1. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    What Makes A Good 2nd Chapter

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Donal, Dec 6, 2010.

    Ok so posts on how to open a story are a dime a dozen but I'm currently torn as to what the best approach to my second chapter would be. For example I could:

    - Introduce secondary plot and new character having used the first chapter for main plot

    - Set the scene and describe the world of the characters, after having the hook of chapter one

    - Should it be action paced or can the writer slow things down having established a hook in chapter one

    Is there a "best" route to go? I'm currently thinking of introducing a secondary plot with a new character.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There's no best way to proceed since this type of thing is unique to each book. Maybe you could write out a few different possibilities and see which one you think works best.
     
  3. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Thanks Thirdwind. I've already started writing it anyway. I've introuced a new character and use this chapter to do two things. Further the plot in chapter 1 giving another characters perspective and also very very slowly introducing elements of the subplot.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    needs to be good though - some publishers/agents skip straight to it because the first chapter is often dull and doesn't do the story justice. For me as a reader it is something draws me deep into the story from this point I expect to be engrossed.
     
  5. darthjim
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    darthjim Member

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    As has been said, it really depends. If you've started off at full tilt, hitting the ground running in chapter one, you may want to eases back and broaden the scope or deepen the reader's understanding of the characters/setting.

    On the other hand, you may want to crank it up to eleven and go for the "Holy hell, this is even nuttier than chapter one, I love this" reaction. All depends on what story you're telling and the characters you're telling it with really.

    Personally, I tend to race out of the blocks in chapter one and then ease off a tad for the next couple of chapters before ramping the action up again – but that suits the kind of stuff I like to read and write (sci-fi and fantasy). Probably wouldn't suit a slow-burning period piece.

    Although that'd be one Austen novel I'd read. Damn yeah...
     
  6. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Kill EVERYONE!
     
  7. darthjim
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    darthjim Member

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    Yeah, but what about the second chapter conundrum?
     
  8. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    It all depends on your story but I think the second chapter should have a build up up things to come.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no right/wrong or best/worst...

    just tell the story and make sure the second chapter follows naturally after the first...
     
  10. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    I don't normally divide chapters before they're written, I found it just added to the same question you have; how do I continue? Also, remember that if you don't like what happens you can edit it as much as you want later. As an excellent quote somebody has here says "We must beat the steel while it is hot, but we may polish it at our leisure."
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi Donal,

    I clicked on this thread because I'm debating with myself how to begin a chapter 2 as well, so I thought I'd see what people had to say on the topic.

    It's very true that -- as everyone else has pointed out -- it really depends on your story. No one can say the best way to start a new chapter without actually knowing what's supposed to happen in the story. ;)

    If you tell us a little more about your plot -- what's happened in chapter 1, and what you are trying to build up to later, maybe I can help give some advice on chapter 2.

    Not that I'm going to tell you what to do in your chapter or decide where your next step should be, because that's your job. But if you tell more about what needs to be accomplished, I could give suggestions on how to accomplish it. :)
     
  12. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Hi Mallory. I've started writing it anyway. Is about a character driven project about a young man who struggles with his own identity after losing his father and later learns that wasn't t his biological father.

    Chapter 1 - I aimed to establish the relationship between father and son. It basically involves the father taking some left over Christmas dinner to a family of Lucht Siúil on December 26th (thats a type of travelling gypsy that are a social group in Ireland - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Traveller) and gets his son to help. The father tries to convince the Traveller to take a house for himself and his family under a social welfare scheme instead of living in a caravan. The Traveller refuses and says its in his blood to do it and he could not stop being who he is, any more than a black person could stop being black. Father and Son decide to go to a sports game and drive back into the city.

    Chapter 2 what I had planned was to take a step away back from that and introduce the mother of the family. Through her I wanted to reveal more about their family dynamics. In this chapter I want her to learn the news that her husband and son have been involved in a car accident and both are in serious condition. I think the story would need that kick start.

    However I think that if you start with an action packed opening maybe ease it off. Its hard to tell. What do you think so given a bit more information. I'm still going to write it and see anyway :)
     

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