I have been tearing my hair out over the first chapter of my novel. Why? Because I feel beginnings are crucial. First impressions can carry a long way. If it sucks what does it matter if the rest is really good? How many kids do you know will keep reading after a crappy first chapter? I don’t and I’m an adult.
Okay, there isn’t anything really crappy about my first chapter, in fact the first few paragraphs I really love, but there are some parts that I just know aren’t right. They’re not necessarily wrong, but something is off. I couldn’t feel confident that it was the best opening or my best work. And the worst part? I didn’t know what to do! Some of my readers mentioned spots where they felt confused or that the story disjointed. A few had suggestions. I asked advice from some other people, I consulted some writing books, but nothing made me think “Ah ha! I know what to do!”
I now realize that no one has the answer for me. There are simply times when you are on your own and no person or book holds the answer. I am on my own.
But it’s okay. It’s actually good. This is my story, right? I don’t like people telling me what to do anyway. Liesl’s life motto: Don’t tell me what to do! (My husband printed it on an apron for my birthday one year.)
Anyway, I think I figured things out on my run this morning. Running is magic I tell you! I reworked some of the first chapter and my husband will tell me if it still sucks. He’s usually pretty honest that way. Yay for honest husbands.
I really hope it doesn’t still suck.