Facts of Life,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

Opening Chapter Woes

First chapters are hard sometimes. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t start drafting until I know where the story starts. Things can always change, and they sometimes do, but it’ll get me in the right direction, you know. With the current drafting project, I had an intro in mind, then decided it would make a better flashback scene later, especially since I have the perfect in. So, then I was like, “I guess we’re starting in the present.” It was the most exciting place to start the story, and I knew how to get things going from there, as well.

BUT the way I was starting it was all wrong. It didn’t feel right. It hurt my brain. I was stressed. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?! Why was everything so hard? (cue a week of wailing)

Anyway, long story short, it was a location problem. On one hand, I was like, why does it matter? But apparently, it does.

By location, I don’t mean city, state, country. It was more like: nightclub, mansion, skyscraper. It affected how my character got in and out, and influenced the entire vibe and energy and atmosphere of the story. It sounds so stupid, but it completely stalled me. I rewrote and edited it until I literally felt like my brain was trying to run away from me. I was ready to throw it off a cliff and be done with it. (cue a few more days of wailing)

I asked the character what was up, and she kept reiterating that the person she’s there to see is super paranoid. And I’m like, “Yeah, I know. There’s security everywhere.”

At some point, I thought about going back and starting the story in the past again, but the character kept saying that wasn’t right – that I could talk about that stuff later. So, FINALLY, I was like, if the guy she’s looking for is that paranoid, he would never leave the building. If he stayed at the skyscraper, he could eat, sleep, work, and socialize without ever stepping out in the open! I finally got it. So, I moved the location to the office building, and things finally started to feel right.

There’s always at least one meltdown at some point in the process, so I’m hoping the meltdowns are done for this story. Fingers crossed. Haha. Honestly, I would rather the meltdowns happen earlier than later. So…I’m going to edit the opening chapters one more time before moving on, but I’m feeling like this story is finally going to happen now.

In editing news, and this is why I think my brain wasn’t cooperating most days – my editor is actually behind on getting back to me by around 2 weeks. I didn’t worry about it July 1st, but by the time I got to the 10th, I thought the sky was falling. Basically, she has summertime on the brain, so I’m hoping to have it by the end of the week.

My brain wants to edit, and I want to play with that story some more, so I guess I was feeling a little off, because I was expecting to be editing right now. I’m not mad, but I was starting to stress about it. I even worried that I deleted her email by mistake and lost it forever because the trash empties itself after so many days. Not that I couldn’t get her to send it back. But if I deleted it, my OCD would flare up and torture me about it.

I’m also working with the cover designer soon, and I still only have a very vague idea of what I want!

So, the main thing on my agenda this week and into the weekend is to figure out how to relax (HA) and stare at some book covers for inspiration. It worked for my first book. 😀

Also, excuse the mess of this post if I sound crazy. I feel crazy. But I’m reading a manga-ized version of Jane Austen’s Emma right now, and it’s giving me so much life!

I was going to put in a gif of this cartoon drawing banging his head on the keyboard – it made me laugh so hard – but it was sooo gruesome. So, we’re going with this nice gif instead. ^_^

Thanks, JK!


  • Michelle Athy

    I’m sooo curious about these manga-ized versions of Jane Austen. I’ll have to see if I can take a peek.

    Opening chapters are so important and you’re right, you need to know where your characters are and where they’re starting out and sometimes that doesn’t come all at once! i used to have this problem of having my characters talk to each other in a blank room–i had no idea where they were.

    • Krystal Jane

      The mangas are fun. Emma is certainly more suited to the style than Pride & Prejudice. I still loved that one, but it was a little weird.

      I’ve started so many stories with people talking in a room that has nothing to do with anything.

  • Thea Landen

    Been there. Beeeeen there. Once Chapter Three wound up being Chapter One. What are you going to do? *shrug*

    Cover design is always fun. Even if you don’t have a good image in your head now, hopefully your designer will be able to point you in the right, awesome direction!

    • Krystal Jane

      I think stepping back some on the cover is a great idea! Why hire someone awesome if I’m going to stress myself out over it? ^_^

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