I can’t speak for other authors, but I will say the first chapter as well as the last one are the hardest to write.
There’s a good reason in that the first chapter should be your hook. What has the reader so interested that they absolutely have to turn the page? I will say with Tell Me Something, (my first book) I lucked out in it coming more easily. Then again it was the first book in a series and they meet in the first chapter. That in and of itself is intriguing when you have a couple first meet and sparks fly. Books #2 and 3 are harder because I’m dealing with couples who already know one another. So instead of the mystery of meeting one another, it’s WHY NOW? After years or months, what is it that starts their relationship at this point in time? So as I go through and do revisions, I’ve literally rewritten the first chapter ten times. Keeping in mind the history of the other characters, making decisions of who and what to bring in from previous books is tough to. As the writer, you kind of go into it knowing your characters, but just because you’ve all met Kenzie in the last book doesn’t mean I don’t have to properly re-introduce her in this one, through her eyes. So that’s the first chapter.
The last chapter, I’m talking as both a reader and an author should be the most satisfying. Things come to an end (unless you’re writing a cliff-hanger which I assure you-I will not ever do)..anyhooo this is the part that I finally get why movies can have “alternate endings” because there really isn’t a right answer, it’s all subjective in how I see the characters figuring out their issues. But it does have to leave you with a smile (in my opinion at least) and that’s where I spend a lot of time trying to find the very best version of that happy ending.
As an aside, the epilogue in my first book was as most are, a glimpse into the future with some sweet moments. But in Ask Me Something I literally came up with the idea at the last minute and elevated the epilogue into a little bit more than just the future, but a continuation of that smile every writer (well maybe not the ones that write horror or heartbreak) hope to leave you with. So there’s pressure to make this one just as good, if not better.
So this is me and my writing evolution. I think as I’ve stated before writers get better at their craft as they go along…I’m just not sure that I’ve gotten any faster at it. Maybe someday that will come too. In the meantime Bet Me Something is coming along nicely and I can’t wait for you to read about Kenzie and Colby!