What happened on Day 2? Editing Chapter 1
Chapter 1. That all important first chapter. It has to be good enough that people will want to read past the first sentence, the first paragraph and the first chapter.
Chapter 1 holds so much promise – will mine deliver?
What not to do
- Start with the weather
- The character waking up from a dream
- Fill it with too much backstory
- Use flashbacks
- Start with a prologue
However, check out my post on A Writer Breaks the Rules for my thoughts on some of the above.
My current WIP passes the above test!
What to do
I’ve been using Anne R Allen’s article on 10 things your opening chapters should do: A checklist for self-editing.
Anne mentions that she writes her first chapter last because she doesn’t know what will be in it until she’s written her whole manuscript. An interesting concept, but I’m not sure I could do that – the first chapter sets the scene and you’re meeting your characters for the first time. Plus I’m very methodical – I need to start at the beginning!
I’m also using Jamie Gold’s Worksheet for Writers which has a great checklist for ensuring you’ve captured scene elements. Using the checklist as a guide, I’ve identified definite places for improvement.
It’s a good start. More reviewing of Chapter 1 tomorrow.
Does anybody have any good tips for editing Chapter 1?
Writing the first chapter of a story is hard, but above all else, you need to introduce the main character. Show who they are, provide their backstory and give the readers a good hook to keep reading.
Agree, a hook is very important.