Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

I have always LOVED Fridays the 13ths. They've always been special and something wonderful (or significant) never fails to happen. I often get an unexpected paycheck, or a nice reader letter, or some affirming something or other on Fridays the 13th.

And the 13ths in general are special. For instance--

I got married on a 13th.
We decided to adopt kids on the 13th.
My son came home on the 13th (from Korea).
And I just handed in my book on the 13th.

And, BTW, I changed the first paragraph because of your feedback. And I knew it wasn't the best first sentence. It was okay, but I had a much better one at the start of chapter 26 (I never knew Levina Gifford, but she had the smoothest skin I've ever felt on a dead woman). Trouble was, I couldn't move Levina into chapter one.

So I sat and thought and thought and thought some more. I thought about starting at a different place, but incorporating unnecessary material simply for the sake of one sentence seemed like overkill. And backstory was out. So then I thought about the book's theme and hit the jackpot.

So here's the new beginning:

The nameless cadaver on the cover of my anatomy textbook—a middle-aged man who is no longer black, white, or brown—would be counted among the orange in a census of the embalmed.

Someone should have adjusted the tint before they juiced him.

I flip the book open and study the color photographs of the cadaver’s aortic arch and brachiocephalic veins, then close my eyes and try to commit the multi-syllable words to memory. Here I am, near the end of my first semester of mortuary school, and I’m still having trouble keeping my veins and arteries straight.

And that's it. New beginning, book gone, desk cleared. Now, onto the next project, but after a nice Sabbath rest tomorrow.



Angela said...

I just looked at some of the other comments on the first chapter (for some reason, they're not showing up in my inbox.)

The tricky part for me was giving the reader information that happened in the first book without indulging in backstory--which, as you know, goes against my personal credo, which won't let me use bs until after the first thirty pages. :-) (That was Back Story, BTW).

The only trouble is that I've introduced a bit of a spoiler for those of you who read my blog. I'm trusting that you will forget everything you've read by the time the first book comes out--in October.

Muchas gracias!


Anonymous said...

Speaking of spoilers - there was a mega spoiler for The Elevator on this blog because those of us who read this blog knew ...oh wait, I don't want to spoil anyone else!

Elevator - great read, escalating beautifully at the end. With a few surprises despite the blog-reading :)

Dana said...

Oh yeah. Interesting first paragraph. That's so cool that you listen to your blog readers' feedback. Can't wait for this series to come out! As far as forgetting what I've read, with my memory, that will be no problem. :) Have a wonderful Sabbath rest!

Kay Day said...

I was just so-so on the other first paragraph. I really like this one. Good call, I say.

Leslie said...

My grandparents were married on a Friday the 13th, and celebrated every single one.

Anonymous said...

And I loved your first first sentence! Ah well, everyone has their opinions, and you are the author, after all - all power belongs to you!

Richard L. Mabry, MD said...

Angie--Now there's a first sentence that got my attention! Fifty years ago, in freshman anatomy, the cadavers were all a leathery brown color, but that wouldn't be nearly so colorful an opening.
Great post. Congratulations on having the monkey of a completed manuscript off your back.
Now back to lurking in the shadows.

Anonymous said...

Will and I were married on the 13th of February, Ange. And still trippin' along after 19 years.