Unleashing Uncertainty

After working through my YA novel and revising it from stem to stern, I am circling back to the beginning and looking with a fresh eye (or at least, trying to) at my real problem child: the first chapter. Everyone makes such a big deal about the opening that it’s hard not to tense up whenever I think about it.

My friend and mentor Rob Gilbert says that when something big is happening you should focus on making it important but not special (Success Hotline: 973.743.4690). That’s exactly what I’m trying to do with the opening, but so much seems to be riding on it. Many agents only want to see the first 10 pages of a manuscript — which means they’re looking at the opening.

Right now, I have at least three versions I’m playing around with. To give me a fresh perspective, Alex offered to read them. His initial feedback has been helpful, but I’m still struggling with this paper puppy — and working hard to get to the point where it reads smoothly and does what I want it to do. Definitely not there yet. But here’s what I know:

I know that it is getting better and moving in the right direction. I know that it conveys a lot about my characters and has some promising plot points. I know that it’s beginning to find a flow that feels natural and in harmony with the rest of my story.

Am I there yet? No. Do I feel that things are a bit messy and still in flux? Yes. But here’s the deal: I’ve decided to be OK with the uncertainty I’m feeling right now. I’ve decided to relax rather than tense up about it, because a relaxed mind is a creative mind — and that’s exactly what I need. So bring on the chaos, the confusion, the mixing and matching of bits of story, the up-in-the-air, unsettled feeling I have about my story’s beginning. I can handle it. All of it. And if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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2 Responses to Unleashing Uncertainty

  1. Joe Owens says:

    Karen i know you have a winner because I have read your posts before and feel like I have a sense of your ability. We are always our worst critic and I understand what you mean about the opening, It can be terrifying to think our hard work will be dismissed if we do not present the best face. I am glad to hear you have accepted that it will work out and you will not let this drive you nuts. I am anxious to hear how well it goes.

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement — they really gave me a boost! I so appreciate your support and vote of confidence. It really helps me to share where I am and the obstacles I’m facing with other writers — it reminds me that I’m not alone. I hope you work is going well and will keep you posted as my new Chapter 1 takes shape.

      Write on, Karin

      > To: kmja_w@hotmail.com >

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