Let’s begin today’s post with a mental exercise. Re-read the title of this post, and take a wild stab at what I’m going to talk about.
Did you guess that I recently gave a newly-completed manuscript titled The Elemental Guard to my mother to read during our Caribbean cruise, and she stopped reading at page 64 because, quote, “Update: Page 64 — nothing has happened yet”, and I was utterly crushed that she didn’t like it, until she explained that the problem wasn’t the story, the problem was that the build-up to the story was so slow that she was bored to tears?
I certainly hope you didn’t guess that, because that would be mind-reading. And if mind-reading existed, it would be illegal. So stop reading my mind, or I’ll call the popo on you. (Note: “popo” is super hip urban slang for “the police”.)
Anyway, I thought I would share this latest bit of writing wisdom I’ve learned with you, because I’m just awesome like that. So, basically:
Stuff needs to actually happen in the first chapter. If you haven’t introduced the main plot by the end of the first chapter, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s basically what happens in the current version of my first chapter. My daring and stalwart protagonist, Casey, wants to go on a rock climbing field trip, so he tries and fails to get his mother to sign his permission form. Then he goes to school, waffles around a bit with his friends, goes home, sleeps, goes to school, finds out his friend has forged his mother’s signature on the permission form, goes on the trip, climbs a cliff, and then falls off of it. What would you gather the plot is, from that?
Clearly the book, from the information I just gave you, is about a hapless boy who falls off stuff a lot. This is obviously incorrect, and wouldn’t make a terribly exciting story even if it were correct. Hence why you need to introduce the plot in the first chapter!!!
This concludes my rant. Tune in tomorrow (or whenever I get around to writing the next post) for an update on iUniverse and their ongoing silliness.
Related image of the day:
Unrelated video of the day:
I used to listen to this song all the time, but it’s disappeared from the internet and is only available in HQ on one site now. So, here it is. Enjoy!