For most people, writing the first three chapters of a new novel is super-happy fun time. I am not most people. The first three chapters are my hardest. The middle? That's my happy place, where I'm comfortable with the characters and I've thrown out enough plot threads I can relax and happily weave. Wacky hijinx ensue.
I haven't written enough books for me to say this will always be the case, but it is the case right now. Part of the trouble is finding the voices of my main characters. I write romance, so I have two protagonists. One of them has always come with the story idea, fully formed and yapping in my ear. The other voice can be elusive. Makes those first chapters grueling writing.
The past week I've been struggling with this. I knew who the hero was, his goals/motivation/conflict. In fact, Wyatt was that character who materialized with the story idea. But he came without a voice. My heroine, whom I had to root around for, had a voice the instant I settled on her background and personality. But Wyatt's been giving me fits.
A few days of grumbling, watching shows/movies starring the actor I've cast in the part, and I still had nothing. Character questionnaires do nothing for me, so that was out. I went whining to a friend for advice, and that helped. Writing a short background in first person helped, too. Gave me a few more insights, helped me figure out what I didn't like about the scenes I'd written, let me fix them(I think).
But I like having a system for settling problems: Do X, Y, and Z and you can overcome _____ in three easy steps! It's comforting. It helps me keep believing I can do this writing thing. I've vanquished this problem. I found this zombie's off-switch by shooting it in a bunch of places, and when the next one comes groaning and shuffling my way, I can just shoot it in the head and move on. No problem! You know, the kind of delusional thinking that lets you keep writing.
What do you do when a character refuses to talk? Do you slog it out in the manuscript? Don't worry about voice differences until editing? Know any easy solutions? I'm all ears.
Oh, and because I'm still baking(to wean us off store-bought bread), look: slits!-->