Thorny Beginnings

Well, squiders, I’m still working at reading back through the latest draft of Book One (we were out of town over the weekend, so I didn’t get much working time).

The beginning is worse than I remember. Or, well, not worse, but not as easily fixed as I was hoping.

For some context, the beginning part of the book takes place over several months. It’s actually less time than it originally took, because when I did the massive rewrite about three years ago I moved the beginning of the story and cut out a lot of stuff. But it still is difficult. My instinct is that the time frame is necessary, for the relationships and plot points to feel appropriate and not rushed, but that’s one of the things I’m evaluating as I read.

So, because each chapter takes places weeks or perhaps a month after the one before it, each of them feels more like a short story than interconnected with a larger narrative.

I’m only about halfway through–it’s either the first seven chapters that have this problem, or seven where it fixes itself–and some chapters are worse than others.

But here’s my going theories for how to fix things:

  • Leave things more or less where they are. Add in some overarching character motivations and more plot elements.
  • Move the beginning of the story and/or condense the plot elements/character arcs currently being represented by the beginning so not as much time has to pass
  • Or, counterintuitively, start a little earlier. Now, hear me out. The first chapter feels really crowded–too many things to introduce: the world, the characters, the plot, etc. It’s possible that giving each main character–it’s dual viewpoint–an earlier chapter may help smooth everything out.

There may be other options. Still mulling.

I’ve reached out to a couple of betas whose opinions I trust to see if they’ll read the beginning and make suggestions, so hopefully I’ll get some feedback from them as well in the near future, or will at least have people to bounce ideas off of. I know that really helped when I was organizing the rewrite initially.

Anyway, things are going! Fingers crossed that the solution comes to me soon!

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