iUniverse is delighted to return with further tips on how to write Chapter One.
Four: Once you’ve broken the ice with that first sentence, it is time to plow forward. Don’t look back – just create your momentum and go with it. Writing for a modern audience, you will want to avoid too much description of the setting. Make sure to also avoid making lengthy philosophical observations about life, love, etc. Readers want to see evidence that there is a story that will develop. Hence, there should be a character that is introduced. Can you imagine watching a movie in which no characters appeared for the first 20 minutes, or even the first five? The same applies to books.
Five: There needs to be some type of action which gives the story its own momentum. Your character should be going somewhere, doing something, or planning something. Just describing him will not be enough; there has to be a creation of something that the reader can follow. In short, you need to introduce a “hook,” though this term may seem too strong at this point.
Six: Concluding your first chapter involves one crucial principle: Make your reader want to start another chapter! Raymond Chandler once humorously commented that having a man pull out a gun was a sure way to keep a reader interested. While this is extreme, the concept is the same.
Lastly, and on a less academic note, don’t stress too much about having a “perfect” first chapter. You can always go back to it, and if you are a good writer, you WILL go back to it and perhaps even re-write it. The first chapter should serve as a trajectory to putting your words into motion. If you are struggling with chapter one but already know what you want to write for chapter two, move on to that chapter. Similarly, if you can already mentally write the middle of your book, don’t be afraid to jump ahead. The process of writing a novel need not be linear; the important thing is to get those words on paper!