Go Back to the Beginning

This weekend I finished a round of deep edits on my second WIP. I’m not sure what the differences are between “deep edits” and “rewriting” but, for now, we’re calling it “deep edits.” And, as I’ve said on twitter, I have a whole new appreciation for editing. I thought I appreciated it, but it was a whole other thing to spend months (and months) editing scene after scene. The doing gave me a deeper understanding. Whew!

Not that I’m done and ready to ship my story out. I’m going to go through it again (and again) until it’s polished, or as polished as I can get it.

Somehow, by editing I added 10,000 more words–wait, I think it was more like 16,000! Anyway, after deep edits I was at 95,300.

And then I made a decision to rework my beginning. I’m struck by the idea of figuring out not just a hook, but where the story begins. I think that’s so hard to see for yourself. So, for a long while now, I’ve had, essentially, a prologue chapter for both my hero and my heroine. I know, I know. Those are a no-no. Whatevs. I like prologues. I wrote them as chapter 1 and 2 because I needed to see where each character was right before their life was about to change. I wanted to be in their world and see what was working and what was all messed up. I love the idea of a first draft is when you are telling yourself the story.

Then, though, there was an issue with my inciting incident. That change moment. I’ve sort-of known this, but hadn’t said it out loud: my incident is in chapter 5. Yeah. Like 6000 words in.

Soooo, even after rewriting my chapter 1–gladly–I am effectively tabling those first five chapters because not enough happens in them story-wise. Character development and groundwork for plot development, yes, but there’s not enough momentum. Nor do my two protagonists–the hero and heroine–meet until chapter 5. I don’t believe the hero and heroine have to meet on page one. I’ve read (and adored) plenty of romances where that hasn’t happened. But, I need to see if their meeting will get those first, few critical chapters going.

So, in the words of Inigo Montoya, quoting Vizzini in The Princess Bride, “Go back to the beginning!”

Feel free to share tips you have for how you know where a story starts.

Happy Writing and Reading and Happy New Year!

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