The Start of Something New

by | Apr 28, 2012 | Pepper Basham, Writing Tips | 15 comments

I LOVE starting new stories.

That’s probably the reason I have 12 started and only 4 finished.

Yep.

But I’ve made a new rule. I can’t start a new one until I finish an old one. So….I just got to type out the first page of my new WIP.

Here’s where you come in – which beginning sounds better to you?

(btw, I believe my new heroine looks a lot like Jennifer Connelly and… I think, my hero might be a Martin Henderson look-alike)

Here ya go:

First try

Whether the bouquet was from a secret admirer, anonymous family member, or stalker with excellent taste, the flowers always curbed the loneliness of the day. She expected them now – on the thirteenth of every month.

And today Paige Emerson needed them more than ever because her control-freak-realtor aunt had completely lost her mind. Paige gripped her cell tighter and repositioned the carnation in the bouquet so she wouldn’t damage it in her frustration.

“You’ve done what?” Paige barely controlled the rise of her voice.

“Oh Paige, this is the nudge you need to finish emptying that house. It only hurts you.”

Paige rolled her eyes to the ceiling and took another long breath. “Marcie, I haven’t even gone through Daddy’s desk, let along Mama’s jewelry. And you’ve told the new owners I’ll be out fo the house in two days? I was supposed to have two more weeks. Are you mad at Uncle Arnold again? Is that why you’re extra pushy?”

“Don’t you bring my stiff-necked husband into this, Paige.” Ah, obviously Uncle Arnold was in the doghouse. “I could have given you four more months and you wouldn’t have finished cleaning out that house. Admit it. They’ve been gone over a year and you still haven’t.” Silence softened her auunt’s words. “I miss them too. Heaven knows I do, but it’s time to let go of this house. You can’t keep paying for two on a teacher’s salary and you could use the money, darlin’. Let it go.”

Paige looked across the empty living room. How could she erase memories by the weekend? She’d worked so hard on her parents’ house, repainting walls marked with years of height measurements and childhood art experiments. She’d carefully packed old photos in storage and scrubbed the carpets until her mother’s rose-scent barely tinted the air. But the hollowed out place in her heart only grew with each piece of furniture she sold. Each trinket tagged with a memory she held to like history facts for her high schoolers – and now, finally, the one thing she held to most was slipping from her hands.

Just like her parents.

Just like the pedestal on which she’d always placed them

OR should I just start with the dialogue. Like this:

“You’ve done what?” Paige Emerson barely controlled the rise of her voice. What had her control-freak-realtor aunt done this time?

“Oh Paige, this is the nudge you need to finish emptying that house. It only hurts you.”

Paige rolled her eyes to the ceiling and took another long breath. “Marcie, I haven’t even gone through Daddy’s desk, let along Mama’s jewelry. And you’ve told the new owners I’ll be out fo the house in two days? I was supposed to have two more weeks. Are you mad at Uncle Arnold again? Is that why you’re extra pushy?”

“Don’t you bring my stiff-necked husband into this, Paige.” Ah, obviously Uncle Arnold was in the doghouse. “I could have given you four more months and you wouldn’t have finished cleaning out that house. Admit it. They’ve been gone over a year and you still haven’t.” Silence softened her auunt’s words. “I miss them too. Heaven knows I do, but it’s time to let go of this house. You can’t keep paying for two on a teacher’s salary and you could use the money, darlin’. Let it go.”

Paige looked across the empty living room. How could she erase memories by the weekend? She’d worked so hard on her parents’ house, repainting walls marked with years of height measurements and childhood art experiments. She’d carefully packed old photos in storage and scrubbed the carpets until her mother’s rose-scent barely tinted the air. But the hollowed out place in her heart only grew with each piece of furniture she sold. Each trinket tagged with a memory she held to like history facts for her high schoolers – and now, finally, the one thing she held to most was slipping from her hands.

Just like her parents.

Just like the pedestal on which she’d always placed them

15 Comments

  1. ginger

    I personally like the second best – starting with the dialogue. You could add the flower thing in later, as I’m assuming it’s important to the story.

    Reply
    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Ginger.
      Yes, the flower-thing is very important! That’s why I’m undecided about the two. I know dialogue is a good way to start, but I love planting a little curiosity in there too 🙂

      Reply
  2. Angi

    Hi Pepper,
    I like the first example the best. Because now you have me wondering who is sending Paige a bouquet of flowers and why is she getting them once a month? Your writing is wonderful. I hope I’ll get to read the entire story someday soon. 🙂

    Reply
    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Angi. I really liked that ‘hook’ – and I LOVE the premise for this story. As the hero develops in my mind…whew…dark, handsome, brooding, and British – I think I’m channeling Mr. Darcy 🙂

      Reply
      • Angi

        Ooooo…Pepper,
        When I was here the first time, the pics of your “characters” weren’t on here yet. Lookin’ good! 😉

        Reply
  3. Julia

    I will admit I personally like starting with dialogue…but I loved the intrigue you added to the first. You do have a Austen-esque feel going here.

    If you wanted to start with dialogue maybe you could start off with the delivery boy. Or someone else speculating/questioning on who the flowers could be from.

    You definitely incorporated lots of house details in this, maybe things you were thinking about as you did house repairs/painting??

    Reply
    • pepperbasham

      Oh Julia, you compare me to Jane Austen!!! My day is complete!! 🙂 Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of house repairs lately – but THAT story is second in this series 🙂

      Reply
  4. Pam K.

    like the first option. I want to find out who was sending her the flowers and why. Finish this one, Pepper! I’d like to read it when it’s finished.

    Reply
    • Pam K.

      I was having trouble posting this so copied it. Evidently it didn’t all copy. It should read “I like. . .”

      Reply
    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Pam. I DO want to finish this one. LOVE the hero – and am in the process of developing character charts for these two. I think my hero comes across as distant because he’s insecure. He cloaks it with a ‘grumpy’ demeanor, but his sweetness is constantly coming through when his guard is down. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Carol Moncado

    I think I like a combo best. Start with the dialogue and stick the flower stuff in pretty quick. Perhaps?

    But so glad you get to start something new :D.

    Reply
  6. Sherrinda

    I love the first one best. I like the air of mystery there!

    Reply
  7. marycurry

    Hi Pepper. I’m going to agree with Carol. I love the suspense of the first one but the switch to her aunt seems abrupt. You could have the flowers delivered after (or in the middle of the conversation) and then she could draw comfort from them then. BTW, I love the idea of her feeling comforted by something that’s inherently sinister.

    Reply
    • pepperbasham

      GREAT ideas, Carol and Mary.
      I like it!!!
      And am going to rewrite that tonight to see what I think 🙂

      Reply
      • Carol Moncado

        You should like it :D. Cuz Mary and I rock.

        That is all.

        😉

        Reply

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