Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A FIRST PARAGRAPH...OR TWO
Christ, I'm actually posting something on my blog. Hell, I even caught Rose up there off guard. Mmmm, Rose.
I've been working hard. Short pieces completed and short pieces at 95% or better. I'm also pedal to the metal on a longer piece, book length, which is heading toward being the best thing I've written to date. The latter is being built with everything I've learned over the past two years shoved into it. We'll see what happens.
Now to double-back on that learning thing. I've been putting a shit ton of effort into opening paragraphs, and I thought why not give a little taste and see what people think? We've all learned, at this point, how deadly important those first lines are. So read on and let me know.
First off is the opening paragraph from a short story currently making the rounds. As it's a little murky on genre, I've decided the best place would be a good literary mag. You know, those folks who take eight weeks to a year, or a fucking eternity to say yay or nay. I don't mind, because this piece will find a home although maybe with a little tweaking.
Shoveling dirt was damn good training. His old man said it. Validation came through hard earned muscle and the wind of a quarter horse. Miles of ditches labored over right in his own back yard. He’d dig them deep, fighting through roots and rocks, fill them in again and continue the cycle. Damn good training.
And here's the one at 95%. It's dark and long, 6800 words. Also got a love element ticking in there as well, so the literary mag route again. And sure, I've tried chopping some length off, but this was meant to have some guts and when something is meant to be, then man, you just let it be.
I was with ol’ John Brown at Harper’s Ferry. Ain’t got much bearin’ on what I’m a fixin’ to tell ya, but I was there just the same. Lost the use of three fingers on my left hand in that damn skirmish. Tore out the joints on ‘em. Don’t matter much. Still got good use of my thumb and the finger next to it and they’re stronger than the average man’s entire hand. Overcompensation, the doc calls it. ‘Sides, right hand’s fine and it’s the one I use most the time. I get along all right.
The first sentences in each are exactly what gushed into my head and everything else followed. I like writing this way and is how most of my short stuff gets off the ground. But still, like most of my work, the meat of the story is usually vibrating on a completely different wavelength. Such is the same with these two. And the book...I already know the ending, so now I'm in the process of putting the jelly in the doughnut, so to speak.
That's all I got, for probably another three months or however fricken long it's been. Comments welcome.
See ya on the flip.