Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Chapters

This week hasn't been the most effective when it came to writing. My computer died, and I've got all kinds of excuses, but the truth is I don't know how to rewrite anything. You see I've never done it before. Never. I'm lucky that I got by without rewriting all of college papers, and often I didn't even proofread and so rewriting--really rewriting is a huge challenge. Huge!

But I know rewriting will make the difference in selling or not selling my novel, which is why I wrote the thing in the first place. Well along with the fact that I've always wanted to write a book.

The biggest hang up is my first chapter. It's got to be perfect. I got through my first draft first chapter, because I knew I was going to totally rewrite it. So I just pounded it out. I'm not a slow bleeder. I just dump stuff out and then fix it later. (Only I just used to dump stuff out and not fix it at all.) Justine Larbalestier (author of How to Ditch your Fairy and the Magic and Madness trilogy) talked about it in her blog. Actually she's doled out all kinds of great advice this month. You should check it out.

But I'm scared to rewrite, because I don't want to rewrite the whole novel. Just parts, flesh this out, expand on that, tighten this up--add an explosion here, a death there. That kind of thing.

My first chapter needs to be completely reworked. It's the first step and once I get the ball rolling, I can get my second draft done in no time. Right? I hope so.

Anyway I had my breakthrough, and I was up all night thinking about what to add and how to add it. I really didn't sleep. I think if I had gotten up, written it out and then went to sleep I would have slept more. I don't know though. I definitely have nights where I just don't sleep.

And my other dilemma is that I'm getting two types of feedback. One is that I need to more fully develop my characters--which I can see. The other is that I need to focus less on my characters, and their relationships and really get into the action of it all. The funny thing is that the two groups are neatly divided between female readers (the first) and male readers (the second), so what do I do? Can I do both? Suggestions please.

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