Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fear of Chapter 1


I've finished outlining my next WIP. I'm all set to start writing the thing. And of course, I want to start with Chapter 1.

But the problem is...

I'm afraid of Chapter 1!

So much has to happen. I am to introduce my MC, her world, the change that's going to tilt everything every-which-way, plant the seeds of subplots and twists and oh my...

I'm quivering with fear.

Well.

Have you ever been intimidated by something you haven't yet written?


Also, don't forget to check out this week's Sisterhood of the Traveling blog post on waiting, by Zoe Courtman!



And if you missed the other posts, check out mine, Laura's, and Danyelle's!

63 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

Yeah, fea is the biggie - It can stop it cold. Importat thing to remember...it's all just words. And you can change ALL of those.

Ted Cross said...

With both of my books I had no trouble writing the first chapter, but I had a lot of trouble getting myself to continue.

Laura Eno said...

I think chapter 1 is the hardest. I'm not intimate with my characters yet, I know they will pull stunts on me later on that I'll have to go back and weave in, etc.

Francine said...

Hi,

Write a prologue - from protagonist viewpoint - outlining inner fears or love interest of long ago, then start on chap 1. You'll be so keen to get on with the story you'll zing with confidence! You can scrap the prologue afterwards.

best
F

Erinn said...

My book has had a new chapter one for every draft. Just write what you need to and then cut and rewrite later on. Leave it for FUTURE Lydia to figure out. That's what I do. Present Erinn is always leaving stuff for Future Erinn to do.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Fear must be on a lot of minds this week. I based yesterday's post on fear off something another author said about it. It's definitely a big creativity killer.

I usually don't start getting intimidated until after the book is finished, but yeah, I've gotten that way about certain scenes. Oh, and sometimes the end sneaks up and I'm afraid I'll never be able to get it right.

Hang in there, Lydia. Don't worry so much about all the things that 'have to happen in Chapter 1'. You can always layer things in later. =o)

Renae said...

I fear that midway point when the doubts start creeping up and I'm afraid my once wonderful idea is actually horrible.

That first chapter usually comes fairly easily becuase I know I'll be back to change it. For some reason after I finish my ms I always go back to the first chapter and rip it apart.

Good luck with your new idea! I know it will be fabulous!

Matthew Rush said...

Hmm I've never been afraid to write, but definitely too tired, or too lazy, or too unmotivated. If that first chapter is giving you chills couldn't you start with another one?

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh, good luck with your new story! I'm sorry you're nervous about chapter one... I'm always nervous about ending my stories. I tend to wimp out, actually, but I'm learning how not to. :)

Candyland said...

I hate starting chapter 1. It IS intimidating. I don't want to do it wrong so I usually procrastinate until I have no choice.

Liza said...

I have a chapter one written that I have to change totally. I'm stalling.

lbdiamond said...

Um, yes, I'm even afraid after the MS is written--revisions are daunting! Can I do it right? What if I make it worse? What if I can't fix it? Yipes!!!!

Sometimes diving in is the only way to go. But a good pep talk helps. ;)

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!

Hannah Kincade said...

I don't really have a problem with starting. I'm great at starting it's finishing that freaks me out! :D

I think that you should just write whatever scene is freshest in your mind. That's what I do. Sometimes it's right in the middle of action but that's okay too. It helps kick start the whole story.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, my gosh, YES.
Starting for me is so scary. Once that chapter is done, I'm okay to continue. :)

DL Hammons said...

Yep. I have this idea for another book that I keep pushing away and thinking up other idea's to slide in front, just so I wouldn't have to confront my fear of writing that one. :)

Go ahead....dive in! You may not get it right the first time, but thats what we look forward to revisions for. :)

Tess said...

I never felt that way before I sold my first novel... but now there is a certain pressure...an expectation that I never felt before. So, yes. I can relate!

if you find a cure...will you let me know?

storyqueen said...

Yes.

Whenever I get a Really Good Idea and I'm playing with it in my brain for a bit, I am so scared to actually start writing it....what if what I write isn't as good as I imagine it could be?

Shelley

Jayne said...

Deep breath. And another. One more for luck... and type! Type loud, type proud, write big, write small. Just spill the words and see how it goes. I too get the same fear, but it gets to a point where the words just build up and they have to come out somewhere. :)

Jaydee Morgan said...

Chapter One/Beginnings don't bother me much - my fears/doubts start creeping in around the midpoint mark.

I say to just jump in and know that it doesn't have to be perfect on the first draft. Good luck!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lydia..chapter 1 does give me the shivers. There is so much to do, hook the reader, introduce the MC....one slip and we can say goodbye to potential readers who may be put off by a not so great chapter 1. It needs tremendous work, but its worth it, if we are able to suck the readers into our protagonist's world

Linda Kage said...

I have a closet full of unfinished works because I wanted it to be perfect and the perfect words just wouldn't come, so I haven't written any more of that story.

Anyway, who says we have to start on chapter one of story? I say if you have a scene brewing in your head that won't happen until later in the book, write 'er down. That writing will spark your muse, and pretty soon I bet you'll be all fired to jot down chapter one!

Bee said...

Right now, I'm so darn scared about writing the ending of my book *trembles* but the beginning is always the part I love writing most!

aspiring_x said...

yes. my next two ideas are boy-centered books... and i'm scared of coming off phoney, as i have never been a boy. :)
but, maybe you could try starting in the middles somewhere, until you get more used to everyone? just a thought.

Bathwater said...

Well if you are afraid of chapter one write yourself a precursor. It will give you pages to get the feel of the world, the place and the time.

There is nothing wrong with writing more. Parts my end up being used or referred to later.

Summer Ross said...

start with ch. 2 :) I haven't actually been afraid of my novels or short stories, but I have been sometime terrified of not writing a good academic paper.

Cheyanne said...

Yes. And this is why a beautiful outline has been sitting on my desk for weeks. I just can't start it. Too scared..

lynnrush said...

I love starting out a new story. It's such a rush for me to sit in front of a computer and just dive into the story.

You can always go back and fix a first chapter. . . so write on, my friend.

Faith said...

Oh, heck yes... and sometimes it's stopped me from writing for weeks, because I keep finding "reasons" not to start. At some point you just have to start writing, no matter what!

If it helps, try writing a later scene first... you'll probably scrap it in the end, but at least it'll give you some written familiarity with your characters, without the added pressure of Chapter One introductions.

Saumya said...

I'm only intimidated every other second!! I think writing that crappy first draft and reminding myself that it will change and nobody will see it!! Good luck!

Terri Tiffany said...

All the time! But I LOVE the excitement of that first chapter--actually I think I enjoy writing that one the most!

Robert Guthrie said...

I was intimidated by my current WIP after outlining before writing b/c the main character is sooooo different from who I am. But then I relaxed into it & I'm having a blast.

Good luck. After the first step you'll go go go.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Yes, yes, yes! But at the same time it is fun, no?

Stephanie said...

Nope - my ink flows like the Mississippi: on and on with nary a hindrance.

Ha! Honestly, I'm with ya babe!

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

O'yesss...but I always remind myself; fear is the opposite of love!

Laura Pauling said...

Yes! Getting that first chapter down is hard b/c for me the book and character is perfect in my mind and it never is on paper as a first draft!

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Oh, of course! Getting started is the hard part. Not the hardest, perhaps, but certainly very hard:)

Giles Hash said...

For me getting started is the fun part. It's sending it out to others that makes me nervous. Mostly because I'm afraid that, no matter how well I do, they still won't like it.

Connie said...

Several people I know just skip chapter one and come back to it later. (I couldn't do that, but it's an option.) I just plunge in and let the chips fall where they may--the truth is I can't write a good chapter one until the book is finished. (I have a friend who's a very successful novelist and she says it's the same for her--even after years and probably 30+ books, she still has trouble with chapter one. We're in good company! :-)

Abby said...

YES YES YES. Right now I'm quivering in fear because I'm supposed to write this cover letter for job applications, and it's the first cover letter I've written, ever. And I'm a little freaked.

And the thing is that usually when I get started, it usually goes pretty well, as well as a first draft can get anyway.

Jolene said...

Beginnings kill me. Is it interesting enough? Am I giving enough information? Too much? Is my opening unique?
It kills me. I have NEVER started at the beginning.
Sorry. Probably that didn't help your anxiety any.

Jemi Fraser said...

Beginnings are tough. Even though I know it will probably change later on, I want that first page to be decent before I right the rest. It needs to have the right voice more than everything else. Once that's right I'm off.

It took me about 10 attempts before I got the first page the way I wanted before I could continue :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So start with chapter two - less pressure.

Carol Kilgore said...

I just plunge in because I know I'm going to rewrite it at least 2-3 times before I move on to Chapter 2. And that doesn't even count messing with that first chapter and first line for hours.

notesfromnadir said...

Maybe fear is another word for procrastination?

Alex makes a good point -- write chapter 2.

In writing, you don't have to begin at the beginning, just start wherever!

The Words Crafter said...

I'm a bit like Mr Ted Cross-I've written chapter one, and am now afraid to continue....

Lynda Young said...

Oh my goodness I can so relate. I'm facing the 'final confrontation' in my WIP and it scares me. I have no idea why. I know what I want to happen. I think it's because it's the end of the first draft and a major step is complete. Of course, I'm not even close to finishing the book.

Krispy said...

I'm more freaked out about second chapters I think. With first chapters, I'm usually riding the high of excitement and I sort of just plunge in head first without thinking too much about it. It's after that I start to realize, OMG where is this going??? Maybe this is why I should try outlining?

You have an outline. Take a deep breath and go for it!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

You can always change chapter one :) I'm more afraid of writing endings.

Vicki Rocho said...

No one says it has to be perfect the first time out. Get the big parts down and go back and insert the subplots and hints of twists to come. We won't know the difference in the end!

Taryn Tyler said...

Oh yes. For me the beginning is the exciting easy part but the closer I get to the end the more I start getting scared of my as yet unsaid words. I'm always afraid of letting the story down.

Lynn said...

Oh, yes! I love the process of outlining but when it comes to writing, I can freeze. But once that first sentence is written, it begins to flow. And feels good, and so satisfying!

lexcade said...

if i'm coming up on something that's either extremely emotional or an action sequence, i freeze because i'm afraid that i won't be able to do the scene justice. sometimes i'll skip to the aftermath, and sometimes i'll just mull it over for a while until i'm ready

Alissa said...

To me the last chapter is much scarier than the first. It's very difficult for me to figure out how things should end.

MT said...

I'm impressed you finished your outline before you actually started writing.
I bet once you get into chapter 1, all your fears will diminish and you'll be on a roll. :)

Claudia said...

Hi Lydia,
Since my WiP is my anthology I have no fear. However, my novel is finished...in my head LOL! My notes are all scattered and the chapters don't want to bond, they have a mind of their own ;)
So there! Starting this project is my "graphophobia" LOL!

Jai Joshi said...

The first chapter is always the hardest. My advice is to write whatever crappy chapter you can get out of your fingertips, so that you can go on to write the rest of the book without worrying about it. Then go back and write a decent first chapter. That's how I operate. Otherwise you'll be working on the first chapter for weeks and months and still not be satisfied and whole book will be looming before you with none of it written and everthing will seem impossible.

Jai

Karen Lange said...

Yes, I have! I dance around the project, straightening my desk and doing other non related tasks. Perhaps there is a chocolate bar that helps you push beyond this fear. I'll keep an eye out for it and let you know if I find anything.
Happy weekend,
Karen

Jen said...

I have definitely been there!!! You can do it!! I know it's in you, sometimes we just have to take it one step at a time!

Jennie Bailey said...

Chapter 1 always intimidates me! It's the start of something very big. I'm a perfectionist. I write with several documents open. When I like what I have on my "writing doc", I will then transfer it over to First Draft doc. I think not having to feel that I'm married to something helps me. That commitment (even though it's not really a true commitment when it's the first time I'm writing it) is hard for me to make!

You can do it!! I'll jump in with you...I'm intimidated with this next rewrite for much the same reason.

Lydia Kang said...

I can't get over how incredible you guys are in being so supportive. You guys are awesome!

Theresa Milstein said...

Chapter one takes the brunt of the majority of my rewrites. Everything seems to ride on this humble chapter. No wonder you get stressed to begin. But you can do it!

Matt said...

My problem isn't the start, it's the ending! I've been trying to finish the last few thousand words of my draft and have found tons of ways to avoid writing! I'll get to it, but I think right now I'm intimidated by the idea of having to start all over with the second draft.

Ed Pilolla said...

this is why some accomplished writers will suggest starting your story about halfway through. that point in the story will be mostly action, as all those seeds we plant are sprinkled in earlier in the book. so we bring our big enthusiasm for starting the story right into the most dramatic portion of the book and write the immediate buildup to the main conflict and main conflict-resolution itself. and then after most of the second half of the book is done, we can go back and write chapter one now knowing how it ends, and so the infrastructure of subplots and twists will be easier to install. most writers don't do this and go ahead and start with chapter one. but it's worth writing one book this way to see if you like it. i learned a lot drafting the second half first. but now i just start at chapter one:)

 
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