Correction: I went and changed that first line yet again! Scroll down to see it.. 2/28
I’ve got a new novel, Grave Men, and as I try to find it a home, I figured I’d share a little content and a little process with folks who stumble across this blog.
In an effort to polish my manuscript, I’ve agonized over every character, every detail, every line. And often I’ve looked at the first line and wondered if I’ve found a good way to start this genre-crossing monster of a novel, which I affectionately refer to as my midlife crisis paranormal detective novel. Yikes!
The first line of a short story can be a microcosm of meaning and nuance. Clues to character and conflict abound. Ironies present themselves. Tone and purpose can be established. Or in a few cases red herrings are tossed into the pond for readers to chase. But with this novel I decided to focus mostly on the character of my crusty detective, Babineaux.
I settled on the short sentence, “Babineaux yawned big.”
It’s an image of a content middle-aged man. Once full of angst and anger, once violent and unfocused, Babineaux is now a sleepy bureaucrat, waiting on a pharmacist to deliver his meds so he can enjoy a lazy summer day.
With a single suggestive name, he is the novel’s exile, its wanderer, its searcher, and at times its dragon. His yawn is a sign that he is waking up from a twenty-year slumber. And even though waking dragons tend to be dangerous, the “big” is also a compliment, a sign that the large man with the diminutive attached to his name, has finally grown to the right proportions and that, perhaps, he is now ready for the case being thrown at him.
To learn a little more about Babineaux’s dark quest and how far it will pull him back into his uncertain past, go to my author site and check out the first few scenes of Grave Men.
Okay the new first line is…
Babineaux had spent the entire morning lining up details and checking his grammar, and now that the pharmacist had finally located his meds, he was going drop his report at the Post Office and go for a long drive.
Honestly, I don’t know which is catchier, figure it’s a matter of preference. But with this new start I sacrifice the idea that he’s big and focus more on the part of his job he loves, writing up investigative reports, and his desire to get away from his work. What are those meds you ask? The answer to that question is one of the novel’s little mysteries–and there are many–so enjoy.