July 31, 2010

Revelational advice

I once read a forum post that asked "Where is the best place to start? (your novel)" there was one reply that held a revelation.
It was simple, "Start at chapter 3."
Whatever you think should be in the first two chapters doesn’t matter, it can usually just be cut.

I fobbed it off at first (I was only up to chapter 4 at the time) but then I read my story so far and it made horrible sense.
My first two chapters were all introductory. They were great chapters, don’t get me wrong. They described loveable characters in believable settings, and they gave hints to the back story of the characters’ lives which test readers did enjoy.
Where was the action? Where was the first sign of danger in my novel?
If a reader was to pick up my book and flick through the first couple of pages, what was going to grab their attention and make them buy the book?

Chapter 3.

Dammit. How could I possibly cut out two chapters that I had not just first drafted, but I had edited and nurtured like I have my own children.

The solution was not to cut, but relocate them. They still held valuable information that the reader will need to feed their attachment to my characters. And they really do have some amusing tid-bits that I feel compelled to share with the world.

The chapters now reside comfortably as chapters 4 (former chapter 2) and 7 (former chapter 1.) They seem happy to be nuzzled in these places. It was relatively painful to move them, but I imagine the pain of deleting them would have been much worse.

July 30, 2010

Life and the composition of written word

I had an awesome opening post planned in my head but instead, I sit here on my laptop trying to find the words to write and nothing is flowing.
This could be due to the 18 month old trying to climb on me while hurling books at my face. Or because of the 5 year old arguing "It's not bed time Mummy!" while I gently try to persuade him that it is indeed bedtime. Or it could be the fact that I have done 3 shifts at work in the last 36 hours. 
This seems to be the story of my life at the moment. I work, I look after my family and somewhere in between I find time to write a novel.

Ever since I can remember I have found the written word to be a powerful thing. It can make you laugh, make you cry and when I can't find the words I want to speak I have always been able to write it with pen and paper.

Yes I am one of those people, the ones that believe they can write a novel and be published because they feel they have a story to tell, be it to entertain or enthrall. Hell, if Stephanie Meyer can do it anyone can right? 
Why do I think I can do this?
First of all, I have a story that I believe to be original. Looking into other books on the subject I haven't found anything that even slightly resembles what I hope to achieve. This gives me hope that I may be on the right track of creating something new that other people will want to read.
Secondly, I enjoy my story and I believe in it. I get lost in it some days and I truly believe that I can create that feeling for other people. I want to give someone a world to fall into to escape their everyday life, for just a little while.

Am I totally delusional? Probably. But in the end if I do manage to publish this work in progress and the only people who buy it are my mum and my husband, it will be a success in my eyes.

The purpose of this blog is to document my journey through the writing process. When/if I manage to finish this project I want to be able to look back on the highs and lows, what challenges stop me in my tracks and if I overcome them in the end.
In the hopes that I will actually gain some readers, I will aim to not have the blog come out as a boring piece of dribble, but I can't promise there won’t be a little of it along the way.

As it stands, Return of the Queen by Chazz Hart consists of 23,902 words, 17 chapters and a prologue.

Wish me luck.
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