And I sat down to write a new WiP a couple of weeks ago, I just sat there. See, I can't write in order. I don't know where to start. So I just wrote the scene in my head. The next day, I wrote the next one--and no, it didn't immediately follow or precede the one I'd already written. It was just another scene I'm going to have to surgically insert into the book. Somewhere.
After I have a whole bunch of scenes written, then I can usually write the beginning. This happened yesterday. And you know how you've read in various places about the importance of the first sentence? The first paragraph? The first page?
The first chapter?
Yeah, me too. I think that's why beginnings are so hard (for me) to write. So I've got my document open, at the beginning, ready to write. Law & Order had just started. (Yes, I write to the TV, pandora, whatever.)
And it hit me. My opening chapter needs to be just like the first five minutes of a Law & Order episode. (Click to hear the sound. You really want to live inside this brainwave, I know you do.)
So in the first five minutes of Law & Order, we're introduced to the murder/crime. We're hooked. The rest of the episode is spent solving the crime/murder. And often, it's the mundane that introduces the conflict. People taking the trash out. Someone going into their office. The housekeeper opening the garage. That kind of stuff. And then bam! The dead body.
That's what I need to do in my first chapter. I need to introduce the reader to the world, to my character, and to the "dead body." I need to have them hooked by the end of the five minutes it takes them to read my first chapter.
Easy, yes? Um, sure. But it really helped me get the words down that will probably be my first chapter. (Since I write it after I've written a bunch of other stuff, my first chapter generally stays fairly close to what I write the first time.) Thank you, Law & Order and TNT for playing copious episodes of L&O.
So you tell me: How do you write your first chapter? What needs to happen? What's been your inspiration for writing your first chapter?
Oh! And I'm helping out the Florida Writers Foundation by offering at 50-page critique. Go bid if you can!