Writing the Opening Scene

At last I’ve finally hit the lesson on cutting the book, which for Miasma means I started with 44 scenes in the first draft and have only 3 scenes surviving in the revision.  The rest are new, including my opening.

As I write this scene, I have three goals:

  • Pull the thread of the inciting incident into the scene.  It’s not a big bang inciting incident, but a more subtle one that will become more obvious in the next scene.
  • Nail the conflict of the scene.  A lot of it is tied into the inciting incident, so hopefully that’ll come together.
  • Get some world building in.  This one is tough for me because I can’t tell if I’ve got enough.  I’m going to have to go back over the scene briefly and make sure I’ve gotten the setting in the right order.  When I submitted this story previously, I identified the original opening being in an elementary school in the query, but didn’t say it soon enough in the story.  An agent was thrown off because she thought it was a high school.  I already know I have one of those in the scene, so I’ll have to go back once I finish it and add a paragraph for clarity.

I’m color coding this revision because I’m dealing with 2 1/2 versions (the original finished draft, and 10K of an attempt to start it from scratch).  The originals are all white, and the new draft is blue.  That way, I can tell instantly what’s what and not get confused.  At the moment, I’m writing it by hand (though I’m not sure how long that will last–90K is a lot to write by hand!).  The various parts are going into color-coded folders.  Yellow for my scene notes; orange for my “Forget Me Nots” (things like making sure it rains 3 times in the story and that one of them is an indirect description); blue for the revised story; and red for the remains of the old story.  The folders are clear plastic, and I’m using a clear plastic step sorter to hold them.

Meanwhile, the Cherry Blossoms are scheduled to be at their peak on March 29.  I’m having a hard time believing it.  We’re still pretty barren here!

2 thoughts on “Writing the Opening Scene

    1. Yes, it does. I’ve adapted color coding for just about everything. It helps me tell instantly on sight what something else. I use it for filing the paperwork for the book, too, and all I need to do is grab the right color folder to get what I’m looking for. The folders don’t even need to be labeled.


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