Unsolicited Writing Tip: Delete Your First Chapter

It’s all in the title. Just go do it.

Find someone you trust who hasn’t read your book yet and give them a copy that does not include the first chapter and see what they say. There’s a strong possibility that they won’t even notice it’s gone.

This is advice I’ve heard before. I listened for Beacon. The first chapter was a long one. For those who read the book I’ll give you a taste. It’s all about Lynn running away from Raymond while they are both trapped on Ronos. It’s a lot of fighting and arguing and rock slides and almost dying and then getting healed and it goes on and on. I liked it. It was fun to write but it was so long. The first draft of Beacon was over 100,000 words and a lot of that was because of chapter one.

For those of you who have read Beacon, did you miss the real chapter one? Did you feel like there was something missing from Lynn’s part of the story? Probably not. If I would have kept it in there it only would have dragged it out more thus making it a weaker story. What used to be chapter one—what used to be thousands of words—is now one page of recap in Lynn’s first chapter, a couple of paragraphs.

Eviscerate wouldn’t work if I deleted the first chapter because it’s chapter 1 is more like Beacon‘s chapter 21. It just keeps going. No slowing down for a change in story or adding new characters. No change in location. It’s simply what happened next and everyone reacting to it. I used the advice of reading it without the first chapter to see if it would work and it didn’t so I put it back in.

Catalyst is something else. I never should have included the first chapter. There are several reviews for Catalyst that state, “Once it gets going it’s hard to put down.” That once-it-gets-going business means nothing really happens in chapter one. There is no conflict. It’s a family sitting around chatting after having been apart for a while.

What’s more exciting. A family gathering full of exposition and no real conflict or a massive (possibly) alien ship coming to  Earth and destroying an entire city.

I can’t believe I ever let the first chapter get published.

I’m working on putting out a second edition of both Catalyst and Beacon at the same time Eviscerate comes out and you better believe that the new edition of Catalyst has 19 chapters instead of 20. It is so much better now. It gets right to the point. The action and story start on the first page and don’t stop until the end of Eviscerate three books later.

Getting rid of the first chapter is something I wish I would have done years ago. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Try it out now. If nothing is missed then hit the delete key and never look back.


20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

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One Response to Unsolicited Writing Tip: Delete Your First Chapter

  1. Pingback: Book release & #GIVEAWAY: As Good as a Feast      | Write on the World

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