Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Would you care for a starter, madam?

The land held every promise of its morbid title. The shivers that ran through spines were enough to make the boat quiver in the dullness of the dawn. The Grey Lands were indeed the greyest she had ever seen and appeared as though every colour of the spectrum had been filtered out by the stony clouds above. It was more than a depressing sight.
They came to rest in the still, leaden waters. The rowing boat touched the water lightly and her oarsmen waited patiently for their passenger to step aboard.
The lament in her going had started over an hour ago and the keening had since built to an almost unbearable level. Her ears would certainly not miss their kin but her heart would cry as though it had been ripped from her breast. She bit the inside of an already sore cheek determined to show no sign of the fears that had swept through the crew as they had got their first glimpse of land. This land.
A rope-calloused hand guided her gently into the slight sway of the smaller boat and the lament grew to a funereal wail.
‘Hush now, I do not go to my death’ she said over her shoulder.
The dirge had continued at a more acceptable level and the sound had followed her to the shallow water where the waves were now licking at the drab shore.
She adjusted the large leather back sack and nodded to the crew. The icy water cut deep to the bone but she proceeded with grace and dignity to the edge where she stood with her back to the sea.
She heard the oarsmen’s hands slap against their thighs at the end of the traditional salute and the boat was turned. Every sinew in her body strained, every muscle ached, to catch one last look at her people, but tradition must be upheld. She belonged to this land now and she must learn its ways, its history, its future, and its people. She must become.

Ooh, starters, openings, beginnings - tricky bloody things.
The is the opening few lines of a novel that has barely got past the fourth chapter. I have been wondering lately what stopped it before I really got into stride.
Is it the starter? I think this must be as important to the writer as it is to the reader. I rarely buy a book where I have not had a sneaky peek at the first chapter, but I quite like this one and the story promises to be an exciting write.
I have quite a few stashed away like this. The plot for these, (as much as I ever do) is laid out in my head and my haphazard writing technique is no different than for those that have made it to the finish post.
So, is it the beginning that has failed to spur it onwards, or is it just not the right time for this one?


Roberta said...

~So, is it the beginning that has failed to spur it onwards, or is it just not the right time for this one? ~

I believe it's all in the timing. This is an excellent beginning, captured my attention quickly!

Maybe you need to outline it and think about the who, what, when, where and how? Oh, and the why?

I'd love to read more!

concerned citizen said...

Too much of the River Styx in the opening...not anough tension?

But what do I know?

I want to see more too.

John said...

Me, too.

Anonymous said...

Very NICE :D

..and what a beautifull blog :)

Keep smiling :)

Unknown said...

Does anyone else collect first/second/third chapters, or am I the only weirdo? No, don't tell me.

Anonymous said...

you know thats just wrong to get something going that we can't see the finish to right? I now have all kinds of questions running through my head that I won't get answers to.

conclusion you must of course finish this so that I might have answers;)

I hate writting the begining of stories.. the begining of my own is still not quite write for me...sigh

Unknown said...

I have a feeling that this one will grow up at some point.

I got hundreds of beginnings, do you want some, Wolfbaby? Maybe I should sell them on ebay.

Funny, isn't it, how different we all are. I love beginnings, I find they almost write themselves. But ask me to write a synopsis and you will find me a quivering heap in the corner!

Anonymous said...

I know what happens in the begining of stories it's just getting them to sound right LOL... i bet you could sell them on e-bay to;) I must of course stick around for when this one grows up!! I couldn't write a synopsis to save my life. I love the middle of the story and the end by then I have my grove on and the feel of it going ya know? my beginings just tend to sound so stilted.