August 6, 2013 by Ifeoma Dennis
Two days ago, I finished my first chapter for about the thirty-third time. No kidding. I’d written it from several different angles, although the first plot point remained almost the same.
But I just wasn’t satisfied with all the versions I had, chiefly because of the inciting incident- a child had to die.
And no, I’m not GRRM, I scram from violence if I can help it. Tsk.
I rewrote those versions several times, in different ways, sometimes skipping over the very act of the child’s death. You know, simply telling it. Or there would be an explosion, and the protagonist would wake up to find the child dead.
Still, I wasn’t comfortable with it.
At first, I thought it was because of the angle it was told, so I kept switching from the crime penetrator, to the child to the mother of the child and back again.
Okay, to cut a long story short, about two days ago, I found out how to deal with it.
I scraped the entire first scene and wrote something different.
And I love it. I don’t know if violence makes an inciting incident strong, but I want to believe it can do just fine without a little child dying. I gave my protagonist a different motivation and I’m much happier with it. It still leads up to the story, and yes, there is still violence and what I believe is a strong inciting incident, but it’s the kind that won’t give me sleepless nights. You know, worrying if it’s right a child had to die, if I had to sacrifice a child to make my plot work.
Maybe I’m not yet there in my writing journey where I can detach myself from very violent acts, but what matters is that at the end of the day, I love my first scene.
Because I write for me first.