I did some editing!

Ha! Not a total loser! I didn't do much, but then again, I always start slow. It's the actual getting started that is the important thing.

Just some background on Trust: Right now, I'm working on the opening chapter, which is like what in journalism is called the lede, which is the first sentence of your story. (Publishing and journalism people always deliberately misspell the terms of the trade: graf, lede, etc. I think it's because it makes the words stand out more to the copy editors and proofreaders if, say, the instructions "cut graf" are accidentally left in the final copy.) The lede is the! most! important! line of your story, because in most cases, that's all the reader reads. If you're writing a feature--or by extension, a novel--the lede should have a hook, a not-misspelled piece of jargon that means "something that will make that lazy reader want to read the whole damn thing you just worked so hard on." Features/novels need hooks because there's no pressing reason for the reader to read them--they are something the reader chooses to spend time on, so you need to show the reader that it's worth doing.

So opening chapters are supposed to bring the drama, which makes them hard to write. I used to just leave ledes until the end, but that's less doable when you're writing a novel, so I wrote the first chapter and now I'm beating the hell out of it.

I previously beat the hell out of this entire book, cutting probably about 30,000 words and adding 40,000 more. Why? Well, let me tell you: When I wrote the book, I was like, THIS needs to be INTERESTING! It needs to have ADVENTURE! And DRAMA! So I tried really hard to put all this adventure and drama into it, and the result was a really dull book.


I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it was true. And the reason was all that adventure and drama wasn't connected to the main plot. I had extraneous characters! I had events that were very dramatic and then never impacted anything later in the book! I had it all! And I didn't need nearly so much!

(You see this in bad action movies all the time. Got nothing to do and nowhere to go, plot-wise? Blow something up, and then have a female character take her top off and show us her titties for 20 minutes or so, and then show Steven Seagal gouging out Tommy Lee Jones' eye in slow motion, over and over again. And I just sit there, thinking, Why? Why was I born? It certainly wasn't to watch this.)

What I needed to do in Trust was to get to the main plot faster. And then, once I was there, I needed to focus on it. This was another problem with the scattershot-action approach: I was neglecting the things that mattered. Things that actually were important to the plot and the book were not being fully developed, because I was too distracted by the nonsense.

Once I focused the book, I went back to my first chapter, and chopped out the first scene completely. Why? Well, I know now what I need to do in that first chapter to set up the rest of the book. The current first scene isn't necessarily more "dramatic" than the old first scene, but it's going to pay off. Trust is no longer an amalgam of unrelated, purposeless action: It's a novel. I'm sure the "not much happens" crowd will like it less, but I like it much better now.