Dec 4 2012
Did you know that words sound way better in your head than they do on paper? Finished my first chapter yesterday and hated, hated, hated it. If it wasn’t for this noose I’ve tied around my neck in the form of daily updates, I would just scrap the whole thing and give up. But I’ve made a commitment and I intend to stick to it (as of now).
So how did the first chapter get written so fast? The truth is that, before I embarked on the actual process of writing my book, I had worked out a rough outline of each chapter. Then each day, as I walked my puppy Korra, I fleshed the first chapter out in my head till I was fairly clear of the pattern. Yesterday, when I began writing I had a beginning, middle, and end for this chapter. (Not so for the book itself, where I have not the foggiest idea of how the story will end. When I mentioned this to my daughter, she gave me a look and said, “Mom, you’re the one who is always telling me that the end will figure itself out.” What can I say, she is a smart cookie.)
Some roadblocks in writing that first chapter –
– Character names. Some writers say their characters are alive in their head and just step onto the paper when they are ready. While this was somewhat true for the principal character, I still did not have a name for her. I finally decided on Lara as a title holder, since it is close to my daughter’s name. I figure that thanks to Word, I can just substitute the name en masse if I change it later.
– Lesser characters. Obviously the heroine is not the only character in the book. But what to name the other characters? And descriptions? As I was writing a new character popped up, and turned out to be vital to the story? What should I name him? What does he look like? What is he wearing? It was surprising how much time and focus these insignificant decisions took. Again, I used a placeholder name (which is pretty yuck) and hopefully inspiration for a better one will strike sometime.
– What if you need to do research? Using Freedom means no access to the internet for the entire 120 minutes, so this is a problem if you want to be somewhat accurate. Fortunately, my story is set in the future, so I can afford to take some liberties. But I anticipate some rewrites as I fix glaring scientific/biological anomalies.
The second chapter, unlike the first, is only a very rough outline, so I expect this one to take a long time and sweat.
If you have some tips to share or experiences of your own, please leave them here in the comments instead of FB so I can keep a record.