Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just finish the book!

"I don't think my stepfather much minded dying. That he almost took me with him wasn't really his fault." So starts Dick Francis's "To The Hilt," and clearly shows you why once you open one of his books, it's awfully hard to put it down. I picked this one up recently and planned to use it during a trip that starts in a couple of days, but I made the mistake of actually opening it up. Oops. Now I need to find another book to take on the trip. Maybe I'll grab one of my Rett MacPherson mysteries--she's always fun. 

I tend to collect great openings and descriptions. Maybe I hope I'll pick up good style by osmosis. But certainly reading good stuff helps improve our writing. I still remember a description by Ngaio Marsh of a lawyer's musty office. So good you could smell the place and practically taste the dusty air. 

I'm trying not to go back and rewrite my opening (again) until I finish the whole book. Charlotte Cook of Komenar Publishing says that the ending of a book  "informs" the beginning--it tells you what pieces need to be in the beginning of the book. So I really do need to finish the piece before I start poking around it again, and again. I am prone to do that, and everyone advises against it--at least everyone I've ever heard talk about writing a novel.  I once had about 5 minutes with a famous agent who, when I asked a question about whether a book I had in mind was adult or young adult fiction, asked me,  "Why are you asking that question? Just finish the book!"

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