Yesterday, I changed the beginning of a ms I’d already finished, and I like it so much better now. I liked the first one, too, until I posted it in a blog contest where everyone submitted their first paragraph.
Now, I opened with a dead body. My ms is an urban fantasy (the contest wasn’t limited to this), and I thought opening with a body would be dramatic. Well, to make a long story short, so did everyone else.
So many dead bodies! Granted, most of those were from mystery or thriller ms’s, but damn! So I started to think that I should open with something else. I moved the narrative back a little bit and showed what led to the dead body, and suddenly, the scene wasn’t about the body anymore. It was about the mc, the person it should have been about the entire time.
I’ve come to understand that little online contests are good for this sort of thing. I could see what everyone else was doing, and I could try to make ms a little different. Maybe I’ve finally clued into a reason for all those rejections. I hope I have. I’ve got much more confidence in my opening now than I ever did.
Are openings this hard for anyone else? Is the beginning even more important than the end, just because that’s what an agent or editor sees first?