Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG ~ First Chapter FRIGHT

Each month I struggle with my opening thoughts for my IWSG post. Every. Stinking. Month.


I'm honestly not sure, but what better way to figure it out than during this month's posed question:

If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

(examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

I'm sure you've figured out that help with my first chapter would be greatly appreciated. It's funny, you know. When I began writing the first chapter was always the easiest. I'd get an idea and start writing. Simple. 

It was about a year ago that I realized my first chapters were starting to give me trouble. Initially, I was super ticked off about it, thinking this was a sign I couldn't write anymore. But since then, I've given this writer plight lots of thought and I've come up with a few reasons that might be making me gun-shy with my opening chapters.
  • Querying  
What's one of the first bits of advice a newer writer is told before they start to query agents, editors, and publishers? Make sure your first five pages draw the reader in so they can't stop reading. Talk about making a newbie doubt themselves before they even start.
  • Previously Published  
Both books I've sold to publishers had, not just major revisions to my first chapters, but completely new chapters written after insightful discussions with my editors. And with a deadline, can you say stress-me-out?
  • Confidence 
Lots of life has happened during and since both my books released, and some of that has pecked away my inner confidence. You know, the tiny voice every writer must have to keep forging ahead despite all the rejections and disappointments. The one that's there, reminding you that you love to create new worlds and discover your characters as they nudge you along their journeys.

I'm not really sure what the solution is. What do you think? Have any of these eroded your confidence when you start a story? When you're trying to discover your character's current world, yet give enough clues to their impeding challenges to growth?

A HUGE thank you goes out to this month's awesome co-hosts of the IWSG ~ J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken! 


  1. I've always struggled with the first chapter because it is so important to getting an agent, publisher, and reader to like your story and read on. And oh yes, all of my life challenges in the past five years have chipped at my confidence about whether I can write and try to get published. It's a day to day thing with me about whether I think I want to try it anymore.

  2. I suspect writing is easier when we know less about it. As we learn more, we're more aware of pitfalls and worrying about those can hold us back.

  3. I totally agree with you. The first 5 pages are instrumental in snagging the reader, and agent. Also, those first 3 chapters have to be topnotch. Since I write YA, I feel the beginning has to be fast paced, electrifying, and that's difficult for me. I wish, wish I could give you an easy solution. However, I believe you got this!!!

    Good Luck!

  4. Finding the right beginning is tricky. My first chapter is the one that gets the most rewrites in the revision process. It's easier to see after you finish the whole manuscript. Life constantly chips away at my confidence. Yet I cannot stop myself from writing. I love it too much!

  5. It is stressful. Often they say the second chapter is actually the first. Maybe that will help.

  6. If you are submitting and getting accepted then don't sweat it. It's an editor's job to bump up your work. It makes something awesome and captivating even better. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  7. Knowing how important that first chapter is (for various reasons) causes to much stress for my inner editor. I always joke that if as much effort went into the rest of my manuscript as the first chapter, think how wonderful the entire book would be? (Until my inner editor got at it, that is). Feel free to poke me if you ever need extra eyes!

  8. When I first started writing, I loved writing first chapters. Then by book two and three, I stressed sooooo much over them. Now, I still do. Ha. But now I know they can't be just good but they must be amazing!!! Gotta hook the reader right away. There's so much that has to go into the first chapter.

  9. First chapters can definitely be tricky. It took me years to get my current WIP's first chapter just right, and I'll probably still change it some more. Now if I could only figure out the ending...

  10. I struggle with it all but my beast is the middle. Happy IWSG!

  11. I understand what you mean. When I first started writing, first chapters were easy. Of course, that's before I know what I know now. They can be stressful to write, though I think endings are just as difficult.

  12. My experience with an agent definitely eroded my confidence. She kept me in rewrites so long that, by the time I realized it was all an excuse to keep me busy while she did nothing, I hated my book and writing in general. Took a long time to recover from that.

    The importance of beginnings does seem to be stressed a lot. I'd recommend getting something down, even if it's a placeholder, and moving on. You can always fix it later. It's the inertia that kills us.


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