Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Tale of two First Chapters

So, I finished my book, The Society, last year.  Which is a Dystopian Vampire Romance.  I have lots of love for that piece of work.  My leading male, is brooding, gorgeous and tortured.  My leading female is tough, sexy and powerful.  When I wrote it, I wanted the first chapter to be from the point of view of the leading male, Mason.  It involved Mason and a group of humans he is helping to gather supplies.  I liked the beginning.  I felt it really gave a good overview of what the world was like now.  So I decided to show it to a friend of mine.  Who, let's just say, didn't care for it.  He pointed out that Mason had to be a character that people liked and wanted to root for, and that chapter just didn't do that.

At first I was upset.  I thought the chapter did a great job of showing you who Mason is.  But as I pondered his words, I realized that I was seeing Mason through a "Creators" eyes.  I already knew Mason.  His back story, his loves, his fears, his vital stats.  Readers, don't.  I have to show readers all of those things about Mason, not just assume that they will already know them.

So I sat down and thought of ten new ways I could start the story.  One of them stuck out to me.  So I thought about it a bit, and decided to see what I could make out of the new idea.  I was pleasantly surprised by a few things.  First, I was able to show a lot more of the human world in this new first chapter, than was seen in the old one.  Second, I was able to develop something in Mason, that hadn't been seen before.  Compassion.  I was able to build into Mason's character a way for people to want to root for him.  Not just because he is the main character, but because of who he is.

As I look at the new first chapter, I am finding a new depth to Mason that wasn't there before.  Avenues of his personality and back story to be explored.  Also, I am finding new little subplots and conflicts that I will be able to use later on in the book to add those extra little dynamics needed to round out a story.

Amazing how one character can create so many endless possibilities!

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