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  1. Cerrus

    Cerrus Senior Member

    Feb 3, 2011
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    Right Behind You

    Getting through a chapter

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cerrus, Mar 24, 2011.

    Hey guys what's up? I have a problem while writing. I've just started on the first chapter and I'm stuck. I can't get through it. It's really hard for me to think of what is going to happen throughout the chapter to make it not boring.

    Here's what's going on:

    A group of guys are going on a mission and the main character is giving the orders while sitting at a desk.

    How am I supposed to make this enticing!? This chapter has become very boring because the MC is just saying "Ok, make left Bob." "Joe you need to go north." "Bob, I said left!". Perhaps I could make my main character where he's taking orders, but how do I tell the reader what the other people are doing? This first chapter has been so difficult that I've lost the will to write. It has gone on hold for too long and I need help to complete it. Sorry if I haven't explained this too well. Please help me!
  2. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    Several options:

    1) Skip the meeting and just have MC chatting with his men more informally about it afterwards.

    2) Bring him round perch him on the edge of the desk and include interaction, and a stirring rousing the troops speech for example:

    Colnel McGinty knew this mission was beyond anything his new recruits had ever faced before. He perched on the edge of desk as they filed into the room. 'Good morning men.'

    'Hey Sir, where are we going?' Jack says with false bravado.

    'Yeah no one has said anything.' Peter says taking a seat to to the left of the desk.
  3. VM80

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Nov 16, 2010
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    Perhaps you need to do some more planning. Think about what's important, think about the men's motivation.

    The opening of a book needs to grab the reader.

    If you post a part of it in the review section, I'll be happy to look at it.
  4. Bay K.

    Bay K. Contributing Member

    Mar 6, 2011
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    Hang in there, Cerrus. We all go through this --on some level.

    -- First, you have to have a defined main idea / purpose for each chapter.
    What is the main thing --event, dialogue, setting, conflict, emotion, etc.-- that you're trying to achieve in that section? Then, work in the details.

    -- Second, the nature of the dialogue keeps the piece interesting and engaging.
    Two people can be in the same spot, doing nothing throughout the entire piece, but their dialogue can make the work richer than another with a thousand characters and events. ('Waiting For Godot' is a rough example).
    It's not the quantity of the content, but its quality.

    Ok, let's take the example you put out:
    -- Describe the room where the orders are being given. (Anything of interest here?).
    -- What kind of mission is it?
    -- What are the mind set and emotions of the MC and the other characters? (Are they excited about the mission, scared, etc.).
    -- Give us more of a taste into the personalities of (some of) the characters.
    -- Spice up the dialogue.

    MC looks steadily at Bob. In combat he wouldn't want anyone else beside him. The boy was wired for danger. But, in retaining simple instructions, the lad was a dimwit.
    "Bob, I want you going left, on the Huchin trail, got that?"
    Bob looks pensive, scratches his head and nods. The MC swallows his frustration.
    "Bob, what did I just say?" His eyes bore into the sergeant (Bob).
    Still scratching, "Huchin trail ... left ...," Bob answers, trying to remember if there was more.
    "You got it, tiger. Huchin trail, to the left." MC tries to sound supportive and encouraging. There is nothing of significance to the left. The kid is only a decoy to lure the enemies out of their hiding spots. The MC isn't worried about him though. A pack of lions couldn't take Bob if he were alone in the Serengeti.
    "Joe, I want you up north. Use the glacier caps for cover. You see any of those bastards out there, you radio back immediately." Joe dramatically takes a stiffer stance at attention. He is Mc's most reliable scout.
    Abruptly, MC turns back to Bob with a stern countenance. "Where are you headed, sergeant?!" he demands.
    Bob, wide eyed and taken a-back, rattles, "Uhh, north on the Huchin trail, sir, through the ice caps."
    MC closes his eyes tight shut and grits his teeth. "Jesus Christ, Bob ...!".

    Hope my rambling here somewhat helped. :)
    Good luck.

    Be good, wise and strong --or don't be at all
    1 person likes this.
  5. Ion

    Ion Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2011
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    It's important to know where to start. If you don't want to write about meetings, don't start with one. If you don't want to write about every day life, don't start with your character moving into a house.

    Know what you want to write. Start there. Are you dreaming about action? Open with a bang. You want to write characters? Open with a conversation about something important to the story.

    Take a look at the first Harry Potter. JK Rowling is obviously excited about magic, so she opens with some magical characters popping into Privet Drive.

    Once you establish your interests in your writing, it will become much easier to work through the slow points to what you want to explore.
  6. funkybassmannick

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Mar 22, 2011
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    Chicago, IL
    There are a lot of great suggestions other people have told you. Obviously, you should consider them and work your best at finishing your first chapter.

    Sometimes, however, after a ton of thinking and conceptualizing your first chapter, you still don't have any good ideas... at least not yet. Do you have a somewhat fleshed-out story structure? If you do (and you should), move on to whatever is next. I find sometimes that when I get creatively stuck in a certain chapter, it's better to skip it and move on to the next scene. Keep the momentum going, and come back to it later. Sometimes I'll get a great idea for it a few weeks later while I'm in the shower or driving.

    Overall, for the first draft, I think the best goal is to try to get to the end. Write whatever comes out, even if it's super cheesy and the tone sounds like it was written by a fifth grader. Leave all the beautiful prose and more interesting scenes for Draft #2.

    Basically, I think it can be good to force ideas, but if you are truly stuck, move on to the next part.
  7. Cerrus

    Cerrus Senior Member

    Feb 3, 2011
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    Right Behind You
    Thanks for all your suggestions and tips guys, perhaps I may be able to get through this chapter. Once again, thanks.
  8. Arathald

    Arathald Contributing Member

    Mar 11, 2011
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    I'm going to agree with what was said here, but add something a bit more radical:

    Anything that makes it into your novel has to have a purpose to it. If you drone on and on about something inconsequential to the plot (or any of the subplots), you're going to lose your readers. A big part of an author's job is to know when to cut scenes out of his or her work. Believe it or not, 100,000 words (give or take) isn't a lot to tell a novel-scope story in. You have to be rather selective as to what makes it in and what doesn't.

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