Yep, I’m back! Permanently? Maybe… Here’s the scoop: I just got back from vacation with my family recently. That was fun. I’ve been working on a new project (which took me forever to think up) and it’s going well except for one thing: I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO END THE DAMN FIRST CHAPTER!!! RAWR! This led me to the idea of blogging about first chapters….well that and a friend of mine started up a blog and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah….that blogging thing…that’s pretty cool” I’ll give the details on where to find her blog at the end of this post. Okay, back on topic.
What makes a good first chapter? Well I can tell you from my reading experiences that there are certain things I expect to get out of a first chapter, things that one might say makes a first chapter GOOD…….perhaps we should look at those…
- Character…as in living and breathing. I want to have some sort of reason to give a damn about the people in the pages. I don’t need to know a lot about them, but I certainly should know SOMETHING about them; something that makes me CARE ABOUT THEM.
- Hook…as in a small bit of mystery that interests me. I need questions that make me turn pages in order to get answers. Characters are the first step, but it’s not enough to just read about characters that I care about. I care about my brother, but I wouldn’t want to read a book about his daily life, because that wouldn’t be INTERESTING. In other words, the circumstances need to MATTER.
- Flow…as in smooth connectivity of words, sentences, and paragraphs. You can have the most interesting character in the world and throw them into the most interesting circumstances ever thought of, but if the writing is choppy and messy, IT MEANS NOTHING. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Now this isn’t to say that it needs to be complicated. In fact, simpler is usually better; however, it should read clearly and concisely…bonus points if it sounds pretty. 😉
- Image…as in pictures that fill my head. Remember that we have FIVE SENSES. I don’t want to be limited to seeing worlds; I want to hear them, feel them, smell them, and even taste them. This is perhaps one of the trickiest things to nail, because it shouldn’t hit you over the head. It should be beautifully painted in the background through subtle diction. No one wants to slog through paragraphs of world building filled with EVIL PURPLE PROSE. If you don’t know what purple prose is, you should Google it….and then avoid it…So that’s my list of things to establish in a first chapter….and then continue to utilize through the rest of story hopefully.
My fun-loving blogger friend who I mentioned earlier is named Britt, and THIS IS HER BLOG THAT YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CHECK OUT!
Well, that’s all for now. Until next time….wait….where was I going with this sentence….eh oh well.