My very first First Chapters are never the ones I wind up using for the opening of a final draft. I’m resigned to this. I’ve come to expect and even accept it. I write a first chapter to figure out what the story is and where it’s going, who’s doing what, etc. Then, I inevitably have to go back and figure out what actually needs to be at the beginning in order to tell a story the way I want it told.
I typically don’t scrap the first thing I wrote (at least not entirely), but the material tends to get inserted farther along in the story. Too much character is still submerged, or the thing that’s happening demands that the reader already have some knowledge about the situation, so it turns out that there was some better place to begin that I just didn’t know about yet.
My final first chapter (the real, usable one) is generally the product of everything that’s happened up to the end. I’ve found time and again that I need the ending in place first, so it can tell me what the beginning ought to be.
What about you? Do you keep your first shot at your first chapter, or does it constitute prewriting, or do you find that it’s something else entirely?