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Liveblogging Thursday: One Sentence

So, earlier this week I talked about tanking my first scene.  I’ve spent the intervening days making necessary tweaks to chapters 1-5 to account for this lack of first scene-age, but there’s still one remaining problem.

The first sentence of Scene 2 is now the first sentence of the book.  And while it’s a perfectly serviceable sentence, it is frankly not worthy of that honor.  So, Liveblogging Thursday today will consist of Getting This Right.  My plan is to generate many first sentences, perhaps even several first paragraphs.  And then pick the one that is most stellar.

3:00 PM: A late start again. :-)   Perhaps I should just start redefining 3:00 as the beginning of my work day.  There’s really nothing standing in the way of that.

3:04 PM: Eating a broccoli salad while I work.  I made a lot less dressing this time, reasoning that a broccoli salad dripping with mayo and sugar sort of ceases to be healthy.  It turns out a broccoli salad not dripping with mayo and sugar sort of ceases to be delicious.  So, that’s a disappointment.

3:11 PM: You know what everyone hates?  A blank page waiting for one perfect sentence to come down from on high and make it beautiful.

4:12 PM: Several imperfect sentences later, I am feeling a bit lost.  I’m going to chill for a bit.  Back in an hour.

5:20 PM: Back.  All right, it is time to muscle through.  Ten first sentences.  Doesn’t matter whether they’re crappy or great, they just need to get done.

6:19 PM: Eight and a half sentences.  Remembering fondly that hour, around four, when I didn’t work but instead watched an old episode of DS9.  That was a halcyon hour of my youth.

6:28 PM: Ten sentences.  Do they all suck?

  1. I stepped onto the platform in Chicago’s Grand Central Station.
  2. A day and a half of travel had given me time enough to read Uncle Owen’s letter another twenty times.
  3. A day and a half of travel had taken some of the gleam out of my eyes, but the moment we pulled into Chicago’s Grand Central Station, it was back.
  4. The train ride from St. Eliphas, Iowa, to Chicago took a day and a half.  That was time enough for me to make friends with all the porters, mend a hole in my left stocking, and reread Uncle Owen’s letter another twenty times.
  5. Even before I stepped onto the platform I knew Chicago was everything I’d hoped it would be.
  6. Chicago.
  7. Chicago smelled like no other place I had ever smelled before.
  8. The first thing that happened to me in Chicago was a new sensation that came over me—a sense of my own smallness and insignificance in the face of this, the first truly big place I’d ever seen.  The second thing was a purse snatching.
  9. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to make an appearance.
  10. I stepped down onto the platform and tried to look like I belonged there.

Favorites are probably 4, 7, and 10.

8:12 PM: All right, I guess I have a beginning.  It’s a variant on sentence 10.  Needs to be polished up and such, but it’ll serve.

1. I stepped onto the platform in Chicago’s Grand Central Station.

2. A day and a half of travel had given me time enough to read Uncle Owen’s letter another twenty times.

3. A day and a half of travel had taken some of the gleam out of my eyes, but the moment we pulled into Chicago’s Grand Central Station, it was back.

4. The train ride from St. Eliphas, Iowa, to Chicago took a day and a half. That was time enough for me to make friends with all the porters, mend a hole in my left stocking, and reread Uncle Owen’s letter another twenty times.

5. Even before I stepped onto the platform I knew Chicago was everything I’d hoped it would be.

6. Chicago.

7. Chicago smelled like no other place I had ever smelled before.

8. The first thing that happened to me in Chicago was a new sensation that came over me—a sense of my own smallness and insignificance in the face of this, the first truly big place I’d ever seen. The second thing was a purse snatching.

9. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to make an appearance.

10. I stepped down onto the platform and tried to look like I belonged there.

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