Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vital Elements for Writing Your First Chapter

One of the hardest, and best, parts of Cheryl Klein's workshop was our homework, which included an outline of our manuscript's scenes.

If you're stuck, could you try outlining your manuscript?

First look at each scene and write down what's important about it.

Then look at all your scenes as a whole.

Ms. Klein gave us lots of questions to think about as we viewed our scene summaries. I'll mention just one for now. When I heard this tip, I knew immediately that I had to revise my first two chapters:

The first and second scenes should set up status quo and the inciting incident. Often the "big change" occurs in the first chapter, but it doesn't have to be that way. If the first scene sets up what the character's life is like now, then the second one must show what's about to change it.

I realized my first scene set up status quo. But while the second set up a conflict, it was a subplot conflict, not the inciting incident for the novel.

I've got a lot scene shifting to do.

Do your first and second scenes set the groundwork to start your plot in motion?

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