Friday, 7 July 2017

First chapter editing 'marathon'

I've read a lot about authors struggling with their first chapters. First you have to figure out where your novel should start, and that can be the trickiest part to get right. I've often started my novels in the wrong spot with rough drafts. With my current edit of DAPHNE, I think I've got the start point right. The rest of the chapter though is where I'm struggling.

The main thing I'm dealing with is getting the dialogue between my two main characters right. Nathan is a bit of a lovable rogue and he exasperates Daphne when they first meet. That's what I thought I had conveyed in the first chapter, but reading through it after a long hiatus I found I had created more of a harasser than an entertainer! What?! That was definitely not my intention, so I've been honing the chapter ever since I started this latest revision, trying to make Nathan more Nathan-esque. This chapter is probably on version 5 by now (taking a wild guess there), and it's still not right. It's getting there, but s.l.o.w.l.y.

I think what will help is to print the chapter out and do a paper edit. I haven't done one of those in a long time. I really love editing my novels on my Kindle, reading and making notes along the way. It's almost as good as a paper edit for picking up mistakes or sentences that just don't flow right. Even paragraphs that can be chopped in their entirety. But I think being able to use a bright red pen and scribble all over the chapter might help me in this case.

Elsewhere in the novel, I've been making good progress filling gaps in the narrative, and I think I'm mostly done with that. Of course, some gap filling has resulted in a need to do yet more editing of subsequent chapters, as they no longer quite fit. This feels like a neverending process, but I know from experience that eventually I'll reach a point where I've done all I can for the time being. That will be the time to let the novel stew once again. And maybe, not long after, it will be beta-reader recruiting time!


  1. Eventually you'll iron it all out.
    I can only edit on a printed page. I need room to write notes and write out extended scenes.

  2. I'm glad to hear you're making progress! Keep up the hard work.

  3. Sounds like you're working hard. I admire the patience you have for editing.

  4. I've read lots about paper edits.
    Writers who print out the manuscript, then flip back and forth between pages 22 and 102, some of them lay whole chapters out on a table or the floor in front of them, and they swear by the much bigger view than just looking at a little screen.
    I haven't gotten there ...yet.
    Good luck with the edits, Trisha! *waving*
    Hope you're well!


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!