Writing the First Chapter — Chronicle of Creation III
So much for slow and steady wins the race. Yes, I admittedly had a few days where I didn’t work on The Many at all, and felt bad about it. But today I put on some special music (an Abel Korzeniowski playlist) and got right to it! You might even say write to it. Ha, ha. I wrote about a thousand words and finished up Chapter 1.
Now, the sad news is I’ve decided not to post a full version of the first chapter — because I don’t think it’s ready yet — but you will find a screenshot of the first page down below! I’m very excited to share it with you.
Of course, that means you won’t get an introduction to the story’s most intriguing character (in my opinion), but… I think my narrator is pretty cool, too! She has some pretty snazzy magical powers… Since she hasn’t trained to become a seer, but naturally has sight, she’s called an “eye.” Her name is Melita, by the way!
More about Chapter 1
There’s a big reveal in this chapter — it comes at the end, so no hints in the little passage I’m going to throw up. The chapter spans a pretty short period of time. It begins at the temple of Dessa, one of the three “good” deities in the world, and ends in the village of Jappa, which isn’t far from the temple. In Entry II, I gave a bit more detail on the setting in a broad sense. I’ve included the same desert photographs as last time to give you a glimpse of the setting.
The desert and its rhythms play a major role in the early part of this story. It starts in the spring, when sandstorms are common. (I did research on actual Egypt to figure this out!) One of my favorite lines in the chapter might be where my narrator remarks that to see sandstorms coming, you need either “the power of the gods or the power of the human eye.” Just an interesting juxtaposition of the human and the divine.
Below: Three images to give a bit of atmosphere to the setting I’ve described. I’m not sure if there are actually pyramids in my fictional Egypt, but I’ll be figuring that out.
And now it’s time for the big page one reveal!
Writing the first chapter…
Writing the first chapter of The Many was a great way for me to reflect on writing first chapters in general. And it’s a hard process! It often begins with a lot of doubt and second-guessing and the deletion of words that you thought belonged, but don’t actually. In my case, where I’m reviving a novel that I wrote previously, I attempted the first chapter many times, usually taking scenes straight from the openings of my earlier drafts. Yeah, not the best solution. Although this story is based on a story I wrote last year, it’s not the same story, and so it needs its own beginning.
The important thing when writing the first chapter of a first draft (or a second draft, for that matter, which is about what this draft feels like) is to hook yourself. Draw yourself into the story. Don’t even think about your readers yet! It’s great if your hook ends up being the hook, but the hook can always change in a future draft. The same goes for the words in that first chapter. Yes, it’s a bit of a bummer to realize that you’ll probably change everything in a future draft, but the important part is getting yourself into the second chapter. And second chapters are always hard…
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Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my update! Next time…
I’ll be talking about my Chapter 2 struggles. Let me know what you think of the excerpt in the comments! And tell me about your own experience writing first chapters. I’d love to hear your voice!
January 2021 work-in-progress updates. I discuss my work-in-progress O BEAUTIFUL, its structure, & a unique decision I made for writing it.
A review of Ernest Hemingway’s debut novel, The Sun Also Rises, including an overview and a discussion of character and themes.
The second Voyage of the Mind Poetry Day, and the release of a collection of short stories and poems titled METAMORPHOSIS…
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