Recently, I had the good fortune of winning two different critiques on the first few pages of my NaNo WIP, StarSong. One from Roni Loren and the other from her agent Sara Megibow. They just returned my critiques and wow! So helpful! Roni picked out so many areas that were concerns for me anyway, and Sara gave such great advice, as well as some surprising praises.
I was so mind-bogglingly lucky to win both these critiques, but now I'm back to square one with my WIP and doing a first chapter rewrite. UGH! First chapters are always my weak spots. I can never seem to nail it like I want. And I've read all the popular guides: The First Five Pages, Hooked, etc. But I always have trouble getting it like it needs to be.
Roni's and Sara's feedback was such a humongous help, and it's a start in the right direction. I've already rewritten chapter one and I'm going to sit on it awhile and let it slow cook. Meanwhile, I plan to go back and reread some writing manuals to see if I'm on the right track.
I'm looking forward to getting caught up with all of your blogs in the next few weeks. My apologies for not having been around as much.... I was just so consumed with my WIP.
But I leave you with some words of wisdom from Noah Lukeman. May it help get you where you need to be with your own WIPs:
Forget the writing before you and instead summon your original intention when setting out to write your book. Go over each chapter and ask yourself what your goal was when you set out to write that chapter. Did you have any general ideas about where you wanted it to go? Did it go there? If not, where did you go off course? When you went off course, could it be the source of some other point? Does it belong here? Can you add anything to the chapter to help bolster your original intention?
On a side note, my love letter to Sirius Black for the Harry Potter Blogfest made it to the top 5. Yay! If you wouldn't mind hopping on over to Michael's blog and voting (up in top right hand corner of his blog) I'd appreciate it. Of course, I'd love you to vote for me, but read the other entries too... they're all fantastic and fun. Vote for your fave! I'm sure all the contestants would appreciate it. :)
Now, what techniques, if any, do you have for nailing that dynamite chapter one? Is it a weak area for you too? If not, share your wisdom.