Monday, April 16, 2012

The First Three Chapters

It seems like every other month I'm writing a new proposal! LOL

I'm really not. It just seems like it. Why? Because beginnings are difficult. Actually, physically writing a book is labor intensive. But if you have a good synopsis...that should springboard your imagination for scenes and basically though you're typing your fingers off, you shouldn't be struggling -- well, at least not too much.

Coming up with an idea and honing that idea into something special takes lots of brain power. Which is why it's so darned hard to write a synopsis!

But the first chapter is the real bugger for me.

In the first chapter of a romance novel, you have to:

Introduce the Characters
Introduce the External Conflict (which usually involves a goal)
Introduce the Internal Conflict
Show us why these two conflicted characters would stay together when ... well, they're so conflicted.
And hook readers in.

In category romance lots of writers think "hooking" readers in involves an actual hook. LOL It can. But I prefer to hook in readers by ...  entertaining them.

I'm a big fan of reading. [Aren't we all? :)] But I've put down many a book because it didn't entertain me. You don't have to be Bozo the Clown juggling bowling pins. You don't have to be Roseann Barr, making me laugh. But you have to amuse, entertain or make me curious enough to hang out with you and your characters for 200 or 400 pages.

You won't do that by opening your book with a scene with either the hero or heroine dusting, petting her cat or weeding her garden...unless the hero shows up and the fun starts.

I want to read a first scene that's relevant. I want the conflict to be obvious from action not because you wrote..."They didn't like each other." I wanna see them not liking each other.

I also want to hear the starting pistol of the action. What's the goal? Don't tell me. Show me.

And give me a sweep of emotion.

Ah, emotion!  That's what I really want.

In my latest book...the one I'm agonizing over now...When the hero leaves after a first scene where they're fumbling because it's the first time they've seen each other in a decade and neither knows what to say because she stood him up ... the heroine falls to the sofa, picks up a pillow and presses her face into it. Her four-year-old son comes in and says, "What's wong, Mommy?" and she thinks...That was Owen with his little lisp and his big heart. She  lifted her face and smiled for him. Just as she'd never tell him his grandfather was a drunk who'd beaten her; she wouldn't tell him that the love of her life just walked out of their house and she'd probably never see him again.

Hooked you, didn't I? Because I showed you this woman is sweet through how she loves her son. (Who is adorable, by the way.) You like her and her son.

She'd never tell him his grandpa was a drunk who'd beaten her ... She's suffered and struggled. And now you don't want to see her lose the love of her life anymore than she does.

Hopefully, I've connected you to this woman and you're rooting for her to get the hero.

So, first chapters are tough. Synopses are worse! And I have to finish three chapters and my synopsis before Wednesday...wish me luck!

Happy Monday!


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