Monday, August 8, 2011

Genesis of a book--Starting one isn't always easy

I finished Sexton Sand the other day and published it in paperback and hardcover (the links are available on this blog), and published it as a Kindle book, and a Nook book.
   Then I was left with a blank screen. The blinking cursor stared at me in a blinking sort of way at the top of the page. The next task had to be done, but it was a stalling tactic as well. Set up the header, the margins, and tell the program to double space. I suppose there's no need to double space because I do my writing and revision on screen as opposed to pen and paper. (When I learned to write, drafts were always done double-spaced so there was room for corrections and edits. Habit has me writing double-spaced.)
   The cursor kept blinking.
   I wrote the following...testing to see if I liked it as the opening sentence:
"White light flared in his vision when they hit him again."
   It's not a  bad opening sentence. It brings an image to mind and sets the stage in a short, easy to understand sentence.
   Yeah. I might use it at a later time. For the moment, it won't get used. Oh, I like it. It just doesn't start the book where I want the book to start.
   I stared at the blinking cursor for a little while, waiting for the magic. The magic is the moment when the blank screen fades and I see a scene in my mind's eye. In this case, I see the scene through the eyes of Colonel Sistelli--a not very nice, but occasionally honorable leader in the Protectors Guild of Sexton. Sistelli is watching the people gathered outside the palace. They're waiting for the king to address him. The king hasn't been seen in the days after the attack. Rumors are starting to spread through the streets that he might be dead. As if having a dead king wasn't bad enough, he had no heir.
   Suddenly, I had my first few sentences. Here they are:
"Sistelli watched the crowd with suspicion in his eyes. The suspicion was part and parcel of his role as a colonel in the Protectors Guild of Sexton, and it was heightened as he faced the crowd outside the palace. It had been a month since the druids attacked the place and destroyed the wall over the cliff above the bay."

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