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First Chapters

I have a confession to make.

It’s been a few months since I actively sat down and put in any work toward one of my (million? gazillion? It’s just getting ridiculous now) SNIs. But I have a good excuse! As you’re reading this, my house is being disassembled, things stuffed into boxes and packed into trucks, ready to be shipped to Spain.

But the thing is, that’s really not much of an excuse. Sure, it’s a big life change. One we went through a few years ago when we moved to Germany. If anything, this move should be easy peasy *knock on wood* thanks to my awesome I-moved-our-entire-house-to-another-country badge and the abundance of what I learned the first time around.

Yet I’m still a nervous mess.

And my stories remain untouched.

First chapters used to be beyond easy for me. With little (okay, no) preparation, I’d type out the entire first chapter an hour or so after the SNI struck. Of course I’d come back to adjust things later on, but I could barely name the characters before diving right in. That’s how excited I was. So what’s the hold up this time?

Much like starting over in a new country, starting a new book is both exciting and a little terrifying.

Learning a new language. Meeting new characters.

Surviving a drive through downtown on itty bitty streets. Navigating your way through a plot hole.

With all things in this writing world, there are the ups and downs. And in good fashion, I hit a bump in the road a little over a year ago. I like to think I’m not too much of a pessimist and that I handled the not-so-great moment of losing my agent with some strength and grace. Besides, other people have made it much farther in the publishing process only to have the rug swiped from beneath their feet. I knew it wouldn’t be the end of my writing journey.

 So why the long pause before diving back in? Because for the first time, I realized how much work it took to get to where I’d been. Finished, polished manuscript in hand. Someone who’d believed in it. Writing is a labor of love. There’s no time clock and no guarantees. No promises and no sympathy. And dammit, it can just be scary.

But this twenty-something woman who’d never called anywhere else home had gladly stepped onto a plane for the very first time to move to Europe three years ago.
And it was exciting and terrifying.

So when the question came up, when she helped make the decision to move back home or to go somewhere new, she didn’t think twice.

And she’s not going to put off her new book a second longer.

Well, maybe a few seconds. There is that whole four days in a car thing about to happen . . .

 What fears do you have about writing, and what do you do to quiet the nervous butterflies? 

Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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  1. I guess my biggest fear about writing is having what I call a "SO WHAT" ending. lol I've read books where the ending left me unsatisfied, or just 'left me' entirely. I certainly don't want to do that. ;)

    Spain! How exciting. I wish you the best in your move - and your writing.

    I enjoyed your post.

  2. Well, right now, I'm having a snag in the revision stage.

  3. SNI?

    I've been feeling a bit like that. I love that thrill of writing something new. But it's not RL holding me back. It's editing. Making a work into a finished piece is entirely different than that first flush of creation, and sometimes polishing, polishing, polishing makes you feel like you're going to choke.

    But I know I'll have time for that strike of inspiration again soon, really soon. In fact, the sooner I get back to work, the sooner I'll have that chance.

  4. I have trouble finishing things. Am I afraid of endings? I don't know. I'm definitely not afraid of beginnings. I think I could start a new book everyday.

    1. I'll sit here with Gabrielle. When I'm in love and burning through a project, in the back of my mind I am scared to death that when this all crashes I'll not finish. Because I'm kinda bad at finishing. <-- Understatement of the new year.

      I'm not afraid of endings. I love endings with a less-than sign and a three. <3 I just don't get TO them often enough! Completely with Gabrielle on being able to start a new story every day. In that vein, I couldn't imagine having Christ'a fear of running out of ideas. My brain is constantly sticking strange things together. C-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y. I'm a lot more afraid of FORGETTING some of my great ideas, which is why I started using my Tumblr like a notepad for the weird ideas my muse gave me.

  5. My biggest fear is that people will read my books and say, "Meh." I'd rather have them say "I absolutely hated it!" or "I absolutely loved it!" It's the lukewarm response that scares me the most.

  6. Oh, I love how you all are always so honest. I think my biggest fear is running out of ideas. What will happen when I don't know what to write next? Good luck with your move. And go easy on yourself. It's all a journey, not a destination.

  7. The middle. I'm pretty okay when it comes to hook beginning and interesting climactic endings, but it's everything in between that often gives me trouble. I'm afraid that in my journey from point A to point B it could merely plod along, or encounter plotholes that makes aforementioned ending illogical, or characters aren't developed enough to make it work.

  8. Taking a rest is needed sometimes to get the energy for the next journey. I'm sure once your mind settles you'll get that writing groove again.

  9. I've a silly question. What's an SNI? :O

  10. SNI = shiny new idea (syndrome) :)

    My greatest fear is writing the beginning, the middle, the beginning of the end... and realizing that there's a huge plot hole that I never noticed before, or that readers don't find the plot believable, forcing me to put it my story on the shelf or start over.

    I've just finished mourning the loss of my almost-finished manuscript, and realized it's time to put my trust and love into a new story idea. <3

    1. Ah! Thanks, Ryn! :) I too, suffer from this syndrome. :)

  11. I needed to read this. Thank you!! I've beating myself up for having so many SNI's and the lack of dedication to starting them. I wrote 7 pages last week and know I need to continue. I should stop with the self-loathing, with the excuses and just do it...and reading this has at least made me realize I'm not alone. 1, 2, 3..jump!

  12. Great post, and good luck with your move! I don't have fears about the writing itself. It's fun to get into a story and work on it. I'm in the process of editing my first novel and getting it to where it needs to be, and that's been a fun process. I've learned a TON already!

    My main fear is that I don't write quickly enough to make deadlines if I get to the point in my writing that I have a career and deadlines. Sometimes I write slowly, and it can be a struggle. If I could write full time, it wouldn't be a worry, but balancing writing with family and work is my main fear.


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Item Reviewed: First Chapters Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah