Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cardinal sin

I've committed a cardinal sin...my hero and heroine don't meet on the first page of my NV comp entry. I know they should but I had this opening hook in my head. And the way they meet is important for the next chapter. So they don't meet until page four. Which probably means I've just shot myself in the foot. *sigh*

I've sent off the re-written first chapter to my new CP. Hopefully, she'll have time to provide me some feedback before I embarrass myself and send it to the judges and the rest of the world to read. I'm not sure if my writing is ready to be sent out to the world just yet, but I have to start sometime, don't I?

So nerve wracking....

Please tell me, my wonderful blog readers - is it absolutely MANDATORY to have the hero and heroine meet on page 1 in a category romance?

27 comments:

Lacey Devlin said...

I know there's that "rule" but I believe that sometimes the story just won't allow it and to make up for it you need a rip roaring great first paragraph etc. Then again, I've never won or placed in one of these major competitions...

Hmm what we need is Jackie...

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lol, I'm not sure my advice is any more valid than anyone else's, but what I will say is that IATE - It's All in the Execution. The revised full ms of mine that was rejected, the h&h didn't meet physically until the end of chapter 1 (and it wasn't rejected because of that!). However, they were talking to one another from the very first page.
Probably what you need to ask yourself is why aren't they together on that first page? Is it the characters driving the story or are you manipulating them so you can have your hook? What would happen if you put them together on that first page? Do you really need them to be apart for so long?
I think it's not mandatory but as a reader, we want to see them together as soon as possible and so as a writer, if you don't have them together ASAP, you have to work extra hard to retain the reader's interest long enough for your characters to get together.
If you think it works as is, give it a go. But keep in mind what the reader wants to see and how you can keep them turning the pages.

Francine said...

Hi Angie,

I knew you were out there, seen your comments popping up here and there. Nevertheless, I'm glad to see you've been busy writing - good for the soul!

Re MCs meeting first page: it's a great pity this is considered so damned important for HM&B novels. After all, a little tease before actuality of one-on-one meeting between MCs is a huge page-turning lure for the reader. Nothing like "eyes across the room" for building a scene with immense intensity and often makes for a much cleverer opening chapter and cliffhanger of what next for chapter 2. I'm sick to death of the tired old clashing of personality sequences and, the other overdone opening of collision intro!

Anyhoo, good luck with the comp!

best
F

Maisey said...

Hey there, Angie. Not a hard and fast rule about page one! If you recall, Jilly who won the MH portion of the last comp had the heroine KISS another man before the hero was on screen. :)

As Jackie said, it IS all in the execution. You *do* want him in chapter on though. :)

Best of luck to you!

Madeleine said...

I was going to say 'absolutely, cardinal sin', BUT THEN I thought if your first pages hook the reader in there's a certain delicious anticipation in meeting the hero and heroine a little later than page one. So I hope your CP (whatever that stands for) agrees. Good luck!

Rachael Johns said...

If it makes you feel any better, I just checked and my h&H don't meet until page 3!!! :)

Angie Peters said...

Nice to see y'all have been busy commenting while I've been entertaining...

Lacey - so true that sometimes the story won't allow for hero and heroine to meet straight away. I think published authors can get away with it easier than aspiring authors. Problem is, I don't think I have a 'rip roaring' first paragraph *sigh*

Angie Peters said...

Hmmm...great questions, Jackie. See, I'm not 100% sure that my execution is effective. I never consciously thought about whether I was manipulating the characters to have a hook, but now that you've mentioned it...Oh God, I'm really not convinced this chapter is suitable for the comp as it is now :(

Thanks for the great insight - I owe you one :)

Angie Peters said...

Hi Francine,

Yes, I've been lurking. Keeping in my own little world as usual. And writing, as you mentioned - but it's been slow going.

Oh, I so hope that all the readers and the judges have your opinion on hero and heroine meeting in the first chapter:) Alas, I'm afraid the consensus is *for* hero and heroine meeting ASAP in a category romance. I've read some authors' advice which mentions it. I was just in denial, LOL.

Thanks for the good wishes for the comp. Are you entering, Francine?

Angie Peters said...

Hi Maisey,

Thanks for stopping over. Your blogs are some of the ones I lurk on (hope that doesn't come across as scary!). Love your writing advice :)

Thanks for the reminder about Jilly's winning MH entry - so true! But hers *was* a 'rip roaring' first chapter so, as a reader, you didn't mind at all that they didn't meet straight away.

As for the execution - not sure I have the skill yet to pull it off. Thanks for the reassurance and advice :)

Angie Peters said...

Oh, Madeline - I really hope I've achieved that 'delicious anticipation' that you mention. Not so sure though...Thanks for wishing me good luck. I need it, LOL. Are you entering the comp?

BTW, CP stands for Critique Partner. I haven't had the guts to show anyone my writing and decided to finally take the plunge :)

Angie Peters said...

Thanks for the reassurance, Rach :) Page 3's not too bad. I'm sure you'll pull it off :)

Maisey said...

LOL...lurk away Angie, but don't be afraid to comment. And thanks!

Angie Peters said...

I'll try to get out of my shell and comment more, Maisey :)

Lacey Devlin said...

I bet you do have a rip roaring first chapter! You don't get to turn onto the road of self doubt until AFTER you've entered :). There aren't any "rules" it's just about having a unique voice or concept etc that the judges like. It's so easy to decide it's all rubbish. The best of the best visit that dark place too. Take a moment to find all the things you love about your chapter, that'll get you back on track.

Angie Peters said...

Thanks, Lacey - you're so lovely :) Just the reassurance I need. LOL, re: self doubt after entering only. Can't chicken out now that I've announced to everyone that I'm entering. So I'll just have to suck up the doubt and jitters :)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Angie, now you know why I didn't say anything about entering till that last blog post! Wasn't sure I was going to enter either. But now I've kind of announced it...groan. Let's all be jittery together!

Angie Peters said...

LOL, Jackie - yep, let's be jittery all together!

For me, announcing I'm going to enter has made me commit to that promise. I didn't want to chicken out :)

Francine said...

Hi,

Nope, not entering - can't I've been published before!

I've been checking out the site though and posted a few comments: the ranking system stinks!!!

The ranking and comments do not tally - half the comments are only showing up in "debate" not on the chapter pages: equally do not tally a total per author!

best
F

Angie Peters said...

That's a shame about the ranking system, Francine. Hope they fix it soon - especially before the 50/50 judging round!

Sorry you can't enter - but at least you can read the entries and comment :)

Francine said...

Hi,

Yep, can comment and rate - when it's working properly. I've seen roses go pink then fade again, which seems a bit odd.

What I hate is bitchy commments, constructive criticism is fine but negative for negative sake is bitching of the worst kind - if I notice that sort of comment I feel compelled to get in there and slap the bitch about the head with something positive!

Someone I know has already pulled her chapter from the site. It was a superb suspense chapter and all it got was shit comments other than a few commendations. I don't get why some people resort to nasty input - it's up to the judges in the end, so why be unpleasant! They'll pick what they've already decided on. I would if I was a judge. I'd be watching the chapters as they go up and rating the viable ones straight off! ;)

Hope you do well.
best
F

Lacey Devlin said...

Hi Angie! Just wanted to pop by and tell you that I think you and your entry are great! You have a fab voice!

I can't decide whether it's harder to have it out there being voted on or to be getting it ready to submit. What say you?

Less than two weeks until the judging now :).

Lacey Devlin said...

PS I'm clever enough to have misplaced my password to New Voices but when I find it/ remember it I'll be sure to leave a comment!

Angie Peters said...

Oh, that's such a shame about the writer who pulled her chapter from the site, Francine. To be honest, I've sorta gone to ground since I entered my chapter so haven't really spent time reading the comments. I think we're all afraid of nasty comments - it's very difficult putting your writing out there! I hope that particular writer is not damaged by those comments. I've actually experienced that before and it prevented me from writing for 10 years! Never again...

Angie Peters said...

Aww, thanks so much, Lacey :) You're support is SO appreciated - it's really scary putting your chapter up there not knowing whether it sucks or not. I feel a bit like Nancy No Friends when other people's chapters are getting all the attention and comments, LOL. It's nice to have a friendly face, so to speak :)

I'd say getting it out there for comments and votes is harder. I don't want to dissuade you from entering though! I wouldn't exactly call it fun...but it's a valuable experience, nevertheless.

Madeleine said...

Hi Angie
No I didn't enter that comp, didn't give myself enough time, though I'm now writing a 6,000 word short story that is quite harrowing, but has some romance within it. So how did your get allocated a CP? I hope the relationship is mutually productive. Again good luck
Madeleine

Angie Peters said...

Hi Madeleine,

There's still time if you want to enter the NV comp - first round doesn't end until Sept 22nd. Short story, eh? They're really hard to write. Good luck!

As for the CP, I got a match through the Romance Writers of Australia Critique Partner register. It's still early days yet in our CP relationship. I'm thinking of joining a critique group...need to find one first, LOL.

Thanks for wishing me luck :)

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