When I was workshopping Twenty-Five on TNBW, several reviewers told me I needed to delete the opening scene and jump straight into the action. So many reviewers in fact, that eventually I broke down and listened to them. And I didn’t have second doubts about following that advice until I got my rejection from Scott Eagan. He said that there was a lack of character development. I wondered at the time if my character development suffered because I deleted the opening scene.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I’ve read 13 books since the start of the year. And not a single one of them starts off going straight into the action. Granted, one is Jane Austen and no books from the early nineteenth century started with action (at least none that I’ve read), but the other 12 are all late twentieth or twenty-first century. So…. My thoughts on that are that maybe I don’t need to start with action immediately. Maybe that’s just a rule they throw out in writing workshops and on agent blogs because it sounds great in theory and because books that do it well, do it great. But it doesn’t make sense for my romance novel which is based around the characters and not around what happens.
I took a couple days and re-read my MS. Again. And I really noticed the lack of character development at the beginning. I was shocked, honestly. I never thought that was a problem I had. I assumed the biggest problem with Twenty-Five was that the plot wasn’t unique enough, which is still a problem when it comes to writing the query, but I actually think it kinda works for this book. Anyways, my point was, it looks like you can’t listen to everything reviewers say. Now, I’m not stupid or vapid or naive enough to believe that if I add that scene back in it’s going to magically fix my character development problem. The opening scene is going to need a lot of editing and the action scene is going to need a lot of editing to make it work with the opening. It’s going to be a lot of work. But I believe in this book. And I know I’ve said that a million times. But I do. So I’m going to do the work and I’m actually kind of excited about it. It kind of makes me sick at the same time, but I’m going to focus on the excitement.