First Words

I’m officially starting my newsletter today, this minute, with these words. For several years I’ve considered starting a newsletter or blog, talked about it with other writers, received advice, and conducted research. Now I’m actually throwing words out into cyberspace. It’s scary. Like when I typed these first words in chapter six of the rough draft of Carpe Diem, Illinois:

The mayor of Carpe Diem was one of the few people in town who did not love her job, despite appearances to the contrary.  She was not a native to Carpe Diem but instead arrived twenty years earlier full of ambition and a vision for the town that the villagers found appealing . . . 

Yikes, what a slow beginning! But it was a start and no one but my critique group (Chicks of the Trade) had to suffer through those words, sorry Chicks. Until this moment, that is.

When I finished the rough draft of Carpe Diem, Illinois, I announced this achievement on Facebook. I’d written a novel! One of my Facebook friends asked when she could buy the book. I had to tell her that I was just getting started.

After six years of studying how-to books, receiving critiques from the Chicks, taking workshops, attending conferences, and hiring an editor (thanks Karyn Saemann), I realized that it’s much better to introduce readers to Mayor Mary Evans through the eyes of my protagonist, Leo Townsend. So that same introduction to the mayor now reads:

     As Leo stepped off the curb, someone behind him said, “Mr. Townsend?”

     He turned to see a tall woman in a conservative blue suit and heels. “Yes?”

     She offered her hand. “I’m Mayor Mary Evans.” Her lifeless brown hair grazed the top of her pressed white blouse. Several limp strands were tucked behind her ears that were pierced by simple gold studs. Tortoise shell glasses did a good job of hiding her eyes. Her nose and mouth blended into the rest of her forgettable face. 

What a change.

Often, readers assume that good writing comes easily. Experienced writers give that impression. But writing can be a long, hard process, particularly for first-time novelists. Many are paralyzed with the fear of not being able to depict exactly what they imagine. The only way to overcome that fear is to realize that the first words might suck but not as much as an empty page. They just have to write something down because those first words will give them something to work with.

I wrote those first words and now not only do I have a published, award-winning novel and its sequel, I have my first newsletter.

My latest project and its first words:

I’m currently working on The Devil Particle Trilogy. In the first book, The Devil Particle, scientists have discovered that evil is a known quantity which can be collected and contained but the vessel they must use is a human being.

Here are the first words of The Devil Particle:

The burnt-out lightbulb makes a satisfying “pop” as I crush it under my sneaker. I’d pick up the broken pieces but it’s noon, the street is empty, and no one’s watching. I hear humming. No time to run, I crouch in the middle of the street and cover my head. The humming gets louder, buzzes over me, and moves on. It’s a mail-carrying drone and it’s headed for my yard.  

What do you think? Are you intrigued enough to read on? Let me know!

What are your favorite first words from a novel? Some of my favorites are from the book that inspired Carpe Diem, Illinois: “It was a pleasure to burn.” Do you know the book and author? Give me your best guess!

Fun opportunity: 

I’m sponsoring a terrific Christmas event through Kindle. Starting today, you have a chance to win a 7″ Kindle Fire, Kindle cover, Booklover Coffee Mug, Reader T-shirt, and more. No purchase necessary. Just click on the icon below and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway (look for the cover of Carpe Diem, Illinois!). The Giveaway ends Dec. 31st. You can enter every day!

Where you can find me:

Tomorrow, December 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Oak Creek Author Fest, Oak Creek Public Library, 8040 South 6th Street, Oak Creek, WI: A terrific place to do your holiday shopping and support local authors!

December 14, 12:00 noon: Westlake Village Book Club Christmas Party, Westlake Village, Illinois: I’m looking forward to discussing Carpe Diem, Illinois with this terrific group of book lovers! If you would like me to talk to yourbook club, simply contact me.

     Thank you for reading!

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