I largely discover the stories I’m writing as I am writing them. That was definitely the case with Blindspots. When I began I knew what the inciting incident was going to be ‘Ricky’s brother is missing’ and had a couple vague ideas of what might come after that, but I didn’t actually know where to start the book. As a result, it took me a couple of attempts before I found the opening I eventually used. That doesn’t mean that the openings I rejected were bad, though. On the contrary, there is a lot about this particular ‘rejected’ opening that I really love so I’d like to share it with you, even though it didn’t make it into the book 😉
The bright lights of Kelly’s shone up ahead. The colour painted the damp sidewalks, and the water spread and distorting it, giving it an almost magical look. Ricky shook his head, and his ears slapped against himself and each other. They sounded almost like applause, which was perfect because he was imagining Fenton’s reaction should he ever actually voice some of his more fanciful thoughts — such as a wet sidewalk looking magical. No doubt the old bulldog would have a thing or two to say.
“What a bunch of twaddle!” was always Ricky’s favourite, but Jasper preferred it when they could reduce Fenton to wordless harrumphing and snorting.
The susurrus of conversation interspersed by occasional excited barks spilled out from Kelly’s, growing louder with each step Ricky took toward it. As he reached the door to Kelly’s the light painted him blue instead of the road. A magical golden retriever, he thought, and then corrected himself. Well, really more of a green retriever right now.
Ricky pushed the door with his head and it swung open easily. The noise from within which had been effectively muffled by the door burst upon him, and he paused a moment before entering. Not for any sense of danger or discomfort, but rather to adjust to the completely different environment. Out on the street he’d mostly been alone with his imagination, the spires, the smokestacks, and the sad canines who lurked in the shadows. Inside, however, dogs of every description filled the place, sitting at tables, sprawled across sofas and even gathered in packs on the floor. Each animal had a bowl in front of them filled with whatever elixir it was that helped them take the edge off. To find the magic that still existed in the world.
Ricky laughed aloud at that thought. He’d have to share that one with Fenton, it would be sure to get at least an, “Utter nonsense” out of him.
He scanned the faces in the room, looking for the rest of the Third Thursday pack and found them in the prized spot right in front of the fireplace. Someone must have come early to secure such a prime location.
Fenton was curled up right in front of the fire, blocking as much of it as he could with his solid but compact body. Soaking up the heat. Meep was lying beside him, managing to edge him out of a little corner, at least and looking pretty pleased with herself, her black tongue lolling out the side of her mouth while she panted happily. Moo was perched on Meep’s back, carefully balanced between her folds of skin. To Ricky, Meep always looked ready to break—her tiny body and bone structure no more substantial than a bird’s—but despite that she was one tough cookie. Ricky had watched her take out an entire machine gun nest one day. A lifetime, and not so long ago.
“I w…was thinking as I came in the door that this place is sort of magical,” Ricky said by way of greeting. “How it gives us all something to look forward to. Or, should we need it, a way to forget.”
Fenton snorted, and raised each of his eyebrows in turn, letting all and sundry know what he thought about that, even if he didn’t say it. Meep just blew out her cheeks and took a slurp from her bowl, but Moo, at least, gave him the sort of reaction he was looking for. She ran in a tight circle on Meep’s back, and babbled excitedly. “Oh yes! Oh yes! It is magical. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Kelly’s to come to. If I didn’t have you guys to come to. It is magical, it is, it truly is.”
“Take a breath,” Fenton said. His voice deep and low. “Or you’ll pass out.”
He wasn’t being hyperbolic either. More than once Moo had worked herself up into such a state that she had fallen over. Not exactly passed out, but definitely unable to talk or move until she’d caught her breath back.
“I missed you too,” Ricky said, offering her a smile as he lowered himself into a spot amongst his friends. He wasn’t right up against the fireplace, but he was warm just the same.
“W… w… where’s Jasper?”
“Haven’t seen him yet,” Moo said, still with that same breathless excitement she usually spoke in. She settled down on Meep’s back though, no longer running in circles upon it.
If you want to read the real intro I went with, I invite you to do so here –> https://www.rhondaparrish.com/home/blindspots-chapter-one/ or in the book, of course. I’d be curious to know which one you’d have chosen to use. The same one I did, or this one?
Let me know in the comments!