Writing a Book Together: What I’m Figuring out about My First Chapter

Working on this opening chapter–yes, that’s all I’ve written since I started this blog of writing together–has been interesting. School started, which has slowed me down considerably. Plus there’s been illness and visitors and trips for others which left me caring for all the farm animals (ha!) and visiting and two other novels to be rewritten. All of that has taken away from the hour a day I wish to give to this newest book.

Also, at the end of the chapter, a character (love interest, I know that) I wasn’t expecting showed up and knocked me over sideways. And that meant I’ve had to start thinking all over again. And I have been since he arrived.

But back to this beginning.

I have several friends who completely rewrite their openings over and over and over. And what I’ve found myself doing in my chapter one is getting to know my main character. Just like my pals, only in a different way. I’ve read and reread these paragraphs adding a sentence here and there. Taking out words. Pondering. Staring off over the top of my computer. Wondering about this girl’s mom and dad, her sisters, her love life, her shyness, her job cleaning doctor’s offices, and some secret that I’m unsure of that’s waiting at home.

Each read-through means shifting sentences, adding sense of place, figuring out this girl’s sense of humor and how she fits in her family. Though I’m not sure what it is she wants (to have her dad trust her more could be one thing, but is it the main thing?), I do know this is a romance so maybe she’s looking for love in all the wrong places.

Probably not.

Anyway.

Each time I look at the words or add to or take away from this opening, I see my main character a little more clearly. And once I more fully understand her, I can follow her for 40,000 + words. I think I’m ready, as far as this start goes. But now that guy? Come on!

At the opening of chapter two I’ve left my girl walking up the long driveway to her home in Florida. After wisdom tooth surgery for one of my daughters today, I might have time to see what’s behind those doors.

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Filed under Character, Voice, writing process

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