11/16/09

Somebody Call the Police!

It's a bloody mess over here!  Yesterday my hubby and children let mommy hide in her cave the entire day.  (Yes, they do love me.)  So I decided to print out Chapter 1 and edit.  Oh baby did I edit.  I hacked away at that thing until all that remained were bloody stumps (translation:  5700 words to 2500).  Then I tried to Frankenstein graft some of it back together and rearrange its parts until I made a pivotal decision, Chapter 1 must die.  I made a ceremonial sacrifice, a necessary evil to my WIP because let's be honest, the story really doesn't get started until Chapter 2 and no one wants to read 5700 words of fluff.

Now those words are not a complete waste.  There are a few key pieces that I need to weave in to Chapter 2, to help establish my MC (maybe 750 words of it).  The rest we will call...“character development” and file it away as a healthy exercise.

I am off to carve into Chapter 2.  Instead of going in with a machete, I plan to scale down to a butcher knife because we all know the beginning takes the most refinement.  You can’t carve Mt. Rushmore with a butter knife.

When you first started reworking your WIP what major changes did you make?

14 comments :

  1. You know- I think there are many of my stories that can benefit from a slashing of the dreaded first chapter. I've heard that a lot from other writers too... Glad the revisions are going well and you're able to let go of them :) Bloody Stumps- I love it!

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  2. I've never kept a first chapter. Something about beginnings doesn't jive. Every time I revised my first novel it came out with a new start.

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  3. My brother wants me to cut off the first chapter of one of my books, but I CAN'T. Wahhhhh.

    I think it's awesome that you can do that. Go you!

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  4. I re-wrote my first chapter quite a few times, and it still needs more work. A lot more work.

    It's great that you're able to recognize what can go and what needs to stay. That's a skill!

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  5. The MC's best friend. Seems like I always have to re-work him/her. Don't know why I don't get it right the first time but there always seems to be a bit of cliche attached that I have to cut off.

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  6. I completely took out the first chapter of my first WIP. In the last manuscript I actually had to add two chapters before the first. Does that even make sense? I think I need a nap.

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  7. This project marks the first time I've axed a character. No lie, between drafts 1 and 3, six people are just going to go the way of the dodo. Sad, because they were interesting enough characters, but that's the way of things.

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  8. Erica - I'm glad you liked my bloody stumps, stay tuned tomorrow when I discuss the gutting of CH.2

    Matt - I worked on CH.2, which will be my new CH. 1 and I swear I had visions of another beginning. Does it ever stop?

    Wendy - Tell bro to be more specific, Cut the crappy parts.

    Megan - I got skills baby, uh, but I don't think its in the cutting department. I'm not sure what I'm doing here.

    Catherine - don't you hate the cliches, sometimes you don't see it the first time through then later you like, um cheesy, cut.

    Natalie - Yes you made sense. I need a nap too. Hope you got one.

    Dominique - I'm already planning to cut three minors characters, just too many people, this ain't twilight baby.

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  9. The last time I tried a new beginning turned into a complety different story. A prequel, I suppose, but if ever published it will be first.

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  10. I've chopped entire chapters too. It hurts, but in a good way, if that's possible. As for my first chapter, I've whittled it down to half its original size and I carved away my prologue, much as that hurt, in a bad way. Such is the life of a writer!

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  11. I had to revise my first chapter more times than I want to count. Not to mention moving it around into other places, from the first chapter to the second chapter, requiring my to rewrite the previous second chapter which was now my first chapter... and all back again.

    It's my endings that I end up rewriting like a crazy person, too. Beginnings and endings. My middles usually come out pretty sweet though!

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  12. I love that you got the Men in Black "best of the best of the best, sir" quote on my post yesterday. Only one other person had gotten it, and I felt like quite a big dork :)

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  13. Aw Megan, don't feel like a dork because your blog reader's are not as pop culture savvy as we are. I busted out laughing when I read that. It's one my families favorite quotes. I think it rocked and you should throw them in occasionally no matter how obscure they seem because when only one or two of us get it, we fee like a genius. Not to mention we feel a little more personally connected to the people writing the blogs we love to read. So you go be "the best of the best of the best, sir." and who cares if were a dork. My nine year old son likes to call me a dork when I do something goofy and I just remind him. "You're a dork's son." HaHa

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  14. Stephanie - Yeah I know, I thought about making the chopped up bits of my first chapter be my prologue but it still just an writing exercise at best.

    Amalia - My beginning hacked up, my middle sweeeet and my end, well as insecure as I am I don't plan to change much of it until I have a beta reader give me their 2 cents worth.

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