I don’t remember exactly when I started THE CLEANER. And with THE DECEIVED, I know it was the summer of 2006, but that’s only because I had turned in the first 50 pages with my proposal to my editor then. My third novel, SHADOW OF BETRAYAL, was started much in the same way in the summer of 2007. And for my next novel (we’ll call it Quinn 4 – or simply Q4 – since there’s no title yet) I also wrote a few chapters just this July to get my publisher on board.
But in the months since I sent those pages off, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the new book. And as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve also taken a recent trip to the UK and Paris to do location research. Because of all this, the way the book starts has been morphing in my mind. I no longer think what I wrote this summer is the way for the book to begin.
The reason this is pertinent to my post today is because I made a plan several weeks ago to get Q4 going on November 5th. Why the 5th? One, because it would be enough after my return from Europe that I shouldn’t be effected by jet lag any longer, but mainly because it was the day after election here in the States, and I knew it would be stupid to start before that was over.
So now I’ve begun. And I can truly point to the 5th of November as the day when Q4 began. (Okay…for you purists, of course it began the first day I started thinking about it, but I’m talking about real words on paper, most of which will – hopefully – make the final cut!)
Beginnings are exciting to me. It’s not like I’m staring at a blank page wondering what to write. I’m jazzed up, ready to dive in, and usually within a few days I will have made excellent progress…it’s later, around page 80 that I might waver a bit, but for the beginning? Golden.
And since I’m writing a series, it’s like coming home. I want to see what my characters are doing now. I want to find out how they get into and out of what ever adventure they are barreling toward. And, most importantly, I want to see how their lives have changed. See, it’s the over-story, the personal tale of Quinn and Orlando and Nate’s lives which stretches over the whole series that truly interests me. It is the story within the story. One that is told in increments from book to book. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have ideas, but often my characters have ideas which deviate from where I was going to take them.
So I sit here at the beginning again. Ready to go, and excited to see what happens next. The only think I know for sure is that in the course of the next several months, I’ll be learning more and more about Quinn’s world. And I can’t think of a better way of spending the time.
So let’s talk beginnings. We all know they are important. They make or break a good thriller or mystery. If you don’t get your reader right away, they’ll put your book down and never pick it up again…well, accept to take it to the used bookstore. So let’s get your thoughts…writer’s do you enjoy writing beginnings? If so, why? If not, why not? And reader’s, what are you looking for when you crack open a book and start reading?
Song of the day: THE BEGINNING by Seal (fooled you didn’t I? Thought I was going to choose Chicago’s ONLY THE BEGINNING, didn’t you?)