Thursday, August 22, 2019

Why Books Fail After Chapter Three

We talked yesterday about why the first three chapters of your novel have to rock. I want to talk now about what happens after those three chapters. Unfortunately, the news is not so great.

Most authors FAIL!

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, it really is the first three chapters that have been worked over the most. Think of where you start editing every time. You start at the beginning. This means that you have really made sure those chapters are golden. You catch all of the mistakes. You remember something that is going to happen in those later chapters and remind yourself to put those seeds in the early pages. For me, I liken this to cleaning the house. The rooms that are often the cleanest are the ones you get to first. For us, the living room and dining room are the cleanest. I start vacuuming there. I start dusting there. I start picking things up there. When I finally get to the upstairs, I have run out of steam.

Writing is no different.

Now the second reason is the one that many of you will hate. You haven't planned out your book.

Most writers have a great premise of the story, but getting that entire story to work out to the end is not something they have clearly thought through. Once you get past those rocking first three chapters, now the real work kicks in. But it is also here where, if you have not planned things out, you start to add things that don't fit or you put things in your story because you randomly saw another author use that technique. In some cases, it is because you had someone think of something about your book and you just made that change without thinking through how it all fits together.

In other cases, it is because you had too many things going in too many directions. I always like to remind people of the last books of Harry Potter. Rowling had so many things left to be answered, the story had gotten out of control.

And it is for this reason the books fail. The books simply fall apart.

AS you write, you need to take the time to always put the same passion and thought into post chapter three that you did on those earlier pages. You need to think. You need to plan. You need to keep your eyes on the target and the goal of the book.

Simple as that.

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