Where I’m Stuck

Okay, here’s where I’ve been stuck with my novel revisions:

Chapter One

I know how important Chapter One is … especially those first three to five pages. Agents are very busy people, and word on the street is if you can’t grab ’em in the first three to five pages, they won’t bother to read any further and you can add another rejection to your pile. Although I’m already prepared for a lot of rejections (I realize it’s just a fact of a lowly writer’s life) I’m still petrified by the thought that my first chapter won’t be enough. I don’t even know if my first chapter SHOULD be chapter one. Maybe I should have started earlier in my MC’s life. Or maybe later. Some people say you should simply toss out Chapter One and make Chapter Two the first chapter. Anyway, I’ve tried putting it to the side and coming back around to it once the rest of the book is polished, but I can’t. I can’t go any further until I’m at least somewhat satisfied with it. To remedy this, I’ve set a deadline to send my best shot to a trusted fellow writer and go from there. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. 

The Title

I’m also finding that I simply can’t go on until I’m satisfied with a title. Yes, I know chances are the title will be changed by the publisher. But I’m sick and tired of calling it my “WIP”, and I think I will love it more and care for it more if it has a proper name. Kind of like having a baby, you know? You can’t keep calling your baby, “the baby”, although I suppose some people do. Well, that’s kind of how I’m feeling. Without a title, it just doesn’t seem real enough. When I was first thinking about this post, I’d planned on giving you all a list of the possibilities so far with little blurb on what the story was about and have you all tell me which one spoke to you the most. But now that I look back on the list (which I haven’t looked at for awhile) one title in particular screams to me that it is The One. So I hereby officially name my novel:

How a Heart Breaks

So that’s one problem solved, thank you very much!

Now off to obsess over that damn first chapter so more …


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pam
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 16:35:05

    Sorry to hear about the angst, but we’ve all been there. Maybe you could do some contests to get some feedback on your beginning? Just keep the faith–you’re going to do it! Woot!!! (Or Wiff!!! as the new exclaimation seems to be…)

  2. coffeegirl88
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 16:35:39

    I’m thrilled that the whole title thing isn’t something I obsess over (unlike EVERYTHING else). Of course that probably comes from the fact that for the first 15 years of my writing history my stories were simply numbered. No title beyond the file number. Then I just started pulling phrases from songs, which is pretty much how I still do it, with a rare few exceptions.

    Great title, one that would definitely catch me on a shelf.

    And looking forward to that first chapter. So if the pages aren’t in my inbox by what, Saturday evening my time I can start bugging you?

  3. Ilana
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 17:03:04

    I like the title.

    And what Pam said. There are a lot of really good contests going on this spring. Sure, you pay, but they’ll tell you straight what they think of that first chapter.

    My first novel’s chapter was a nightmare. I can’t remember (nor do I want to) how many times I re-wrote it.
    The first chapter for the second novel just happened. I love it as much as I hated the other one. Hoping that happens again with #3, but you never know.

    Have you sought out your local RWA?

    Mar 05, 2009 @ 17:14:21

    Hi Kim,

    I am so psyched that you are at the revsion stage as it means you actually finished the first draft. It’s good motivation for me. Two thoughts: I agree with the need for a title. I have a working title (changed it twice already) and it helps to ‘personalize’ your efforts and make the novel feel like it’s truly your own, which it is. Second, I moved my first chapter to the 1/4-point of my novel and ‘back-filled’ with more supporting character development and a better introduction of my hero’s nemesis. With ‘cut and paste’ it’s a beautiful thing that we can move stuff around and see how it fits. Upon review by Russ he agreed that it worked better and made for a better story line.

    Keep it up!-Bren

  5. Davina
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 21:34:27

    Love the title – would definitely make me look twice 🙂 I have no idea what the title will be for mine. Naming things is not something I’m good at! Look forward to seeing how the feedback pans out for you – I think deadlines are great when you get a bit stuck. Good luck with it 🙂

  6. Jennifer
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 22:25:38

    Reading this post and coffeegirl88’s most recent post makes me ache to have a finished manuscript. So, I’ve decided to send off whatever I had finished from NaNo in to get a proof copy. Maybe seeing it in black and white all printed out will be what I need to get my butt in gear and get a story finished.

    As for titles . . . my first NaNo manuscript in 2007 never had a title. I just called it NaNovel. This was a problem when I went to save my 2008 manuscript though, since I couldn’t call it NaNovel and didn’t want to start numbering by year. So, I pulled a title out that had been kind of floating in my head for a while. As November 2008 progressed, I realized that the title I had picked was actually the perfect title for my 2007 manuscript. I hope it doesn’t take me until November to come up with the title for my 2008 story!

  7. Griffin Asher
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 02:33:10

    Deadlines are a writer’s best friend. An annoying, nasty, nagging friend, but still a friend 😉

    I love your title! I have to have titles for all of my stories even before I start writing them, just so I can organize my different ideas in my head. Though they normally change several times before I’m done.

    Good luck with your battle with the dreaded First Chapter. 🙂

  8. Kim
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 04:12:50

    Wow! You guys rock! Thanks for all the encouragement!

    PAM – In soccer mom speak, “Wiff” is something you yell at the other team to try and make them miss the ball when they go to kick it. Have they been using that in the forums? Because I haven’t been over there for awhile (shame on me, I know). It took me a long time to embrace the word “Wiffer” so “Wiff” might be a bit of a stretch.

    CYN – At the rate I’m going, it will probably midnight (your time or mine time remains to be seen) before I get it to you, but I WILL get it to you.

    ILANA – Checking out my RWA has been on my list for some time now, but I’ve had so much on my plate recently, I haven’t wanted to add more.

    BRENDAN!!!!! — Yay! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I’m so thrilled to have reconnected with an old friend who is also a writer! Keep up the good work … I can’t wait to read your novel one of these days! Maybe we can get it together enough to get a group going and I’ll finally be able to meet Jordan … or Nicole … or April. 😉

    DAVINA – Yes, deadlines always help me get my ass in gear … and I know darn well that my coffee girl will hold me to it!

    JENNIFER – I didn’t finish my novel during NaNo 2007, but it helped to print out what I had and read it through because I kept thinking, “Wow, this is actually pretty good … maybe I should finish it.” It gave me the motivation to get it done. Don’t know why you’re anxious to do revisions though. :-/

    GRIFFIN – So glad you like my title. I scribbled it down months ago from a passage in my novel and didn’t really think much of it, then it sprang out at me this morning. Always helps to put things away for awhile to marinate I guess. And thanks for the luck … I need it!

  9. coffeegirl88
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 21:56:36

    Okay, so at midnight my time, if there isn’t an email in my box I send a “gentle” reminder. If I wake up Sunday and there’s no email, I start the “not so gentle” reminding. Gotcha.

  10. kimberlyfoley
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 22:11:12

    Sounds like a fair deal to me, Cynthia. I’m pretty good with deadlines, so hopefully I will spare you the “not so gentle” reminding. 🙂

  11. jeniferm
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 00:34:22

    Oooh, I want to hear more about this “non-gentle” reminding via internet. How does one do it? I might have need of this, since my brother never returns my calls or follows through on his promises of emails. 🙂

    Kim – I hope Cynthia gets you right out of that stuck place, but however it happens, I’m confident you’ll get there, and that it will be worth all the effort in the end!

  12. coffeegirl88
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 00:45:43

    Jenifer, it’s simple, be a pest. I mean, I’m not above sending an email say, once an hour – all day long. I spend most of my time infront of the computer anyway.

  13. Jess C Scott
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 20:03:01

    All the best!

    I’m currently focusing on marketing my debut novel.

    Spent a long time chasing agents/editors getting nowhere, so I published it myself and am working on getting the next book out in September.

    Going not too bad so far ^^


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