Has this ever happened to “real” writers? (Even with a couple of published books under my belt, I still feel like a pretender. The pickle in which I find myself may explain why.)
I have started two stories (at different times) that are like conjoined twins; two individual stories with different plots and characters. Somehow I gave them the same beginning. To give both stories a chance at life, one of those opening scenes will have to be surgically excised.
My duplicate beginning is as follows.
A married sister keeps setting her single sibling up on blind dates from hell. After one last date which unfolds as my first scene, the sister on the receiving end calls it quits. From that starting point, the plots go their own ways.
Unfortunately, I like both scenes–which are themselves quite different–equally well. (I am, of course, an entirely objective critic of these creative expressions of my very soul.)
What can I say? I hate to cut my own words. Yet, I must be ruthless.
In the first story, the blind date turns out to be the sister’s prince charming. He goes on to rescue her after she crashes her car, and they fall in love.
In the second, the matchmaking sister never does get it right. The protagonist, quite by accident, meets her true love spontaneously. The catch is she doesn’t know until later that the man works with her sister’s husband, and the sister had him lined up as the next blind date.
Although I do like the lighthearted scene I wrote for the first story, I also find that removing it will do no harm to the plot: our heroine’s car accident, subsequent injuries, and love for the paramedic who brings her solace in her darkest hour. The story could begin with the heroine’s car crash (after her double shift at the hospital), on a winter’s night on icy roads. Nothing vital will be lost–either to the heroine or the story. By the same token, starting with the action may hook a potential reader and keep her interested.
As for the second plot, I believe the blind date theme fits in with the rest of the storyline. I could skillfully combine the best elements of both scenes to make one grand opening for my second book. There now. Problem solved. I have two distinct stories, as well as two separate sets of characters and settings.
We have safely separated our twins.
Now, on to Scene Two…