A couple of days ago, a main character from the wrong novel (not the one I'm working on) kept trying to tell me something, and, and, when she wouldn't go away, I started writing it down. Halfway through I realized I'd written the first chapter of her story, and I really liked it. Squee! I wrote a first chapter (If you've been following this blog for very long, you know my writing is a bit chronologically challenged). The chapter reminded me of the first chapter of "Holes," by Louis Sachar because it was short. So I pulled out "Holes" and read the first chapter. Sachar's chapter was shorter (though only by about two hundred words) and just better than mine in pretty much every way possible, and I kept reading.
The first time I read "Holes," I thought I'd just read the first little bit, but the first chapter was so short that I kept reading. Afterwards, I realized what a great hook that incredibly short first chapter was, and it made enough of an impression that I remembered when I wrote my own really short first chapter. Maybe comparing my first (or even second) draft to a Newbery winner isn't such a great idea.
On the bright side, I still have my first chapter to add to a collection of interesting scenes (this character doesn't believe me when I tell her that her story isn't next in line) and two intense scenes that I wrote for the novel I'm supposed to be working on. I'm hoping to get another one or two done today.