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First chapters
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 6:36 PM
Joined: 2/28/2011
Posts: 6

I've written 60,000 words on a sci-fi space opera that I need to rewrite. Right now, I'm mostly nattering over the opening chapter.

This is my problem: the first chapter starts out on Earth but the rest of the book is in space on a giant exploratory space vessel. I question setting the first chapter on earth when the rest of the book has nothing to do it with it. However, this is where the two protagonists meet. This meeting sets the tone for their relationship for the rest of the book.

I'm debating about starting the book on the ship and flashing back to the meeting on earth.  But I'm not sure if that is the best thing to do.


Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 9:29 AM
Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 11

If the first chapter is holding up your rewrite, it might be an idea to set it aside for the time being and see where the rewrite takes the rest of the story. You could find that having gone through the whole thing, the story takes care of it for you. It might also present a completely different way to handle it that you haven't thought of as yet.

Sometimes I find it I have something huge I need to change, starting with the smaller changes makes it much easier to get my head around the inevitable big change. Read through the ms with revision in mind, make lots on notes in a separate file or on paper, and then go back and see what you think.

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 11:18 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Either flashback, or foreshadow the trip to space right from the start, so that the transition is gradual.
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 4:08 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103

When in doubt, I write it both ways and see what happens. One way will come out far superior.
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 8:54 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 25

What's the setting for the meeting on Earth? If you include some hints either that your characters will be going into space soon or at least that space travel is possible, I think you'll be fine. Maybe have a news report on TV or something that talks about the upcoming trip? You just need to set the tone enough to make it clear the book is sci-fi.
Jessie Kwak
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 7:43 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 27

How important is it to show the meeting of the characters? Is that really where the story starts, or would it work just as well to mention the context of their meeting later on?
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 6:40 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

My thoughts are... if the first chapter has nothing to do with the rest of the book really, I won't be interested in the book overall. I would start the closest to the end of the story you get, and flush out the memories of meeting as reminiscence between the characters during the book. I have a tendency of adding too much to the start of my stories and have to cut out to get to where the story *truly* begins.

If your book takes place on the spacecraft, start it on the spacecraft. The rest seems to be just memories to me, unless there is something earth-shattering in that first chapter that directly drives the climax of the novel.

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