I had no idea where to start the book so I picked a moment and decided to start from there. Insomnia. It was more about starting the writing than starting the book. Once I’d finished that chapter I realised that the reader would benefit from a little background on the main character. How did she get to have insomnia? What does she do for a living? Where is she? How has she got to this point in time? So here we have my second attempt at an opening for the book:
“They sit opposite me at a desk that’s now facing mine. We’ve been told to rearrange the office, make it more conducive to working together, instead of in our separate little competitive, wall facing pods. It does feel better but too intimate for me. I don’t want to face these two. I want to get my head down and zone out into my own world. I don’t want to bond with the team. Not with these two annoying, young, public school boys who are far too confident for newbies.
“As a team, we don’t really gel and have a laugh like in the other two series I’ve worked on. There’s no camaraderie. No in jokes. Maybe that’s why we were asked to move the desks around. I think it’s because secretly we all think the series is crap and would rather be working on something better. It’s just another set of videos for some publisher to make a load of money with. I didn’t get into this industry just to help other people make money. I want to make a difference. I want to be out on location filming important stories that change the world. Not this studio crap with archive.
“They’re hungry for it I’ll give them that. They’ve been given the opportunity to prove themselves. I don’t know how. They seem young and stupid to me. They’re temporarily filling in for my Director. She’s been given the sack. She wasn’t cutting it. I didn’t think she was so bad. I liked her red hair and London style. I thought she was cool. But for some reason she’s been let go. And these two young upstarts, with practically no experience, have been given one of my programmes to rescue. Ironically the one called Survival. Survival seems too wide to narrow down into an hour’s video. We were struggling with it, the redhead and I. Coming up with a symbol, an animal or something that can represent the idea of survival is a challenge. These two little wannabes are picking my brains for ideas for it now. The fucking cheek. Get your own ideas. What’s the point of taking the show off me if you poach all my ideas?
“I tell them my best idea about using a survival kit as the main character. It could be animated and the objects in it given human like qualities. A pair of scissors walking across the screen or a compass with its spinning point as a nose sniffing out the right direction. But they prefer the first off the top of the head idea I had. A tortoise as the main character. A tortoise? How bloody obvious is that? It’s lived unchanged for thousands of years, since the dinosaurs bla bla bla. Totally predictable and boring. But that’s the Natural History Unit for you.”
If you read my ‘avocado blog’ about the indecisiveness around the opening paragraph, you’ll know that I decided to add another chapter onto the front of this. Next Monday I’ll share the original Insomnia opening paragraph. And I’d love to hear your comments about how you feel or think the different openings work. Which one most draws you in? But please wait to read all of them before comparing.