Chapter 1 Can Be Scary!

I printed out the first chapter of my NaNoWriMo project yesterday, with the intention of giving it a read and an edit. This is quite possibly the scariest thing in the world to me. I absolutely hate reading stuff I have written. So, I read the first couple paragraphs and then told myself I would read it later. I never got back to it. Ugh.

My wife, however, did read the whole thing.  I’m not sure if she liked it or not.  It definitely kept her attention. One of her comments was that it was more normal than she thought it would be.  I had been telling her about wizards and fairies and dragons, but for the first chapter I wanted to let the reader know that all of that was taking place in a world like ours.  Mission accomplished.

My wife told me that she liked it and wouldn’t change anything.  She usually catches typos and amazingly there was only one.  I’m just glad someone other than myself was able to read Chapter 1, and I’m thankful to her that she always seems enthusiastic to do so.

Anyhow, I’ll try to read Chapter 1 again today.  I need to get past this phobia.  Am I the only one like this?

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 1 Can Be Scary!

  1. You’re definitely not the only one. That’s one piece of Stephen King’s writing advice – put it away for 6 weeks so you can come back with fresh eyes (and some emotional detachment). Work on something else for a while.

  2. I’m with the others. Perhaps, you’ll need some more fresh approach to the story to be able to judge it ‘from the outside’. You’re too involved now.

    On the other hand, you probably are still within the story. it might mean you are more able to finish/smooth it according to your original ideas.

  3. I think I am like that but it manifests itself in me obsessively reading and rereading what I’ve written, cringing, rewriting everything, hating everything again, going back to the beginning, then thinking: “OK, I can’t see anything wrong with this… so it must be bad!!” and scrapping everything again. I wish I could switch my brain off. This is why I haven’t done NaNoWriMo to date, but it is something I should try and do because it might force me to get over the stifling perfectionism.

    I would go with what your wife said – don’t change anything in this chapter – and go on to read the next chapter or even the whole book. Sometimes I don’t get redraft ideas for a book until I have the whole story in my mind.

  4. I’m weird in that I love to read my stuff and edit all the time. I like editing. It helps get me over the “it’s crap” cringe factor when I just look at how to edit it and not focus in on whether it’s good or not. Thank goodness your wife is willing to read it and give you an objective opinion. It’s great to get another’s perspective.

    And so glad your daughter is better.

  5. Like Ello, I tend to read, and re-read what I wrote till I sometimes know it by heart and, obviously, I can’t judge it objectively at all anymore. I think that’s bad, but I can’t really help it.
    I don’t know how you wrote for NaNoWriMo – you had the story in your mind, or maybe even had plenty of notes from before November. I wrote two Halloween stories for my blog, and, like never before, I did it in just a few days, with no time to reread them obsessively. When I looked at them again, later, I was pleasantly surprised to see a text that seemed new to me and not bad at all (without false modesty!) – “Did I write this?” I kept asking myself. It was a nice experience. 🙂

  6. Reading story fears. Hmm..I am not sure. I printed mine out as I went along, I was terrified of computer crash, et cetera, so I have read the first 5 pages, at least 5 times, but I notice that I never read on, I seem afraid to go past reading the very beginning.

    It is great that you have such a supportive wife.
    And I had a wonderful laugh over her being surprised at how normal your wizard story is.

    Hope your daughter is doing a lot better. (that sounds like some pretty scary stuff)

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