One of our readers has written in with a request. (Yes, this means I dug into our mailbag today. I intended to wait until Alicia returns from her vacation, and then she and I could divvy up the letters and questions, but I'm jumping the gun. We'll have to wait to see if she'll forgive me on her return.)
Our reader is pondering two different openings. The novel in question deals with a plus-sized heroine and her quest to find love. I was going to do a little comparative analysis of the two, but after closer inspection, I've decided to ask the blog what you all think.
Just so everyone understands this isn't a trick question, I'm going to start by sharing a few quick impressions. I think the openings are roughly equal in writing quality. Each sets up a strong viewpoint character. They share a strong voice, but the tone is different between them.
I think the key difference between them is tone. There are other minor differences, but I don't think they are as important. I have a strong preference, but it's not based on writing quality. It's based on a more instinctive, gut-level response to one of the pair. But not everyone will respond the same, and it might be an interesting exercise to see if my reaction is in line with the majority response. (Yes, as an editor, this is something I think about frequently. My taste is on the line with every story we buy.)
So, help a reader out. Which of these openings has the more compelling hook? Please vote in the comments.
The average American woman is 5’4”, 164 pounds and wears a size 14. Let’s just say that I’m above average—and I’m not talking about my height. I didn’t start out this way, mind you. At birth, I was actually below average.
If I have to look at one more picture of a rail-thin “all-American girl”, I’m going to puke. Or eat another cupcake. Okay, the truth is I really hate to throw up.
P.S. Alicia emailed me from Ireland, en route to England. We must congratulate her when she returns. She has spent all this time driving on those narrow Irish lanes without putting a single scratch on her rental vehicle. That's impressive!