Thought for the day: Cheer up! That mighty oak started out a little nutty, too.
Know what? It's time for me to shake off this silliness and get serious.
I mean, really. I dunno if it's an early case of spring fever, or what, but I'm definitely having a hard time concentrating here.
I did manage to tear myself out of bed before the butt crack of dawn this morning, just so I could do some writing, but it turned into a write, scratch out, write some more, and scratch out some more kind of session. A teensy bit productive, but just barely.
Have you read the delightful Janet Evanovich's book about how she writes? Like her novels, it's very easy and enjoyable reading, but I swear, she wrote the first chapter of that book just for ME! Honest to goodness, she may not have dropped my name in there, but I'm sure that's only because it slipped her mind. The content was definitely directed at me, I'm sure of it. And what she told me is that it was time for me to stop fooling around with that first chapter, dammit! Made me laugh out loud when I read it, because at that point, I'd already written and rewritten the first chapter of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade so many times I'd lost count.
And though I've finished the book, and edited (and re-edited) it several times by now, you guessed it ... I'm STILL fussing with that first chapter. In fact, that's what I was working on this morning. But that first chapter, that first page, HAS to be perfect, doesn't it? I mean, it'd turn my poor innards to fish food if someone like the marvelous Janet Reid were to chew up that first chapter, spit it out, and then (ohmigod!) yawn!
So, how do you KNOW when that first chapter is as good as it's gonna get? How do you KNOW when you've finally got it just right? How do you know when to stop fooling around with it, dammit? You guys who've already gotten an agent, already gotten a publisher, you lucky (hard-working) dogs you, how did YOU know?
For those of you who are still looking for some straight answers about the oomph factor of your book's first page, have I ever got a suggestion for you. Ray Rhamey is a writer and "developmental editor". (I'm not sure EXACTLY what that is, but it sounds quite impressive, doesn't it?) Anyway, he writes a blog entitled Flogging the Quill, and one of the things he does, and does extremely well, is provide a first-page critique service for writers. Neat, huh? He offers his well-informed opinion as to whether or not that first page is strong enough to compel a reader to keep on reading. You can find his blog here. And, tell ya what, if you submit your first page, I'll be sure to read it. I (ahem) haven't gotten up the cojones to do it yet myself ...
OK, enough seriousness for the day. Time to play. No, better yet, it's time to wrap up that first chapter, once and for all. Dammit.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.