So...Faith just posted a great article on the why's behind her first few paragraphs in her third novel. It seemed like a very good exercise so I thought I'd post the first couple of paragrapha of my Steampunk novel and walk through it.
Ella stood over the body, her hand covering her mouth. The early morning fog slithered along the ground, covering and uncovering the fallen man. The corpse lay sprawled across the cobblestone streets of London. One hand reached out grasping over the pavement.
Okay so, opening paragraph. The novel is a mystery in the vary traditional sense. First scene is off the dead body. I also want to introduce the main character and set the tone. I'm still not terribly happy with the first scene. I do kind of want the impression that the fog is snakelike as it moves across the body and I want to let people know that it takes place in London.
Kneeling down, she gingerly turned the body over. The brown eyes of her courier, Julian Cole, stared up her. Her shrill scream sliced through the fog and then echoed across the empty streets. With a presence of mind, she did not know she had, Ella walked over to the police alarm and pulled it. Soon the blue lights and whining siren filled the morning air.
Okay, now, we've set the scene in terms of time - early morning, empty streets. I want to show that our Hero is stunned by the fact that it is someone she knows but still is aware enough to sound the alarm.
She walked back and stood over her friend. His face was black and blue except for a long red scratch across one cheek. His overcoat and vest were wrinkled and wet from the morning dew. She noticed his pockets were askew as if they had been turned out but his pocket watch lay on the ground beside him. A part of her noticed the face had been shattered and the time stopped at twenty-three minutes past three.Here I want to describe the murder scene. Clues here need to lead to our first suspects.
One of things I've noticed immediately, is that I'm setting this in Victorian England w/ a Steampunk twist...and nothing in my first 3 paragraph sets that up. This could easily be a modern death scene so I need to add something to make the era more obvious - maybe a mention of her skirts??
So, I definitely need to keep these kind of things in mind as I start editing. Of course, I'm a long way from editing. I want to get the actual novel written first! And that is my nanowrimo project so feel free to follow along.
We travel on the road to adventure
On a desert highway straight to the heart of the sun
Like lovers and hereos, and the restless part of everyone
We're only at home when we're on the run
On the run...