Friday, November 18, 2011

First-Chapter Phobia

     I think I've developed beginning-phobia. Or maybe I should call it first-chapter-phobia.
     With Daze and Knights, I wrote probably twenty different beginnings. And the funny thing is, I liked them ALL. Seriously. But I was on this quest to find the BEST one, a beginning that would blow people away. I don't think I achieved that goal, but I did finally settle on one.
     With Sway, I just jumped right in, ignoring any kind of beginning. I know that's what you're supposed to do, but by jump right in, I literally mean jump right in. There was no backstory or description WHATSOEVER. I know, I know, too much backstory is a BAAAD thing. But this had NONE.
     Probably mid-way through, I did come up with an idea- two paragraphs- for a start. I really like it, but it still wasn't enough. It wasn't until I'd written "The End" that I went back to the start and tried to connect those two paragraphs with my jump-right-in chapter. It was difficult. Hence- first-chapter-phobia. I did write it, but I'm not altogether happy with it. I feel like I forced it too much and when I force my writing, I'm never happy with what comes out.
     I guess I should remind myself that all those many beginnings for Daze came about during my many edits, NOT during the first draft. So hopefully edits will help me tighten the beginning I've got now or give me inspiration for something completely different, and completely amazing. Hopefully, I really haven't developed first-chapter-phobia. Because that freaks me out! I'll get a phobia of having the stupid phobia!
     How about you? Any writing phobias? (Is it just me, or is phobia a funny word or what?)


  1. I think I might have the same phobia. I feel the same way, I write a beginning and I don't like it but I know it needs to be better! I currently have to write a new beginning for my story, and well, I've been procrastinating it.

  2. See, I write the beginning and think it's wonderful...until I'm done writing the book. Then I hate it. On my first story, during edits, I ended up taking the first two chapters out and so now the beginning was originally ch. 3. With my current WIP I followed all the "rules" of beginnings but my crit. partners said I showed them my MC's not so nice side and so they didn't like her. Not a good way to start. So, I wrote another first chapter highlighting her good qualities. Which means my original 1st ch is now my 2nd ch. Ahh, so much to keep up with!

    Phobias? Yah, hitting the "send" button on my query emails. Ahh, just thinking about it gives me chills.

  3. I mostly get anxiety in the middles - "Is there enough happening? Is there too much happening? Why do I hate what's happening?"

    Agreed, "phobia" is a really weird word.

  4. Sometimes dialogue stresses me out. I don't want to have talking head syndrome, but if they are doing too much, it's a strange conversation.

  5. You're not alone. There is so much importance placed on strong first sentences and beginnings that it kind of freaks the heck out of me. Actually, endings kind of do too (which is why I haven't finished my first WIP yet).

  6. I think the beginning will come to you as you go, or else that it is probably there somewhere, already, waiting for you to find it. Sometimes you have to chop the first chunk of a manuscript off to get to the real beginning where something is actually happening. Good luck!

  7. My problem is the "soggy middle syndrome." I get a great idea and I'm writing and it's going awesome, and then I always seem to lose people in the middle of the story. So I have to go back and rewrite and add more conflict and that ends up changing the ending (and sometimes the beginning). For the first time ever I've plotted my NaNo project BEFORE writing it, and it's made the hugest difference! I'll never pants anything again!! :-p

  8. I have trouble with my middles. I go along and all is wonderful and I am brilliant then I hit a bump of some sort and it is suddenly like all the people in my story are walking though quick sand and they start to describe the landscape to each other instead of actually getting stuff done. I fear that bump.

    Also Melanie, we have given you The One Lovely Blog Award on our blog. We love the Christmas theme. Check it out: