I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website!
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk.
When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA about real things that have happened in the past, or made up things that could quite possibly happen in the future.
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics.
Thanks for dropping by!
Monday, November 23, 2009
More on Beginnings
Because, once past the opening sequences, I knew the story had merit. After much hair pulling and cut and pasting, I finally got it down. Finally, I did it. I got a good beginning. But, could I do it again for the next book and after that ordeal, would I want to?
Then I found Hooked by Les Edgerton. If you’re having problems with your beginning, it’s sagging, lagging and lolagagging, then run, no dash to your book store and buy it.
This is not a book review or Author Shout Out (though maybe it should be), but Hooked was the meds I needed to cure my ailment. Mr. Edgerton finally told me what I had been doing wrong, and what I needed to do to fix it. And it wasn’t that hard.
Before long the opening scene of my next book just came to me. I wrote it in less than 10 minutes. This is a miracle, people! Trust me.
Now it’s not perfect, still in rough draft status, but just because I’m delirious with excitement by how fast it went (kind of like my husband when our second son was born within hours, rather than days like our first one), I’ll share it with you here. (I couldn't get it to format with para indents, so I've separated each para with a space, which is making it look longer than it is. If anyone can tell me how to post this more efficiently, that would be great.)
My dad still thinks I’m ten. That’s how old I was when my mother died and how old I was when my father crawled into his ‘cave’, also known as an office on the 26th floor of the John Hancock tower. Six years later, like a bear coming out of hibernation, Dad decided his days of hiding behind a desk were over. I think he’s going through mid-life crisis, which is why we now lived in Hollywood instead of Cambridge and why when I spotted his reflection in a mirror at the cosmetic counter in the Shop & Save store, I almost dropped the Scarlet Passion lipstick tester I'd just smeared on my lips.
I wasn't allowed to wear make-up. With my left hand I used a tissue to wipe the evidence off my mouth, all the while watching my dad’s familiar profile move in and out of range in the mirror.
He was laughing. I couldn’t help myself, but I crouched down and turned, my vision just missing the counter top, and watched. His hair had grown out since the “decision”, I didn’t even know it was wavy before, and the lines on his face never use to turn upward in a smile.
I had to see who was causing this cosmic response in my father. The clerk who sold cheap jewelry, a pretty in a fake way brunette, tilted her head and giggled back.
My jaw dropped and something really strange started happening in my stomach. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. My dad was flirting!
First of all, EW. Second of all, who was this man dressed in khakis, flip-flops and an untucked pseudo Hawaiian shirt? My real dad only wore pinstriped suits with starchy white shirts and a blue tie. Always. Even to bed, I was certain.
“Miss? Miss? Are you alright?” The cosmetic clerk, her tag said “May”, was armed with a spray nozzle cleaner in one hand and a paper towel in the other.
I mimed as best I could, “ssh”, but obviously, Dad was the only one with acting skills in my family, since May wouldn’t leave me alone.
“Miss? You don’t look too good. Should I call for medical?”
The fake pretty lady stopped chatting when she heard her colleague talking so loudly. Obviously, that meant my dad’s little flirtation episode was over. And of course, my own blond ponytail was a giveaway. “Adeline?” he said.
“Dad!” I jumped up, feigning surprise.
“What are you doing here?” he said.
What are you doing here? “Um nothing, just looking. Thought I might buy some gum.”
Dad glanced back at the fake and I did a quick switcheroo, replacing the tester and grabbing a sealed golden tube. It tucked nicely in my fist as I crossed my arms over my chest.
“Adeline, come here,” Dad said. “I want you to meet someone.”
My legs moved towards Dad and the fake without my permission. Why did he want me to meet her?
“Adeline, this is my friend from acting class, Spring. Spring, this is my daughter, Adeline.”
Spring extended her hand. Unfortunately, the contraband lipstick was in my right hand. I wasn’t a magician, Dad would notice if I tried to switch. I opted for the awkward offering of my left hand.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Spring gushed. “Your dad has told me so much about you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” I said. I didn’t sound very convincing, even to myself.
“Not that I don’t want to stay and chat,” I added quickly, before Dad could draw us into more forced intimacies, “but I’ve got to go.”
“I’ll walk with you,” Dad said. But he wasn’t looking at me; he was smiling at the fake.
“It’s okay, Dad. I’ll meet you at home.” He glanced back at me as I stood in line at the register. I waved the pack of gum in the air. I paid for it and the lipstick while dad and the fake went back to making googly eyes.