the first chapter

by Devona Taylor
(Cincinnati,OH)

Question: How do i get people hooked on the first chapter so they can keep reading???


Answer: Here are 7 general tips. (They have to be general, because there's a lot of room for creativity here.) You don't have to do all of these.

1. Involve the reader in the main character's inner conflict, so that the reader starts to care about him/her and the situation.

2. Give your narrator an distinct and engaging voice. Give him some personality.

3. Create mystery. Make the reader want to find out what happens next.

4. Open in medias res, that is, in mid action. Don't open with background information, lengthy description, or prologue. Open with a key event involving action or conflict.

5. Give the reader a taste of what's to come. If it's a thriller, start with a thrilling scene. If it's a gothic suspense, start with a mysterious event. If it's a humourous book, start with a funny event.

6. Leave things unresolved at the end of the chapter, so the reader needs to read on to see how things turn out.

7. See if you can apply any of these tips to the first sentence or first paragraph as well.

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