Do first impressions always last?
Have I ever told you about my first encounter with a Champagne house?
It was in March 2010 and we were walking from the Reims train station to Pommery. After about 40 minutes, we reached the halfway mark and as these things go, a restroom was nowhere to be found.
It was Europe, after all.
Nonetheless, we eventually stumbled across Veuve Clicquot and without an appointment, I snuck in to use the loo.
And this is something I will never forget – just as I was about to close the door, I looked down and almost instantaneously looked over my shoulder, as if some French person was trying to take the mickey out of me. But there was no one there and it’s a good thing too, as all I could hear was very loud non-French-like snickering noises, all coming from me, so much so that I had to sit down.
But this was the problem, there was nowhere to sit.
A vital part of the toilet was missing.
The toilet at Veuve Clicquot, the nearly 240 year old Champagne house, in Reims, France.
Have I refused a glass of Veuve since then?
The answer is ‘no’. But every so often, this story inevitably makes its appearance, whether I like their champagne or not.
Truth is, first impressions are important. None more so, than when it comes to the first few pages of a manuscript.
And on Monday, I finished the second draft of mine. Although it needs at least one more round of edits, at one point in the future I’ll be submitting it to… well, someone.
But first, I have to spend a bit more time on my characters.
As far as first impressions go, this might be the one instance where the reader’s first thoughts about a character, shouldn’t necessarily be lasting.
Where is the fun in hating the villain all the way through the book, if likeable characteristics can present themselves somewhere along the way? And in loving the hero, without a hidden secret by which his almost-perfect character is redeemed at the end?
Nicolas Sparks once said, he will write as long as he can continue to surprise his readers.
I say, I’m hoping to surprise you (or be it an editor) enough, the first time around and not with some embarrassing faux pas either.
I’m a little nervous already.