Click for my theme details
O is for “Orson”
Book: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
My dice roll: 95
Lesson: Beginnings of novels
Beginnings of novels must reveal information that promises an interesting story. Concepts introduced should be relevant to the whole story, not trivial information. The immediate situation should be clear.
It was the smell that made him do it. Xavier’s nose was attacked as he stepped out of his Manhattan office building onto the bustling sidewalk of Madison Avenue. It wasn’t a food smell, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The athletic, agile man tripped twice as he swam through the crowd to find the source of this scent. Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the tall, unnaturally blonde woman wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). It was a scent he knew but couldn’t place. The smell was like a migraine trigger, except his head didn’t ache with pain.
Xavier discovered the smell by accident, and it caused him to act out of character. Xavier’s nose suffered from the attack as he stepped out of one of the Manhattan buildings he owned, into the five o’clock crowd of the Madison Avenue sidewalk. The smell did not match a food, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The man’s biceps flexed when his dancer’s reflexes failed as he tripped twice while swimming through the crowd to find the source of this scent. He knew the scent but could not recall from where or what. The smell took over his brain like a migraine, except his head didn’t ache with pain. Could he follow his nose to find a way to prevent the apocalypse?
1- Is it clear that the immediate situation is that Xavier has to find the source of a certain smell, and that both his conscience and subconscious mind are locked into it as urgent and important?
2- Is that situation powerful? Have you ever needed to know where a scent or sound came from, and that need felt urgent and important?
3- Do you prefer the scene with or without the list of smells that it is not? (Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the tall, unnaturally blonde woman wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). )
4- Do you know what city this story is set in?
5- Have you concluded that Xavier is wealthy and physically fit?
6- Is some or all of the rewrite an improvement, in your opinion?
Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:
Featured Share of the Day: Next Bout of Books Read-a-thon= May 9, 2016.