Writer Recharge: When Starting Over is the Right Thing

Writer Recharge

So last week, I wrote about my freak out over a crit that wasn’t really that bad. (I’m just neurotic and it felt much bigger than it probably really was.) This week, I embraced the challenge of making my opening stronger. In my one-on-one with Nova she said, “I know you have a better first line in you.” And I am grateful to her (and all the other #YADjerassi writers) for making me rework this.

I now have a new first paragraph that really speaks to the heart of the story (not to mention a revamped whole first chapter!). And it gave me the final two lines of my book as well, even though I haven’t written that scene yet (again, thanks to Nova’s workshop where she read from Imaginary Girls to show how the end should reflect the beginning). Here’s how it starts now…

Eliot James believed in fate. She believed in it as if it was a physical thing she could make a wish on and then tuck into her pocket for safe keeping. While everyone else in the classroom took turns predicting what their evaluations would say, she lazily sketched their faces on her folder, capturing their anxiety and excitement and forced confidence in precise detail.

Music pumped from the earbuds of someone a row or two behind her. Someone else shuffled papers as if going over the transcripts and birth certificates they were all required to bring for testing would somehow help them get the placement they wanted. But the incantations and charms they’d been taught at Fuller Academy—which masqueraded as a normal private school to the rest of the town—weren’t really a factor. Each student was born with a gift, and before the end of the day, Eliot would know for certain if she would spend the rest of her life killing people or saving them.

Rolling back the cuff on her creamy leather jacket, she checked her watch. Two hours had passed as the room slowly emptied around her. She thought she’d have been called by now.

She swiveled in her chair when a knitting needle poked her shoulder. Her best friend, Amelia, leaned back, still pointing the needle in Eliot’s direction. Amelia’s eyes were so dark it was hard to distinguish her pupils from her irises.

“Do you think anyone’s ever cheated on the evaluation?” Amelia asked. She focused on the yarn pooling in her lap despite the interest in her voice.

I haven’t added as much to my overall word count this week as I’d hoped, but the new words I have written have been fundamental to the story.

Also, my entry for my adult magical realism novel (retitled by Edith while at Djerassi to WISHES TO NOWHERE) in the Cupid’s Literary Connection Blind Speed Dating Contest (#CLCBSD) got the max of two partial requests (100 pages) on day two. So, I’m calling this a good week.