onto the pages. At other times, I laugh at jokes never told to me. But through each twist and turn, I want to convey darkness in a manner that ushers you into the light. I want to describe chaos, so that you relish true peace. I want to enumerate every painful, deadly detail, so that you understand every glorious breath of resurrected life. I am writing about hope, for hope, because of hope. With grit in my mouth and scars on my body, I am beginning to crawl . . . no stumble . . . no walk . . . no dance through blinding tears. I’ve been through a hurricane.
As an aspiring writer for as long as I can remember, I applaud your bravery in sharing this, because as you pointed out, it’s scary to write and know other people will read your words and judge them.
As a spelling and grammar nerd, I feel compelled to tell you that in the second paragraph where you write “roughish” I think you’re looking for “roguish,” and in your second-to-last sentence, “…no stumble…no walk…no dance” should have commas so it reads “…no, stumble…no, walk…no, dance.”
Recently I sent a friend of mine an email with some writing I wanted him to critique for me, and when I re-read what I had written, I was appalled at how many typographical errors I had made, which was simply a matter of transcription.
I love this as a beginning, I hope you share more of it when you write more! Keep it up!
Thank you so much for your edits! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. It is scary to finally begin to reveal what I have been slowly working on for the last year and half or so. I think I have about five or six chapters written, but it is slow going.