I've thought a lot about this today. My goal has been to find the narrator's voice. I have the story. Once I can find that voice I think it will all fall into place. At least that is how it happens in my head. I originally started with one idea that I thought was going okay. It wasn't a slam dunk, but it was working okay. My narrator was telling the story. The problem, again, was that his personality was not coming through. I was missing his voice.
Then I thought back to something Anne Ursu told me at Highlights. That my story reminded her of "Ella Enchanted" in that kids would enjoy reading it again and again. I hoped that would be true, but didn't think about it much more. Until the failure of beginning #3. I decided to look at "Ella Enchanted" to see how the narrator navigated that beginning. Maybe I would find a clue that would push me forward.
"That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me."
That line could almost work as a first line in my story. I copied it.
"That fool of a fairy Carabosse did not intend to lay a curse on Malachy."
Oh, my gosh! No, she didn't. I guess I had never realized that. Discovering more about my characters. But could this work as a beginning?
"That flake of a fairy Carabosse had no idea what agreement she was interfering with when she cursed Malachy to the bottom of Lake Burion."
"The sour fairy Carabosse did not intend to interfere with the agreement when she cursed Malachy to the bottom of Lake Burion."
"Carabosse is a sour fairy but she never meant to send Malachy to the bottom of Lake Burion."
"Malachy was never supposed to end up at the bottom of Lake Burion."
Tonight I will be attending a Write-In at the library for NaNoWriMo and work on this. I'm hoping I can settle on a variation of this. I like the last one so far. Kind of mysterious and catchy. Hopefully not too macabre.
One other thing I thought of while racking my brain to solve this problem. It occurs to me that the voice of my cat is eerily similar to that of a djinni named Bartimaeus in a trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. He is wry, witty, cynical, and seethes with sarcasm. That fits Smokey to a T, and that is how I want his narration to be. Maybe I need to take a look at "The Amulet of Samarkand." Remind me to put that on hold. I may not write too many words tonight, but I am determined to figure this out. I'll keep you posted. Wish me luck.