Which Light Bulb Burns the Brightest?

Today’s post has nothing to do with light bulbs, but has everything to do with ideas.

After I finish each novel in my Southern California mystery series, I toss around ideas in my head for the next book. Or at least for a solid opening chapter.

For Book Five, my First Attempt at a draft featured heroine Corrie Locke lounging around the movie studio legal office with sidekick and former security guard turned legal assistant, Veera, spying out the window of their office. Their former boss is spotted entering their building. What does he want?

I kicked around that chapter a bit, then shelved it to try again. Enter Attempt #2. A totally different draft. That first chapter opened with Michael, Corrie’s sweet computer nerd, college dean and best friend turned love interest, driving her to an secret location for a surprise. Corrie’s not keen on surprises. How will she know which weapon to pack? Turns out the destination is perfect for a romantic picnic…

…except it’s not because there’s some unexpected action that prevents anything resembling a picnic. I put that scene aside and pondered yet another book.

On to Attempt #3: this opening chapter featured Corrie accompanying her loving, caring, slightly meddlesome, but very fashionable, mother to dinner at the home of a former client of Mom’s. The client asked to meet Corrie after learning of her case-cracking skills. Turns out the client is holding a séance to find her missing son and asks Corrie to team up with the psychic to locate him. Only problem is, Corrie’s convinced the psychic is a fake… or is he?

Which one of the three Attempts did I go with?

That’s right: Attempt #1…except I created a whole different Chapter One. A critical reader kindly suggested the first chapter contain more action. I happily obliged, putting Corrie in a sketchy warehouse with some highly suspicious objects, one of which comes in handy as the story unfolds and Corrie snags her first official P.I. job.

Attempts #2 and #3 may be used for Books Six and Seven. The moral of this post? All light bulbs can shine brightly, if given the chance.  

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