In January of this year, 2018, I wrote a post about writing the first chapter of a novel. Writing is something I’ve always loved so I decided to really, really try my hand at the book writing thing. I spent days writing that first chapter, I put thousands of words in. Then due to a series of things that happened in my personal life I didn’t go near my writings for a few months. When I read them again I made a crazy decision! Throw it out.
I know what you’re thinking. Why cast aside all that time and effort! I’ll tell you just why my first chapter didn’t work, here’s what not to do if you decide to pick up the pen.
1. It’s been done too much
I did have a good idea. I was planning a thriller book, a murder mystery with a great female detective lead. Nope, it’s just been done too much. The market for these books is too saturated for a rookie writer like me, my work just came nowhere near the thriller books that inspired me! I’d need to be more seasoned before I could write a book in this genre that just isn’t samesy.
Now, that’s not for me to quash anyone’s writing hopes and dreams – that’s not what I’m saying! If you’re writing, or planning to, write a thriller book please do! I’m just saying that for me, I couldn’t come up with a totally new idea, it just seemed like a mash up of subjects already on the market.
2. I didn’t plan out my characters enough
I thought I had my characters all planned out. I wanted a fierce, hustling female protagonist. A creepy old villain. But who were they? I surely don’t know! I didn’t connect with them at all, and if I didn’t – no one else would. Now, I’ve been playing Skyrim for a few weeks now (obsessively, I need help!) and I’ve forged a connection with the Dragonborn, a silent protagonist that I helped to create – with no backstory. I began thinking about how this happened. I was taken on a journey with this character, I am in charge of their world and the decisions they make. With the characters in my book I felt like they already were too independent – I didn’t have control over them, I couldn’t even tell you exactly how my protagonist looked! I need to take an approach to my characters like I have done in this game – then I should do better in future!
3. I got bored
I was bored of my own writing. I know exactly why – the setting was bland and I found it hard to depict it in a captivating way. In fact, I found myself stuck in the setting! I couldn’t escape the one room I started writing. It fell off just about there, when I was describing that place. I know in the future that I need to better organise the setting, I prefer to read about interesting settings, my writing should be no different. What I describe shouldn’t be just grey – it should at least be black and white!
So, what happens next…?
I’m running write back over to my notebook. I need to go back to the drawing board. I enjoyed the writing, it wasn’t a terrible first chapter, it just wasn’t the best I could do. Knowing that was all the push I needed to start over. I wouldn’t feel good putting something out that wasn’t everything I envisioned it being.
I’m loving reddit as a forum for writers! The tips and tricks you pick up there are fantastic! If you’re an aspiring writer, I highly recommend!
I want to write another first draft (of chapter one) this month (April) so that’s something I’m excited about doing! I’m looking forward to writing about something completely different to what I’ve done in the past and I hope you’ll follow along for the ride!
Incase you missed it, here’s January’s post! Happy reading and writing!