|Slice and hack! That's what revisions are for!|
Now that I've finished the first draft of The Seven Noble Knights of Lara, it looks as if 2013 is all about revisions for the foreseeable future. Last week, I started sharing the book with my husband. With his help, I've come to the wrenching decision to cut -- absolutely get rid of every last word -- the first chapter.
The first chapter preoccupied me inordinately form the beginning. I started with Chapter II because I was so worried about how to start the book and draw the reader in. A previous consultant had commented that since it's going to be a violent book, it should start with a violent scene. In the first version of Chapter I, a small boy gets murdered on the first page.
But the chapter had too many problems compared to what it brought to the story. I tried to untangle the political mess I'd made for myself by writing without researching first, got rid of the poor murdered boy in order to introduce actual important characters, and shared that new version with my husband. It was the first time he's had any notion of what I've been agonizing over for two years. He's far too kind to have said it, but I imagine he was thinking, "Dear God, she's wasted two years of her life on that drivel?" Luckily, he was able to honestly enthuse about Chapter II, and lopping off Chapter I has put the breath of inspiration into the revisions.
Chapter II begins slowly and the only violence is off-screen, when they have to catch and skin rabbits for supper. So of course, the old anxiety resurfaces: that it will not be exciting enough to draw readers in and to set up their expectations for the backstabbing and bloodletting that is to come.
Normally, beginnings aren't such a problem for me, while endings make me run for cover. With The Seven Noble Knights of Lara, I'm pretty thrilled about the ending, so perhaps it's only right that I should have trouble with the start.
I'll try to stick with that breath of inspiration as I go through the first revisions. When I finish with that, an editor gets the masterpiece. I'll leave the decision about how to start the darn thing with the professional.