Help me decide on a beginning to my novel

I’ve been thinking about a comment J Randolph said on one of my earlier posts for Row 80, where I said I had a goal this week of “choosing one of two possible beginnings” to my novel.  She suggested doing a poll.

Well, honestly, I’ve never done a poll, but her comment stuck with me.  I thought… Why not?

I am struggling between two possible beginnings to HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT.  I really like both.  I am steering towards one, but I figured, why not get a few more opinions?

The choices are:  **Drumroll please**

“Fruit Throwing” or “Stuck in a Closet.”

If you look at my header bar, I have placed a separate page for each one.  They are both about 700 words long, and bring you to exactly the same point.  If you’re into it, please read both, and then come back here to vote.  I’d also like to know what you liked, or didn’t like about each one.

I’ll let you know what I decide after I chew on the feedback.

Thanks for your input!

Update:  Poll closed.  Thanks!


10 responses to “Help me decide on a beginning to my novel

  1. I voted stuck in a closet. My vote surprised me. The action of fruit throwing, I thought, would involve the reader more in the events–as more immediate, visceral. But the quieter drama of the closet pulled me into the story. I think because there was more mystery, more questions I was wanting answered. Robin

  2. I’m gonna go against the majority and choose the fruit opening. Both openings are compelling, but side-by-side, I really like the immediate action of the fruit hurling through the air. It gets my attention! 🙂 It also helps me focus on Magellan’s resulting emotions. If you go with the closet one, maybe there’s room in there for an unexpected (yet relevant) action? The closet scene is good, but as an opening, I’ll agree with Stanley and say the fruit scene is more “alive.” Good luck.

  3. So I voted and then went for a run. While I was running I started thinking about why I voted for “fruit” and not “closet”. The fruit scene seemed more vivid to me. I thought it showed Magellan better. I liked how his personality came through. I thought having the father make his comments publicly put him at more risk. Harder for the King to back down. The fruit scene felt more alive to me. Anyway, just my thoughts.

  4. Pingback: Row 80 Check in 10-23-2011 | Jennifer M Eaton

  5. I have to agree with everything Gloria said but if I had to pick, it would be stuck in a closet, for all the reasons everyone has already said. Gellan ‘feels’ older to me, more of that 11-12 year old feel you were looking for. While I love the intensity of ‘fruit-throwing’, I think stuck in a closet leaves the reader with wanting to know more about Magellan and his secret powers and what’s going to happen to him. I think the scene could be made stronger by marrying some elements of the fruit-throwing with the stuck in a closet. There is no reason why they can’t be throwing fruit at Mahellis or why the crowd can’t be shouting to execute Gellan’s dad. In fact, if you do this, then it will make Gellan’s determination to ‘get in on the action’ more plausible and more understandable.

  6. I chose stuck in a closet. there are many interesting and variety ways to become released, and what are other people doing whilst they are in the wardrobe. Will just go and check out the tasters.

  7. I can’t decide. Don’t give me that heavy sigh! You couldn’t either. Here’s my rationale:

    On the plus side for Stuck in a Closet: I get a better sense of setting–stone walls with sconces, a panoramic view of the auditorium and a strong chill-factor from the storm thundering outside. We also get a strong hit that Magellan has powers he doesn’t yet understand or control. The King is also portrayed as multi-dimensional. He demonstrates compassion for the child; none for the father. Downside? His dialogue seems out-of-sync with word choices for adult characters. Current slang mixes with proper English from long ago. May not be an issue b/c I don’t know your plotline. Magellan is a bystander in the action versus a “player.”

    Plus side for Fruit Throwing: Magellan’s innocent snark (buffoon, counting to ten, etc.) more clearly establishes him as a young Magellan and I got a stronger sense of his moxie. The POV “sticks”. Also, the entire family is center stage, at risk, and potential on-site witnesses to the father’s fate. Ups the stakes IMHO. The King’s sudden presence behind and then in front of his father had stronger tension b/c they weren’t mixed with the king’s concern for Magellan.

    Good luck with making the choice! They both rock.

    For either one, I recommend you establish Magellan’s approximate age. In Fruit Throwing, I pictured him as young and innocent (or socially inept) b/c of the inappropriate repetition of overheard conversations. In Stuck in a Closet, I picture his as a tween/teen b/c of his dialogue choices.

    Okay. Now you can do that heavy sigh thing. LONG response and no vote? SO not fair, right?

    • Actually, good call on the age difference. “Fruit throwing” is Magellan 8 years old. “Closet” has Magellan 11 years old.

      In the next page or so, the King actually asks him his age. It’s hard to work age in when your are in the kid’s POV. What kid going around “thinking” how old they are?

      Thanks for your well- thought out comments

  8. Hi Jennifer, I just saw this and couldn’t resist checking it out. I like the stuck in the closet beginning. Magellan is such a fun character. Good luck with your writing!

  9. I liked stuck in a closet. I feel it shows more of what is to come with proper build up. Magellan starts to notice strange things happening around him. His father is standing up to the Prince but not at the price of his son. The High King is called a fool but his actions portray something different. There is a lot of conflict but in a good way.