Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting Going Again

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but I was really hammered with the flu. Finally getting back to normal, although this morning was a bit of a slow start. Which, of course gave me an idea on the post for today.

The start of your story and the start of your chapters.

I was scanning through my emails this week and again had a message from someone whose project I passed on. The message had the same thing I see often. "I understand you get a lot of submissions but you are really not getting my story from the query [or insert first chapter, three chapters, etc.]. If you would just read my whole story..."

But you know the answer to this. We aren't going to do this. When we read books as readers, we put those stories down that don't get moving and keep us interested. Sure there are times we keep reading, but those are situations when: A) someone told you it was good; B) we had already seen the movie and knew things would turn out; C) we're into pain; D) it is a friends book and we promised; or E) we're in school still and we need to take a test on it. The point is, you have to keep us hooked.

The same goes for chapters. It is your job to keep the story moving even after a break. You might have had a rocking chapter 4 and therefore, you have to work with that energy and move into chapter 5. No, this does not mean it has to top it, it has to work with it. Too often, I see writers keep building the story until they reach a point that it is too unattainable. Kind of like singing the National Anthem and starting too high.

Each chapter needs to be treated the same way you would treat the first chapter and the first three chapters of your book. I honestly do believe those people that only emphasize the first chapter and first 5 pages are missing something. That energy can't just happen there, it has to happen throughout the ENTIRE book!

Have a great weekend!



  1. Great advice. A reader does need to get hooked by that first chapter or they won't keep on reading. That's true for me and should go for everything I write. This thing called writing is teaching me something new every day. Thanks.

    I'm glad to see the flu didn't finish you off...I was starting to wonder. Have a great weekend!

  2. I do try to keep this in mind as I'm writing. It seems like a lot of work and it is, but it's what you must do to have a "successful" book that will have folks coming back for more.

    I wish you were accepting YA still. You sound like a terrific agent. Do you think you may accept it again in the future?

    Glad to hear you're feeling better. Wishing you a productive week!