Today we’re wrapping up the series on Writing Compelling Opening Chapters. So far, we know:
- Why exactly we should write a great opening chapter
- The best way of beginning a compelling opening chapter
- What should be and told and shown in that chapter
- … and dos and don’ts of writing it exactly.
Now of course all we need to have is a stunning plot, superb characters, real conflict, solid architecture, mind-blowing theme and all that.
Yes… sounds hard right?
Well it is.
But when you’ve written a compelling opening chapter, you’ve done a lot right. You’ve started the battle of writing a story in high form… and if a compelling opening chapter is written, the editor – and the readers – think the rest of the book is as good as the first chapter.
Everyone does that. Even I do that. While other things such as the blurb, name of the author and the cover (*shakes head in shame*) matter for me, the best thing to decide is the first few pages.
In other words, the compelling opening chapter is the difference. If it’s good, you’ve got a sale. If not, it won’t even be published. It won’t even see the shelves. (Read more on why you should write a compelling opening chapter).
Writing compelling opening chapters is hard. Continuing with the same compelling writing voice for the whole story is harder.
>But you can do it. You absolutely can. I repeat… the task is made easier when you write a compelling opening chapter because people automatically judge your whole story on it. It’s hard to find a book when there is a compelling opening chapters and the rest are all blah-blahs. History has the first chapter in its favour. A lot… a lot… depends on it.
But you still need to complete your story after writing the first one.
My advice is: Don’t ramble for pages. Don’t go off-topic. Narrative about that great historical place sounds great, but your readers will be bored to tears by it. More importantly… they will be angry. Why? Because they bought the book! And you didn’t fulfill your promise.
Rambling for pages or slowing down in heavy narrative or jargon – This is the one mistake I see everyone make. Your task for today is to write a three-chapter-piece that has the same tight topic and no rambling at all..
And the rest will be easy. No rambling + no long narrative that stretches for pages + no expository dialogue + one tight topic = success.
That is the winning formula for success.
Have Your Say
- Share your own experiences of Writing Compelling Opening Chapters.
- Do you know something I missed writing? Please notify in the comments section.
- General comments about the series as a whole. Was it unique and helpful or blah-blah and boring?
- Disagreements with what I wrote.
This post signifies the end of the series “Writing Compelling Opening Chapters.” Click here for the series index, or get free updates for more great tips and techniques.
Jamie Pelletier says
I’m totally impressed by your blog. I am working on my first novel and I was wondering if you do any consulting/ critiquing?
I, too, am totally loving your blog and have added it to my bookmarks. My outline is nearly complete (I am about to outline my scenes and everything else has been done). I have been using the snowflake method while adding some stuff myself (setting, atmosphere, subplots, etc).
I just wanted to say “Thank you” for this blog it is just what I needed at this very moment. I will be hanging around on your blog quite a bit.
Well done, sir. Very well done!
I’ve found in your blog, what I needed to complete my book. The draft it self wasn’t doing it for me, but now, with your help I can finally say that the chapters now make sense, and the first chapter actually is pointing in the right direction!