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CryingKatie
10-08-2015, 02:07 AM
Just wondering. Most agents I've looked up ask for the first three chapters. But what if the interesting stuff does happen until later chapters? Would the agents still be interested if she likes the description you gave in the query?

Helix
10-08-2015, 02:18 AM
Put interesting stuff in the first three chapters as well. How many people are going to read through three dull chapters before buying a book?

buz
10-08-2015, 02:21 AM
Make the first three chapters not-boring.

Some parts of your book may be more exciting than others, but no part of your book should be boring.

mccardey
10-08-2015, 02:23 AM
Just wondering. Most agents I've looked up ask for the first three chapters. But what if the interesting stuff does happen until later chapters? Would the agents still be interested if she likes the description you gave in the query?

The first three chapters have to be interesting regardless of what stuff does or doesn't happen. They're packed with incident - introducing your characters and setting, laying the groundwork for your idea or theme or story, acclimating the reader to your "voice". Interesting doesn't just refer to things happening - it means things being as well.

Viridian
10-08-2015, 02:44 AM
Cut them.

:e2chain:

Osulagh
10-08-2015, 04:14 AM
The first three chapters are boring? What to do?

You make the rest of the book as interesting as possible.

And then you make the first three chapters even more interesting.

Sage
10-08-2015, 04:23 AM
Cut them.

:e2chain:

This was my first thought too, but everyone else is also right that there are other options, such as revising them to be more interesting (if they truly are uninteresting)

mayqueen
10-08-2015, 05:06 AM
Cut them.

:e2chain:
This was also my reaction. A lot of times, boring first three chapters are because the writer doesn't know where the story starts. Figure out where your story starts and begin there. Weave the back story in later.

Trust me, I've been there. Out of the first five chapters of the manuscript I'm currently querying, two remain.

Toothpaste
10-08-2015, 05:07 AM
I always found the advice of beginning one's book with an explosion (either literal or metaphorical) and mid action of some kind so annoying that I literally began one of my YA novels with "And then there was an explosion." It was my little dig at that advice because for me the story needs to begin, yes, when it most needs to begin, but it doesn't have to be ACTION and EXPLOSIONS and OMG THIS IS SO EXCITING. It just needs to captivate. It needs to hold the reader's attention. It needs to be interesting.

When you say your beginning is boring do you mean that or do you mean that there is more action later on? If your beginning is truly boring then that needs to be changed, no one wants to read something boring. But if it starts slowly, if it simmers, and bubbles, and is compelling in a quiet way. If the reader has to keep turning the page because the character you are introducing to them is so fascinating or funny or sad or any myriad of things, then that's not boring.

Yes, often stories need to start a little later than authors think they should, but that doesn't mean a quiet beginning isn't an effective beginning.

mayqueen
10-08-2015, 05:10 AM
Oh yes, the difference between "action" and "not boring" is important. I'd define "not boring" as tension or conflict. Each sentence, each paragraph, each page, needs to have some reason for the reader to keep going (other than "getting to know the characters / setting / etc"). Take Sarah Waters's recent novel THE PAYING GUESTS for example. If memory serves, the main character spends the first like three chapters or something cleaning her house. But there is something just so captivating about it that you have to keep reading.

Writer MMS
10-08-2015, 05:24 AM
Just wondering. Most agents I've looked up ask for the first three chapters. But what if the interesting stuff does happen until later chapters? Would the agents still be interested if she likes the description you gave in the query?

I know some people who hate this, but it works for most audiences. You can put your first chapter somewhere in the middle of the story when something really exciting is happening. In medias res it.

morngnstar
10-08-2015, 06:02 AM
The problem is, if your first three chapters are boring, who's gonna buy your book? People will pick it up, read the first few pages (if they're generous) and put it back on the shelf. So even if the agent / editor read your full and loved it, they're going to pass, because they know the book won't sell.

I think the advice to cut them is probably right for most new authors. I'm annoyed to say that, because I've been getting some of the same advice, and I don't think it's right for me. But I don't think my first three chapters are boring. It's just that they don't start at the conventional place for the genre.

Latina Bunny
10-08-2015, 06:57 AM
Either change those chapters to become more engaging, or just cut them.

As a reader, when I pick up a book of the shelves, I would read or skim a little bit of the beginning to get a feel for the story.

If the beginning is boring and doesn't capture my attention in the first few pages or the first chapter, then I put the book back. A book's beginning is the first impression, and, like in a job interview, first impressions tend to be very important.

With a bazillion books out there to choose from, and with my free time being limited, I don't have the patience for boring openings. I'm not going to slog through a book just to get to the "interesting" parts.

A book doesn't need explosions or action fight scenes, of course. In fact, I actually don't like reading action scenes; I'd rather watch such scenes on TV or in movies, lol. The books I enjoy reading tend to have quiet beginnings. Still, those scene manage to be interesting because they introduce a conflict of some kind, or show a certain change in a character's life, etc.

Just make the beginning interesting. If it's boring, then either you started the story too early, or those scenes are unnecessary and/or may be missing conflict.

hester
10-08-2015, 05:26 PM
Katie, has anyone read the chapters and said they were boring? Because you might be mistaking "quieter" chapters which set the scene for "dull" (not much action, etc.)

Hopefully WLCT
10-11-2015, 02:57 AM
Katie, has anyone read the chapters and said they were boring? Because you might be mistaking "quieter" chapters which set the scene for "dull" (not much action, etc.)
That's what I was thinking.Don't you need a info dump chapter here and there ? I believe I might be in this same boat. After editing, I'm realizing that perhaps Chapter 1 should be Chapter 14 and Chapter 2 should be Chapter 8, etc. So I;m back to the drawing board

JetFueledCar
10-11-2015, 03:04 AM
That's what I was thinking.Don't you need a info dump chapter here and there ? I believe I might be in this same boat. After editing, I'm realizing that perhaps Chapter 1 should be Chapter 14 and Chapter 2 should be Chapter 8, etc. So I;m back to the drawing board

You do not need an info dump chapter here and there, but you do need to establish normal before you can violate normal. But even then, there should be tension.

mellymel
10-11-2015, 03:11 AM
Love when people post, get advice, and then don't return or acknowledge the advice. Sigh.

morngnstar
10-11-2015, 03:46 AM
That's what I was thinking.Don't you need a info dump chapter here and there ? I believe I might be in this same boat. After editing, I'm realizing that perhaps Chapter 1 should be Chapter 14 and Chapter 2 should be Chapter 8, etc. So I;m back to the drawing board

No, you don't need an info dump chapter. Try to keep the info coming in a steady flow, like from a faucet. If you feel like you need a fire hose to get all the info even at a steady rate through your book, think about what info you could cut.

mayqueen
10-11-2015, 05:40 AM
I would avoid doing any kind of infodump -- chapter, page, paragraph, or sentence. And I write historical fiction, so that's definitely challenging. It's about learning how to use back story effectively.

BenPanced
10-11-2015, 12:07 PM
Love when people post, get advice, and then don't return or acknowledge the advice. Sigh.

That's typical of her history: post 'n' run.