Throwing Out the Beginning

I don’t do beginnings well.  I’ve never had a novel published, but I think my novels, in general, are pretty interesting.

It’s the beginnings that are boring.  I’ve read all kinds of advice on how to start novels.  I’ve read more novels than I can count, paying careful attention to the beginning.  And still, I can’t seem to get it right.  I’ve just received the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard about how to start a novel.

Throw out the first chapter.

In my novel, the first chapter explains some vital backstory and introduces the characters, but I realize now that it’s my lazy way of putting those things in the story, and it doesn’t have to be that way.  With a little effort, I can weave those elements into the story, making them more interesting, but also starting the story with the action, instead of the backstory so boring even I don’t want to read it.

I’ve been cutting and cutting that first chapter to just the essential elements.  I’ve edited it so many times I can probably recite it by heart.  Recently, I had an agent request chapters, and I was so excited.  My heart pounded and I really hoped this would be it.  She didn’t accept it, saying the story wasn’t as interesting as she’d hoped.

And I knew it was that boring first chapter.  I knew I needed to start with action, but I didn’t know how.

Now I do.  I need to throw out the first chapter.  And let the story start at the beginning.

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2 comments on “Throwing Out the Beginning

  1. Doree – – I really like that idea. Especially in today’s culture of “we want it right now!” there is no explaining things first.

    I wrote my first draft in November, and I was thinking of ditching the first chapter. Looks like it is going to happen!

    Great post… 🙂

  2. doreeweller says:

    It’s going to be painful, but I believe I can do it.

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