I Write For Me First


August 6, 2013 by Ifeoma Dennis

Two days ago, I finished my first chapter for about the thirty-third time. No kidding. I’d written it from several different angles, although the first plot point remained almost the same.

But I just wasn’t satisfied with all the versions I had, chiefly because of the inciting incident- a child had to die.

And no, I’m not GRRM, I scram from violence if I can help it. Tsk.

I rewrote those versions several times, in different ways, sometimes skipping over the very act of the child’s death. You know, simply telling it. Or there would be an explosion, and the protagonist would wake up to find the child dead.

Still, I wasn’t comfortable with it.

At first, I thought it was because of the angle it was told, so I kept switching from the crime penetrator, to the child to the mother of the child and back again.

Okay, to cut a long story short, about two days ago, I found out how to deal with it.

I scraped the entire first scene and wrote something different.


And I love it. I don’t know if violence makes an inciting incident strong, but I want to believe it can do just fine without a little child dying. I gave my protagonist a different motivation and I’m much happier with it. It still leads up to the story, and yes, there is still violence and what I believe is a strong inciting incident, but it’s the kind that won’t give me sleepless nights. You know, worrying if it’s right a child had to die, if I had to sacrifice a child to make my plot work.

Maybe I’m not yet there in my writing journey where I can detach myself from very violent acts, but what matters is that at the end of the day, I love my first scene.

Because I write for me first.


11 thoughts on “I Write For Me First

  1. […] MC and odd-acting friend PLUS LI/Supporting character are standing on a deserted street. Mad man goes in and blows up a house. This one had many versions than I can possibly count. SCRAPED it because a baby died and it was my MC connecting to the baby that drove the plot. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I did talk about it here. […]

  2. amandashayne says:

    I’m happy to hear you found a way to get around this obstacle. I think if something in your work is going to keep you from loving it, it’s important to address it, and in this case it’s a good thing you didn’t wait too long as you’d probably have a lot of editing to do later to change it.

    I dealt with a child’s death in my first WIP, but it wasn’t really an inciting incident or anything. It happened in a character’s recent past, and the way that it happened, I didn’t have to go into detail. The details were assumed. I don’t know that I COULD have gone into the details, so on reflection I’m glad it worked out this way. Still, I don’t think I went deep enough emotionally in terms of the character’s struggle with her sister’s death, so I’ve already marked that as something I need to explore in revisions (which is possibly why I’m dreading revisions so much!)

  3. I’ve dealt with a similiar thing before. Sometimes it’s hard to know if something’s too much or fine, especially if you have a weird feeling about it. I’m glad to see you got around it, and I’d love to see how if you wanted to share!

    • How did you handle yours? I’d love to know.
      My reasoning was this: If I don’t like it, that means I’ll stop when I get to that part if I was a reader, and maybe most readers won’t mind but I have to write a book I can read :p

  4. […] I grappled with my first chapter a lot. But I figured out the problem and wrote about it here. […]

  5. You know, I don’t think it matters that you kept flinching away from “killing” a child. If you had something against doing it, there has to be a reason. Good going on finding a way that kept both you and your muse happy. 🙂

  6. Spike Cordiner says:

    Writing the kind of book you want to read is usually a good way to go so hooray for you! This is why I have a difficult time (sometimes) when people ask what genre my book is. I didn’t write with one in mind, I just wrote a story I liked and it ended up in the UF/supernatural adventure (or possibly thriller?) space.

    The inciting incident for one of my MCs also involves a death (several in fact). In my case, though, that’s not where the story starts. The story I’m telling starts after that. The inciting incident for him is therefore in the backstory and revealed several chapters in. Again, this is because I like stories that hit the ground running (almost literally in this case!) and so I wrote one like that 🙂

    • I love the term “supernatural adventure/thriller” and I think it’d actually make people pay attention (because it made me!). I’m sooo eagerly waiting for your book! (wait, I’m sure I broke some grammar rule in that sentence)

      And you’re right. People should write for themselves, even if it breaks some sort of rule, as long as they write it well.

      I was worried for a bit that my inciting incident wouldn’t be strong without that extreme violence (which I’m sure some writers would find neither extreme nor difficult to write) but I’m glad with where it is now.

      And thank you, Spike for stopping by! I always love reading your thoughts 🙂

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"Dreams can get you through anything."

-Cat York


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