Sherry in northern Virginia where summer isn’t over yet, thankfully (but I wouldn’t mind if the humidity turned down a notch or two!)
I’ve thought a lot about beginnings over the summer. I turned in All Murders Final, the third in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series, on June 3rd. Shortly after that I turned a proposal in for more books. And then I waited. It gave me time to think about what I would do if the series wasn’t renewed. What would I work on? Start something new or revisit my unsold series that is set in Seattle and features a gemologist? My agent and I tossed around ideas for a new series but haven’t hit on something we both believed in.
Last Thursday morning at 5:15 the beginning of book four woke me up. I didn’t know whether to start writing or put the thoughts aside. Around ten that morning I emailed a few friends to see if they could have lunch on Friday. About fifteen minutes after I sent the email my agent called saying Kensington wanted two more Sarah books. Lunch the next day turned into a celebration.
Lots of writers celebrate writing The End. But I like to celebrate The Beginning. I cleaned my office over the weekend. This morning I opened a new computer file titled Buy Another Day — the working title. There is something so thrilling about starting, endless possibilities, surprises waiting to happen, and hard work. Hard Work!
I recently talked about the opening of Tagged for Death on Debra H. Goldstein’s blog, It’s Not Always a Mystery. You can read it here: https://debrahgoldstein.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/guest-blogger-sherry-harris-openings/
I searched the Wicked Cozy blog to see what we’d written about beginnings and found this excellent post by John Dufresne. It was an excellent time to rediscover it. I love this line: Don’t begin with an idea. Ideas are abstract; fiction exists in images, like dreams. (If you ever get the chance to take one of his classes do it — he’s amazing.)
“You’re going to sell my Pyrex for so little? You might as well give it away.” Not only did Mrs. Spencer’s voice shake but her whole body did too. She snatched the Pyrex dish out of my hand and thrust it at the startled woman standing in front of me.
It starts with conflict and an image. I’m not sure these lines will stay the first lines, or it will stay a piece of Pyrex, or Mrs. Spencer’s name will stay the same. But it’s a beginning.
Readers: I asked this question over on Debra’s blog — do you have a book with a favorite beginning?