Not every idea comes to fruition. Sometimes it’s not the right time, sometimes it just doesn’t pan out the way that you want it to. Since they do nothing but sit unread on my hard drive, I have decided to share some of these abandoned opening chapters from projects that I’ve toyed with over the last year (easily 100k words worth). I figured that they may be of interest to other writers, and might prove a good point for discussion of how opening chapters can feel like they’re working.
The first that I’m going to share was written around November/December 2017. I got 5 chapters into this novel, then decided that it wasn’t working. Here is the first chapter as a PDF, about 3,200 words.
If you want to read it, scroll down for some of my commentary on why this story ultimately didn’t get any further than chapter 5.
The key issue with this story turned out to be the setup for the main character.
The story relied on the character being “Unseen,” a kind of social class that made him both the lowest caste in society, but also therefore allowed him a measure of freedom by being beyond consideration. However, that very premise presented a key issue in terms of enabling the character to do anything that he needed to. There was a requirement for constant excuses as to why the protagonist was able to go where he wanted to, and also put up a significant barrier between the protagonist and those whom he needed to interact with. Whilst it made for an interesting conceit, it was also, ultimately, too problematic.
Despite all that, the writing of this proved useful in developing a number of other ideas. Certain characters such as Jin are ones that I will use in other work, and overall the concept of the murder investigation is one that I may revisit. The narrator keeping things from the reader is also not something that I usually do, but I felt that it worked well here.
Anyway, it’s fun to think that at least somebody might read some of this and get a small kick out of it.
Best of luck writing.