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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Getting Chapter #1 Right - 2nd August 2015

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire  - Maria A Smith

I'm finally happy with chapter one of my current work in progress. It has been a nightmare to get right. It needed to do all of the usual, introduce the main characters, grab the reader enough for them to get some idea of what the conflict is in the story, and importantly, signpost the genre. Then it has to keep the reader hooked, and move the story forward. In other words it's a tall order!

I wrote it, then sat on it for weeks, pondering if I should change it further, even though I wasn't happy with the original, I didn't want to put something else in without it being right. Of course now I've got to change things here and there to make it all fit together. Anyone else scrapped their first chapter and started further into the story?

As for last week, I got most things done. Edited a chapter, did the Phoenix Writers group challenge, went to the meeting, offered feedback on several manuscripts, managed three of the four exercise sessions I'd said I'd do, and had a half day out too. I also finished my audio book, The Accident, by C.L. Taylor, and recommend it, if you like a good phycological thriller that'll have you on the edge of your seat.

The week ahead looks like this...
  1. More writing
  2. More exercise
  3. More fun!
Oh, and the image is nothing to do with summer, but it is where I went for my half day excursion last week, and I forgot my camera!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

10 comments:

  1. Oh, yes. I've been looking critically at first chapter of next book. I realized I needed to cut it off where I bring in Sabrina my MC, and go from 3rd person to my MC's usual first person. Also, needed to put names on the two or three characters in the first chapter earlier than I did. More tweaking, etc. Found a great blog post by Wendig about how to write a first chapter in my bookmarks. What a coincidence, just when I needed this!

    Have a good week, Maria!

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    Replies
    1. Hi,
      I'm a fan of Chuck Wendig too, must look up that blog post you are referring to...
      Glad you are getting things sorted to where you want them.

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  2. You seem to have had a good, productive week, Maria! I often think the first chapter benefits from a better edit once the following chapters are written. In The Highland Lass (before submitting it to Crooked Cat), I ended up taking the first couple of chapters out completely and starting in a different place - which works much better! I'm sure that helped it being accepted and published.

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    Replies
    1. Oh that's interesting you saying that Rosemary, I've read The Highland Lass, and think the beginning does all it's supposed to do...wouldn't have thought you'd lopped two chapters out.

      Delete
  3. I often start in the middle and work out. It depends what my inspiration has been. When I'm writing a non-fiction article, I write everything I can that is relevant, without bothering at all about the flow. Then I go back and reorder it to make it more comprehensible Incidentally, why not put 'more fun' at the top of your to-do list?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't done it that way yet Julia, well at least I don't think so, but who knows, there is still time to change a lot of things.
      More fun at the top of the list is definitely an idea!

      Delete
  4. So far my first chapter has gone from first to third and back to first person again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? My first attempt at a novel was in third and when I read it at my manuscript group they all said it would be better in first, so I changed it. Turns out they were right. I felt so much happier after the change...

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  5. I remember being told at creative writing class that it's quite usual to 'write yourself into your story'. It tends to begin in a stilted way then the voice emerges. Calke Abbey looks lovely and, as for your three items, what will you do for fun?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I've written myself in Ros, and I'll be here a while I think...
      What will I do for fun...well, I'll let on in the next blog post.

      Delete

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