How scary does that sound?
Chapter one in all books have a lot of pressure. Not only do you need to hook your reader, but you need to set the stage, introduce the main plot, characters, setting. Without boring everyone. Even when you’re looking for agents or publishers, those first three chapters are vital.
I’ve spoken about beginnings before about another piece of work. Since the new year started, only five short days ago, I’ve been gun-ho on revisiting a novel I’ve been working on for at least three years. I’ve completed two drafts. My goal was to edit my second draft, fix the grammar, the hidden adverbs, sticky sentences and pacing and prepare it for an editor to help define and polish it up. Well, here I am, day three into my editing and I’ve completely re-wrote the first chapter – five times! My attempt at just polishing up the earlier draft has gone out the window. I feel like re-writing everything!
Even now, after hours of reading it through, using an online editor to help with the sticky spots, I’m still not happy. I’m constantly doubting my opening, if it’s strong enough, or if my character’s too distant and boring, or if I’m still too far away from the first incident that will introduce my reader to the main evil to overcome. That was my issue in my first and second draft; I seem to have a flaw of starting my stories too early. The first chapter or two are setting the stage, getting to know the character, their surroundings and behaviour then suddenly I fast forward to the main incident. I thought I was doing better with my third draft, I’ve got the issue right there, dangling, but I still won’t reach it until the third chapter. Is that enough?
At this stage, I wish I had a peer critic group that would help me identify what I should keep and what is unimportant. Or even a trusted friend who will tell me like it is. I haven’t asked my boyfriend to read my work, even though a decent chunk is on my blog. That could be my first option, let him read the first few chapters once completed. Despite how terrified I am of having someone close read my work, I know I need to start somewhere even before I join a critic group.
Baby steps, right?
2017 may not have started out well – regarding my novel – at least it’s started. With more time on my hands now to edit and re-write, and I hope that before the end of the year this book will thrive and ready to send to agents/publishers.
I haven’t giving up on the story, there’s still a passion in me to write it and make it the best I can. That is my goal for 2017.