I have tons more to share with you, but today's post is on the
blasted glorious first chapter. Here are some things I learned from Mary, but posted in my own words. Check this out:
* Good first chapters introduce the MC (main character) without a huge info dump. Put MC in motion and sprinkle in just enough details to ground us so we can bond with the MC while he/she is in action.
* Make MC sympathetic, not pathetic, by showing him/her in action.
* Inciting Incident has to occur in first chapter. If it doesn't, cut, cut, cut until it does.
* Shape the reader's expectations for the rest of the story. *** This is a big one I notice when doing beta reads. The first chapter will be great, but then in the next couple of chapters the story changes so drastically, I had no idea where we were going. If it's a thriller, give the expectation as such; sci-fi, add something to ground the reader. Usually with book covers and blurbs we get a better idea of this. Still, Mary did mention it.
* STORY PROMISE along the same lines as expectations. Make sure the first chapter tone relates to the rest of the story. Is the story promise funny, negative, suspensful, etc.
* Back story is okay. We shouldn't be afraid to use back story... just in moderation. Use only enough to let reader get comfortably nestled into the story and bond with the character.
Hope these are helpful. Any questions regarding them, please leave in comments and I will gladly answer if I can.
Much more coming, so please check back here soon. Also, here is an excellent opportunity to help out a fellow writer. Please check this link for more details. Let's show the blogosphere how well writers support each other.
Any tips on crafting the first chapter that you'd like to share?