At the end of last year, buoyed by the warm reception for short story Graves (and also encouraged by the fact that I’d actually managed to finish writing a damn story) I pledged to write an Easter story. I figured that giving myself four months’ notice would be enough of a heads-up and that even I would be able to churn something out by April.
Yeah, I was wrong about that.
I did start the story. I planned it. I wrote about half of it. And then I stalled. Along the way I had a few changes of voice, came up with some better ideas than I’d originally had, but something wasn’t quite gelling. As the end of April loomed it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t going to finish the story, at least not in any satisfactory manner. Also, with my parents due to fly over for a long awaited visit over Easter I knew I wouldn’t get much of a chance to sit down and write for much of April (in fact, as it turned out, my parents were stranded with us for the entirety of April due to a pesky volcano that wouldn’t stop spewing).
So it’s been a week now since my parents flew back to England and while that wasn’t exactly a cause for great celebration I was looking forward to getting stuck into some writing again. Of course, instead of doing that I’ve been doing other things such as drinking wine and watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Part of the reason for this procrastination is that I wasn’t quite satisfied with how the story was turning out, but at the same time I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it once I put my writer’s hat back on. In truth I still don’t know, but today I rewrote the first paragraph in a bid to kickstart the writing process again. I often find myself agonising over first lines, and first paragraphs – they’re the crucial hooks, the precious few words you have to draw the reader in, to set up your stall and to get the mood just right. I might still have it wrong, but you tell me – does the following make you want more?
Katarina walked down the road to Brendan’s house. She carried the box carefully in front of her, holding it with both hands to make sure she didn’t drop it. It was already starting to get heavy, but she didn’t mind. She loved being out at this time of year, she loved the air; it was warm and bitter and full of mischief. Also it would be getting dark soon. The change was always good: the change from light to dark, from warm to cold, from alive to dead.