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Thought for the Day

If you want an agent to read the middle chapters of the book because “that’s where things get exciting,” you should probably consider editing the entire book to make it all exciting.


Category: Blog


  1. Ha! So true. I recently did an email critique for another writer. I basically told her that the first half of her short story wasn't needed. It gave us only two pieces of relevant information and was paragraphs long. I never heard back from her. Not even a 'thanks but I disagree.' 🙂

  2. It's so easy to start a story too early, and get attached to the idea that beginning is necessary because it gives information to the reader. It's often not really the case, and the information can be imparted elsewhere. It does get easier over time, though!

    Haha, on my current WIP, an exciting scene happened earlier than I anticipated. I decided this wasn't a bad thing.

  3. Too true. 🙂

    I think that writers might get a bit confused about what "exciting" means, though. The beginning could still be good, but maybe they want you to read their intense action scene first. Or maybe they spent more time on the "exciting" parts because they were more fun to write. In which case they should polish the whole thing, not just the fun bits.

  4. That's hilarious.
    I can just see it on a book jacket:

    "This book will have you on the edge of your seat – as long as you start with the middle chapters."

  5. The late George C. Chesbro had an interesting gimmick when he wrote his "Mongo the Magnificent" detective novels. The opening chapter was actually chapter 3 or 4, at the heart of the action. Then the next chapters led up to just after the end of the first chapter. Open the book and you're already hooked!

  6. Yes! As soon as a paper copy is in some reader's hot little hands, I suddenly know what pages I'm looking forward to them reading. It's hard to know until it's happening!

    Reading work aloud in a workshop is illuminating. When something "gets good", all the fidgeting stops.

  7. Let's try this again….

    That's why I always start my books at the ENDing. That's where the real good stuff is. Hey, it worked for "Memento."

    I am SO not a morning person.

  8. Well, there goes my plan to whimper my way onto the not-quite-bestseller list with my novel, "A Series Of Almost Interesting Events."

  9. @ Gilbert:

    Well, consider that the last three chapters of the Star Wars movies were written first. It sure makes it easier to work your way to the end if you know what that end looks like.

    My $0.03.

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