I work from sentence to sentence. The first sentence of a chapter sets the tone and tells me where to go. I’m lost until that first sentence is hammered out.

The clean smell of Nolfetul floated across the water. The breeze carried the scents of spices and fruits neglected in Bafguva, and of creature wastes untainted by flesh products. Jazlin luxuriated in the

The scent of Nolfetul floated across the water. For so long Jazlin had missed these smells, the spices and fruits not cultivated in Bafguva, creature wastes untainted by flesh products

The scent of Nolfetul floated across the water. Jazlin luxuriated in the smells of spices and fruits unknown in Bafguva, of creature wastes untainted by flesh products.

The crisp scent of Nolfetul — long-missed spices and fruits, untainted creature wastes–floated across the water. Jazlin would know that smell had

Okay, that wasn’t the right starting place.

The river tugged them downstream. Jazlin worked the footcrank, as Helfijek commanded, while at the tiller Helfijek guided the boat toward the riverbank.

The river tugged them downstream. Jazlin worked the footcrank steadily while Helfijek guided the tiller, and they

Jazlin worked the footcrank steadily, yet still the river tugged them downstream.

You know, we’ve already done enough water stuff in this manuscript — let’s start even later. (Us = the characters and me.)

Jazlin slipped over the boat’s side into the chest-deep water and caught the painter that Helfijek tossed

Now I think I’ve got a handle on it.