WIP – Opening lines

I hope your writing is going well. Been a busy week, so I thought I’d just share the opening paragraph from my work-in-progress (WIP).

Father is shaking me, whispering hot stale breath in my face. Run! I grab the satchel that he’s
handing me and don’t ask twice. I am only two steps behind him. I can smell the smoke before we reach
the town walls. I can see the light from the flames casting my long shadow into the night. We are not far
away enough when the screaming begins.

You can read a little more about this NaNoWriMo project in a previous post.

Would that make you want to

My Current WIP

Ash is the tentative title of my current work-in-progress (WIP) and the book I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. It’s definitely something new for me on many levels. It’s first person, which I haven’t touched in years. Very challenging, but fun to work with. It’s post-apocalyptic, which gives me a bit of a clean slate (boy is it clean!) to work with. It’s YA, so that’s always fun. And, lastly, it’s got elements of paranormal, which I’ve never really written. And that is a lot of fun! It’s exciting how the story is coming along and I’m looking forward to getting the first draft wrapped up by December. I’ve written about 15000 words for NaNo and have ~27,000 words altogether. I’m aiming for 65k.

So, what’s Ash about? That’s difficult to answer. On the surface, it’s a story of survival and family and love. Beneath the surface is a complex tale of humans trying to gain a foothold in a world that is no longer theirs to control. I based the theme on a simple idea: What if the Great Flood was the Earth’s attempt to cleanse itself of man? And while it slept off the energy hangover that followed, man simply flourished into the parasitic catalyst of destruction it is today. This time, when the Earth reawakens, its method is fire. 95% of the world’s population is destroyed. Everything that is flammable and some that is not, burns and melts back into the earth. Life as we know it ends. My story begins at least 100 years after The Burning, maybe more. The Earth has changed. The humans who survived band together in small villages in an attempt to rebuild. Some humans, though, have gone wild. And, some, have changed in ways that only fairy tales would have you believe. Meet 17-year-old Ash. A boy unlike any other.

While this book is set to be a stand alone, I envision the potential for additional stories down the road. But, when I finish this first draft, I have to get back to my existing series. A book no one has read is always exciting, but I have readers itching for the next books in my Danny Dirks series and my Trilogy of the Six (by Andy Rane). I must appease the masses! Ok, there’s like one or two. That counts as a mass, right? 😉

How’s your writing going? What’s your latest WIP about?

When characters take over plot

So, I started writing this paranormal story years ago (Clock Smyth). I’m not big into werewolves or vampires, so I sort of made up my own extrasensory ability. I don’t want to give it away, because that’s not the point of my post. 😉

Anyway, as I developed the story, I sort of ran out of gas. It’s sat idle for a very long time now. But, recently, the gears started grinding again. I like the idea so much, but there’s something about it that’s been bothering me. I kept coming back to this one secondary character that seemed to be dominating the plot, but wasn’t who or what I was really interested in.

It finally dawned on me that this particular character and thread were distracting me from what I really wanted to get to. You see, they were too paranormal for my paranormal story. What I wanted to write was a story about something crazy happening to a single character and how he reacts to a mind-bending new ability. I envisioned multiple episodes where this new ability cause both good things and bad. The possibilities are truly endless. However, what I ended up with was a story about two characters with paranormal abilities who end up chasing one another around to some unknown end. Cyclical, tunnel-visioned, and limiting.

So, I have to start over with the story, but I think it’ll be for the best. I’ll only be “throwing away” a couple thousand words. Been there, done that. Sometimes it’s right to let characters take over the story. It can be fun to see where they take you. But, if it draws you away from the plot you had intended, perhaps that character isn’t meant for that story. In that case, they’re getting in the way of what you’re really after. Maybe they need their own story, or maybe their details can be diluted out of one character and into less-dominant secondary characters. You should never be afraid of staying true to your vision, even if it means going back to the beginning.