Friday, January 14, 2011

In The Beginning...

...there was Eden.

And Obo.

No, I didn't name a hero Obo. The hero is Matt, but in the beginning of I Dream of Genies, it's Eden and the cat.

I was reading a thread somewhere (and there are so many) where authors were talking about starting their stories. Some said they never know where to start; others nailed it every time. I'm a mix of both and this book was one of the ones where I had to rethink the opening. Originally, the book started with Eden face-down in Matt's lap... Not too shabby of an opening, I thought.

But once I'd written it, I realized that it was too quick of an opening. Fun and funny, yes, but we didn't know the characters well enough to appreciate the scenario, so I had to take a step back and give the reader some background on the characters and the world. Plus, you had to know that Eden's been watching Matt run by every day and, hey, she's been confined to her bottle for almost eighteen hundred years... she's just a bit, er, frustrated. So when she gets free guess what's uppermost in her mind?

Matt, however hasn't been as, er, confined as Eden, but still, when a half-naked woman ends up in his lap, he's going to notice.

Obo, the cat, just rolls his eyes through this whole thing. He's got his own agenda and unfortunately for him, it's intricately tied in with Eden. And, therefore, Matt. Here's a look at the original opening, that is now chapter two.

Warning: language.

Matt Ewing was having a shitty day in a month of shitty days—several months of them, actually—so when a half-naked harem girl knocked him onto the sidewalk and ended up facedown in his lap, Matt figured one of the shittier days of his life had just gotten better.

Especially when, raising himself up on his elbows, he got the best view of curvy female ass this side of a strip club: one covered in see-through pink gauze and sequins, with tassels caressing cheeks that were tight and firm and just the right size for his hands.

Matt’s breath took a hiatus and, despite the rain, his mouth dried up like a desert.

Or was that dessert?

Matt shook his head. No, dessert was in the bakery behind him, not the woman lying across him. He sat up just as the trash truck by the curb pulled away with a groaning yawn, something metallic bouncing out and clipping his ankle.

“Son of a bitch.” Well, at least his wind had come back. He kicked the thing away and got a good look at the woman sprawled with her face in his lap.

Now there was an image.

OK, he was a sick bastard to even go there when she had yet to move.

“Hello?” He wiggled his legs, but she didn’t budge.

A blue, no, purple butterfly flitted onto the slice of midnight black ponytail that slid sideways from under a veil clipped to the crown of her head. The rest of her hair fanned an expanse of tanned skin below the half-shirt plastered to her body.

He looked around. The storm left few people on the street, and those who were held their umbrellas so low they appeared to be dueling the weather. No one was paying any attention to the woman. Looked like it was up to him.

“Miss.” He tried jiggling her shoulder. The butterfly moved, but she, sadly, didn’t. Christ, he hoped she wasn’t seriously injured, although it’d be just his luck if she was—mainly because bad was the only kind of luck he’d been having lately. The Riverview project was a no-go, Jerry hadn’t called with an update on the Baker roof, and now, thanks to the weather, he’d have to reschedule a job that would’ve covered the cost of the damaged materials some moron had backed over and hadn’t ponied up the cash for yet. Yeah, definitely a shitty day.

Matt eased out from under the woman and something slid off his thigh onto the sidewalk. Faceted yellow crystal, or maybe a hunk of glass, with enough weight to do some damage—an ornament or paperweight about the size of a walnut on steroids. That would explain why she was out cold.

He shoved the crystal into his pocket and turned her face to the side. Dark lashes swept tan cheeks. Her lips were pursed, and the rain was channeling into her mouth. Not good.

He put his hand on her back. She was breathing, but her outfit was hardly appropriate for the weather. The gauzy pants were soaked, plastering them to a pair of legs that showed her ass wasn’t the only toned part of her and revealing those boy-cut shorts women were into these days. Why they thought guys liked clothing called boy-cuts on women he didn’t get, but at least she had something on. Otherwise she’d be naked and wet in front of him.

He was definitely an ass for that thought.


So authors - have you had to change your beginnings? Readers - have you ever wished an author had started the story sooner or later?

And I wanted to announce the winner of my blog post is Aries18.


  1. This is great, Judi! Love the excerpt.

  2. Fantastic excerpt! I'm really looking forward to reading this series. I love Obo and I can alraedy tell that Matt is delicious.

  3. I am one of those poor souls who has to write three chapter to work up to the beginning of my story. I'll be reading along on a four month old draft and realize, "I don't need this whole scene, or this one, or that one. Rats." I pout for a few seconds--they were really good scenes--then dump them into the deleted scenes folder that is sometimes as big as an entire book by the time I'm done. Nobody said this was easy.

    And the excerpt works--thanks for sharing it.

  4. morning, ladies! Thanks for checking it out.

  5. Good Morning, Judi: I love the excerpt and can't wait to read the rest of I Dream of Geni, which is on my TBR pile. ;)

    I can think of two books off the top of my head where I've had to either move the opening, or cut and paste it into my deleted scenes/chapters file.

    I keep what I've written because it usually has insight as to why the characters are where they are and doing what they're doing...or about to do--which is usually where the action and the story will begin. ;)

    Wise words from a fellow NJRW author: If you absolutely cannot bear to cut the scene/paragraph, etc., print it out and frame it. I have and might yet with my wip. ;)

    Wonderful blog!

  6. Oh, yeah. I've had to change. Lots of things. Fun stuff in the excerpt!

  7. Change? Yes, ma'am!
    But I'm glad you didn't change a word of what I read in the excerpt ... that is some great work there! Loved it!

  8. If our writing was perfect every time, we wouldn't have deleted scenes and movies wouldn't have those great humorous clips we love to laugh over.

    A great excerpt, Judi.


  9. Love the excerpt! Grabbed me immediately.

  10. Judi, I'm still fanning myself! That is one hot, cute opening! In fact, I can't even remember what question you asked at the end of the post. Surely after that opening it wasn't important! :-)


  11. Judi, thanks for sharing. Great excerpt.

    I changed the beginning of A Lady's Revenge several times (shying away from a non-typical Regency scene)until I came right back to the scene that set the premise for the whole book.

  12. Hi ladies!

    I'm so sorry I haven't been back to comment. The day job was kicking my behind today. But I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I do love their "meet," but I am so glad I started the story about 10 minutes before the scene.

    Have a great weekend!

  13. Great excerpt, Judi. I tend to start my stories too late and have to go back and add a bit to get into character. I like lots of action in my books (no comments from the peanut gallery...) and usually start them that way. I already know the characters. Sometimes I have to remind myself that readers DON'T know my characters, so I have to introduce them before getting to the action (no comments from the peanut gallery...).

    Happy Friday!

  14. Hi Judi! Great excerpt, thanks so much for sharing!