The Very First Chapter

Question: Thanks to this website, I now have a solid plotline that I can work off of. I better understand the roles that my characters play, and tweaked my novel to make it compelling and interesting. The only problem is when i sit down to write it, I don't know where to start! whenever I try to set up the situation for the readers in the first chapter, it comes out sounding like a list: just one thing plainly after another. Is there a way that I can start the story without sounding as if I'm just listing the backdrop and main character off? Thanks!

Answer: I suggest you forget about any setup and start the story with an event. By event, I mean something that happens which changes everything for the characters. Background, details about the characters, can be mentioned briefly or even in hindsight, but don't dwell on them at the start. Focus on the event that is occurring.

(You might want to review the page on in medias res for more discussion on this.)

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