Writing 101 (cont.): Taking the next step

As you may know, I have homework to do for my writing class. My homework is to take my “first sentence” and craft the perfect “first paragraph.” This words that follow a great first sentence need to extend the vibe, explain the contrasts, develop the plot.

As a reader, if that first paragraph excites me, I will be patient with the first few chapters as a writer slowly develops characters and builds solid plot lines. Here are two amazing first paragraphs by great female writers:

“March is not swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows to the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace—as though not built to fly—against the roar of a thousand snow geese.” ~ Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.” ~Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

Looking back through my first sentences, I tried to feel a pull towards one or another. I know I have to write the first paragraph for half of them, but I am only going to do a few. I really like the idea of using this platform to create accountability for my writing.

Feel free to participate here with me. I always love the company.

Here are my two for today:

Rough Draft First Paragraph #1: People often flash a smile even when they are not listening. I could tell my mother wasn’t listening. If she had been listening, she would have heard beneath my tapestry of lies. Maybe then she could have stopped me, could have changed the trajectory of both of our worlds. Instead, she painted on her “I’m listening” grin and nodded along, hearing only what she wanted to hear from the start.

Rough Draft First Paragraph #2: They decided, finally, to get divorced after the dog’s tail pushed her gardenia off of the table. It was a final straw in a long line of final straws. Maybe it was the tumbling of the plant and the deep, dark dirt dispersing all over the hardwood floor. Or perhaps it was the piece of the puzzle that made him realize there was little certainty in anything, and being free was always going to be better than being grossly unhappy. Either way, it made her realize that she always hated his god damn dog.

So let me know what you think. I must admit. I loved this exercise. Along with creating some writing I really like, it is so freeing. It does away with the need for the grit of a longer piece, and it just let’s me focus on a short burst.

Love and Light!