Today I am working on the 1st chapter of my first book … yet again.
Why would I do this when I am almost 30% done writing the second book? The reason is because I have been uneasy, nay unhappy with that chapter ever since I did my major restructuring.
What happened was that my first book was too big. I originally wrote it to 154,000 words—way too big for the Christian publishers—and so I cut it down to 123,000 words. Still too big.
So a few months ago, I did a radical thing. I cut all of the first nine chapters, and then cherry-picked the best writing and fit it back in. What I ended up with flowed nicely, and my novel was down to 109,000 words.
Flowed nicely? Not the first and second scene of chapter 1.
It turns out that both scenes were EXCELLENT writing, from my perspective. I loved them. I was happy with the way they were written.
So what was wrong?
It wasn’t good storytelling.
By that, I mean that it didn’t flow right. Scene 1 had nothing to do with Scene 2, and so I shoe-horned them together to get them to fit, but it never felt right to me.
Unfortunately, I sent this shoe-horned version out to some agents. Ah well! I’m fixing it now. I’m moving scene 1 (excellent writing) a bit later, and bringing back in some writing that I had cut.
The story will now flow. The action will be exciting. Everything will fit.
So … remember, just because you know how to write doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to tell a good story. The two aren’t the same, as I have so painfully learned. Both must work together to create a properly crafted novel.