Kill the alarm clock? Far be it from me to tell anyone how to start their novel, but every time I read a work of fiction and it begins with someone slapping the snooze button of an alarm clock or an alarm clock ringing and someone growling and crawling out of bed, I can’t help but think of one of my graduate school professors at Hofstra who told our creative writing class: “For the love of god, please don’t start your novel with an alarm clock. Do you know how many of those openings I’ve read?”
The alarm clock thing has been done. And done again. And it makes me wonder about the nature of beginnings and how, as writers, we feel compelled to begin our novels in logical places — like the beginning of a day. And while I believe that every writer should write what is true in their heart, particularly for a first draft, it is a good idea, down the road in the editing process, to question these kinds of choices that we’ve made.
Hey, if you’ve always envisioned your novel beginning with someone throwing a bunny slipper at an alarm clock, then do it. But perhaps you should ask yourself why you’ve made that choice and see if you like your answer. Or if you even have one.