The two hardest parts of writing are the beginning and the ending. The beginning needs to be impeccable, no second guessing, no restraint. The first chapter needs to pull the reader in so that they will keep reading while also doing some very heavy lifting of setting up the story. A good first chapter will establish the voice, the tone, the setting, the conflict and introduce at minimum the main character (protagonist) and the antagonist. This is already a lot of work. These are a lot of boxes to check off the list and on top of that, the story needs good pacing, crisp language, engaging dialogue and action and to create the emotion of suspense. If we aren’t anxious to find out what happens next, we won’t keep reading. We are all too busy for slow moving, boring books.
Chapter One is the Graduation ceremony. We meet Lydia, the protagonist and Shelly, the antagonist. Shelly and Lydia are frenemies. They act as best friends but there is an underlying tension. Lydia doesn’t trust her or admire her but she knows Shelly has power over her. Shelly seems to treat Lydia as a favorite, but Lydia can’t figure out why. That makes her more suspicious. Lydia wants to leave the Lady Lions but she doesn’t know how to get away from her or away from the Club. She’s been in for four years and while it was a life saver when she joined, now she’s outgrown it. We get a basic understanding of the club and of the conflict between Lydia and Shelly. We also get a hint that there is a love interest when Lydia gets a text from Chad. We also get a hint of the greater drama of the battle between Gladys and Maude, founders of the Lady Lionesse Club who have been battling for decades. I need to write some more tension and suspense into chapter one.
Lydia is at a Girls Night out. We meet Krissy, a married mother of three who is trying hard to keep up appearances. She is miserable and depressed. She doesn’t respect her husband. They don’t have sex, they don’t talk except to manage the household and arrange the kids. You can tell she tried hard to get dressed up to go out to ladies night She’s wearing a brand new outfit full of color and a full face of make up like a clown. She’s so excited to be out of the house. She’s trying to be perky and lively but there is an undertone of sadness. Lydia talks about how all these women are like walking clowns pretending to be happy. All the ways they pretend to be happy. Use lists of activities. We also meet Chad who texts her while she’s at the event and tries to talk her into going to his house after Girls Night Out. He’s crude and sexual and irreverent and treats her like a sex toy but she can’t refuse him, she can’t get over him, she can’t say no.
We learn more about the various tribes and social groups. We also learn more about the histroy of the Lioness Ladies and Gladys and Maude who started the group in the 70s and became enemies creating a dramatic split in the group. Maude left and started a new group, The Junior League.
Summary of Day Two
I reached my goal. It isn’t synching to Nano because I am counting my journal notes with my fiction notes. So this counts. Anyway, it’s late but I did it! I’m ready for tomorrow.
If you want to read my crazy ass ramblings for today, here is my draft of Chapter Two. For now, this chapter is available to all because I can’t seem to get the restriction for Patreon to work.