The Writing Café: Why First Chapters Really Matter
As someone who spends a lot of time submitting to publishers and agents, I’ve learned over time why first chapters are so important. I know the first paragraph is important. No, wait…the first sentence is important. It’s a hard fact to swallow that an agent might reject your work based on your…
Not just the first chapter, but the first page, the first paragraph, the first line. If there’s one part of your book your going to agonize over after you’ve finished the first draft, and the second rewrite, and even the third, it’s got to be the first five to ten pages. These are the first deciding factors of whether or not an agent is going to request to even look at the rest of your work, before they decide to if they’re going to take you on as a client. This is the part of your book that will convince most readers to pick it up off the shelf (okay, the cover and the blurb on the back are important too), to say: this is great, I want more!
It can be hard for any author to balance the creative love of writing with the harsh business side. Just remember this: your first chapter is where you make your promises, where you lay out your themes, and where you hold out your hand to offer them something, it doesn’t matter what that something is. It could be a thrill ride, it could be an adventure, it could be a heart pounding mystery, it could be a whirlwind romance, it ultimately doesn’t matter what your offering other than it’s a party invitation.
Your first line is the hand that will pull them through the mirror and bring them into your fantastical world.
Just try not to stress too hard on perfection. Relaxation is where the magic happens. Finish the book first, then worry about how to make it better. Practice hard and you’ll get it right.
And remember! Adventure!
Advice and suggestions for writing fight scenes.