Saturday, March 01, 2008

Novel Writing: First Chapters

Yes, my novel writing is continuing along. This was not the best of weeks for volume, but was decent for story structure, so yay! I'm at 38,780 words this week. I will be gone next week, so I won't be posting again until March 14, 2008.

This week I'm going to chat about first chapters. They are difficult to write, but I have a thought or two about how to make them happen well.

Don't be afraid of developing a setting. Be lavish in your description. I like to throw everything in at first. I give myself permission to be untamed and uninhibited in that first chapter, understanding at some point I will have to go through the entire thing at least dozens of times, refining and polishing.

I approach each first chapter from any angle. I open up to possibilities of shifting the voice, tense, and POV. This is where I pull out my mad skills. I find that a first chapter is not the place for a faint heart. Spin your tale out; believe you have a miraculous ability like a spider. Know you are able to cast out a web, though it starts as one thread after another, in the morning light, drenched by dew, it is a miracle to all that behold it.

Let every voice you've ever heard cheer you on. Be mad, fierce, fearless. Be willing to throw it all out and start again. The first chapter is the place to celebrate, anticipate, and conjure up that which is to come. This is the time to believe in magic, luck, angels, heaven, hell, hope, despair, just throw it all in, the more the better.

Here is the place that faith is born. Your words will create in your readers an unstoppable hunger, vision and passion; respect this with your whole heart. If you do these things, you will find your way. You will say, “This is what I meant to say.”

From Psalm 20, verse 5: We will shout for joy when you are victorious. . .

1 comment:

Kaylie said...

I loved what you wrote about first chapters. In the first novel I wrote, the first chapter was relatively easy. I only had to throw out about two pages and rewrite it about twenty times. For the second novel (which I'm currently working on), I started from scratch seven times and I haven't even started revising it. If you haven't got the first chapter right, you can't write much else after it.