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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Artemis Rising Blogtour Hop Giveaway

Today, I get to welcome Cheri Lasorta, author of Artemis Rising, as she talks to us about the torture of openings.

Openings that drive you crazy

I hate openings. Okay, not really. But for about six years, I hated the opening of my first novel, Artemis Rising. Why am I hatin'? Simple. I didn't know where to begin. I couldn't figure out what scene would best represent my character and my story; what would set up the catalyst and the main plot; what would draw in a reader and make them unable to set the book down.
I went through years of going back and forth. I tried two prologues; started the day before, the day of, and the night of a major event on board a ship. Nothing seemed to give me the "wow" element I was looking for. Oftentimes, I wasn't getting to the good stuff fast enough.
Thankfully, a mentor of mine read my opening. Buried in chapter three, I had written a paragraph about an incident that had occurred before my characters sail to the islands where most of the story takes place. She circled that paragraph and told me, "That right there. That is your opening." It took me a mere second to realize she was absolutely right.
That scene was the true catalyst for my character. It sets her off on a course she cannot escape from and forces her to make a choice that affects her fate and her relationship with the one she loves.
Writers often find opening scenes difficult. They obsess so much over the first line of the book that they forget to make sure that they are starting at the right place in the story. I know I did that.


Some things to keep in mind when writing prologues:
  • If you begin with a prologue, you'll generally want to make sure that it is a complete scene. And be aware that most agents, publishers, and readers have an aversion to prologues. Usually this is because they are executed incorrectly and they have become overused. You are also doubling your work. You have to hook your reader not once, but twice.
  • It's best if your prologue involves your main characters and it should generally take place before the timeframe of the main story.
  • Your prologue must have a specific purpose. Usually, it will relay information that would not naturally be available to the audience within the main part of the story. If you don't have an excellent reason to include a prologue, I recommend omitting it.

Openings that Wow!

Every opening is different. There are no hard, fast rules in structuring a novel, but there are some tried-and-true methods for opening a story that will keep your reader devouring your pages hours later.
  • Try to begin with your protagonist.
  • Study openings from books similar to yours and in your genre. Then write an opening that uses the strengths of standard openings and put your own unique twist on it.
  • Focus on how to best capture your main character's most important traits and create an inciting incident that will showcase them.
And my best advice? Keep reworking your opening until you know you've got it right. That's what I did ... with a little (a lot) of help along the way. =)

Watch Dr. Veronica Esagui's interview of Cheri Lasota on the Author's Forum and hear Cheri read the opening scene from Artemis Rising.

Awesome, right?  I enjoyed this book so much and I'm sure you will too.  You can order the paperback on Amazon.comBuy.comBook Depository, and Barnes & Noble.  Of course, the ebook version is available as well.

The Artemis Rising Blog Hop Giveaway

In celebration of the paperback release of Artemis Rising, I'm going to hold a little contest here on my blog.  You can win my LAST butterfly ring -- just like the one Psyche is wearing on the cover of Destined. It's pretty cool.  Plus, I'll throw in an autographed bookmark.  (Sorry - US only.)  All you have to do is fill out the form, telling me which line from Cheri's reading caught your attention the most.
The contest will remain open for one week from today.

To continue on the blog hop, please click here to jump over to  G.P. Ching's blog. And be sure to check out Cheri's blog too for more great blogtour awesomeness.


LM Preston said...

I have to say that an opening that connects me immediately with the character is the best possible. But there have been some that have blown me away and I still remember those books. After a great opening ... you hope that the rest of the book delivers. Thanks for sharing this journey of developing Artemis Rising.

Genevieve Jack said...

Great info!

kah said...

I love the opening to Artemis Rising, so all that work paid off! :)

Laura Pauling said...

I love reading openings. Usually I know right away when I'll love a book. But I always read at least the first chapter because sometimes it's the story that hooks and not the writing. That to say, openings are so important!

Heather said...

This is excellent advice! I feel for Cheri. I've had trouble with openings in the past too. I love how she considers what is a best representation of the character, that's excellent!

Cheri Lasota said...

Thanks everyone for reading my guest post and listening to the excerpt. I really appreciate your time and I'm honored to be posting here (Jessie's kind blurb is on the cover of the Artemis paperback!).

Yes, openings can be a pill. =) I think that for a long time I just went with the first opening I had written and didn't explore other ideas for how to introduce my main character.

So glad you like the opening lines, Karen!

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