This week’s prompt focuses on an exercise designed to work on a particular skill or technique, such as a POV exercise or character builder. Today’s skill: Revision!
I’ve written a very flat, very boring opening page. It’s your job to revise it into something worth reading that will grab a reader. Edit the bad writing, strengthen and clarify the goals, conflict, and stakes, develop the setting, establish the character, etc. You know the drill.
I’ve left enough clues to take this is any number of directions, so have fun with it. Send it to a dark and scary place, or make it the start of a romantic comedy. Add whatever details strike you, as long as you can still identify this scene as the scene I started—so no completely rewriting it from scratch. The goal is to make this monstrosity better.
Revise the opening page below:
Sara walked out of the building carrying an overfull bag. The streets were cold and damp. The sounds of cars rushing past made her ears hurt, but she didn’t stop. She had to get home.
Her car was sitting in the parking lot. She got out her keys, unlocked the door, and got inside, setting her bag down on the back seat as she fixed the seatbelt across her chest. She took a deep breath and sighed dramatically. She knew she had little time left, and it was so important she get home in time.
As she drove home, she thought about everything she had to do to get ready. So much, she thought, and she’d never have enough time. She sighed, heaving her shoulders heavily. Maybe she should call in help, but that would bring in a whole other set of problems she’d have to deal with. But she might not have any choice in the matter.
She hit the call button on her steering wheel. “Call…” She faltered. Did she really want to do this?
Sara fidgeted in her faded and stained car seat. The last time she’d called Jessie, they’d fought. It was a stupid fight, but some stuff stuck around like a bad smell left in the trash too long without anyone taking it out to the curb.
Her finger hovered over the button again.
Skill tip: Pay attention to the elements that are driving the scene and think about ways to improve those elements. What is this scene about? What opening scene elements are missing? What can be fleshed out? How can you bring a sense of character and goals to this page?
Random Critique Contest!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a random contest, and this writing prompt feels worthy of one. The best revision will win a 1000-word critique from me.
And the catch (there’s always a catch): You guys vote on the best revision. Just reply to the comment of the opening page you like best (also use the name in case the comment doesn’t get embedded). The revision with the most comments win.
Rules: One vote per commenter please. And you’re on the honor system here—feel free to invite friends to come read them, but please don’t stack the deck by getting random folks to vote for you. I reserve the right to disqualify any submission that looks fishy -grin-
Post your entry in the comments section. Deadline for entries is next Sunday, August 9th, at noon, EST. I'll announce the winner on Monday, August 10th.