What Makes Today Different?

Opening scenes are tough. Let’s be honest. You only have a few paragraphs to hook the reader and draw them into your world. What happens that upsets the applecart? What makes the character go from passive to active?

I felt really good about my original opening scene. However, one email changed everything. A very experienced reviewer asked me the hard-hitting question: “what makes today different?” I realized I didn’t know. I agonized over this for a week. But when the answer came, it turned out to be surprisingly simple and would include a scene I had considered to be a throwaway.

My character tends to be calm. So, today he loses his temper. The pebble then triggers an avalanche of conflict. And to tie events together, something discussed in that scene will aid in resolving some of the tension later. Was it easy to let the other scene go? No. But it was necessary. So, what makes today different? It’s a great question to keep in mind as part of a writer’s toolkit.

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