Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part II

Part II: The Book Unfinished

The perfect opening line kept me from completing my first book, Pleasant Plains.  After hundreds of attempts, I always returned to:

A quick glance to the right was all it took for Thom to discover Buddy was no longer asleep.

My goal was to introduce the main character, Thom, while simultaneously establishing his relationship with Buddy. I wanted to intrigue the reader, and have her wondering “Who is Buddy?” and “Why is he no longer asleep?”  Within the next few sentences we learn Buddy is a dog, traveling with Thom on a cross country journey.

The phrase no longer asleep never felt right, yet I could not find a more satisfying opening line.  Each time I worked on the book, I went back to the beginning, tweaking, editing, writing and re-writing, looking for the elusive perfect first sentence.  I never found it, and today, seven years later, the book sits on my laptop, still incomplete.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Subscribe now to get discover the breakthrough that changed Michael’s writing process forever when we post Part III, “The Power of Deadlines: The Book Completed” on Friday.

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

    • Dennis
    • March 28th, 2012

    Just for fun I thought I would try to rewrite Michael Platania’s problematic opening line. Here is my first effort:

    Thom glanced to his right and discovered Buddy had awakened.

    After I compared the two, I found I still liked Michael’s better even though the “basics” of my sentence were improved. It was half as long (10 words instead of 20), and I used three action verbs instead of the two “wuzzies.” I also deleted the redundant word, “quick,” since by definition a glance is quick. I find it interesting that his original opening line with its several apparent stylistic missteps evokes a better image than my rewrite. I’m going to keep working on it to see what I can come up with. (I hate ending sentences with a preposition.)


    • Hi Dad- Thanks for that comment. Michael and I have wrestled with his opening line and its “offending wuzzies” quite a bit, and I found the same challenge. Sometimes the style guidelines I teach are just that: guidelines. A wise woman once told me, “You have to learn the rules, so you can break them well.” I think perhaps Michael’s breaking some style rules very well in his opening line.

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