As I’m revising the first chapter of my first book (yet again), I can’t help but to feel that this chapter needs to be later in the book. Don’t get me wrong, Chapter 1 should be Chapter 1, but the way I wrote the book, the first three chapters are all introduction. The first chapter introduces the protagonist, Kara, the second chapter introduces a second important character, and the third chapter introduces another important character. I did this as a way to bring characters into play and give them a proper set-up and establish how they interact with each other. However, and this is kind of a feeling I got a few months ago when I went back and read the beginning of Chapter 4, I really think that the story actually starts moving in Chapter 4.
This is why my OCD hates me right now. It knows that Chapter 1 represents the beginning of the journey so should be first, but I know that the story may be better served with a start at Chapter 4. Given this, my OCD and I have come to a compromise.
My OCD still hates me; it’s just compromising.
What I’m thinking of doing is pulling a George Lucas. If anyone isn’t familiar with the Star Wars creator, here’s what he did: He released the fourth part of the Star Wars story as the first movie and later, about 15 years or so after giving us the fifth and sixth parts, went back to writing, directing, and releasing the first part of the story. Essentially, he gave us the story out of order, and I feel like I want to do the same thing. I mean, hey, it worked for George, so why can’t it also work for me in my quest to create a billion-dollar franchise that will become such a strong attachment for the most dedicated fans to the franchise that they will eventually hate me for any little thing I do to alter the originals or add to the story in any way?
So, in honor of George and his Star Wars saga, I’m moving Chapter 1 of my first book to after Chapters 4, 5, and 6. I’m not changing the chapter number; I’m simply moving it. In the table of contents, Chapter 4 will be first and Chapter 1 will be fourth. Why? I’m doing this to preserve the intended order in which to read the story. If a reader chooses to run straight through, starting with Chapter 4, that’s fine. If another reader – if I ever, by some miracle, happen to have more than one reader – chooses to flip to Chapter 1, bounce over to Chapter 2, and hop to Chapter 3 before skipping all the way back to Chapter 4, they’re welcome to do that.
Oh, speaking of Chapters 2 and 3, I found other places where they could fit nice and snug-like. The order I’m playing with, now, is as follows: 4, 5, 6, 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 2, 11, 12, 3, 13, 14, 15, and 16.
Yes, my OCD is screaming its head off at me right now. It’s saying things like, “People will think you can’t count!” What my OCD voice doesn’t know, though, is that my inability to count is overshadowed by my inability to care. Although, I think that may be the ‘Murica voice in me talking.
I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.
7 thoughts on “My OCD Hates Me Right Now”
I totally love how you are mixing the chapters up. I’m sure you are right about starting with chapter 4 because you want to grab your readers right away. Amazon lets you read the start of a book before you buy it, so the first chapter (4) is very important.
I agree, and that’s kind of been a struggle for me. I like stories that begin a bit slow and build to the climax. However, what I like and what other people want are more than likely two different things, and that’s where I have to allow myself to compromise in some way.
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it. 🙂
This is a fabulous idea. You will probably start a trend. Do you mind if I copy this in the future?
You’re totally welcome to do the same if it fits with what you’re writing (if you do it first, then you’ll start the trend 😉 ). It happens to work for me since the first three chapters can be used as flashbacks. Where I moved those chapters to in the new order allows for those flashbacks to take place. Somehow, it all just worked out that way.
I appreciate your comment. Thank you. 🙂
Oh this sounds awesome. I love that you’re pulling a Star Wars on the readers. I think if anything you’ve got to thank your OCD because things like these really help build the reader’s curiosity. Plus its something innovative, definitely worth a shot. Can’t wait to read this one, you’ve already got my attention. 🙂
You can’t wait to read it. I can’t wait to revise it. Yeah, I’m still procrastinating on revising my first novel.
Happens. Take your time, I like to think I’m a patient person.