Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Time to Rewrite

Jennifer is finally admitting her opening scene may not be as great as she wanted it to be.

Okay, I give up.

One of the manuscripts I’m writing, inspired by this gorgeous Victorian mansion I toured (pretending I was a potential buyer—yeah, right), has a first scene that I love. I’m not being pretentious and I’m not bragging, especially when you read the rest of this blog post, but I just really love the scene. Or rather, I love the idea of the scene.

It has a great opening line that hooks the reader, it introduces the hero and the heroine, it demonstrates their chemistry…and it’s completely unbelievable.

The hero walks up to the heroine and offers to mow her lawn. He’s a stranger, carrying a backpack, coming up a deserted road. She’s afraid of him, but also attracted to him. She says yes and allows him to do it.

I don’t write stupid heroines. I don’t write stereotypically gorgeous heroes. And I have way more plot than sex, even though I do write sex scenes.

But after listening to multiple people tell me that the scene was bad, after listening to it being read out loud, and after letting it sit for a couple of months while I finished anther manuscript, I’m finally ready to admit that no matter how much I love the idea of the scene, it is really not good.

My heroine would have to be stupid to allow a strange man to mow her lawn for her. She can’t be simultaneously afraid and attracted to him in the same paragraph. My hero can be gorgeous, but I need a better way to describe him. And really, the sexual chemistry can take place a bit later.

Apparently, people like my second scene, so my project for this week is to make my second scene into my opening scene (and perhaps sneak a bit of my original opening scene into it—but only the good parts).

I’ll let you know how I do.


  1. Your first scene got you started, Jen. If you have to toss it, it still did its job.

  2. Very true, Ana. And I'm going to see if I can stick parts of it in other places of the story.

  3. For what it's worth, I think you can be afraid and attracted at the same time! I agree with you, though, about allowing a stranger to mow the lawn!
    I think you have to go with your own gut instincts and not necessarily with what other people say. Maybe, if you really do like it, you can adapt it to make it more believable?

  4. That's my plan, Paula. And I'd go with my gut, except when so many people agree about something, it usually ends up that I'm the one who's wrong.

  5. First, I think attraction and fear, or wariness, can co-exist. Second, where I live, it is not uncommon for a man to come to the door and offer to mow my lawn, usually for $10-20, and I have taken one of them up on it once. So, for me the situation isn't implausible, but I would have to read the scene to be sure it works.

  6. Thanks, Christine! While I obviously agree with you, I'm going to play anyway and see if I can make it better. I think the pacing is a bit better in scene two anyway.