Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chapter One is a killer

I'm half way through writing my new book, but I keep going back to Chapter 1 and wrestling with it, because I know it isn't right. I always find the first chapter the hardest one to write, because it has to do so much and it has to do it perfectly.

It has to draw the reader in so they want to know what is going on and what is going to happen next. It has to introduce the main characters, and in the case of the books that I like to write, it has to make the reader begin to like those characters. It has to set the tone of the book so readers know what to expect. In the present case, it's a comedy with emotional depth. This means that both of these elements must appear in Chapter 1. I also like Chapter 1 to contain at least a hint as to the central theme of the book.

I get so familiar with the material in the first chapter and so excruciatingly bored with it that I can't even see the jokes any more, and that's when I need a writing friend with a fresh eye, a friend who can't remember the last version of Chapter 1 that I foisted on her. Writing friends are invaluable. As well as problems I haven't noticed, they point out things that are wrong with the text that I actually KNOW are wrong, but which I have been trying to kid myself are OK. So here's a thank you to my current readers of Chapter 1 of But I told you last year that I loved you - Kathryn Lester and Chrissie Poulson.

1 comment:

Kate said...

De nada! :) K x