The Three Chapter Syndrome

I caught the Three Chapter Syndrome about a year and a half ago. How I got convinced of this I’m not sure. I convinced myself that if I polished the first three chapters of my book any agent I showed it to would love it. I spent a month working on the first three chapters. I had twenty three more chapters of the book I barely looked at during that time. I went to a conference and the author who critiqued my chapters said this, “If the rest of your book is as good, you’ll have no problem selling it.” After that high wore off I realized the rest of the book wasn’t as good as the first three chapters. I had lost sight of what the ultimate goal was, to get the whole book published, not just the first three chapters. After that I laid out a plan to work on each chapter fully to produce a polished finished book.

I’m now in the forth draft of the book. I’ve lost several chapters along the way but know I have a much tighter polished product. Which now I can say with confidence is as good as my first three chapters.

So don’t let your self catch the Syndrome. Work on your whole book and in the end you’ll have a finished polished project.


2 responses to this post.

  1. A good reminder about consistency. Good luck on edits for those other chapters, as I know they will be just as excellent when you’ve finished.


  2. Oh, I thought you were talking about the other kind of three chapter syndrome when you get a new idea, you start writing it, and then it fizzles out at chapter three and you scrap it.

    Well, anyway, I know something about this. I do my best to take one idea throughout the whole draft, even if I realize it’s a bad idea halfway through. A consistently bad idea is easier to fix than an inconsistently good one.


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