The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid.
In this book, Sandra Gerth draws on her experience as an editor and best-selling author to teach you where to start your novel, how to avoid common first chapter problems, and how to hook your readers from the very first page.
Each chapter of this practical guide includes concrete examples and exercises that will help you write an irresistible beginning.
Whether you’re a novice writer working on your first story or an established author with several novels under your belt, this book will help you:
Decide where to start your book, Understand important elements of every powerful opening such as the inciting incident, Write a kickass first line, Hook your readers from the very first page, Introduce your characters and get readers to care about them, Establish the time and place of your story, Get your readers emotionally involved in your story as soon as possible, Describe your setting and your characters without stopping the momentum of the story, Incorporate backstory and reveal your characters’ pasts without overwhelming readers, Create chapter endings that will make readers keep reading. Avoid openings that are boring, confusing, clichéd, or misleading, Discover what types of openings to avoid, Find out why prologues and flashbacks can be problematic and how to handle them effectively.