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Preparing for a Change

June 19, 2010

IKEA Princess Cake

Before rewriting the first chapter, I’ve decided to look through the first three chapters and see what I need to keep in order to make it work.  I need to make sure that the readers care for the characters as much by the end of that one chapter, as much as at the end of the first two chapters.  That means that I need to drop a little backstory in the first chapter (nothing extensive, just a little), and then drop the rest of it throughout the book.  It shouldn’t be hard since I know of places which are perfect for it.  Still, I’ll need to shorten the backstory a lot.

–>  Don’t use a lot of backstory/reflecting in the first chapter.

I’ve decided to start the story from a complete different angle.  As it is now, the story begins with Eva (the PoV protagonist), at school, mostly thinking about the guy she likes, the school bully, and her life at home.  This is a lot of reflecting, and something online agents/editors don’t recommend.  The second chapter is more action where Eva leaves home to meet up with the rest of the characters.  This chapter is more interesting and there’s action in it, but since I’ve decided to remove the minor-plot that starts in this chapter (that was supposed to continue throughout the three books), the chapter doesn’t really work.  The third chapter is where the four teens face the main problem, that they’ll work on solving throughout the trilogy, but I’m hoping that I can shorten it to make the journey go faster.  The fun part really starts in the beginning of 2/3’d, and that’s much too late in the story, I think.

–>  Don’t make the story start off too slowly.  Get to the fun part fast.

My chapters are also around 8,000 words long, and I’m going to see if I can shorten them.  That doesn’t mean deleting 3,000 words from each, it just means that I’m going to see if I can split a chapter into two.  Currently, the book is 118,000 words long with 15 chapters.  If it works, it’ll be 102,000 long (by replacing the first three chapters with one) with 26 chapters.  100,000 words is a lot more sell-able than 120,000.  I read somewhere that, although tastes differ, the majority of YA teenagers prefer many short chapters as opposed to a few long chapters.  Randy suggests 2,500 words per chapter, but I think that’s too short.

–>  If writing YA, don’t keep the chapters too long.

Well, it’s still weekend, and I’m taking my twins to IKEA today.  Because the Princess of Sweden is getting married (and taking over the reign), IKEA is giving all kids that show up in prince or princess outfits sweets and cakes.  They also have an offer on princess-cakes (which are just yummy), and other Swedish food products.  Then we’re going to the movies (for their third time) to see Toy Story 3 (not 3D, one of the twins refused to wear the glasses last time).

Have a nice day!

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