I imagined the first chapter would be relatively easy. I have been confident of its content from very early on and, being the first thing I wrote, I thought I had gone over it often enough already. Alas, no. I find
- I am still not entirely confident about the pace and order in which the reader should be asked to digest information. Or what the reader really wants to know. Or anything..
- Perhaps because of the time at which it was written and the attention it got, the first chapter is cringingly over-written. Such words as parlance, illuminated and aura have crept into the text since I last looked; I certainly didn’t put them there.
- I found the first example of a simple, but vital, piece of information that has gone missing.
- The whole thing is bloody awful.
- I’m still getting new ideas, little tweaks to the very plot which would improve things. I’m not supposed to be going that at this stage, but it’s difficult to ignore.
Oh well, onwards and upwards. If it wasn’t a challenge, I would have got it done much sooner. And as a wise man once said to me, if it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be worth doing at all. He reckoned.
I have a cold.
OK, Goldfish. Calm. Deep breaths. This is all entirely normal. Honest.
First, this: I imagined the first chapter would be relatively easy is not true.
Having now completed something approaching a whole first draft, I can confirm that the first chapter is the most impossible. Because how can you know what needs to know what happens at the beginning until you know what happens at the end. And vice versa. So in fact everything, the whole process of novel writing is just impossible and you just have to dig in and get on with it, and the reason editors exist is so that if the whole thing still makes no sense by the time it gets to them, they can sort them out.
Don't panic. Just cross out all the rubbish words and it'll be better already.
Now that my brain is a little less fuzzed, I'm feeling rather more positive about this. I suppose I thought the first chapter would be easier to edit because as you suggest, I had hell with it the first three times around. I have decided to move on and come back to it - the next few chapters are proving to be considerably smoother.
Thanks again. :-)
No. 5 I recognise; I find myself tweeking letters I have already posted ! Daft, and only possible since the age of computers.
Did you every see the interview with (oh for F's sake brain, who wrote the Hogwort's school stories, er, what are the books called ?) .... who had boxes and boxes and rooms and rooms of stuff she had written that didn't get into the books but had been an essential part of the process.
The knowledgeable comments from the writers amongst your commentators make perfect sense to me and each day when I think of your wrestle with your writings, I know you will arrive at the other side of this mountain, triumphant - eventually !
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