Chapter One

A few weeks ago I was patting myself on the back because I had written three chapters of my WIP in one day.

Then life stepped in and I was unable (or too uncommitted) to go back. When I finally checked in and read what I had written, I promptly deleted chapters two and three, and half of chapter one.

Why? Not because the writing was awful, but because it wasn’t going anywhere.

If I have learned one thing in my so-called career, it is that the beginning of a story must pack a wallop. The editor of my first two books told me on each occasion to dump the first chapter and start with chapter two.

This time, I tried to start chapter one with the all-important first sentence — the sentence that must “hook” the reader and get him or her to keep reading.

I re-wrote that first sentence many times. Then I re-wrote the first paragraph as many times again. Because that paragraph sets up the conflict. Without it, no one would read any further.

Now I am re-writing the first chapter, because that is where you lose or keep the reader. Characters and their conflicts are introduced, and the setting.

I  will introduce backstory in subsequent chapters. This is tricky, because people who have read books one and two will already know the characters and setting. Only the conflict will be different. New readers, however, will need some sort of explanation of who and why and how. So this has to be done in such a way that readers familiar with the premise of the story won’t get bored and start flipping through pages.

So I’ve spent the last few days writing and then deleting, and then writing some more. It’s like trimming fat from a steak. You need enough to enhance the taste, but the rest can be tossed to the cat.

Some people think writing is easy. You sit down and start typing.

I can tell you this much from experience, for every paragraph you write, there are three (or more) you will reject. As a famous sculptor once said, the statue is in the block of marble and all he does it free it.

The story is in the words, but the author’s job is to chip away at the extra verbiage to find it.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blue Ridge Vinlandia

The Wineries of the Applalacian Foothills

Summer in New Hampshire

NH - America's Vacationland

Mimosa Mornings Writers

Writers Wearing PJs, drinking coffee, dreaming mimosas

Jennie Spallone


Rurally Screwed

Jessie Knadler

The Dream Well

We believe time spent sleeping is time spent well!

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Folk Magic, Druidism, Heathenry, & Pagan Parenting


when life surprises you!

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Pam Grout

#1 New York Times best-selling author

The Chocolate Box

Romance for Every Taste

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Book Ends and Odds

Mary Incontro blogs on books, pop culture, and criminal cases

Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

Chick Lit Is Not Dead

Two girls who believe that books with high fashion and happy endings never go out of style

Angela Quarles

Witty, Charming, Captivating Fiction

%d bloggers like this: