Christian Romance Author Liz Isaacson: Starting With Chapter One

Monday, February 2, 2015

Starting With Chapter One

I've been writing for a while. I've started and finished four books now. No, I don't think they're all fantastic, but I do like two of them. I think they're worth cleaning up, polishing, and sending out to beta readers. 

Since I just decided this year to submit my work, that's exactly what I've been doing. I just sent my manuscript, SUMMER'S ALMOST OVER, to a friend and critique partner for her feedback. And the waiting can be difficult. 

So I decided to start another book. I have a romance planning sheet, and I spent a few days thinking of the characters, the setting, and the problems. Then I started writing.

And there's so much more to writing that first chapter than just going for it. I think writing chapter one is the hardest thing ever!

First, I don't know my characters all that well. I do a little planning, but I don't do detailed character sheets. I know some authors who do. I don't need to do that before I start. I can usually go back in the revision process and "fix" my characters.

Second, I don't know the setting that well. There's only so much Google maps can help me with. So I find myself doing a lot of online research before I can actually write the first chapter. I'd scheduled to write most of the day on Saturday, but I really spent most of the day looking up information about Maine, and deep-sea fishing, and what a fishmonger does.

So while I did get quite a few words down on paper, I think some details will still need to be fleshed out. I'm okay with that. When I'm drafting, I like to simply go. I like to get the book down in a couple of weeks, tops. 

But man. Starting with that first chapter... that seems to take forever!

What's your writing process? Do you fill out an outline, planning sheet, character profiles? Or do you just go for it?

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