I’ve finished writing a manuscript recently, and it’s out to betas–said betas being my husband, my sister, and a couple good friends. I know what you may be thinking: your husband and your sister? Seriously? But I promise you, they are readers who don’t pull punches.
Take my husband, for example. The man is impossible to watch TV with, because he sees all the plot holes. (And, of course, will loudly point said plot holes out in an attempt to get you to pause the show and get in a debate about what’s acceptable to expect of a viewer in terms of suspension of disbelief.) So he’s an excellent alpha reader, as well as a decent beta reader.
Anyway, he’s reading my manuscript last night, and basically affirmed my belief that the first two chapters suck. They do–they’re clunky, weird phrasing, trying too hard. There’s some great, glimmering moments… But the book’s tone isn’t consistent until Chapter Three. I chalk it up to some combination of switching the POV in those chapters from 3rd to 1st when I started drafting, as well as that the book hadn’t settled yet. Just like every TV show has a pilot, every book has a chapter that was written first. And just like most pilots suck, most first chapters sort of suck, too.
The remedy I’ve settled on is to do a rewrite of the first two chapters. I’m going to list out the major points to hit on, then pretend those chapters were destroyed in a horrible burning/shredding/getting blasted into space-type incident and do a rewrite. When I was in middle school and enamored with zines, I remember one of those zine creators (zinists??) saying that she created a whole first draft, then destroyed it and started again. I remember recoiling inwardly, clutching my imaginary pearls, but that story has been lodged in my brain every since. (Indelible in the hippocampus is…)
Maybe I’ll write an update post about if this works or not. Oh yeah, and I suppose since this post is all about new beginnings and pilots and whatnot, I’ll take a moment to say hurray! I have a blog! So thanks for stopping by, and follow me on GoodReads if you’re so inclined.