When I took my first “How to Write Fiction” class during COVID, I had already completed my novel Mirror Mirror. My mentor had lovingly informed me there was a lot I needed to learn. She didn’t say my writing lacked all the necessary components to have people continue to read past the first page. But as I went through the class, it became obvious that I needed to rewrite every page.
One of the elements of the class was the importance of the first 100 words of the book. It became an exercise for us to do and three others in the class were willing to review my attempts. My first attempt before I took the class started the book with the twins at age six. The family was getting ready to go on a picnic and poor dad couldn’t quite remember what was planned for the day. Of course, I thought it was great because it gave a back story for the rest of the book. In fact I had three or four chapters of back story before they entered high school. Looking back, it would have taken a dedicated fan indeed to sit through all that.
So, during the class, I realized I had to rewrite the first part of the book. I decided to start on the first day of high school. I concocted and interesting story line and wrote it down. But I needed those crucial first 100 words. I wanted intrigue to grab the reader’s attention. I didn’t want to let on too early that they were riding in a school bus. I decided to be creative and wrote this:
The trip in the transport vehicle to the complex did not take long. Rochelle sat next to her twin sister. She noticed a few of them traveling along. The conveyance stopped and the passengers formed a line to disembark. Once out, Rochelle and her sister stayed glued to one other. The pressing mass continued forward. Stepping inside the building, Rochelle grew anxious. A subtle pungency from them filled her nostrils. There were so many. They were surrounded. All shapes, sizes and colors. They perplexed her. The truth transformed her. Her future encompassed her. They were boys. This was high school.
WordPress note: If you would like to see the quote above in a larger font, so would I. I have a question into WordPress regarding this. In fact, the way different blocks express themselves apparently depends on the Theme you are working in. This Theme is called “Plane” and I like it better than the last one, primarily the way the menus are laid out. But all the Paragraph Blocks default to this small font.
To get a bigger font, I need to select it manually from the Typography tool on the right. I can select S, M, L, or XL. This is in M. I cannot find a way to change the default as S seems too small to read, even on my desktop.
Back to my first 100 words. The kind souls who reviewed this for me asked, “What do you mean by them?” “A conveyance? The complex?” “Are you writing a Sci Fi novel?”
“No,” I replied, “I am writing Young Adult Romance.” Try again. Still trying to retain some mystery:
The trip in the bus to the complex did not take long. Rochelle sat quietly next to her twin sister, Rosalinda. She noticed a few guys traveling with them. The vehicle stopped and the passengers formed a line to disembark. Once outside, Rochelle and her sister moved as one; the pressing mass pushing them forward as the sun beat down. The cool breeze did not seem to reach them. Stepping inside the building, Rochelle grew more anxious. A subtle pungency from them filled her nostrils. There were so many. All shapes, sizes and colors. They perplexed her. Her palms grew damp. The possibilities intrigued her. They were boys. This was high school.
More questions for me. “The word complex still sounds like a Sci Fi story.” “Saying the pressing mass seems strange.” This was hard! And to keep it all in 100 words. They said, “When you say did not take long don’t you really mean was short?”
Well, the last suggestion does help with word count. More importantly, it made sense. So what you saw in the first half chapter I provided is my current offering. I won’t say it’s done, but I will say it sets the stage and gets the two of them to school.
The bus ride to school was short but bumpy. Rochelle sat quietly next to her twin sister, Rosalinda, trying not to fall off the edge of her seat. She noticed the boys traveling with them. Their commotion added to her anxiety. The vehicle stopped and the passengers formed a line to disembark. Once outside, Rochelle and her sister moved as one, the pressing horde pushing them forward. Stepping inside the building, Rochelle’s heart beat faster. A subtle pungency from them filled her nostrils. There was such a variety compared to her last school. All shapes, sizes, and colors. Her palms grew damp. The possibilities intrigued her. They all looked like men, not boys. Welcome to public high school.
And no, it’s not 100 words. It’s 118 words.