How to Write a Great First Chapter - A Great Opening



In your book-dreams, someone at the bookstore picks up your book-baby and flips to the very first chapter. They start reading.


Then what happens?


Either they scoff and abandon your baby on the shelves, or they lose track of time and look like a predator stalking your book in the middle of the aisle.


We want our book stalked.


So what separates those abandoned pieces from the ones that someone totes out of the store? (Or e-store. Hey, it’s the age of the ebook).


While it may take a lot for someone to even pick your book up, once you have them there, you can’t let them go!


Eyes a little droopy? Listen to me talk all about this topic by watching the video below!



A “hook” may be a term thrown around the interwebs very loosely, but your book literally needs to hook the reader’s fingers (or eyes) to the book with vicious resolve. This is your moment. This is the reason you’re hovering over your computer right now: so that this one person can pick up your book.


It’s your job not to let them down. And that starts from the very first words of your book.

Here’s my five tips to write a kickass first chapter!

Since this advice can apply to a wide range of genres, it’s important to establish what’s important in your particular story. While I write YA Sci-fi/Fantasy, you might write historical fiction or contemporary romance. The first chapter of each of these would be in stark contrast to one another.


The best way to figure this out is to break out your handy-dandy outline! Don’t have one? What the heck are you waiting for?! This outline should be like the holy bible to your novel, and once you have it completed, you’ll have a very clear idea about what’s important to your story and it’s characters. Don’t have a clear idea? Then your outline probably needs some work. I’ve written posts here and here