I have been changed for good.

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led to those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return…”
~Wicked, “For Good”

So this makes, what, my third post using a song from Wicked? I just can’t help it. The story to the musical is inspiring, and the lyrics to the songs are both moving and so very, very true. I was chatting with a friend the other day (go check out her blog at Miss Mommy) and it really made me stop and think about how blessed I am to have had such wonderful people come into my life over the years. I genuinely believe that any journey we go on would be nothing if not for the people who make it worth taking. Sappy, maybe. But true.

And the whole idea of people coming into our lives for a reason? I am such a firm believer in that. We may not know what that reason is at the time, but it’s there. How many people have we met that have in turn influenced our lives for the better, for good? How many people have taught us something that we perhaps needed to learn the most? Helped us to grow in ways we never imagined? Changed our lives just by being part of them? It really is amazing – and special – when you think about it. I’ve had people like that in every aspect of my life, people who I will always be so grateful for. Sometimes I stop and think … where would I be now without them? Would I be pursuing the same goals, reaching for the same stars? It’s hard to say. What I know for certain is that my love of writing would still be there. My passion for it would be just as strong. Nothing – no one – will ever change that. It’s a part of who I am. I saw “Eat, Pray, Love” last night, and one part in particular stood out to me. Elizabeth (sidenote: loved Julia Roberts’ portrayal of her!) was asked what her word is, what best describes her. She said “writer,” and the response was “that’s what you do, not who you are.” Maybe that’s true to some extent, but I don’t think it’s black and white. For me, yes, writing is what I do. But it’s also who I am. It’s an innate part of me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes we all need a little push in the direction of our future (thank you, Amanda!), and if I hadn’t gotten that … well, I just don’t know. Do I think I’d have gotten to this point, to have wanted nothing more than to go on this journey to (fingers crossed) be a published author? Yes, but I also believe it may have taken me longer to find the strength to pursue it. More proof that people come into our lives for a reason? Absolutely.

And on another note entirely, can I just take a moment to SQUEEEE over the fact that I started writing my newest novel yesterday? After taking time to research, brainstorm, plot, develop the characters, and outline (at least roughtly), I was finally ready to jump in. This is one of my absolute favorite parts of the writing process, emarking on a new journey that’s so fresh and exciting. The road ahead is wide open, paved with infinite possibilities. There’s an invigoration behind it like nothing I can describe. I suppose it could be intimidating to open a blank document and know that you have to fill its pages with all those words, but for me, it’s inspiring. My excitement over this story has just grown and grown as I planned it, and I had such a blast writing the first chapter. From the outset, the characters started spinning off in their own directions, almost naturally. I even found a way to tie in something from the ending (yes, I already have a couple paragraphs of it written – they may change, but the concept is one I’m already excited about) to the first paragraph. Here it is:

Did you ever have one of those moments that slices everything in two? Pre and post. Before and after. Then and now. It’s a line drawn in the sand, a turning point that takes everything you thought you knew and flips it upside down. Scratch that. Not just upside down. Inside out, up in the air, whirling through your mind so fast that it’s all you can do to keep your balance. And sometimes it’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s a wonderful, inspiring miracle that you can’t wait to reach out and embrace with everything you are. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s the exact opposite.

That got me thinking. How much does the first sentence/paragraph of a novel affect how it’s perceived? It’s crucial in terms of submitting to agents and publishers, but what about readers? How much importance do you place on the introduction? Does it influence whether or not you buy a book? Do you have a favorite beginning to a novel that stands out? And who has changed your life for good? Who has come into it for a reason and taught you the things you needed most?


4 thoughts on “I have been changed for good.

    • Isn’t it funny how we all seem to be setting out on new journeys at the same time? Makes it fun, though, since we’ll be able to compare notes and experiences along the way! I’m already having so much fun with mine that I’ve had to force myself to stop and take a break at times since I write for so long that my eyes start to hurt. Good luck with yours … I’m excited for you!!

  1. Congrats on starting your new book!!!! :) i’m so happy you’re having fun working on it!

    I definitely think the first sentence/paragraph/chapter of a book is insanely important. The first chapter is usually all an agent will see in an initial query (if you’re lucky), so it’s important to grab their attention. And obviously, you need to grab the reader’s attention. Usually when i’m in a bookstore, i’ll skim the first page or two, and if i’m not into it by then, back onto the shelf it goes!

    I’m currently reading Jellicoe Road, and the beginning of the book is: “My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die. I counted.” As soon as i read that, i just went “WHAAAAT?” and i was hooked. I’m halfway through the book, and it’s fantastic!

    • Thank you!! I seriously am having a blast. If only I could work on it all day, every day ;-) I’m about 2/3 of the way through the second chapter now and I just want to keep going!

      I’m with you 110% on the importance of the beginning … and you’re right, it’s often times the entire first chapter, not just the opening sentence or paragraph. It sets the tone for the whole book and really needs to be attention grabbing from the get-go. I never used to skim the opening pages (I relied more on the jacket copy), but since I’ve started writing my own novels, I tend to do that more frequently.

      WHOA to Jellicoe Road. Talk about a unique way to start off. It sounds like it did a great job of getting your attention, that’s for sure!

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