Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where to begin?

I'm about to start a new Royal Spyness book and as usual I'm in terrified mode. I'm not one of those people who outlines, so I start knowing very little... where I'm going to set it (on the French Riviera) and some unpleasant things that may happen to Georgie (not going to tell you).

But the problem with every book is where to begin. Where do I come into this particular story which is part of someone's life? Some writers give us a body on page one. I am the other kind.. I like to set the scene, introduce characters and watch them interacting before anything too bad happens. Not quite as thrilling, I must admit, but that's just the way I work.

So I need to start on a gray, bleak day in London, to make the prospect of the Riviera more enticing.

But my WRITING TIP FOR THE DAY:  and write this in letters of flame ten feet high on your wall NOTHING IS WRITTEN IN STONE.
Toy with various opening scenes. Be prepared to toss out the first 50 pages if you realize you could have come into the story later, or just get started, to have something down in black and white,and then go back in the editing phase and polish up the beginning.
Obviously beginnings are important. People pick up a book in a store, read the first page and decide whether to buy it. That's why I'm always a little worried that I don't have a body. So my first page has to be witty and/or funny. I hope I feel in a witty mood today!

I'll keep you posted as to how I'm progressing.


  1. I'm so excited that you're starting another Royal Spyness mystery! I've re-read the first three already in anticipation for the one coming out in September...wish you could write them as fast as I read them!

    Thanks also for the writing tip. I always get inspired to work harder after reading your blog.

    Looking forward to hearing about your progress!

  2. Your narrative voice has always been what hooked me. You could begin the first page with Georgie's thoughts about a clod of dirt and I'd still bring the book home.
    Excited to hear that you've started #4. Looking forward to it!

  3. Thank you for the encouraging words. I got 4 pages done!

  4. I saw your new cover on Amazon. As always, very stylish. Is the man on the last 2 covers, whose face is never shown, supposed to be Darcy?

  5. I just wanted that hint of the mysterious dark and handsome stranger. In Royal Blood it may be Darcy... or it may be someone more sinister.... I shall say no more.

  6. Yaaay, Rhys! Your wisdom is sound, and I'm glad you're listening to it! Happy writing.

  7. How encouraging - I finished my manuscript over a week ago and then realized I need to rip it all apart and start in the middle - don't know if my Mac can stand the strain.