This is, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges in all of novel-writing - where does the story begin?
In my second book, a women's fiction novel entitled, SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS, I sliced out over 30,000 words at the "beginning" of the story. Yup, you read that right, folks - 30-freaking-thousand words. It was hard. Brutal. Laborious. Life-sucking. [Can you say, "Drama Queen?"] Without those vitally important [innocuous, boring] words, how would the readers [my mom] know what compelled Jenny, my main character, to do the things she did as an adult? [No one cares.] I mean, if nearly every thought Jenny had as a kid wasn't fully, painfully, and - dare I say - exquisitely expressed, wouldn't there be something drastically missing from the story? [See last SM]
And, what about cheerleading tryouts?!!! If the readers [Mom] didn't walk through that heart wrenching experience with Jenny step by step, how could they [she] fully understand her neuroses? Yeah, I knew you - my fellow writers - would "get it." [Do I hear snoring?]
About those cut words? Never fear! I kept all 30,000 of those precious babies! [Holy Moses on a Popsicle stick, say it ain't so.] They're in a document entitled "Outtakes," which I'm sure will one day be a huge best-seller all on its own. [Just about the same time Sarah Palin realizes she can't actually see Russia from her house.] I'll probably rename it something like, "Jenny: The Early Years." Who could resist a title like that? [My mom and everyone else on the planet.]
Which brings me to my current challenge. I've completed my fifth draft of my YA novel, and I'm starting to feel pretty damn good about it. Not good enough for AA to take it on submission, mind you, but close. [Unfortunately, a book is not a horse shoe or a hand grenade.] However, I'm not 100% sure about the beginning. I thought I was, but then AA made a suggestion and now I'm not so sure. [Why does she have to be so much smarter than me? Doesn't she know I'm insecure enough as it is?]
So, I'm sending out an S.O.S. to the world. How [the effing hell] do you know where the perfect place to begin your story is? [Either send a message in a bottle, or leave a comment, whichever you prefer.]