Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Great Beginnings

There is no doubt that the most important part of a book is the beginning. In fact, if you haven't grabbed your reader in the first few lines, even still in the first chapter, they may decide not to continue. Is it any wonder that I have been chewing the hell out of my nails-contemplating, rewriting, starting over, and losing valuable time while I stare at the first few pages of my manuscript? I am in no means a perfectionist--snort--just ask my family. So, I'm pretty much surprised to find myself being so anal with this task. (Note: Problem #1-Being a Miss Picky Pants doesn't help in getting my book finished).  

Just move on, girly...or you'll never have this book written.

Easier said than done.  Look at all the great beginnings in the world of books...and trust me, there are a LOT of them.  I googled, I procrastinated, and then posted them on my blog. (Note: Problem #2 --internet blogs, Facebook and twitter should be banned in the writer's household.)

You can lure the reader in by humor.

It wasn’t every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard’s larger than life world.
                                                              Susan Elizabeth Phillips
                                         Natural Born Charmer
You can do it by something so simple-six little words that suck you in and make you crave more.
"It was a pleasure to burn."
                                            --Ray Bradbury
                                               Fahrenheit 451

Sometimes, a few sentences stir up so much mystery, drawing you in, and before you know it--you're hooked.

First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.
You are going to die.
                                         --Markus Zusak
                                            The Book Thief
Instead of dwelling on my own beginning, I have decided to just work on the first draft-Allow myself to write bad, as long as I just write. WITHOUT EDITING ALONG THE WAY..
I'm bringing out my inner bitch and kickin' my own ass...but maybe I'll finish this book before the end of 2011.  Hope springs eternal.

Here is the opening of my manuscript...and NO--no more changes, no more revisions...I'm movin' on.

A faint creaking noise alerted Dane that they were not alone, his six years of experience with the SEAL’s putting a halt to the serious blow-job that he was receiving from the girl he had picked up earlier at the bar.
            Jenny, no…it was Penny…fuck, wait, that wasn’t it.  Man, he shouldn’t have had that last beer.
            He ignored the silky feel of whoever’s tongue sliding up his cock, and the manicured nails digging into muscled flesh of his backside and were perilously close to the crease of his ass. Dane compressed his back molars, holding back a moan. Instead, a slow hiss escaped between clenched teeth as he pulled out from the delicious heat of… her lips. He was gonna kill whoever had put a stop to his good time.
            “Don’t move.”  He touched…what’s her name’s… cheek, halting her attempt to swallow his cock back in the haven of her mouth.
            “What?” Puzzled blue-eyes gazed up at him and she struggled up from her position on her knees.  “I thought you loved it when I stuck my…”
            “Shh…” He pressed his hand over her mouth, cutting off the rest of her words.
            There it came again. Apprehension tickled his spine as sobriety tried to bitch slap him into awareness. The creaking of stairs preceding the soft falls of footsteps that grew closer to the bedroom. 
            His date must have heard it too because he felt her body go rigid under his firm grip.   “Ummph” Her teeth nipped at his palm, causing him to jerk his hand back.
            What the fuck?! He mouthed as he glared back at her.
            “Shit!  It’s my husband.  Quick, get your clothes and get outta here!” She stood up on shaky legs-inebriated as much as he-grabbed his clothes and flung them up at him. His jeans smacked him across the face followed by his shirt and shoes.
            “Ow! You’re married? Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me? Jesus, woman…” He’d be the first to admit he was an asshole, but even he had limits.  And encroaching on another man’s territory was one of them.
            Dane hopped around the room trying to shove his leg inside his pants, his balance off-kilter due to the high consumption of tequila during the course of the night. “Oof…” A hand roughly pushed him towards the open window in the bedroom before he could dress himself. He caught the edge of the sill, fingers digging into the wood, and prevented his naked ass from being hurled to his death. A vivid image of him lying spread out across the lawn with a boner and a what-the-fuck expression flashed before his eyes.
            “Are you trying to kill me, woman?!”
            “Get. Out!” She emphasized each word with a none too gentle shove, until Dane was clambering out the window, hopping into a neighboring tree and falling none too gracefully to the ground, the wind knocked out of him.
            The damp grass smacked coldly at his ass and a rush of air blew out from his lungs. “Shit!” he exclaimed, his boot smarted against his forehead with a thud, followed by the raining of his clothes.
            “Julie, what the hell is going on here?” A baritone voice bellowed from above, spilling out into the night.
            Julie?  Man, he had been way off base with that one.
            Dane zigzagged across the manicured lawn, hopping from one foot to the other as he precariously stepped into his Levi’s, not bothering with his shirt of shoes. He stealthily made his way down the graveled alleyway sticking to the shadows. Rocks jabbed into the soles of his feet making him wince, but he kept moving until he reached his car. He dug the keys out of his pocket while he took a moment to appreciate the aesthetics of his precious baby- a plum colored 1964 GTO.
            Tossing his boots and shirt on the floorboard, he slid inside and turned the motor. A faint smile broke across his face at the rough purr of the engine. He shifted into drive and pulled away from the curb, heading south towards Little Creek Road and ultimately home sweet home.
            His cell rang, the musical tones of ‘Simple Man’ interrupted the quiet and Dane barked out a laugh. Not even a full twenty fours had passed since he had returned to the states before his Master Chief was ringing him up.
            “Master Chief, you miss me already?” Dane’s jovial greeting was met by silence and he thought he lost the connection. Puzzled, he glanced down at the screen. He had four bars-the signal strong. “Sir?”
            “Lt. Cooper, I need you to return to base immediately.” Master Chief Teddy Bowman’s gravely tone had goose bumps parading across the nape of his neck, the fine hairs on his arms tingling and raised as if he had stuck his finger in a light socket. This wasn’t good.
            Dark brows wrinkled with confusion. What the hell is going on? His team had just returned from Afghanistan after two months of recon. There was no way they would go wheels up so soon.
            “Is there a problem, sir?”
            A brief pause followed by a heavy sigh. “Coop… It’s your brother.”
            A sudden flash of hot-cold had saliva pooling in Dane’s mouth and he struggled not to upchuck on the leather steering wheel. Working past the huge knot in his throat, he swallowed hard. “I’ll be there in ten.” Dane’s bare foot pressed the gas pedal to the floor board, tears of regret stinging his grey eyes.

Please leave a comment and let me know if I drew you in--

C.S. Maxwell
                                         --Susan Elizabeth Phillips


  1. Beginnings be they of stories or chapters are always difficult for me. I can sit for hours agonizing over how to start the project.

    Friend suggested for me to work where I could and go from there, I could always go back and work on the beginning at a later date when my brain was fully functional.

    Drew me in enough to start reading

  2. RAO....thanks so much for stopping by. I was feeling pretty low, but you have put a huge grin on my face. :))
    Good sage advice from your friend...one I will have to try out.

  3. Believe me I well know that feeling all too well.

    Going through a phase right now that I can't stand anything I write from role play with my friend (she, another friend and I are creating a fantasy world) to my projects to simple responses.

    My on-line bro gave me another good advice. Not everyone is going to like what you write. As long as you do, that's all that matters.

    No worries. * Laughs * I imagine if you read some of my attempts it would make you feel WAY better.

  4. Damn, yes, you sicked me right into the story. I loved the beginning. Smexy, funny and sets the tone for suspense. Get busy and write. I want to read more of this, a lot more......and SOON.


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