I've been down and out lately. My computer was out of sorts for a few days and believe me, the feeling was very similar to when I quit smoking almost twenty years ago. I bummed my daughter's laptop and my husband's, but it just wasn't the same. My little Blackberry got quite a workout too, answering emails.
So, I haven't accomplished much during the past few weeks. Here's what I'm doing:
Trying like crazy to create a new first chapter for my completed novel, but dang! it just ain't comin'. What can that mean? Anyone got an answer? You might tell me it doesn't need a new first chapter but, yeah, it does. Here's how I know:
I took an online course from an agent. It was a great course. She was hard-hitting and to the point. No flattery-just facts. The steps she took us through told even me that I need a new first chapter. Mine is too slow. "It lacks intensity," says husband. :)
2) I traded completed manuscripts with a writer I don't know. She's published a couple of eBooks. We're in an online RWA chapter and found each other through their critique list. Anyway, I read her manuscript before I sent her mine. Hers was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It got very weak at the end--she rushed it--but she knew what she was doing so I emailed her my complete. She told me where the book really yanked her into the story--it wasn't the first chapter.
3) My first chapter is all back-story. Why didn't I see that before? I've always been told that we should start a book or a story in the middle of change, when something happens to our main character that will set him or her on a new path from that point forward. That's what I did. I brought my hero back to town, and he faces the heroine who destroyed his life. Isn't that change? Sure it is, but then all they did was rehash their past and evidently that's quite boring. What I need to do is sprinkle the backstory in here and there throughout each chapter. Easier said than done.
So... that's what I'm doing--thinking, thinking, thinking. How do I rewrite the first chapter, or create a new one? I don't have a clue ... yet.