the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

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jordynface
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the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by jordynface » February 25th, 2010, 4:07 am

(i'm not sure if this should go here or in the 'finding an agent' forum - apologies if it's in the wrong place.)

Three edits and thirty-five (sent) queries after finishing my novel, I think I've finally figured out where the beginning should be.

Problem is, the place the story truly begins is two chapters into the book. I know I should have caught this long ago, but as much as I fretted about the beginning of this novel, it was never obvious to me until earlier today. The beginning I have is fine -- well-written, sets up the characters, is not technically wrong in any way.

BUT
I don't think it's as likely to catch (and keep) the attention of an agent.

My question is: should I rewrite/rework my beginning and send the revised version to any future agents who may ask for partials/fulls, or should I decide I'm overthinking things, let it be, and see what happens?

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JustineDell
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by JustineDell » February 25th, 2010, 7:52 am

jordynface wrote:
Problem is, the place the story truly begins is two chapters into the book.
I think you may have answered your own question here. It's hard for me to say because I haven't read it, but if you think your story starts two chapters in, what do you think other people will say? Do you think an agent/publisher will sludge through those first two chapters reading only about character set-up to get to the actual story?

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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shadow
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by shadow » February 25th, 2010, 8:28 am

I agree with Justine. Start in medias res.
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r louis scott
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by r louis scott » February 25th, 2010, 10:20 am

I think it is critically important to draw a reader in on that first page or two.

How many times have you been in a bookstore or library and watched someone flip open a book, read a bit, and return the book to the shelf without turning to the next page? Nathan asks for the first five pages with a submission. You need him to WANT page six!

If you are questioning your opening, look at it again from this perspective. Which opening gets the reader to make that critical decision to turn the page?

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dios4vida
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by dios4vida » February 25th, 2010, 11:28 am

i just started edits on my novel, and I had the exact same problem. Well-written, great set-up, but the story really started in chapter 2. It was even 3,000 words for me, too, believe it or not.

It was one of the hardest things but I cut those 3,000 words out completely. I struggled with it a lot but once I fixed up the "new" beginning the story is much crisper, cleaner, and dog-gone-it, I like this "new" beginning even better!

What I also did is started a new document called "Cuts" and anything that I cut from my ms but thought was great writing, development, or anything else I put into "Cuts" to be used in another story. No use wasting those 3,000 words entirely.

Sometimes we have to do painful things as an author for the betterment of the story. It's just like have kids (or pets, in my case). You have to take them to the doctor to get shots and meds. They hurt and for a while they don't feel well but it's for their own good. It might be painful to cut pages and pages you've poured your heart into, but in the end your story will benefit from having the strength to do what's right.

Good luck!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

jordynface
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by jordynface » February 25th, 2010, 1:34 pm

Thank you all. :)

Follow-up question: if one of the agents who currently has a partial asks for the full, should I send the revised version even though it'll be different from the partial, or would that be frowned upon/unprofessional?

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dios4vida
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by dios4vida » February 25th, 2010, 2:56 pm

I don't know for sure, but I would think that you should send the revised version. Just make sure to note in your cover letter/email that you have revised it since sending the partial.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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marilyn peake
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Re: the start of my story is 3,000 words in.

Post by marilyn peake » February 25th, 2010, 8:33 pm

I agree with everyone else ... I would start your novel wherever you think the best beginning is.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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