I've been busy writing (and, okay, also baking cookies), and the beginning of the final storyline is going well. For this part of the revision, I'm dealing with a plot that will stay about the same while a great many of the details change.
One of the things I find fun about revision is that when I'm working on the first chapter, I already know what will be important in the rest of the story. During a first draft, I may have some idea of what will come, but I never really understand a story until I've written it. Knowing the whole story means that I can fill the first chapter with references and hints to everything that lies ahead.
In the first chapter, I like to establish all the character traits that will be relevant to the plot. As much as possible, I have the characters talk or think about the issues that will contribute to the major conflicts of the story. I also consider how much the reader needs to know at the start about the backstory. Then I have to figure out how to work this all in while also creating a first chapter that makes the reader interested to read on. It's like solving a puzzle, and it might be my favorite part of writing a novel.
Apparently I like it so much that I wrote a post on exactly this topic when I started the second storyline. So you can go read that, and I'm going to get back to fitting the pieces together.
Good Stuff Out There:
→ Mark Athitakis contemplates how fiction is represented by keywords in the Library of Congress catalog and New Yorker tags: "If you studied English in high school, you know this story: 'Lots; Mob Violence; Small Towns; Stoning'. You probably know this one too: 'Adolescence; Bathing Suits; New England; Supermarkets'." (Thanks, The Millions!)