Before I forget - I have an excerpt on Unusual Historicals today - or maybe yesterday now! Do have a look. It's a bit from Dark Pool, my story set in Viking Dublin.
The weather has been so good this week that I've been out gardening every day, but now it is time to get back to work. I've been having doubts about the opening chpaters of KT so whilst gardening I've been simmering about what to do. I've had the old notebooks out, checking the words of masters like McKee, Bransford and Maas on things like pacing and conflict. I've pickedup some lovely quotes along the way. "Pacing is the rhythm of a novel." Well, yes, but it doesn't tell you how to achieve good pacing, does it? "Pacing is the length of time between moments of conflict." That gives me a clue. "The rate the reader reads." "The speed at which the novel events occur and unfold." What speeds up pace? Dialogue. Now we're getting somewhere.
Bradbury says: "Start where things start to go wrong." So, I'm rethinking the opening pages. Much as I love them, there is no real hook there to grab the reader, no hint of plot. Of course, this book started out as a romance, pure and simple. Now it has morphed into something else. Since I'm a start-at-the-beginning-and-work-through-to-the-end sort of writer, then those first pages are the oldest bits of writing.
Bransford says "without conflict the book is DOA." His way of putting things is sharp and dead on the money, and I must now go back and look at my beginning.