Friday, 29 January 2010

Imperfect beginning? Don't let that stop you from moving on...

I started revising my NaNo novel. At first I was quite frustrated because I know the beginning needs to change, but I don't know how. I wrote beginning of this novel for a script assignment, and for the script, it was perfect. Obviously my tutor agreed, because she gave me an A. But for a novel, it's not suitable. It plunges straight into action. Yes, I know action is all good, but there is such a thing as too much action. My character has plunged into action before the readers have time to know him a little, or even empathise with him. I don't intend to change the beginning much, but just need to show more depth in MC. So it was immensely frustrating, and I felt that if I had to keep looking at it, I would soon get fed up of the whole revision thing. So I decided to start my revisions from the second scene. Yup, first scene can wait until inspiration strikes or until I am done with this first round of revisions for the rest. Because I know that essential elements of that first scene are not going to change, it doesn't matter if I revise everything else first. There will always be parts that are difficult, or things that we have particular issues with, but I think instead of getting stuck on that, leave that and move on to what you can do. It's all about psychology. If you move on, you have one scene that needs a lot of work. If you don't, you have a whole novel that needs a lot of work. And it's not going to edit itself. Trust me. I finally got tired of waiting for that miracle.


  1. Ha! I did the Same. Exact. Thing. with Her Private Chef. Launched right into the action with nary a way for the reader to identify with my heroine, so she ends up looking like the bad guy there. Major "oops"!

    I'm switching mine entirely...when I start actually revising. For now, just working through, identifying issues, and planning a much better beginning.

    Well done, and well said. :-)

  2. LOL. "Edit itself." Yes, some days I wish it would.

  3. Jamie, our writing waves are connecting again. I like the beginning I have (except for the aforementioned issue), because it shows MC's regular life, before he gets into trouble. Just need to set it up better.

    Good luck with yours, and of course looking forward to keep hearing about the progress.

    Shonna, what can I say? I just can't stop believing in magic, despite the evidence. Just as well that I write fantasy ;)

  4. LW ~ Starting off with action is not necessarily a bad thing and there are ways to introduce some of your MC's traits at the same time. Myself, I enjoy a read that starts off that way, fast-paced, sucking me in quickly, sprinkling in some questions that will need answering after things settle down.

    Just thought I'd offer a different perspective.

  5. I can never write a satisfying beginning. I've changed mine at least ten times. Chapter two is always much better.

  6. Ah beginnings. My Achilles heel. I'm in the middle of doing the same thing. I've re-written it a few times, but I'm moving on... you have to or you'll get a great beginning and nothing else ;o)

    It's hard to tell where to start. I think I know, but then, maybe not! Great post :o)

  7. DL,
    I am not going to get rid of the action, but just attempt to add more depth to the character, so people have a chance to know him. I agree that starting things with action plunges reader into the book, but it depends on what and how. Because along with my hero, in a very short period of time, other major characters are introduced, I don't think readers have enough time to bond with him.

    Then perhaps Chapter 2 should be your chapter 1.

    Thanks. :-) Good luck with the revisions. I look forward to reading all about it on your blog.

  8. LW--I think putting chapter one aside and working on the rest is a very insightful thing to do. I bet you'll be able to look at it fresh after some time away.