Did I ever explain the origins of my current work in progress? I didn't? Oh, you mean you weren't paying attention? Or you forgot? So be it. Pull up a chair.
Some years back I wrote a story about a kid who lives on a pirate ship. It was a grand adventure set in a world already familiar to our characters, who'd been running around on the high seas for a few years already. As my first attempt at novel writing, it came in around 100,000 words. A bit on the high side for middle grade, but what did I know? I'd written the greatest story ever told. It had only one weakness. I didn't like the beginning. So I went back and tried to re-write it. It didn't work. I tried again. No luck. I must have tried five or six or a dozen new chapter ones, only to toss them all in the trash.
Then, I wrote one I liked. It explained the origins of our hero, and how he came to live on a pirate ship. And then I screwed the whole thing up by jumping ahead a bunch of years to chapter 2 of the already completed story. That didn't feel right either. After all, a whole heckuva bunch of stuff happened in those intervening years. Why not tell those stories? The whole story. So, my already written, way too long novel, was set aside while I wrote the origin story. Guess what happened? I became a much better writer along the way, and wrote, what I believe to be a much better story. After meeting a few other writers and some agents at a conference in January, I decided it needed a re-write. It was still too long so I set a goal of cutting it down to less than 60,000 words.
Goal accomplished. It is now complete at a tightly written, 59,909 words. I will soon send it to beta readers and then off to queryland.
There's just one problem.
I still don't like the first chapter. Bits of it I like, but I need to rearrange it. And cut a little more. You can never cut enough.
Does anyone else suffer extreme disappointment at their opening chapters? Tell me I'm not alone.