If you are writing your first novel, chances are you are confident in your writing skills to accomplish the task at hand. Perhaps you have already finished your manuscript and are in the process of fine tuning it or maybe you are just sitting down ready to get started. Either way, there are a few things every writer should consider before they send it off to a publisher and one the most important aspects will be the first chapter of your book.
Certainly many people can just sit down and begin to write a book, yet, only the most proficient writers know how critical the first chapter is to the overall success of your content. The most significant component to your first chapter will be the 'hook'. This is where you will want to capture the reader's attention immediately with the 'bait'. Most people who are interested in reading any book they pick up will typically peruse through the first few pages to see what the book is about and if it will interest them. As a writer, you should consider the first few sentences the most critical because this is where you will either entice the reader to read further or lose them completely. Take a look at some of the following guidelines to help you prepare for writing a first chapter that is sure to win over your audience.
- Depending on your storyline, grab the attention of your reader right off the bat-describe a shocking event, promise your reader something, leave a question in their mind that begs explanation, or plant an idea in their head that needs further exploration.
- Use your best storytelling skills to get the reader hooked use the 'breadcrumb' method by giving them just a bit more with each sentence you write, slowing 'drawing them into your web' and before you know it, they will be on to the next chapter and the chapter after that without even realizing it.
- Write just enough about the main character(s) so that your audience is intrigued by them, can relate to them, or can even sympathize with them...don't give away too much though- just enough to reveal why your character's story matters.
- Engage in the reader's senses, let them feel, smell, hear, taste, and see what you are writing about so they become fully involved and totally immersed in your words.
Undeniably, the first chapter of a novel will always be the most difficult to write because it is the precursor for everything that follows. It needs to include all the critical elements such as the theme, setting, characters, mood, conflict, time, mystery and dialogue for you to successfully craft this important chapter. If you accomplish writing a riveting first chapter, chances are... you will have a best seller on your hands. And...if you are really feeling your 'creative juices flowing' you might just wanted to get started on your second masterpiece right away!