How many times have you re-written Chapter 1?

Guys, I must be a total dweeb.  I think I’ve re-written Chapter 1 of my novel 30 times if I’ve written in once.  As I write this, I’m in the process of re-writing it again!  Why?  Why do I keep fudging with it?

I have to admit this time it is much better and it moves the story forward faster and I can cut a bunch of words, but didn’t I do that the last time?  If I keep doing this, Chapter 1 may be gone and Chapter 3 will take its place.  Then Chapter 3 will dwindle away to make room for Chapter 9 to take over.  Ahhhhh!!!  Before I know it, my book will be about 30 pages long…the shortest fantasy novel in history!!!

Hey!  Wait a minute!  *snaps fingers*.  That’s it!  I’ll make it the shortest fantasy book ever!  I can do that!  But wait…no I can’t.  Writing means editing which means the first 10 words will be replaced by the next 10…page 4 will replace page 1, and so on, and so on until there’s nothing left.  My story will fall into oblivion.

Wait!  *snaps fingers*  Did I just find two more titles for books in that rant?  Who would have thunk?

How many times have you re-written Chapter 1?

22 thoughts on “How many times have you re-written Chapter 1?

  1. Great topic, J. Keller. Wish I had thought of this one. Let’s see on chapters rewrites:
    The Triloriad Book One: Rewritten 10 times (this is my masterwork, guess I’ve been more obsessive about it)
    Shade One: Rewrote three times
    Shade Two: Only once (got far more experience by then!)
    Elf Wars One: Four times (including the throwing away of the first draft of the entire book)
    Adventure Series One: Three times


  2. Hi Jenny. We found each other from Triberr and you visited and commented on one of my blog posts. So I decided to come over and see your blog and I really like it.

    I think I must have rewritten my first chapter of my now published YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, about 50 times. I rewrote it every time I sent it out and then rewrote it so many more times. I think the reason is that when you finish the book you realize you want to change your first chapter to make more sense. You want it to reflect all the information you have put into the next chapters and make the reader want to keep reading. You want to foreshadow almost everything in the book, yet you need to keep it fresh and inviting. This is a tall order, so you keep rewriting it until it works. Occasionally you will have to go back and rewrite a few chapters because of what you did in the first one, but most of the time that is the only chapter that is ever really honed. As an editor, usually the first chapter needs the least work, but there are always exceptions.


  3. I love the new look.
    From my one win at NaNoWriMo in 2011, I leaned that one must push on if one wants to finish a story. I think I learned to chant about revision anytime I wanted to go backward.


  4. ***Gack*** Let’s see. You’ve read at least 15, right? And you haven’t read any in about a year. If we figure at lest two revisions a month????? Too many times… And I recently went back and read it again, I like “what happened” but I thought the writing was CR@P.

    I guess there’s at least one more on the horizon.

    I think I’m solid with the begining of my new WIP. I think it’s perfect. Maybe a little spit and polish, but that’s it.


  5. Too many times to mention and still tweaking… Always something can be improved… doesn’t stop at the first chapter either. Tweaking, learning, trying new tricks all part of the writing process, in my experience.


    1. How true. I’ve heard best-selling authors say they wish they could continue tweaking their novels even after they were published. I wonder if an artist is every truly happy with his/her work.


  6. Many, many times. Chapter 1 for novels, scene 1 for stories. It’s the most difficult to write because it has to do so much work. If you can’t show your talent in the first chapter/scene, then what hope for the rest of the book?

    On the other hand…you have to let it go sometime… 😉


  7. I still have at least 3 versions of Withershins on my computer, not to mention all the ones that were simply rewritten! Starting around the end of chapter 2 or beginning of chapter 3 is usually the way to go. Jump into the action and work in any back story you may have left out in conversations, or just hint at it, whichever works best for you – if it even needs to be added back in! You’ll know when it feels right. 🙂


      1. I could read my work a thousand times and still feel I need to change a word here or rearrange a sentence there. There comes a point when you have to step away and say enough is enough. If you still feel insecure about it, ask your critique partner. I’m sure they will give you their honest opinion. 🙂


  8. Too many times to count. Stephen King in his “On Writing” says the second draft should be 10% less than the first. Here’s hoping I choose the right 10%. 🙂


  9. Oh my, do you really want to know? The Glass Man. 50+ before I lost count. It just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to. After reading the first chapters of about 10 books I liked, it finally dawned on me what the problem was. I needed to start in the middle of the action. Once that last little light went on in my head, I got it the first try.


    1. Yes, actually I think I’ve got it this time and it hit me the same way. It took reading about 10 novels for the light to go off. It sounds so much better now.


Please join in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.