The First Dozen of The First Light

I thought that writing a novel was going to be an easy task compared to short stories. For the first twelve chapters I seem to be correct. I could almost say that the book was writing itself. The words just came out of me and then they took on a life of their own.

I started by giving each chapter a title, which is a simplistic version of light planning. New chapters and sub characters were created on a whim, as if the story and the characters were directing me rather than me directing them.

Tap Photo: Rennett Stowe Used under Creative Commons License

Chapter 1 got an award from the San Antonio Writers Guild, and it was smooth sailing for the next eleven chapters. Not only is the story building, but also subtexts, themes, Jungian Archetypes, psychology, and relationships, are becoming more complex and subtle.

Also, the most noticeable difference is the amount of editing. Chapter twelve doesn’t need half of the editing that chapter one needed. On top of staying busy with the novel, I’ve been pumping out short stories along the way. I guess writing can be no different from riding a horse or playing a guitar. The more you do it, the better you get.

Here’s a list of the titles of the first twelve chapters. Some are definitely written in stone, but others I just consider working titles.

Chapter 1………… Signs and Portents

Chapter 2………… Contemporary Antiquity

Chapter 3………… A Short Walk, A Long History

Chapter 4………… The Creeping Shadow

Chapter 5………… Secret Delving

Chapter 6………… A Rogue is Born

Chapter 7………… The Stolen Kiss

Chapter 8………… To Pursue a Mouse

Chapter 9………… Parleys, Provisions, and Preparations

Chapter 10……… The Caravan

Chapter 11……… An Identity Revealed

Chapter 12……… The New Apprentice

So the work keeps rolling along. In the meantime, what do you think of these chapter titles?

16 thoughts on “The First Dozen of The First Light

  1. Why give titles to your chapters? I’ve actually heard it’s very common for writers to give them in the beginning so they know what the chapters are about, but then they strip it. I’ve been torn on the concept myself, so would just like to know why you picked chapter names. Also, awesome! I like it so far from the brief phrases. It’s nice when the characters do most the work, and we just need to write it out.


  2. I’m afraid I don’t get where you are going. The titles are not giving me enough information to make a comment. Maybe my vocabulary is limited but what is portents? Perhaps using words that most of us don’t use might be something to re-think. Sorry I couldn’t help you out.


  3. I’ve seen books both with and without chapter titles. I don’t mind a book not having them, but when a book does have them, I sometimes wonder about what the chapter will contain simply from the title.

    I have not seen a lean one way or another regarding chapter titles. Sometimes I use them and sometimes I don’t.

    I love it when a story writes itself. It’s like I am only an observer and I’m recording the events.


  4. It’s a wonderful feeling when the story feels like it’s writing itself. I had that feeling last night and it lasted for about three hours. As far as the chapter titles, I like the following: 2, 3, and 9. Those popped out to me.
    I like it better when a book has chapter titles because it adds to the character of the story.


  5. Such interesting titles they are, too. I agree with you too, Ernesto. The more writing you do… well, it’s doesn’t necessarily get easier. You sure get better the more you do. It becomes a vertical learning curve, that’s for sure. Thank you, my friend, for all your help and for being there watching me grow. I’ll be interested to know who your novel develops into a completed work. Take care.


  6. Interesting to see that you are editing each chapter as you go. I’m leaving the editing till after the first draft. Do you think it is better to edit-as-you-go?

    The chapter titles, I think, are great, except chapter 2 which doesn’t sound like it belongs there. Made me think: non-fiction.


    • I had to get chapter 1 ready for a contest entry. I also know myself all too well. If I see a hulking manuscript to edit, I probably won’t get around to it.
      It’s better for me to make a few light passes per chapter.
      Good catch… the titles for chapters 2 and 4 are somewhat problematic for me as well. You’ve confirmed my second-guessing.


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