May 13th, 2009

A Birthday

revision, the past perfect, and opening paragraphs

Opened a story to start the second draft.  Banged my head on the wall a few times.

Writing stuff down in the order in which it occurs is a good rule.  It is a particularly good rule in the opening paragraphs of your story.  Triply good if the stuff you want to work in happened just a few minutes earlier. . . .

Yet I managed to miss, in the first draft, that I was opening with the heroine musing about something that had just happened.  I shifted the opening back a minute and had it whap her upside the head, but how did I manage to miss that while wrestling with how to open the first draft?

So I eliminated the past perfect from the opening.  Always be wary of using the past perfect in your opening.  It's a warning that you haven't started your story in the right place.

And it's more elegant if you notice while writing not revising.