Word Count: 3771
Introduce the players & backstory without information dumping.
The first scene needs to hook your reader and keep them wanting to flip through the pages. Introduce conflict or present a strange scene that leaves the reader asking Why?
Why am I here? What is going on? Why is she doing that? What will happen next?
The first scene is important because it sets the tone/mood for the following scenes. I decided to open scene 1 in the living room of Lizzy’s home. The scene opens with the red flow of blood through a tube as Lizzy gives her monthly “donation”.
Gripping the edges of the chair, I watched in agony as my crimson blood flowed through the narrow tube and dripped into the glass vial.
“Almost finished,” Dad said as he loosened the band lassoed around my arm. I appreciated his meager attempt at easing my fear, but his words of comfort were lost beneath the pulsing beat of my heart. It’s impossible to comfort a person suffering from needle phobia if you’re the one bearing the needle preparing to stick it into their arm.
This scene was originally going to show up later in the story, but after I looked over my outline and thought about possible hooks, I decided to start off here. Why? Because I like the description. I started off the scene highlighting one of Lizzy’s flaws: Needle Phobia. Throughout the scene, I was also able to hit a few more of her memorable traits.
To my father’s irritation, I’d always lacked coordination. I’d found it challenging to stay planted firmly on my feet for extended durations. Several times each day, I’d have to pick myself up from the floor and brush the dust from my knees. You would think I’d suffered from an unrelenting case of vertigo, but in truth, I’d had the misfortune of enduring an affliction of clumsiness—an affliction with no cure and no foreseeable hope of finding one in the future.
I was also able to allude to one of the sub-conflicts that will come into fruition during the climax of the novel.
I nearly fell a second time as I went to retrieve the tools from the floor. Among the various objects spread across the room, dad’s research journal had caught my eye. I picked it up and several of the yellowed pages fell from within the binding. Dad reached over and took the journal from my hand. “I’ll take that,” he said as he tucked the loose pages back inside. “Wouldn’t want that getting messed up now, would we?”
I have a bad habit of information dumping—and I know it. The first thing to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. After publishing 4 novels, I realized that I dump a lot of info quickly and don’t allow time for the reader to digest.
For NaNoWriMo, I am trying to not do this—to break the habit. Putting away my pants and planning out my plots, I am consciously making an effort to develop my skill set as a writer. We will see how I did when November 30th arrives!
ABOUT CYNTHIA BRANDEL
Other than being an awesome mom and a devoted wife, Cynthia is an avid explorer traveling through the galaxy of her mind meeting new and interesting people along the way. Her destination is unknown, but the fun is in the journey.
Cynthia’s first exploration took her to the world of Sanctoria, a place full of magic and mystery. After falling in love and leading an army to war, Cynthia left Sanctoria and continued on her journey.
Currently, Cynthia resides in one of the Revenant cities on Earth. What mysteries will the city hold and where will Cynthia end up? Who knows? But you can guarantee that Cynthia will tell us all about it!