There’s a New Year’s tradition of opening the door at midnight and using a broom to sweep out the old year and welcome the new. I’ve never done it, mainly because it’s a) too cold where I live and b) I’m usually in bed by the time they celebrate New Year’s in Iceland (and no, I don’t live in Iceland, but how cool would that be?).
I did a mini-version of this tradition these past two days, however, when I undertook another round of light edits to Stone’s Throw into the Deep. I got an encouraging note from an agent who commented that I had a strong premise but the first few pages didn’t pull her in. With this in mind, I took another look at the opening chapter. Yep, the opening pages could use a little punch.
Writing the entries for the 1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars Writing Contest proved to be immensely helpful, as those entries needed to establish setting, character, tone and a little plot in less than 1,000 words.* The opening pages of Stone’s Throw were solid but I could do better establishing action (and less explanation of the fantasy world) sooner.
In the end, I swept 3,000 words from the manuscript (not just from the opening chapter!) and the whole endeavor took me through at least one entire round of my 80-song Stone’s Throw playlist.
Now I can welcome 2014 with a clean page (and a ton of notes on upcoming projects.) Happy New Year!