Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It's More Than The First Three Chapters

For writers, nailing those first three chapters is always important. They know that readers have to get hooked on those opening pages to keep reading. They also know that these are the pages in the partial editors and agents read. But... you cannot forget the rest of the book.

I have to say, this is one of the most disappointing parts of being an agent. We get a great proposal. We read a fantastic partial. And then when we read the full manuscript, or we hit chapter four, or we read the synopsis, the entire world falls apart.

This also happens when I read stories that have been published. I am frequently disappointed with how the stories wrap up. I am always left with the lingering question of "What happened?" There is a sense that writers, editors (and potentially agents) literally stopped doing any work on the story after those initial pages.

I get that when we edit, we start from the beginning. It is true that those opening pages will get the most work, but writers simply cannot forget the back end of the story. This is where the climax of the story hits. This is where the resolution is going to put everything back in order. In romances, this is where the Happily Ever After happens.

I will say, I do believe that most of this happens because writers don't plot the story out. They simply start writing and see what happens. But, because they don't know where they are going, they lose that intense focus they had on those opening pages.

So, your homework in the coming days is to look beyond Chapter 3. Plan where your darn story is going. And if those first three chapters ROCK! then make sure Chapter 4 and beyond are equally as strong.

Think Buzz Lightyear now!

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