Atmospheric Beginnings

Wreadinglady4

Wench Pat here:

  Ah beginnings! I may have mentioned before that I adore beginnings, so much so that I could easily spend a hundred pages writing an opening rather than dive into the conflict. I love world building. I’d happily build churches and businesses and cottages and castles and people them with the inhabitants of my imagination if anyone would buy books like that.  But for some odd reason, readers want characters to DO something, not just stand around engaging in witty banter and intelligent discourse inside my lovely crystal ball.

As I told Loretta, she may have writing gods, but I have writing imps who fill my brain with lots of lovely scenery, then disappear into the trees to laugh and giggle while I struggle to figure out which scene to Imp

use where. Because I learn about story and character as I write, I usually dump tons of information into the opening that doesn’t need to be there. So once I’ve decided on an opening scene, I have to sit down and squeeze all my perambulations out of the verbiage until I reach the essence, then rebuild again to form the picture I want. 

But as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so does the idea of what is essential for an opening.  I adore writers who can write great opening lines like: “Hughes got it wrong, in one important detail.  You will have read, in TOM BROWN, how I was expelled from Rugby School for drunkenness, which is true enough, but when Hughes alleges that this was the result of my deliberately pouring beer on top of gin-punch, he is in error.  I knew better than to mix my drinks, even at seventeen." (George MacDonald Fraser, FLASHMAN)  Doesn’t that give you an immediate picture of Flashman?

Or how about an immediate picture of story:  “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”( IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN by Sarah Dunant)  If you don’t keep reading after that line, you must know the book already!

Openings like those are an art form and convey the voice of the book in hopes of catching the attention of readers who appreciate that particular style.  I, on the other hand, am victim to a Uranian tendency to vary my openings to suit the story and characters without much thought to voice or style.  I’m a pragmatist, after all, and prefer to provide the reader with as much information as possible to to entice them with characters, situations, and settings. (After all, my world building tendencies have to have an outlet!)

I’ll give you a sneak peek at the opening of my July book, MYSTIC RIDER, as an example.  For the fun of it, see if you can tell which paragraphs (blue or red) are the final copy and which are early drafts.

A curl of smoke from Aelynn’s peak dimmed the quarter moon’s silver glow, creating a black sky for the stars to dance and spin across, speaking a language known only to the Ancients.

Smoke rising from the Mystic Isle’s highest peak dimmed the glow of the quarter moon, casting a foreboding shadow over the drooping leaves of the tropical jungle at the mountain’s foot.

Gripping his six-foot staff with practiced hands, Iason Olympus effortlessly swung the stout oak between both hands in faster and faster circles over his head, while gazing upward into the starlit bowl of the heavens. The tropical night was humid, and beads of moisture gradually formed upon his brow as the staff spun even faster.

Undeterred by the prophetic gloom, Ian Olympus gripped his six-foot-tall oak staff with both hands and adjusted his breathing until he reached the center where his soul resided. As the island of Aelynn’s only Sky Rider, he was attempting his visionary journey once more in an effort to subdue  the abnormal weather that was crippling his home and his people.  Previous efforts had failed, but perhaps this time…

The actual excerpt is on my website at www.patriciarice.com. You’ll find your answer there. 

Once you see which paragraphs will go into the book, can you see why I revised them?  Surprisingly, I actually used the same opening scene as I started with. The example above isn’t the very first draft since I  edit as I write, but it’s several edits and revisions from the final. 

You won’t hurt my feelings if you prefer one over the other because I wrote both the way I did for a purpose, but I’d like to hear opinions of why you prefer them.  I can tell you that I was trying to achieve atmosphere in first draft, and then edited to add facts and situation, probably not the smartest method of moving forward. But that scene was clearly in my head and I needed to get the feel, color, scents, and sound in place before I fretted over extraneous detail. <G>

I’ll send a copy of MYSTIC GUARDIAN, the first book of the Mystic series, to a random commenter.  (hmm, all my comments are random…) And if you’d like to hear more or discuss other facets of the writing life, stop by my daily journal at patriciarice.blogspot.com. I’m out of my office this week, so I have no writing life, but I’ll be back shortly!
 

110 thoughts on “Atmospheric Beginnings”

  1. I’m guessing red is the final version, because I prefer it slightly- although both make me want to read more. I am anxiously awaiting the book! Love the series so far!

    Reply
  2. I’m guessing red is the final version, because I prefer it slightly- although both make me want to read more. I am anxiously awaiting the book! Love the series so far!

    Reply
  3. I’m guessing red is the final version, because I prefer it slightly- although both make me want to read more. I am anxiously awaiting the book! Love the series so far!

    Reply
  4. I’m guessing red is the final version, because I prefer it slightly- although both make me want to read more. I am anxiously awaiting the book! Love the series so far!

    Reply
  5. I’m guessing red is the final version, because I prefer it slightly- although both make me want to read more. I am anxiously awaiting the book! Love the series so far!

    Reply
  6. in the first pair, i liked the red bit better because of the lovely image of stars speaking a language understood only by the ancients (which also was good because it seemed to form a parallel to the efforts of the staff man to control the weather in the second bit). it was that little bit extra in terms of lyricism and meaning, compared to the second quote in the first pair, which was fine, but restricted itself only to physical setting.
    in the second pair, i preferred the second quote – partly because the first had two words repeated (hands/hands, staff/staff), partly because the second went beyond the pure action description of the first to impart a bigger picture.
    but in any case – the excerpts were very atmospheric and sparked a lot of curiosity to see what happens next – to the man, and the island.
    finally – Thanks for introducing me to Dunant’s book! had not heard of it and the first sentence is truly spectacular.

    Reply
  7. in the first pair, i liked the red bit better because of the lovely image of stars speaking a language understood only by the ancients (which also was good because it seemed to form a parallel to the efforts of the staff man to control the weather in the second bit). it was that little bit extra in terms of lyricism and meaning, compared to the second quote in the first pair, which was fine, but restricted itself only to physical setting.
    in the second pair, i preferred the second quote – partly because the first had two words repeated (hands/hands, staff/staff), partly because the second went beyond the pure action description of the first to impart a bigger picture.
    but in any case – the excerpts were very atmospheric and sparked a lot of curiosity to see what happens next – to the man, and the island.
    finally – Thanks for introducing me to Dunant’s book! had not heard of it and the first sentence is truly spectacular.

    Reply
  8. in the first pair, i liked the red bit better because of the lovely image of stars speaking a language understood only by the ancients (which also was good because it seemed to form a parallel to the efforts of the staff man to control the weather in the second bit). it was that little bit extra in terms of lyricism and meaning, compared to the second quote in the first pair, which was fine, but restricted itself only to physical setting.
    in the second pair, i preferred the second quote – partly because the first had two words repeated (hands/hands, staff/staff), partly because the second went beyond the pure action description of the first to impart a bigger picture.
    but in any case – the excerpts were very atmospheric and sparked a lot of curiosity to see what happens next – to the man, and the island.
    finally – Thanks for introducing me to Dunant’s book! had not heard of it and the first sentence is truly spectacular.

    Reply
  9. in the first pair, i liked the red bit better because of the lovely image of stars speaking a language understood only by the ancients (which also was good because it seemed to form a parallel to the efforts of the staff man to control the weather in the second bit). it was that little bit extra in terms of lyricism and meaning, compared to the second quote in the first pair, which was fine, but restricted itself only to physical setting.
    in the second pair, i preferred the second quote – partly because the first had two words repeated (hands/hands, staff/staff), partly because the second went beyond the pure action description of the first to impart a bigger picture.
    but in any case – the excerpts were very atmospheric and sparked a lot of curiosity to see what happens next – to the man, and the island.
    finally – Thanks for introducing me to Dunant’s book! had not heard of it and the first sentence is truly spectacular.

    Reply
  10. in the first pair, i liked the red bit better because of the lovely image of stars speaking a language understood only by the ancients (which also was good because it seemed to form a parallel to the efforts of the staff man to control the weather in the second bit). it was that little bit extra in terms of lyricism and meaning, compared to the second quote in the first pair, which was fine, but restricted itself only to physical setting.
    in the second pair, i preferred the second quote – partly because the first had two words repeated (hands/hands, staff/staff), partly because the second went beyond the pure action description of the first to impart a bigger picture.
    but in any case – the excerpts were very atmospheric and sparked a lot of curiosity to see what happens next – to the man, and the island.
    finally – Thanks for introducing me to Dunant’s book! had not heard of it and the first sentence is truly spectacular.

    Reply
  11. I like the first red paragraph better because it seems to flow better and it evokes a sense of mystery to, but not necessarily atmosphere as the first blue paragraph does.
    But, based on what you said you were trying to achieve-the atmosphere in the feel, color, scents and sound- the blue paragraphs definitely convey that sense of atmosphere. The feeling of what Ian is trying to accomplish are in those few sentences and it makes me want to keep reeading. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  12. I like the first red paragraph better because it seems to flow better and it evokes a sense of mystery to, but not necessarily atmosphere as the first blue paragraph does.
    But, based on what you said you were trying to achieve-the atmosphere in the feel, color, scents and sound- the blue paragraphs definitely convey that sense of atmosphere. The feeling of what Ian is trying to accomplish are in those few sentences and it makes me want to keep reeading. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  13. I like the first red paragraph better because it seems to flow better and it evokes a sense of mystery to, but not necessarily atmosphere as the first blue paragraph does.
    But, based on what you said you were trying to achieve-the atmosphere in the feel, color, scents and sound- the blue paragraphs definitely convey that sense of atmosphere. The feeling of what Ian is trying to accomplish are in those few sentences and it makes me want to keep reeading. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  14. I like the first red paragraph better because it seems to flow better and it evokes a sense of mystery to, but not necessarily atmosphere as the first blue paragraph does.
    But, based on what you said you were trying to achieve-the atmosphere in the feel, color, scents and sound- the blue paragraphs definitely convey that sense of atmosphere. The feeling of what Ian is trying to accomplish are in those few sentences and it makes me want to keep reeading. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  15. I like the first red paragraph better because it seems to flow better and it evokes a sense of mystery to, but not necessarily atmosphere as the first blue paragraph does.
    But, based on what you said you were trying to achieve-the atmosphere in the feel, color, scents and sound- the blue paragraphs definitely convey that sense of atmosphere. The feeling of what Ian is trying to accomplish are in those few sentences and it makes me want to keep reeading. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  16. I like the blue better. Not that the red isn’t lovely, but the blue feels more grounded. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. Except maybe that the blue is more focused on the character.

    Reply
  17. I like the blue better. Not that the red isn’t lovely, but the blue feels more grounded. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. Except maybe that the blue is more focused on the character.

    Reply
  18. I like the blue better. Not that the red isn’t lovely, but the blue feels more grounded. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. Except maybe that the blue is more focused on the character.

    Reply
  19. I like the blue better. Not that the red isn’t lovely, but the blue feels more grounded. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. Except maybe that the blue is more focused on the character.

    Reply
  20. I like the blue better. Not that the red isn’t lovely, but the blue feels more grounded. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. Except maybe that the blue is more focused on the character.

    Reply
  21. I like the blue better. Both are nice and the red are definitely more atmospheric(?)/ poetic(?). But I like the reference to the first book in regard to the mountain and I like the simplification of the character’s name. I tend to trip over names that are not just not normal for our time and culture but totally different from anything I would be used to. Then again, maybe, I’m responding to what Mary K called “grounded”. It gave me a very clear picture as well as a feeling, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
  22. I like the blue better. Both are nice and the red are definitely more atmospheric(?)/ poetic(?). But I like the reference to the first book in regard to the mountain and I like the simplification of the character’s name. I tend to trip over names that are not just not normal for our time and culture but totally different from anything I would be used to. Then again, maybe, I’m responding to what Mary K called “grounded”. It gave me a very clear picture as well as a feeling, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
  23. I like the blue better. Both are nice and the red are definitely more atmospheric(?)/ poetic(?). But I like the reference to the first book in regard to the mountain and I like the simplification of the character’s name. I tend to trip over names that are not just not normal for our time and culture but totally different from anything I would be used to. Then again, maybe, I’m responding to what Mary K called “grounded”. It gave me a very clear picture as well as a feeling, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
  24. I like the blue better. Both are nice and the red are definitely more atmospheric(?)/ poetic(?). But I like the reference to the first book in regard to the mountain and I like the simplification of the character’s name. I tend to trip over names that are not just not normal for our time and culture but totally different from anything I would be used to. Then again, maybe, I’m responding to what Mary K called “grounded”. It gave me a very clear picture as well as a feeling, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
  25. I like the blue better. Both are nice and the red are definitely more atmospheric(?)/ poetic(?). But I like the reference to the first book in regard to the mountain and I like the simplification of the character’s name. I tend to trip over names that are not just not normal for our time and culture but totally different from anything I would be used to. Then again, maybe, I’m responding to what Mary K called “grounded”. It gave me a very clear picture as well as a feeling, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
  26. This is just too cool! I’ve been away from my desk all day and couldn’t get back to read comments until now. But I love what everyone has said. It DOES become a choice. My Irish wants that poetic, lyrical stuff, but my editor (and most readers) want to be “grounded.” Hey Gretchen, how Irish are you? But this is great feedback. I mourn the loss of my sensory sentences (sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration)but most modern day readers require grounding, especially when I’m dealing in an unreal world. It’s a tight balance and I always fear I’m falling off it.
    Yeah, Mary Jo, you do know the difference without peeking at the answers!

    Reply
  27. This is just too cool! I’ve been away from my desk all day and couldn’t get back to read comments until now. But I love what everyone has said. It DOES become a choice. My Irish wants that poetic, lyrical stuff, but my editor (and most readers) want to be “grounded.” Hey Gretchen, how Irish are you? But this is great feedback. I mourn the loss of my sensory sentences (sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration)but most modern day readers require grounding, especially when I’m dealing in an unreal world. It’s a tight balance and I always fear I’m falling off it.
    Yeah, Mary Jo, you do know the difference without peeking at the answers!

    Reply
  28. This is just too cool! I’ve been away from my desk all day and couldn’t get back to read comments until now. But I love what everyone has said. It DOES become a choice. My Irish wants that poetic, lyrical stuff, but my editor (and most readers) want to be “grounded.” Hey Gretchen, how Irish are you? But this is great feedback. I mourn the loss of my sensory sentences (sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration)but most modern day readers require grounding, especially when I’m dealing in an unreal world. It’s a tight balance and I always fear I’m falling off it.
    Yeah, Mary Jo, you do know the difference without peeking at the answers!

    Reply
  29. This is just too cool! I’ve been away from my desk all day and couldn’t get back to read comments until now. But I love what everyone has said. It DOES become a choice. My Irish wants that poetic, lyrical stuff, but my editor (and most readers) want to be “grounded.” Hey Gretchen, how Irish are you? But this is great feedback. I mourn the loss of my sensory sentences (sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration)but most modern day readers require grounding, especially when I’m dealing in an unreal world. It’s a tight balance and I always fear I’m falling off it.
    Yeah, Mary Jo, you do know the difference without peeking at the answers!

    Reply
  30. This is just too cool! I’ve been away from my desk all day and couldn’t get back to read comments until now. But I love what everyone has said. It DOES become a choice. My Irish wants that poetic, lyrical stuff, but my editor (and most readers) want to be “grounded.” Hey Gretchen, how Irish are you? But this is great feedback. I mourn the loss of my sensory sentences (sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration)but most modern day readers require grounding, especially when I’m dealing in an unreal world. It’s a tight balance and I always fear I’m falling off it.
    Yeah, Mary Jo, you do know the difference without peeking at the answers!

    Reply
  31. I have found this whole discussion on beginnings wonderful. Thanks, Wenches.
    Liked both beginnings for different reasons. It depends on what you want to set up. Loved the curl of smoke…
    Re this one:
    “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”
    It reminds me of the immortal line from Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (ie the monty Python crew):
    “Bill and Enid were walking through Tadger’s Wood one day, when suddenly they saw the collapse of Roman Imperialism.
    “Gosh, said Bill. ”

    Reply
  32. I have found this whole discussion on beginnings wonderful. Thanks, Wenches.
    Liked both beginnings for different reasons. It depends on what you want to set up. Loved the curl of smoke…
    Re this one:
    “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”
    It reminds me of the immortal line from Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (ie the monty Python crew):
    “Bill and Enid were walking through Tadger’s Wood one day, when suddenly they saw the collapse of Roman Imperialism.
    “Gosh, said Bill. ”

    Reply
  33. I have found this whole discussion on beginnings wonderful. Thanks, Wenches.
    Liked both beginnings for different reasons. It depends on what you want to set up. Loved the curl of smoke…
    Re this one:
    “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”
    It reminds me of the immortal line from Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (ie the monty Python crew):
    “Bill and Enid were walking through Tadger’s Wood one day, when suddenly they saw the collapse of Roman Imperialism.
    “Gosh, said Bill. ”

    Reply
  34. I have found this whole discussion on beginnings wonderful. Thanks, Wenches.
    Liked both beginnings for different reasons. It depends on what you want to set up. Loved the curl of smoke…
    Re this one:
    “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”
    It reminds me of the immortal line from Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (ie the monty Python crew):
    “Bill and Enid were walking through Tadger’s Wood one day, when suddenly they saw the collapse of Roman Imperialism.
    “Gosh, said Bill. ”

    Reply
  35. I have found this whole discussion on beginnings wonderful. Thanks, Wenches.
    Liked both beginnings for different reasons. It depends on what you want to set up. Loved the curl of smoke…
    Re this one:
    “My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment….”
    It reminds me of the immortal line from Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (ie the monty Python crew):
    “Bill and Enid were walking through Tadger’s Wood one day, when suddenly they saw the collapse of Roman Imperialism.
    “Gosh, said Bill. ”

    Reply
  36. I choose Blue. The red narrative just made my eyes glaze over. There was a little too much atmo for my taste. But the blue copy made me want to read further. It had more substance.
    Just my two pence.

    Reply
  37. I choose Blue. The red narrative just made my eyes glaze over. There was a little too much atmo for my taste. But the blue copy made me want to read further. It had more substance.
    Just my two pence.

    Reply
  38. I choose Blue. The red narrative just made my eyes glaze over. There was a little too much atmo for my taste. But the blue copy made me want to read further. It had more substance.
    Just my two pence.

    Reply
  39. I choose Blue. The red narrative just made my eyes glaze over. There was a little too much atmo for my taste. But the blue copy made me want to read further. It had more substance.
    Just my two pence.

    Reply
  40. I choose Blue. The red narrative just made my eyes glaze over. There was a little too much atmo for my taste. But the blue copy made me want to read further. It had more substance.
    Just my two pence.

    Reply
  41. I’m late to this one and both blue and red are written really well. But the red ones reminded me of books that were written in the 70’s (and that’s not a bad thing), while the blue seems to be more modern. And, I really don’t care for the term “modern”, but it’s all that my brain could handle. Interesting exercise.

    Reply
  42. I’m late to this one and both blue and red are written really well. But the red ones reminded me of books that were written in the 70’s (and that’s not a bad thing), while the blue seems to be more modern. And, I really don’t care for the term “modern”, but it’s all that my brain could handle. Interesting exercise.

    Reply
  43. I’m late to this one and both blue and red are written really well. But the red ones reminded me of books that were written in the 70’s (and that’s not a bad thing), while the blue seems to be more modern. And, I really don’t care for the term “modern”, but it’s all that my brain could handle. Interesting exercise.

    Reply
  44. I’m late to this one and both blue and red are written really well. But the red ones reminded me of books that were written in the 70’s (and that’s not a bad thing), while the blue seems to be more modern. And, I really don’t care for the term “modern”, but it’s all that my brain could handle. Interesting exercise.

    Reply
  45. I’m late to this one and both blue and red are written really well. But the red ones reminded me of books that were written in the 70’s (and that’s not a bad thing), while the blue seems to be more modern. And, I really don’t care for the term “modern”, but it’s all that my brain could handle. Interesting exercise.

    Reply
  46. Wow, Kay, interesting observation, and you may be right. We did write with more atmosphere and emphasis on lyrical prose in the early historicals. And today’s book are faster paced and must clump more information into every sentence than the huge ones back in the 70’s. Good point.
    O’Gretchen works for me!

    Reply
  47. Wow, Kay, interesting observation, and you may be right. We did write with more atmosphere and emphasis on lyrical prose in the early historicals. And today’s book are faster paced and must clump more information into every sentence than the huge ones back in the 70’s. Good point.
    O’Gretchen works for me!

    Reply
  48. Wow, Kay, interesting observation, and you may be right. We did write with more atmosphere and emphasis on lyrical prose in the early historicals. And today’s book are faster paced and must clump more information into every sentence than the huge ones back in the 70’s. Good point.
    O’Gretchen works for me!

    Reply
  49. Wow, Kay, interesting observation, and you may be right. We did write with more atmosphere and emphasis on lyrical prose in the early historicals. And today’s book are faster paced and must clump more information into every sentence than the huge ones back in the 70’s. Good point.
    O’Gretchen works for me!

    Reply
  50. Wow, Kay, interesting observation, and you may be right. We did write with more atmosphere and emphasis on lyrical prose in the early historicals. And today’s book are faster paced and must clump more information into every sentence than the huge ones back in the 70’s. Good point.
    O’Gretchen works for me!

    Reply
  51. Interesting, that your third paragraph is to a great extent a revision of the second red one. You’ve painted a powerful picture.

    Reply
  52. Interesting, that your third paragraph is to a great extent a revision of the second red one. You’ve painted a powerful picture.

    Reply
  53. Interesting, that your third paragraph is to a great extent a revision of the second red one. You’ve painted a powerful picture.

    Reply
  54. Interesting, that your third paragraph is to a great extent a revision of the second red one. You’ve painted a powerful picture.

    Reply
  55. Interesting, that your third paragraph is to a great extent a revision of the second red one. You’ve painted a powerful picture.

    Reply
  56. Well, I knew the bottom blue must be in the book, because I could see the scene the moment I read it.
    I loved the first red paragraph! So I was half right in my assumptions. I would hope there is a place for lyrical prose such as that.

    Reply
  57. Well, I knew the bottom blue must be in the book, because I could see the scene the moment I read it.
    I loved the first red paragraph! So I was half right in my assumptions. I would hope there is a place for lyrical prose such as that.

    Reply
  58. Well, I knew the bottom blue must be in the book, because I could see the scene the moment I read it.
    I loved the first red paragraph! So I was half right in my assumptions. I would hope there is a place for lyrical prose such as that.

    Reply
  59. Well, I knew the bottom blue must be in the book, because I could see the scene the moment I read it.
    I loved the first red paragraph! So I was half right in my assumptions. I would hope there is a place for lyrical prose such as that.

    Reply
  60. Well, I knew the bottom blue must be in the book, because I could see the scene the moment I read it.
    I loved the first red paragraph! So I was half right in my assumptions. I would hope there is a place for lyrical prose such as that.

    Reply
  61. I certainly find the red paragraphs more poetic and, as you say, atmospheric.
    However, to move the book along, you might have revised the beginning to read as the blue paragraphs.
    I purposely didn’t read any of the other comments so I don’t know what others thought. Indeed, you might easily have reversed the process that I first thought of. It really depends on the effect you are striving for in the beginning and in the whole book.
    I love good beginnings, too, especially ones that pique my curiosity and truly inspire me to read the book. “Pedestrian” openings are acceptable too, but they don’t give me the same interest in the book from the first few words.

    Reply
  62. I certainly find the red paragraphs more poetic and, as you say, atmospheric.
    However, to move the book along, you might have revised the beginning to read as the blue paragraphs.
    I purposely didn’t read any of the other comments so I don’t know what others thought. Indeed, you might easily have reversed the process that I first thought of. It really depends on the effect you are striving for in the beginning and in the whole book.
    I love good beginnings, too, especially ones that pique my curiosity and truly inspire me to read the book. “Pedestrian” openings are acceptable too, but they don’t give me the same interest in the book from the first few words.

    Reply
  63. I certainly find the red paragraphs more poetic and, as you say, atmospheric.
    However, to move the book along, you might have revised the beginning to read as the blue paragraphs.
    I purposely didn’t read any of the other comments so I don’t know what others thought. Indeed, you might easily have reversed the process that I first thought of. It really depends on the effect you are striving for in the beginning and in the whole book.
    I love good beginnings, too, especially ones that pique my curiosity and truly inspire me to read the book. “Pedestrian” openings are acceptable too, but they don’t give me the same interest in the book from the first few words.

    Reply
  64. I certainly find the red paragraphs more poetic and, as you say, atmospheric.
    However, to move the book along, you might have revised the beginning to read as the blue paragraphs.
    I purposely didn’t read any of the other comments so I don’t know what others thought. Indeed, you might easily have reversed the process that I first thought of. It really depends on the effect you are striving for in the beginning and in the whole book.
    I love good beginnings, too, especially ones that pique my curiosity and truly inspire me to read the book. “Pedestrian” openings are acceptable too, but they don’t give me the same interest in the book from the first few words.

    Reply
  65. I certainly find the red paragraphs more poetic and, as you say, atmospheric.
    However, to move the book along, you might have revised the beginning to read as the blue paragraphs.
    I purposely didn’t read any of the other comments so I don’t know what others thought. Indeed, you might easily have reversed the process that I first thought of. It really depends on the effect you are striving for in the beginning and in the whole book.
    I love good beginnings, too, especially ones that pique my curiosity and truly inspire me to read the book. “Pedestrian” openings are acceptable too, but they don’t give me the same interest in the book from the first few words.

    Reply
  66. I liked them both (of course— you wrote them), but they definitely evoked different things. I’m not Irish at all, but the red was gorgeous. The blue, however, was stronger and moodier. But don’t throw the red stuff away!

    Reply
  67. I liked them both (of course— you wrote them), but they definitely evoked different things. I’m not Irish at all, but the red was gorgeous. The blue, however, was stronger and moodier. But don’t throw the red stuff away!

    Reply
  68. I liked them both (of course— you wrote them), but they definitely evoked different things. I’m not Irish at all, but the red was gorgeous. The blue, however, was stronger and moodier. But don’t throw the red stuff away!

    Reply
  69. I liked them both (of course— you wrote them), but they definitely evoked different things. I’m not Irish at all, but the red was gorgeous. The blue, however, was stronger and moodier. But don’t throw the red stuff away!

    Reply
  70. I liked them both (of course— you wrote them), but they definitely evoked different things. I’m not Irish at all, but the red was gorgeous. The blue, however, was stronger and moodier. But don’t throw the red stuff away!

    Reply
  71. LOL, maybe I should write two books–one from my Irish side and the other from the more prosaic fit-everything-in side. But we all know how ULYSSES turned out when James Joyce let it all hang out, so maybe I won’t go there. “G”
    Thanks everyone for playing the game! Our whipmaster Sherrie will draw a name this weekend.

    Reply
  72. LOL, maybe I should write two books–one from my Irish side and the other from the more prosaic fit-everything-in side. But we all know how ULYSSES turned out when James Joyce let it all hang out, so maybe I won’t go there. “G”
    Thanks everyone for playing the game! Our whipmaster Sherrie will draw a name this weekend.

    Reply
  73. LOL, maybe I should write two books–one from my Irish side and the other from the more prosaic fit-everything-in side. But we all know how ULYSSES turned out when James Joyce let it all hang out, so maybe I won’t go there. “G”
    Thanks everyone for playing the game! Our whipmaster Sherrie will draw a name this weekend.

    Reply
  74. LOL, maybe I should write two books–one from my Irish side and the other from the more prosaic fit-everything-in side. But we all know how ULYSSES turned out when James Joyce let it all hang out, so maybe I won’t go there. “G”
    Thanks everyone for playing the game! Our whipmaster Sherrie will draw a name this weekend.

    Reply
  75. LOL, maybe I should write two books–one from my Irish side and the other from the more prosaic fit-everything-in side. But we all know how ULYSSES turned out when James Joyce let it all hang out, so maybe I won’t go there. “G”
    Thanks everyone for playing the game! Our whipmaster Sherrie will draw a name this weekend.

    Reply
  76. I’m late to this one,too,but I’d like to say while I found the red elegant & full of wonderful words that created both picture & mood to impress me,the blue,tho still giving the same facts & feeling, was more down to earth & easier to read which, I’d guess, was the reason your editor preferred it.
    What may have been most important was the fact that in a fantasy story, it was important to make that fantasy seem as normal as it possible can. The blue writing did “ground” it most effectively.

    Reply
  77. I’m late to this one,too,but I’d like to say while I found the red elegant & full of wonderful words that created both picture & mood to impress me,the blue,tho still giving the same facts & feeling, was more down to earth & easier to read which, I’d guess, was the reason your editor preferred it.
    What may have been most important was the fact that in a fantasy story, it was important to make that fantasy seem as normal as it possible can. The blue writing did “ground” it most effectively.

    Reply
  78. I’m late to this one,too,but I’d like to say while I found the red elegant & full of wonderful words that created both picture & mood to impress me,the blue,tho still giving the same facts & feeling, was more down to earth & easier to read which, I’d guess, was the reason your editor preferred it.
    What may have been most important was the fact that in a fantasy story, it was important to make that fantasy seem as normal as it possible can. The blue writing did “ground” it most effectively.

    Reply
  79. I’m late to this one,too,but I’d like to say while I found the red elegant & full of wonderful words that created both picture & mood to impress me,the blue,tho still giving the same facts & feeling, was more down to earth & easier to read which, I’d guess, was the reason your editor preferred it.
    What may have been most important was the fact that in a fantasy story, it was important to make that fantasy seem as normal as it possible can. The blue writing did “ground” it most effectively.

    Reply
  80. I’m late to this one,too,but I’d like to say while I found the red elegant & full of wonderful words that created both picture & mood to impress me,the blue,tho still giving the same facts & feeling, was more down to earth & easier to read which, I’d guess, was the reason your editor preferred it.
    What may have been most important was the fact that in a fantasy story, it was important to make that fantasy seem as normal as it possible can. The blue writing did “ground” it most effectively.

    Reply

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