Opening Chapter of My First Novel: Subsiding Happiness


This is the opening chapter of my first novel: Subsiding Happiness – a tale of inner turmoil and profound melancholy. I started the novel midway through 2014 and I only just managed to finish my first draft at the end of 2015. Progress was slow and motivation was scarce. It was tough taking on a full scale novel for the first time. I have since edited and redrafted Subsiding Happiness, but I am still not satisfied completely. I haven’t worked on it for over 5 months now as I have decided to sideline it to work on my second novel – which I have nearly finished (the initial first draft anyway).

There’s a little context on this work, so let’s get to it.

Here it is, the first chapter of my very first novel, enjoy!

April 25th 2026

I became what I am today at the tender age of seventeen years old. I was a boy, a young boy. A slightly incompetent adolescent, not a single negative thought within my entire mind. I never found myself thinking such thoughts, the type that cause people to re-evaluate their whole existence- measuring the facts on the heavily unbalanced scales of life. I recall the exact moment, peering into the water at the lifeless, motionless, child. As I gazed I caught a brief glimmer of eye contact, this eye contact has proceeded to haunt me for years upon years. Building up over time; bombarding behind the locked doors of my deepest and darkest secrets. After all of this time, all those painful everlasting years, it was as if I had been peering into that child’s eyes for each and every time halting second. Knowing three things: His life was in my hands, his wellbeing at my discretion and my lifetime sanity was hanging temptingly in the balance.

That day was a truly tragic one. But despite this, the sun still shone ever so brightly in the blue morning sky. The birds flew, enveloping the clouds, disappearing and reappearing once more. It was something to marvel at. I was always envious of the birds- they were truly free. That is something my new found life now lacks- freedom. The freedom to exist peacefully; in a world that is not filled with bitter travesty. The liberty to live in a universe that does not make me feel barricaded, bound to a destiny to which I cannot adhere. The freedom to belong.

One day last winter, an old friend called, a man named David Peterson. I remember the words he echoed on the phone that day ever so clearly. Though, at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. But as I reach the end of my journey, I have discovered that those words reign truer to me than any others ever to be spoken by another. As I sat on the hammock in my back yard, not long after the phone call, I thought about life. About David, Peter, Charlie, Father, Traverse City state and most of all what life was like before. I was truly free: as free as a bird.

And that’s it, there you have it. The first chapter of my first ever novel.

Leave me some criticism in the comments section. It can be constructive, or you can just tell me I suck! I don’t mind. One thing I’ve already learned in my fairly short time as a writer, is that a true artist need only please himself. That’s all that matters. If you’re happy with your own work, if it makes you feel accomplished and it makes you smile, then what more could you ask for? What could you possibly value more than your own happiness? And the answer to that question should always be: nothing.

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