A new beginning – WIPpet Wednesday

New beginning

I’m annoyed. Why you might ask? Well it’s because I’m sure that in a previous WIPpet Wednesday post I shared an excerpt from Reunion where my MC Anna is telling her friends about her messy break up. But I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve searched on my blog about 3 times and it’s nowhere. Grrr.

Anyway the reason I wanted it was to have it to refer to today because I’ve amended the beginning of Reunion to make it more gripping from the very first line – I hope. Someone told me they’d read my novel The Inheritance, which I published a few weeks ago, and enjoyed it but said it took a while to get going and they thought it needed to grip the reader from the beginning.

It’s funny cos I’d read the same advice in a general post on a writer’s blog (can’t remember which one), that you need to grab the reader’s attention from the very beginning.  Then I had a flash of inspiration as to how I could make the beginning of Reunion much more gripping.

So here’s my attempt. This is the new beginning of Reunion. Anna and her boyfriend Elliot are having a blazing row. She suspects him of cheating on her. If you recognise any of the dialogue, that’s because I’ve recycled it from a flashback Anna has later in the story and it was what I shared in the WIPpet Wednesday post I just can’t find.

As always, comments are welcome – though I guess getting feedback is the whole reason we do WIPpet Wednesday, isn’t it? Anyway here’s 13 paragraphs from chapter one as it’s 2013. Enjoy!

Anna glared at Elliot standing across the table from her, willing him to be struck down by a celestial power or something, anything to punish him for what he’d done.

‘I’ve had enough of your excuses,’ she yelled at him. ‘I know the truth and I don’t want to hear any more lies.’

‘Which idiot have you been listening to, Anna?’ he replied equally loudly as they fought it out in the kitchen, perilously close to the knives which Anna was tempted to throw at him.

‘Oh I don’t know, about a dozen? Maybe two dozen? Did you really think I’d never find out? Who is she anyway, this model? No wait; don’t tell me, she’s some bimbo who’s conveniently only in it for the sex!’

‘Look I told you, Anna, I’m not having an affair! You’ve got to trust me.’

‘Not having an affair. Hmmm. That’s what you said three months ago when I first told you what people had been saying. And I stupidly chose to believe you. But since then more and more people, friends and acquaintances, have been telling me what you’ve been getting up to on those “research” trips to London.’

‘They’re wrong, Anna, they’re wrong. Why would I ever want sex with Petra… ’ Elliot trailed off realising his mistake.

‘Oh so that’s her name is it? I’ll take that as a confession, shall I? It’s obviously all I’m going to get after three years. Three years of my life wasted!’ The tears that had been threatening to pour began to run down Anna’s face. She sobbed a harsh strangulated sound and through the haze of tears saw Elliot coming towards her. ‘No!’ she yelled at him. ‘Don’t touch me! Just get out! I don’t need to hear any more excuses.’

He backed off and turned to leave the kitchen.

‘I want you out by tonight,’ Anna heard herself say in a shaky voice. ‘And all your stuff.’

‘Where am I supposed to go?’ he asked turning round. ‘You could at least give me a day to get my stuff out.’

‘I don’t care where you go. And as for giving you a day to sort your stuff out, why should I after the way you’ve treated me? Now get out!’

He scowled at her as he left the room, and for the first time Anna felt as though she were seeing the true Elliot. The person she thought she’d known had been almost like a figment of her imagination.

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, simply share an excerpt from whatever you’re up to writing-wise and post on your blog. The only rule is it has to correlate to the date.  Then add your name to this linky.  Thanks to the lovely K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

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24 thoughts on “A new beginning – WIPpet Wednesday

  1. Well, that certainly jumps right into the action. Very dramatic and tense piece. I do remember snips of it . Another great bit of advice I read once and like to stick with, is to begin your story at the moment when things change for your MC. Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but that’s the basic idea. I’ll have to dig around and see if I can find the actual source.

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  2. Wow! Yes, I agree, if that’s the very beginning of Reunion, that’s catchy and grabs attention right away. It’s what I’ve done for Spellbound, and even for my superman fanfiction that I’m also writing. I admit that I enjoy beginnings that start off with something gripping. This piece had good emotion in it!

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  3. I like it. I think you have a lot of emotion and that makes for a good story. However, if I could offer one bit of advice, I would say to be careful of tense and decide if it’s going to be in past or present and then be consistent.

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  4. That beginning definitely packs more punch! I remember your previous post with the opening of Reunion and this is far stronger to start right in the middle of the action when everything is falling apart for Anna. I do however really want her to do something physical to him – throw something at him, push him away. Not sure that’s in her character though?

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    • Hi Kate. Yay you’re here!! So glad you like this new version. Punchier is definitely what I was going for. Anna throwing something at Elliot… hmm sounds like a good idea and not necessarily out of character seeing as she’s really angry with him… Hope you’ve had a good week. Looking forward to seeing you and AnnMarie tomorrow. xx

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      • Yes, have eventually found the time to read the WIPpets today but have failed miserably at posting one of my own. Never mind, there’s always next week. If not completely out of character throwing something at Elliot would spice it up even more, although perhaps not the knives… Really looking forward to tomorrow too. 🙂 xx

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  5. Lots of great tension. I kind of wish she had thrown something at him, even if it was something harmless, like a wooden spoon or apple. I probably would have. 😉

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  6. Okay… I have to be the dissenting voice here (again). I don’t feel sorry for Anna, and while I don’t think Elliot’s a charmer, I keep wondering to myself how she allowed this to happen as long as it did without feeling as if she was getting “something” from their relationship and being content with that…

    I can’t say exactly why I feel his way, but … well, it doesn’t feel real to me. I wish I could say why.

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    • Thanks for your thoughts Eden. I guess you might find out more about Anna and her personality and how that relates to this excerpt if you read the rest of the story when it’s finished. That way it might make more sense to you. 🙂

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  7. Elaine,

    I don’t remember reading this before, so I don’t know how the flashback would have read for me. I do know that I like the gripping immediacy of the dialog in the moment, and I think that a flashback scene would almost certainly be weaker than this one.

    This scene might pack even more of a punch if you ground Anna more deeply in her own physical experience. Instead of just thinking of throwing a knife, do her eyes keep shifting focus to those oh-so-tempting blades? Does her palm long for the weight of the haft? Does she notice or think of the logo on the blade, or the way the light hits them?

    You’ve done an excellent job of showing her rage and grief in the dialogue. But what does it feel like, in her body? I get shaky and hot when I’m really angry, and I tend to have to fight back tears or an urge to just scream. (Learning that about myself helped me to see the signs sooner, and that helps me to calm myself, most of the time; but that’s another story).

    I think if you take the emotions into their physical manifestations, this scene will have readers twitching to grab a knife, too….well, in their imaginations, anyway! =)

    You might enjoy Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yardley. It talks about that moment of change as the Inciting Incident, and has some simple but excellent advice to share.

    Sorry you lost your previous WIPpet, but glad you shared this one!

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  8. You know, I’m drafting a novel on my blog & I swear sometimes I can’t find what I SWEAR I posted… so maybe didn’t post? – to go back & link to it. Drives me nuts!

    I don’t know about you though – I have sometimes just deleted posts when I thought they lacked relevance to my theme. Maybe you did that?

    Anyway, re your writing: it’s great 🙂 You left at a good point – a neat piece.

    This WIPet Wednesday sounds great.

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    • Oh it’s awful isn’t it when you can’t find something. I hate it. I may well have deleted it by accident, though I’m not sure how I managed it! So glad you liked the excerpt.
      And you must definitely join us for WIPpet Wednesday – it’s loads of fun. 🙂

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