First Impressions

They’re so important, aren’t they? Whether you’re walking into a job interview, or meeting someone on a blind date, it’s crucial to put your best foot forward.

Is your hair flowing perfectly? Does your outfit suit the job you’re applying for? Is your outfit smokin’ hot (without revealing too much) for your date? Do you say the right things, staying professional, yet open?

I’m finding that all of those questions are crucial to ask yourself when you sit down to write the opening scene for you novel, too. Are you hooking your readers from page one, line one? Are you revealing just the right amount of information without giving away too much? Is the story of their life (back story) clogging what’s important to this scene?

Last summer, I started writing Vampires of Crimson Bay #3. I got seventy pages in, when my agent asked if I could pump out a few novellas for Harlequin Cravings. (I did, by the way, and I think they’re some of the best things I’ve written! Look for them this summer!) Anyhow, I stepped away from Crimson Bay and the characters I’ve come to love through InterVamption and Vamped Up.

It feels like I’ve been gone from their lives forever.

We’re starting fresh.

Having gone back and read the original seventy pages, I’m finding that my first impression of some of the characters was skewed. (There was tons of why did he say it that way? Doesn’t he know how he comes off? Or she wouldn’t do that, would she?) There’s material that doesn’t belong—two whole chapters, actually. My “cut-out” file is huge, let me tell you! I’m revealing too much back story. I’m giving too much information about characters that don’t really play a role in Dante’s story. (Oh yes, he’s next. :swoon: )

Although I have a deadline looming over me and a gazillion of things to do in my non-writing life, I deleted half of what I wrote. I’m starting fresh. With a new perspective on things.

I’m scared to start again. I know these characters inside and out, yet the impression they’ve made on me doesn’t quite fit the mold it should.

As a writer, or reader, do you find that your first impression of a character changes through the course of the story? Or what about when you put a book down for an extended length of time?

I’m dying to know that it’s not only me…

About Kristin Miller

Kristin Miller is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels. After writing dark and gritty versions of "happily ever after" for more than a decade, she turned her hand to psychological suspense, a genre she's loved since childhood. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. Facebook: Twitter: Web:

Posted on January 12, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s not only you. 🙂 I’ve taken a break from a book and returned to cut, cut, cut…just like you did. And I like when my impression changes throughout a book because that means the character is evolving and changing. I’m looking forward to reading the novellas this summer! I love a good novella.

  2. Thank you so much!! So glad to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

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