I was glad when my mother never invited him back.
It was months ago—way back in July when I happily announced to all and sundry that I had finally "turned" in my fifth book. Well ... since then I've turned in the same book three more times and that's just to my agent. My editor received her copy only last Wednesday and of course I know I'll be doing a few more rounds with her. If only I could get it right the first time!
My biggest challenge is always the first ten pages. When I hear of other writers having to write the first chapter of a sequel that will be tagged onto their soon-to-be-published book as a bonus, I quake in my boots because I always write the first chapter last. When I'm starting a book, I begin on chapter two and it's only at the end that I write the beginning because I believe "in the end is the beginning."
2. Who is the story happening to? Whose skin are we going to be in?
3. Something needs to be at stake. Something we can sense is hanging in the balance.
"The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut."
Donna Tartt: The Secret History
"The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation."
Dick Francis: Nerve
Charlie Howard: The Good Thief's Guide to Venice
"There was a burglar in my apartment, and for once it wasn't me."
Dodie Smith: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."
Anyone want to add their favorites?