Here i will share my journey of hopefully one day recognising my dream of becoming published writing what i love to read; Romance!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I think i hate first chapters

No really i do. Writing them is so hard.
I think i have started in the wrong place, yet again! Despite reading a tonne of Modern and Modern Heats and thereby first chapters, you'd think i'd have a pretty good idea of what should be in the first chapter.

Typing away this morning at 5am (i know!) it suddenly occurred to me that i have my hero and heroine apart for most of the first chapter and they don't meet until the very end. Well that is the plan. Now i think i have to get them together sooner, so cutting out a bit of the backstory - yes they have a past, very recent - and hopefully weaving it in a bit later.

I had this problem when i first wrote the first version of this story for the Harlequin comp in November. I had them on their holiday in Vanuatu where their affair started, and then realised that this was the backstory and not the beginning. It was perfect if i was writing a Single Title.

I love single title novels. Read them voraciously. Really want to publish one and Secrets and Lies is a Single Title novel. That is my ultimate goal, but while i work away at that story in the background i am working at the category niche.
Am i trying to do too much? Am i trying to do something that is just not me?
Why is this so frustrating?
Does anyone else have such difficulties?

If nothing else comes of this story, i will finish it. I am not one to leave something unfinished, it will bug me until my dying day! So this story and the other, oh i think half dozen category ideas will get written. I would really like for them to be read and published, but if not, at least i would write and finish them. If only i can get over the first chapter problem. Grrr!


  1. Kerrin, Even for a novella I have this first chapter problem.

    You are right, we are supposed to make the H/h meet early !

    Hence what I do is, pick a scene that triggers the story and start writing. It could be from hero's or heroine's POV and then make them meet for the first time.

    You guessed it right. This will serve as the back story. Anyways, I plug on and realize that before chapter 2, their backstory is over.

    I neatly file it away, and start where they meet again, and dont label it as chapter 1 or anything.

    Just write and see, if they are comfortable talking to each other etc (remember that their backstory is done and filed already), so you ideally should not get the urge to narrate their back story during their new meet.

    While writing this, I find that I could suddenly make them meet in a more dramatic situation that triggers sparks instantly ;) (Introducing some action)

    So..if you see, its a 3 step process. first write back story and re-use that as you progress with the novel, trickling in pertinant details whenever you want, then write chap 1 afresh with new meet and polish chap 1 by adding some dramaticism.

    I know there are times when this hasn't worked, but most of times, it has. Atleast we get some writing done, if not anything else ;)

    Funny part is, I have not dared start a full novel yet (am a novella girl) and I cant imagine single titles :-o But, well, I strongly encourage you to follow your dreams :)

    Hope my long post helps

  2. Thanks Ju, that makes heaps of sense and about what i was thinking too. Sometimes i just wish i could start in the right place for once though :)

  3. Hi Kerrin,

    No matter how many category novels one reads, the base line of getting pubished is whether an editor will like the start of your own novel.

    Reading comments by published authors the same thing comes up time and time again, that rewrites often involved a different start-off point to the original.

    So, don't panic and fret on the beginning. Like Ju says, you can put the backstory to oneside and dip into it, or you can get someone else to browse chap 1 as is and put a whole different perspective on it.

    If you don't belong to a group I don't mind taking a look. Believe it, I'm the one who quotes: Tread carefully for you tread on my dreams! The groupies are okay they can get internal feedback.

  4. Sometimes you have to start in the wrong place so you can find the right place (does that make sense? It made sense in my head). All the advice I've ever read from published writers says to get the story down and then play with it until it feels right. You'll get there, Kerrin.


  5. Thanks Francine. I'll keep going for now and then send it to you to comment when i've finished the chapter, that would be great!
    And Suzanne that makes perfect sense, it seems to be the way i work, so i think it will just be that way for me!!

  6. Someone once told me "write the story of your heart". If category feels wrong then I'd suggest switching to your single title and giving that the majority of your attention. It will likely come more easily to you and its where you want to be, you can always switch back to category and try to break into the market that way like Nora Roberts and Susan Mallery did but I think you can do it!

  7. Veraciously?

    Good luck with your writing.

  8. Thanks Jane, spelling error with very different meaning that i intended, though it still isn't quite the right one! You get what i mean though. :)