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Pieces 08: One true opening

Day three of my writing retreat and I'm on to the opening, of which I have many. Time to cut these branches down.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
Pieces 08: One true opening

Hello again. More than halfway through my home writing retreat already. Thanks once more for following along via Pieces, this pop-up newsletter.

It’s been another shorter day due to as-normal childcare. I also had a couple of small freelance tasks to tick off too. Don’t shout at me! I’m amazed I got this far into the week without having to tend to clients.

Of course, I also did some work on the novel.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Start the day by putting the last few passages into my ‘scenes’, ‘holding’, ‘scraps’ folders. Change the word holding to ‘parked’ as I prefer how that sounds and this is, of course, a very important thing.

Quick note on scenes. I’ve been telling you about my scenes with the confidence of someone who has worked this way before. I can tell you now that I have not. I previously worked exclusively in chapters.

But I feel like scenes are better for this project. They certainly reflect the mental model I’m working with and reflect the way that I am able to write in non-retreat circumstances. Short bursts. Irregular rhythms.

Thinking in scenes has helped me read through and chop up the work I have done so far. But I think it will serve me well going forward too.

On to the opening. Or openings, as is more the case.

After my big sort out it seems I have five different documents, all various versions of the same opening. This is the start to the novel that’s been swirling round my brain-bonce for ooh, at least five years. It’s a straight to the action, set the whole thing up kind of opening. And apparently, I’ve already written it in several ways.

I need just the one version now.

I spend a good couple of hours reading and revising each document. I create a new document and save all the good stuff into there. I discard a lot too.

I know this might sound like I’m still avoiding the task of actually writing. But this is what writing is. Sure, there’s some tip-tapping and bringing of new words into the world. But by crikey, there is awful lot of copying, pasting, moving and deleting. Writing is one huge faff.

When I have all the stuff that I like in one new document – you’re not going to believe this – I start to write. And it’s difficult, isn’t it? So unbelievably annoying.

I get a couple hundred words down. It’s another new version, but it’s also the one I’m sticking with. Third person present. Progress.

15 minutes until school pick up again. I need to Google something.

Is it possible to get knocked unconscious, break your leg, and then stay unconscious. Even though your leg like, really hurts?

No conclusive answer. (Feel free to reply if you know.)

I’m running late. Time to go get those kids again.

Tomorrow and Friday are full days, so I hope to start pumping those words out. I’m thinking write all day tomorrow and see how things feel. I wanted to end the week with a full outline in Notion. Even a partial outline would be helpful, I think.

The image above is a stack of books I have with me in the shed. I like to keep some good stuff nearby for inspiration. I’ve not even read all of these, but I like dipping in every now and then.

Thank you again for following along. Your pals can subscribe to Pieces on my website if they want to. Feel free to share far and wide. All previous issues are collected online too.

Decisive handshakes,



Iain Broome Twitter

I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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