Monday, January 13, 2014

First Chapter Woes

I'm revising a full length contemporary romance I wrote in late 2012. While experts advise putting distance between writing and revising, an entire year is a lot of distance. My writing skills have grown since then, so jumping back into the book was like taking the polar plunge. Icy, scary, and exciting!

The good news? The book starts in the correct spot, the characters are fun, and the setting makes me smile.

The bad news? Too much back story and introspection in my heroine's point of view, and the hero bored me.

In ten pages, I left forty-three (yes, forty-three!!) comments and countless more track changes.

I quit my initial read through after chapter three. The first two chapters needed major work, but the comment bubbles trickled through the third chapter. When my comment bubbles trickle, I know the story is on track.

To make life easier, I copied the first two chapters (with the comments and track changes) and pasted them into a new file. Then I started rewriting. Two pages took four hours. It's important for me to get it right.

I'll continue to make changes based on my comments until I'm happy with the first three chapters. Then I'll read the rest of the book, leave comments, and do major revisions.

First chapter woes are not new to me. I'm used to them. Good writers, experienced writers, learn how to spot problem areas, take care of them, and move on. Never let a so-so opening bring you down!

Do you ever rewrite your opening chapter? Or do you tend to get it right the first time around?

Have a wonderful day!


  1. LOL. Do I rewrite my opening chapter...uh, YES! This time I broke my cardinal rule and re-read my first chapter before I was finished. It completely stopped me! I spent so much time re-writing it that I lost the flow of my book. Lesson learned. Or should I say re-learned! Write, then read and revise and edit. But get it done first!

    Good luck on your edits!

    1. Oh, I hear you, Susan!! That's happened to me many a time! Have fun with your current project. :)

  2. My opening chapters are generally pretty spot on, but I think I have an advantage - I did grant-writing as part of being an academic for many years, and the opening had to be right in that genre. Otherwise no summer salary!

    Nothing wrong with an initially boring hero. I mean, take Clark Kent...

    1. I'm very jealous, Andrew. My first chapter has to go through many revisions to get it right! (Ha, ha, about Clark Kent!)


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