craft, the

First Chapters

I’m in the process of revising several chapters before I submit my manuscript to a development editor. I kept returning to the most important chapter. Chapter One–and I didn’t like it. I felt I wasn’t hooking my reader fast enough. Yet, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then one afternoon, while reading one of my ex-critique partners blogs, I noticed she’d recommended a book by Less Edgerton.
 
 
It worked.
 
Edgerton provides a list of essentials for any first chapter:
1)Inciting incident (no. 1 MUST lead to no. 2)
2)Initial surface problem (All of them must lead to no. 3) 
3)Story-worthy problem (If you don’t have one of these, you don’t have a book)
4)Set Up
5)Back story
 
You must blend all five of these requirements (1, 2, 3 are the most important) together in an action scene. If done right, and begun in the right place, he insists your first chapter should ‘grab the reader and never let them go’.
 
My main problem was I hadn’t begun my story in the right place. Once I found where that was, I was able to use all of Edgerton’s points to fix my issue. Now, I certainly like where my first chapter begins. But that doesn’t mean I won’t revise it again 😉

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