Usually I dive into a story. The first chapter is my favorite to write. You get to meet new people and discover their troubles. Because I write short contemporary, I introduce the hero and heroine immediately and get them right into their conflict.

Okay, this paranormal thing is different. And I'm struggling. I've written 3 beginnings so far. Not much more than a few paragraphs that lead into action. My first attempt was because I was thinking I need to get the H/H together right away. It is a romance, after all.

He had his instructions.

And they pissed him off.

But he would do as he was told. He always did.

A warning. That was all. His employers only wanted to frighten the Marquis.

Lucien wanted the man dead.

Despite the dozen chandeliers and hundreds of candles illuminating the ballroom, a tall man with dark hair and an expression of abject boredom on his face appeared wreathed in shadow. Luc’s own height made it easy for him to keep track of the Marquis across the sea of glittering, perfumed, silk-clad ton gathered at Westerfield House for the first ball of the season.

Normally he wouldn’t have chosen this venue for the sort of task he had to perform. Frightening someone was much easier on a dark, deserted London street than in a crowded ballroom, but Luc relished a challenge. That’s what made him good at his job.

A cry of alarm went up to his left. Luc turned his head at the sound, his chin brushing the starched points of his tall collar, and took three steps in the direction of the commotion before he realized what was going on.

A diversion.

The instant the realization struck, a tingle in his left earlobe told him someone had worked a minor spell. While a dozen people milled about the unfortunately girl who’d had her dress set on fire, Luc surged into the crowd in the opposite direction.
He cursed beneath his breath as he searched for the Marquis. His employers would not be pleased if the man stole yet another book on black magic.

The tingle became a buzzing. More magic at work. A bigger spell. The flavor of it puzzled him. And drew him forward at a greater pace.

By the time he reached the library, the Marquis was gone, and the aftermath of the spell had faded like disappating smoke from a snuffed candle. Frustration flared as Luc surveyed the enormous library. If he’d been a few steps closer he might have caught the Marquis in the act and prevented the theft. It would have been satisfying to bind the man in a holding spell and turn him over for questioning.

Not as satisfying as killing him, but it would have been better than nothing.

The mood felt off. Forced. And the hero was too dark. Part of this book is funny. A dark sort of funny, but he does have a sense of humor.

Then I thought let's meet the man he's going to impersonate:

The stench of desperation in the man sitting opposite the Marquis was as palpable as dried sweat. Luc’s gaze slid over sullen face and frightened eyes of the man, .

“Come now, Rethledge,” the Marquis said, sipping at his brandy. “Surely you’re due to have a change of luck.”

There was no luck involved in the games being played this evening. It was theft, pure and simple.

“That may be true, but I have nothing left to wager.”

The problem here is that the Marquis is not a bad guy. He's actually a lot naive and a little stupid. In this version he comes off as a villain. Not what I'm looking for my hero to impersonate.

So, I'm onto my 3rd version:

Something was wrong.
Luc bound up the stairs of the Cheapside boarding house, felt the give of worn board, and hoped like hell they wouldn’t splinter beneath his weight.

At the second landing he paused and looked up. While his instincts screamed at him to keep going, years of experience held him in place. A green glow highlighted the stairs above him, a warning to proceed with caution.

I decided to start with an action sequence that involved the dark magic the hero spends the book fighting against. I have a vision in my head of what he will encounter when he gets to the room with the green glow. I hope I can pull it off.

How about you? Do you start strong or struggle?

Today's goal: 500 words of this opening.
Yesterday's achievement: I figured out what doesn't work.
What I'm grateful for: My dad's taking my daughter to his company picnic tomorrow. I'm going to go see a couple movies.
Quote: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -Bill Cosby (1937 - )