I hope all is well with you. No complaints here in my neck of the woods. Yesterday, hubby watched the boys while I checked out the West Virginia Book Festival. This was the first year I attended the event and boy oh boy, I sure didn't know what I was missing.
The civic center spilled over with writers and publishers from all over the state. I met Rick Robinson, author of Manifest Destiny (political fiction). His book was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards. Rick was very personable and clearly knew his way around the publishing industry. He even gave me his e-mail address in case I had questions about the business. I bought a copy of his book and though I'm only a couple of chapters in, so far it's pretty interesting. A review will follow after I'm done.
I also won a full manuscript edit from Michael Knost, local editor and author of Writers Workshop of Horror. We discussed the rewrite of the first chapter of my book and I learned a lot. In the opening scene I go into a lot of detail about the setting and a bike race my heroine is competing in. Then, I get to the action where she crashes, is knocked unconscious, and has a vision of her father's murder.
Mr. Knost advised me to do away with the build up and start with the crash. He said most publishers only read the first five pages of a book before deciding whether it goes into the slush pile. With such a small window of opportunity to prove one's worth, the author must begin with a hook that entices the editor to read further.
Although it pains me to remove the prose I spent hours agonizing over, I have to take the long view. This said, I spent most of this morning re-writing the re-write of my first chapter. If the truth be told, it is more action packed than the first draft, or the second one, which is it???? I 'm sooo confused. Has anyone else ran into a similar problem with their opening chapter, or am I the Lone Ranger here? I'd be interested to read your thoughts. Until next time happy writing.