There's something that I've come to realize recently. It's a bit embarrassing to admit. Every one of my chapters needs to be interesting in order for my book to be good.
Um, yeah. That sort of seems obvious, right? You would think.
But I guess its not. I had 2 chapters right at the very beginning of my book that weren't interesting at all. I should have figured this out when one of my first beta readers - an 18 year old girl - and a huge Twilight fan - put the book down after about 10 pages and said "I don't really like this style book." She couldn't put it into words any better than that. She shouldn't need to. I should have taken a good look at things then. Her mother (my best friend) had also read the book and said to her "No!! Keep reading! Once you get to chapter 3 you'll totally love it."
Once you get to chapter 3.
That should have been my second clue.
Something interesting needs to happen each and every chapter. Moving to a new town is not interesting enough. Moving to a new town, discovering that your new housemate is a drug dealer, and meeting a group of hot boys who speak a different language - that you just so happen to know...that's getting better. Also meeting your new best friend and finding out everyone in school thinks that you are someone you're not....perhaps we have a winner.
Your chapter cannot be "I went to school and I had a conversation with my mom and then I went to bed with my nerves on edge." It just can't. It will never be published. Now, if you went to school and your guidance counselor hit on you/told you you would never amount to anything/advised you to kill yourself before the zombies broke down the door and THEN you went home and had a conversation with your mother and she told you that she wasn't actually your mother, that you had been found in a grocery bag at Walmart and she had taken you in and your actual mother had been by that day looking for you and THEN you went to bed and you were really nervous because your window was standing wide open and there was a ladder pushed up against the outside of the house and hey...did the closet door just twitch? Now that's a chapter. Probably a pretty crappy one, unfortunately. You can't just throw everything and the kitchen sink in there. You've gotta make it believable too, and readable.
So I need to go through my manuscript once more, not just looking for the inevitable typo, or the loose plot thread that doesn't seem to go anywhere. No, this time, I need to make sure my chapters are interesting enough. In the big chapter towards the end, where Ryan tells Sydnee everything, is *everything* interesting enough? Because ultimately, it's just a conversation. A really, really long conversation that ends with them going to bed. And no, not together. So that's not the interesting part either. But I can't just have a crocodile poke his head in the door and snap off a character's leg or anything. I need to craft it. And maybe I don't need to do anything. His story's pretty intense. But......intense enough? I dunno. If something big HAPPENED, I would say so. But they talk. That's it. I think something needs to HAPPEN.
It's alarming how much of a revelation this is to me. Better now than never though.
You can quote me - New Leaf has an All Hands On Deck meeting once a week to plot world domination, and stalking of snacks. We open the meeting with an invocation to the book...
12 hours ago