Friday, June 18, 2010

Breaking the Rules Blogfest

Elizabeth Mueller is hosting the Breaking the Rules blogfest today. The idea is to post your rule breakingest stuff. Now, I'm not one to break the rules very often, but I did have one rebellious moment. ;)

This is one of the many discarded openings for my current WIP, Embrol. Some of you might remember it, since I posted it here about a year ago. I was pretty pleased with it then. Funny how much my perception has changed.

In this one short scene, I broke the don't begin with a dream rule, don't begin with waking up rule, and don't begin with dialogue rule. Plus the writing's pretty crappy and the dialogue's pretty lame, so you have been warned. And besides all the rule breaking, there are several reasons this opening didn't work, including at least one plot hole. So it was banished to the darkest corner of my hard drive, and I honestly thought it would never see the light of day again. Yet, here it is. :)

“Faster. You must move faster.” The deep voice echoed through the void, propelling me forward, giving strength to my weary legs.

Terror coursed through me. I had to keep moving. Protection of the medallion enclosed in my hand was crucial. Sharp points dug into my palm as my grip tightened. I raced toward the light ahead, the darkness close behind, devouring everything in its path. The medallion grew heavier as I neared my destination. I struggled to maintain my speed. Failure meant the end of everything. I was sure of that. Almost there.

“Livy.” The world around me wavered at the sound of my mother’s voice.

My eyes swung to the right, then the left, searching for her. A sheer drop-off, on either side, marked the edges of my narrow path. My breath caught, but I didn’t slow down. The urgency to reach the light intensified.

“Livy, wake up.”

The world wavered again and disappeared.

I opened my eyes and groaned at the video camera hovering inches from my face. “Ugh. Go away.” My hand closed around the lens, and I shoved it back, pulling my pillow over my head. The pounding in my chest slowed, her presence reducing my anxiety.

My mother laughed. “On this day, eighteen years ago, Olivia Noelle Ryan was born to Thomas and Lily Ryan in the great state of Arizona. And there was rejoicing throughout the land! Today she is officially an adult. Would you like to add anything, Livy?”

“Can’t I sleep in for once?” I lifted the corner of the pillow and opened one eye. “In fact, to celebrate the joyous occasion, I should probably stay home from school. Turn the light off on your way out.” I waved my hand toward the door, letting the pillow drop. Would I have succeeded if she hadn’t woken me? Why do I care? It was just a dream.

“Don’t be such a spoilsport.” She laughed as she pulled the blanket off me.

I reached for it too late, and it fell to the floor. “Hey, it’s freezing!”

“Come on, time to get up.” She gave me a quick swat on my backside. “You’re going to be late for school. Being an adult means being responsible.”

“Seriously, Mom. Are you starting on that already?” I pushed myself up to a seated position and rubbed my eyes. “Would you please turn that stupid thing off?”

“You used to love this part of your birthday.” Her lips pulled down as she turned the camera off, her smile reappearing a second later. “I made you some birthday French toast, if you’re interested.”

I covered a yawn. “Tell me again. What makes it birthday French toast?”

“Because I made it on your birthday, silly girl. Don’t be too long. It’s getting cold.”

“'Kay. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” I studied my palm as she left the room. Three tiny drops of red marked where the medallion had pierced my skin, forming the points of a perfect equilateral triangle. I wiped away the blood, and it seemed I wiped away the wounds as well. That’s not possible. I shook my head. Like wounds from a dream are possible. Figures I’d lose my mind on the day I finally turned eighteen. 


Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the other entries here. :)


  1. It's well-written, Abby. I liked it, rules or no!

  2. Yep, I liked it, too. I think the no-dream rule is because people feel disappointed when the character wakes up - that none of it really happened. But if the dream has some significance - or the character only thinks it was a dream -and if it's done well, I think this rule could be broken. I think you might have been able to pull it off, with that bit about the blood on her palm. Of course, if your beginning no longer works for your story, you have a good reason for cutting it. Nice writing!

  3. Abby - I like it. I agree with Kristie, too. If the dream is relevant then it can be well done. But as for breaking the rules, here this beginning shows great promise and I love your style!

    This was a fun blogfest!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  4. I have to agree with the other comments--rules are meant to be broken, right?

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. i think i remember this?? although it's good, i like your new opening better (even though my stomach doesn't). it draws me into the story faster.

  6. I liked it and some rules are meant to be broken. Realistically, we don't have to follow every single one: it depends on style and story!

  7. I remember this, mostly, anyway! And I thought the way it was written it was obviously a dream, and the morning she wakes up to is not just any morning, its a very auspicious one for her.

    But yeah, the new opening gets to the meat of the story quicker.

    Thanks for baring your rule-breaking!

  8. I think it was well written too.

  9. Hi Abby! Sorry I'm slow going today, my hubby gave me the golden opportunity to take the entire morning and afternoon from my kidlets so that I can edit! That's where I've been.

    Wow, I love this piece. So very well written it makes me wonder why those rules were invented? Too cliche, maybe? *Sigh*

    Thank you for participating! ((Hugs)) :)

  10. Like the others said, rules are made to be broken. Sure, you can edit some of the 'mistakes' out, but the scene works well as is!

    Well done!

  11. Yeah, it's cool. I want to know about the marks she seemed to wipe away. You'd probably want to change her age to 16 if it's YA, but it worked. Good stuff!

  12. Good opening! I think it was well done! I really wanted to read on!

  13. What rule about "not starting with dialogue? Why didn't anyone tell me : O

    I actually like it quite a bit. I can really identify with not wanting to get up in the morning : P

  14. I was disappointed when the dream turned out to be a dream, but when she had blood on her hands, that was quite intriguing.

  15. No starting with dreams! Banned from the blogfest!
    Just kidding. ;)

    Okay, why not dreams? Because it's cliché. Also no looking in mirrors. There are a few other no-no starts like expository prologues.

    Anyways, nice writing despite that!

  16. psh. Dialogue can work, in my opinion. Break the rules when you want! lol. I do like this even if it starts with a dream. But I'm a big fan of dreams, though I don't write about them. I get my ideas from dreams so they are awesome. Great entry.

  17. This is funny to me because I've seen it a couple of times now. The book, Beautiful Creatures, does it really well--and the MC brings the evidence of his dream out of his dream with him. Beautiful Creatures doesn't open like this--but it's on the second or third page--so it's close.

    My original opening to my book was like this as well. A dream--and in the end she saw a giant flash of light. She wakes up still blinking the spots away and with the scrapes that she got on her legs from running in the woods.

    Then I have a friend who uses this plot device as well. Again, not as an opening, but the whole, "bringing something back from the dream thing."

    I think it's intriguing though. It's such a neat idea that a dream can contain some part of real life! I thought it was well written too--although I felt a little sorry for the mom cause the girl was being a bit whiny. I have teenage daughters, so maybe that's why I related to the mom more than the kid. lol.

    Anyway, I'm writing to let you know that I gave you an award on my site.

    I've been following you for months and have always been entertained so I figured you definitely deserve one!:)

    To pick it up just come to and click on the blog link. See you there! Have a happy Monday. :)