Category Archives: Beginnings

Writing: First Chapter Trouble

Last leg of the blog tour coming up:

VR | JQ | Erika | Julie | Lori | Mary | Chrys | Laura

If you dropped by earlier this year you read that I was having trouble with my new project’s first chapter. It was missing something. I finally determined my lack of hook was lack of tension.

To figure this out I did some reading, and here’s what I found:

Hook: If your feedback hints that they are not being drawn in or not connecting, look at your first line, first paragraph, and first scene. Their jobs are to do just that. Bump up the emotion through concrete details or inner conflict.

Strong Start: If your feedback says they were waiting for the real tree-151444tension/conflict to begin. Move the reflection, contemplation, or backstory to where your reader needs it.

Soft Description: The feedback might suggest its beautifully written but, slow to start. Soften up the description, and get to the who, where, when and tension of your story.

Info Dumping, Character Chaos, and Clichés: Just a reminder since no feedback is necessary. If a reader closes your book, they may never read you again. ‘Nuff said.

Mood, Tone, Genre: Accept the story will not be for everyone. Make it clear within your first chapters that your story is a murder mystery, love story or space opera aimed at specific audience. When your reader decides to read on, they will know it’s for them.

First Chapters are Hard

Rewrite it if you must. Start from scratch if it’s easier. Go back and tweak it anytime you feel the story slip or shift direction. For your reader’s sake, make sure it reflects the whole story and hints at where it may go.

Is It Worth it?

Well, if you want to sell your work you’ll need to get the right. Your friends, family and even some critiquers might put up with a bad beginning, but no editor or agent will. They look for a reason to say no. Nothing personal, they just have hundreds of submission to read and only so much time.

Anything you’d like to add? Don’t be shy you know I love it. 🙂

Gleaned from: