Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to writing...

Yesterday I ripped out Chapter One. Was it painful? Yes. Necessary? Very.

Remember last week I said that this story takes a while to get the hero and heroine together? Even though I admitted this, I was smugly assuming I could get away with it.
Came back from my weekend away with fresh eyes and knew the story started at Chapter Two, so Chapter One is now in a "dump" file. It's back story. OK, yes, maybe it's important as it explains what's been happening, but it was basically me exploring my characters. Deep down I KNEW this, and I knew it didn't feel right.
Yeah... didn't feel right as in... no one will want to buy the book if they picked it up in a store and read the first page.
Do you do that?
I do.
Some authors hook me on page one. There's something about their voice that just draws me in so I want to be in that world. That's what I'm striving for now with my new Chapter One.


2paw said...

I always flip half way through a book and read a paragraph or two. If I don;t like the print size that can be bad. I usually buy authors rather than books. Does that make sense???
It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, I hope you can use the first chapter somewhere, or even as 'research'.I just had to do that with my knitting: unravel it, but it will be worth it in the end.

Barbara Hannay said...

Unravelling... that's exactly what it's like. Except that I get to save a few stitches here and there and feed them into a new home.

And I buy by author, too, but if I'm trying someone new they get the first page test.

Anne said...

Barb, I think it's common, maybe even necessary sometimes to 'write your way into the characters and story" and then to have to change the beginning. But I don't think the discarded chapter is a wasted effort -- it's part of the thinking, story-spinning process.

I often don't know *exactly* what a story is about until I've written a few chapters and the characters have come to life. That's when I know the best way to start.

I'm looking forward to your new book.

Barbara Hannay said...

Yes, Anne, you're right. This culling of early pages is common. I guess I'm finding it hard because my last book wrote itself and felt like fun, and now I'm back to having to work hard and think hard. Funny thing is, it's always so much easier to see the need for slashing in other people's work. :))
But I think it's good to remember how painful it is to throw out words, -- makes for a kinder critique when handing out advice.

Barbara Hannay said...

Meant to say, I do know what you mean about print size, 2paw. I ordered a book by a favourite author, but the print's so tiny I keep putting it aside.

And if writing a few chapters to get the feel of characters helps Anne Gracie, I know I MUST be on the right track!!