The 2nd Dilemma from My Editor

Is whether or not to rewrite the first chapter.

For those of you who may already have downloaded that first chapter, well it may not end up being the first chapter. I’m not sure if that makes it less or more cool. Probably more, but I’ll let you decide.

So here’s the nut of it . . . when I sent my editor a sample (as I was trying to determine if I wanted to use him), I sent the beginning of my first chapter. Now at the time and still, I felt that it was a fine piece of writing that did a good job of beginning to show Kurt’s (my lead) character.

The trouble was that my readers kept telling me to pull the Science Fiction (SF) elements forward. After being bugged by that for a month or two, I looked at the first chapter of two novels that I thought were similar to mine and decided to write a new first chapter. I was pleased with the new first chapter because it allowed me to put the SF stuff right up front and I was able to rework the plot to keep the old 1st chapter in the book.

BUT, my editor liked the old one better and said that I’ve got too much exposition in the new first chapter. Technically, I think he’s right on both notes. So I am distinctly contemplating reworking my first chapter, again.

Since the beginning of a book generally determines whether or not people even make it to Chapter 2, I do support the idea of a good first chapter. The new problem is that when I moved the old first chapter it caused me to rework the flow of the first 50-80 pages. Overall, the new flow is actually much better.

What I’m really wrestling with is not “whether or not” to rework it, but how can I rework it and maintain the same flow? I think I can do it, but it has to make sense and reorganizing it last time wasn’t easy. This is a detective story, so things do need to progress with a certain logic. Now that said, as I write this I am a little energized because what I am feeling is that there is a way to rewrite the first chapter to make it better and use the impact to once again improve the flow of the story. After all, that is what happened last time I redid it. Now that’s exciting.

This is one that I’ll really have to think through, so there will most likely be another update. And much interim hand-wringing. Speaking of which, after thinking some more about the first dilemma I am now leaning toward working hard to write faster and finish BC2 with the idea that I can get it done before my editor finishes the rest of BC1 and I can still jump on the edits for BC1 early. We’ll see!

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