I learned a long time ago that those first words we write are the most valid. The first phrase or sentence we put down is the root of everything to come and whether it’s a novel, short story, song or poem it all starts with that first sentence. We take that idea and we try to make it go somewhere. We alter it, rebuild it, add to it, and sometimes we go back to it and start again. Sometimes we go back to it and realize that it’s fine just the way it is. Those first words are always the right words even if you don’t go back to them for they were the impetus that took you to where you wanted to be.
I have a “starter” folder of first words…some of them are multiple sentences and others are just words, not complete sentences. I also have a few that are longer, perhaps a page in length. I look back through them and I’m not sure where they came from. I wonder what kind of space I was in when I jotted them down. To me they seem to be more of an emotional release than anything else. I have some that I can sense the anger or frustration that prompted their creation but mostly they’re light and thoughtful.
Mood has everything to do with it.
My sequel to “White Wolf Moon” is moving smoothly along but I occasionally find myself in the same little ruts I experienced the first time around. Most of the storyline is wrapped up in the dialogue and the dialogue tends to be light and off-hand. There are days I flip open the laptop and I don’t feel light or off-hand. Most times I can simply re-read what I’ve already done and I’m back in the moment but sometimes it doesn’t work. There are a few heavier scenes in this one so I can go to them and play out whatever I’m feeling through the characters. A lot of the time I’ll open that folder and pick a starter sentence that will lead to different scenario in which my characters can express whatever I’m feeling. These scenes may not be used in the final manuscript but I’ve gotten it “out there” and I’m creating another side to my characters. I might use elements of these new scenes to round out or expand on already written portions or to show a bit more depth to a character but typically they end up back in my “starters” folder.
As for “White Wolf Moon”…I’m three copies away from recouping the original cost and it just got a 5 STARS on Goodreads.
No need to open the “starters” folder today.