Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beginnings (long one! <--- that's what she said)

Progress on my WIP is on target. I'm aiming for 2,000 words a day to keep me on my 10k/week goal, allowing for weekends to spend with Evan. I'm a bit over 14,000 words now, and while it feels like I'm just hurtling through the plot, my logical side assures me that my pacing is probably better than it's been yet.

I've been thinking about beginnings a lot lately. First introductions to characters. First taste of a story. First impression.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to show a random mix of opening passages from different things I've worked on, some dating back to over 10 years ago, when I was the ripe young age of 13. I'll try to give an approximate age/date for each piece.

Here goes nothing! (Some adult content/language ahead)

-Draft One (current W-I-P): Jan 2010 (23)
Another bullfrog yelped, its throaty bellow cutting through the humming air.
“Shhh,” he said, laying his hand on top of the dog's broad head. The dog glanced backwards at him, her pale blue eyes glinting yellow in the lantern's beam, then grumbled in her throat and snorted an exhale.

-After All (NaNoWriMo '08) (22)
Light, feathery, slightly ticklish--I woke up suddenly, with the heart-pounding that comes from deep sleep to unexpected consciousness. Fingertips. Brushing over my cheeks, tracing the shape of my lips, dipping in the shallow valley between chest and collarbone, edging close the steep swell of breast.

-Erastai: sometime 2008 (22)
Even at six in the morning, the air was already thick with humidity. As the summer had progressed, my early morning runs had started to feel like early morning swims. I’d been living here in south Georgia for a year now, but I was no where near accustomed to the humidity; Michigan was like the desert compared to this tropical hell-hole. 

-Nymph of the Night: 2007 (mostly during class) (20-21)
I am a nymph of the night. The badass of all badasses. I am the mistress of the dark, a creature of the crypt, the—
I am a clumsy oaf.

-Savior: 2000 (vomit alert ahead!) (13-14)
Applause and cheers filled the private auditorium as the cast of the ballet glided on stage for curtain call. Ana gripped Victor Romano's hand on one side and Duncan Irons' on the other. They had played the main trio of the ballet, an entire work composed and choreographed by their instructor, Anita Siroux. She had harbored a fascination that bordered on obsession with both men for as long as they had been dancing for her.

-The Darkness in Redemption: c.1998 (12)
The scorched landscape baked under the intense heat of Yoma's binary suns. The air was filled with the acrid sickly-sweet smell of burnt vegetation and charred flesh. On the southern horizon, the whitish-blue sky was dark gray, where it marked the beginning of the dark side of Yoma.

-93 Million Miles: c.2002 (15-16)
Slowly hanging the phone back on its receiver, Colin Kennedy slumped into his plush chair and picked up the cherry-red Fender at his feet. Idly picking a few chords, he tried not to dwell on how bored—and now depressed—he felt. It was late on a Sunday afternoon, and he had nothing to do. 

Humorous, eh? I think it takes practice to recognize your own style in your art, whether it be painting, drawing, music, photography, or writing. Having dabbled in all of that media, I think I've gotten pretty good at recognizing my own style/voice in my art. Makes sense, right? It took be much longer to recognize my painting style than my writing. But you know what's interesting? I can look back at stuff that even pre-dates some of these gems, stuff that I was first churning out, and you know what? There's my voice. 

I've practiced at all of my art for many years, but only two forms have ever stood out as being mainly the same since the beginning: my piano and my writing. 
Of course, I had to practice, practice, practice until my piano "style" was something beyond scales and arpeggios, just like I had to practice my writing until it was something other than "Raine giggled. She liked the way Henry grinned at her whenever he said something funny" (and yes, my first MC's name was Raine. Coincidentally, this was also the name of the male MC in the romance book belonging to my mom that taught me about sex at the age of 8.) But both my piano playing and my writing have had my personal style in them since day one. 

Is it just my imagination? Or when you look back over the years (decades), can you see your own voice, no matter how bad the words it's saying? Obviously every person has a distinct way of talking, of using their hands, etc--does this translate automatically into our writing? After all, isn't writing just putting the words in your head onto paper instead of into the air? 


Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the bullfrog opening, and I REALLY love the Nymph of the night one! :-)

Unknown said...

How fun to go back through and see what all you have done!!! Since 13 no less! These are fantastic! I'm with Shannon, I love the bullfrog opening!

Summer Frey said...

Glad the bullfrog works, since it's my WIP! :-)

Shannon, I love Nymph of the Night. It reads kind of like a chick-lit vampire romance thing, and is something I'm planning on picking back up again, one of these days.