L.K. Madigan (lkmadigan) wrote,
L.K. Madigan

My First Poll

I lifted this from saraharonson’s blog for today’s poll.

“Monday morning discussion
Courtesy of David Zuppke

What do your opening scenes resemble?

A dive?
A swim?
A wade?”

In my WIP, the first chapter is, I think, a swim. I introduce some characters and give them a conflict, but not the life-altering problem that will drive the plot – i.e., the chapter ends with the boy’s girlfriend stalking off, and we don’t know why she’s mad.

BUT. The last line of my second chapter is the one that (in theory) will make the reader (metaphorically) gasp. It introduces the central conflict of the narrative.

My question:

Must the first chapter be a dive?

One of my crit group members (hi, Pam!) says that she wants to know in the first ten pages where the story is going. She thinks my second chapter should be the opener.

I’m worried that this is the desire of all editors and agents.

At the 2004 New York SCBWI, I remember Michael Stearns (of Harcourt, at the time) saying, “If the voice is right, you’ll follow it anywhere. You don’t even care what the story is about. Plot can be fixed. Voice is harder to capture.”

I think my MC’s voice is strong. Happily, so do my crit buddies. But I’m plagued by doubt.

So here’s my poll:

Poll #555095 Getting the characters in the water

Must the first chapter be a dive?

Move stuff around and open with the chapter that will give the reader a jolt
Leave it the way it is – the MC’s voice is funny and his parents are quirky
Rewrite to combine the two
Stop bothering me with your navel-gazing poll
You’re at work – stop goofing off
Tags: writing life

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