first chapter

I've been over and over the first chapter of SCAR. First off, I don't think there's any rules. I think it's stupid to say All Books Must Launch The Story With The First Line. Some books do it brilliantly. Other times it feels so forced, it bugs me. The writer immediately has to backtrack to let the reader in on just what the hell is going on. There's a logic missing and it leaves me rolling my eyes. Reminds me of those shows with the action scene and then "48 hours before..." you see Our Hero eating breakfast.

I do think the inciting event belongs in the first chapter. And, for my writing, I require the inciting incident be answered/solved in the final chapter. I'm not into prologues or epilogues.

The inciting event in SCAR, the one that launches the whole story, is the Bishop coming to preach taking the cross (that means becoming a soldier in crusade) at Trinidad's parish. She uses a lie to bolster her plea, and Trinidad believes he is the only one alive who knows it's a lie. I worked hard to establish the main conflict bolstered by others, setting details, and Trinidad's character, showing him in action, attending his ordinary duties on what rapidly evolves into an extraordinary day.  (And btw, I believe I solve the inciting incident in the last chapter. It's not the chapter with the most action, but it properly reflects the first chapter; or will, once it's revised.)

But that first chapter's still not quiiiite right. Grr.  The last bit of the chapter is Trinidad thinking things over. I intend it to be the moment when the reader "gets" the gravity of the situation. Trinidad is well and truly caught, and he needs to feel that way. I needed a bit of reflection, a little flashback to round out and explain and show Trinidad realizing how dire things are, as well. Right now it's his personal story and problem, and that was important to establish, too.

Thing is, internal narrative--hate it! Dislike reading it. Really hate writing it. My logic seems to get all fucked sideways and the flow disappears. Writing more than about three sentences of it is just not my forte as a writer (and a reader. Seriously, I skip over it in long books).

Sit two characters down and make 'em talk, it all makes sense. Fight scenes: love 'em. Choreography: not impossible to make sense, though I forget the occasional pair of pants and pepper my prose with pronouns. All solvable issues.

But internal narrative? Frickin bane of my writerly existence.

I guess maybe everyone has one.  What's yours?

1 comment:

Milo James Fowler said...

Internal narrative can be a chore for me, too. I'm wondering the whole time I'm writing it whether readers really care what's going on inside the minds of my characters.
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