Rick from the course had a look at some of the first chapters of The Angel. He made quite an interesting suggestion regarding the selection for the reading event that’s had me thinking.
At the moment I have an opening with the two principal characters facing up to some life-changing events but James’ scene is the one that is most dynamic — we Â see him getting fired — but there’s not so much action in Kim’s scene — she wakes up feeling crap and sends and receives a text message. I’m quite happy with writing a scene in which so little action happens but I’m now having doubts if that should be the opening.
We were talking about openings on the way back to the tube station on Wednesday in relation to the piece we should select for the reading and the consensus was that your opening should be the best part of your novel — to grab the reader (and commissioning editor/agent, etc.) — and that the best part of your novel should obviously be what you read out at our event.
Rick suggested it might be worth writing the events that cause Kim’s evident grief at the start of the novel as a counterpoint to the James scenes.
I noted that Bren Gosling had written a prologue to his novel which he read out for our feedback on Wednesday, which received positively, and which he intends to read at the event at the end of June.
So I’m seriously thinking of writing my own prologue which captures Kim’s source of dissatisfaction at the start of the novel. I know in my mind exactly what happens but it will be something of a challenge to distill this down into the 600 words that I’ve timed myself as being able to deliver in our allocated four minutes. One major problem is that I don’t have much use (at the moment) in the rest of the novel for the character that precipitates Kim’s distress — and if I read this out then it may raise expectations that he will be a major character.
The obvious answer to my dilemma is to write it and then see how it turns out. However, time is at a premium at this time of year — with the election intrigue, running five miles in Marlow plus planting a bunch of beetroot, lettuce, celery, cabbage and spring onions earlier today.