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Struggling with Chapter 1? TIP: Don’t start with Chapter 1.

Struggling with Chapter 1? TIP: Don’t start with Chapter 1.

Are you staring at a blank screen wondering when the magic is going to happen and Chapter One is going to brilliantly flow from your fingers?

No gonna happen.

Well, it could. It could also snow this morning. Could also be sunny. Could also have the first tornado in The Netherlands.

But not likely.

Here’s something that will happen today: the sun will rise.

The sun wants to come up. It has to come up. It’s going to come up.

My main character wants to exist, he wants to come out from hiding under the (extremely heavy and huge) boulder he’s trapped under. That boulder is often called Chapter One.

So I’m just going to come out and say it: skip chapter one.

“But,” you cry. “All books needs a chapter one!’ you scream.

Ah, dear writing friend, of course. But what most don’t know is that those fabulous chapter ones were written later–sometimes even at the end.

“But chapter one is the beginning! It’s where it all happens. Where the story begins.” you whine, tears forming in your eyes as I go against all of what you know.

Yes, you can–and will–write it later. Just not now.

My dear character Charlie Holiday has been stuck in the quick sand of the introduction for days now. He’s had it. He wants out. He wants to get in to the action. He wants to get into the flow of the story.

Do you know who also wants action? Who also wants to get into the flow of the story?

Your reader. Sorry, your readers.

They want it. Give it to them. Lay it on thick. Jump right on into the action and start your story there.

Later, possibly much later, you’ll come back to Chapter One with a fresh eye, a bursting heart, and a ready pen. Then it will be easy. Then it will make sense. Then it will be fun and flow.

But not yet. Skip it. It’s OK. Tell everyone who questions you that I said it was OK, that Charlie Holiday gave you a free pass. They’ll know, they’ll understand, they’ll succumb.

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