Useful Tips to Write a Great First Chapter for Newbie Writers

As a newbie writer, you will want to focus on getting the first chapter of your book right! Why – you might ask. Well, it takes the average reader only five minutes to determine whether they want to read a book or not based on the first impression made in the initial pages of the book.

Here are some rules for writing a great first chapter that will hook your reader’s interest and make them want to keep reading.

Don’t Start Boring

You will want to avoid starting with your main character waking up in the morning to a boring day of their life. This isn’t what the readers signed up for a while reading your book.

You don’t want to save the good things for later by making a boring start. This way, you will only lose your reader’s attention before they even get to the good stuff. Believe us – this kind of a start is a common cliché many newbie writers always make.

Many newbie writers believe that they have to sort of set the stage by painting a picture of their character’s average life. Usually, writers tend to describe the “boring life” of the main character to show the readers this is how they lived before something happened to them and pushed them outside their comfort zones.

While writing the first chapter, you will want to seriously consider what would engage your readers more. This way, you will see that watching a character’s average day in life get disrupted by a conflict that will push them out of their comfort zone and force them to face their greatest fear might not be an ideal opening.

You will want to make your first chapter as interesting as possible by integrating the right aspect to hook your reader’s attention and make them want to read your entire book from the beginning to the end. This way, you will also land better Amazon editorial reviews, which will help you build your author’s platform.

Start with Your Main Character in a Conflict

The best way to hook your reader’s interest would be to start with your main character in a conflicted place, dealing with internal and external problems.

The first chapter is the most crucial moment in your book. Your first chapter is the ultimate deal breaker. It is the hook – the first five minutes of your book will either pull the readers in or make them lose their attention.

So, you will want to aim at cutting right into the reader’s heart by showing them what the character is dealing with. You will want to show the readers the conflict that the main character is facing head-on – internally and externally.

Reveal the Right Amount of Internal Conflict

Your first chapter is your ultimate chance to win your readers over, so you will want to reveal enough of your protagonist’s internal conflict for them to care about your character, even if some of the conflicts remain a mystery.

If you do it the right way, you will instigate curiosity in the reader’s minds, and they will want to have their answers, for which they will read the entire story.

At this point, your readers won’t understand the entirety of the character’s backstory and their underlying motivations – but – as a writer, you should still be giving your readers reasons to care about the main character by feeling empathy for them.

In chapter one, you will also want to show your readers the decision-making process of your characters. You will want to show your readers what matters to your main character and what they believe is true.

Focus on describing how the character’s belief system impacts their relationships, choices, actions, and life. You can use the first chapter to show your readers a lot about the main character without showing all of their childhood trauma immediately.

You will want to make the readers question and be curious by putting enough of the good stuff in the first chapter.

It all comes down to making your readers care about your book, especially the main character, to the point where they will really want to sit down and read the entire book – else – they won’t continue reading your book.

Connect Your Readers to the Main Character

You will want to use the first five minutes of your chapter to make your readers connect to the character that you, as a writer, want them to care about.

As a newbie writer, you might be confused about where to start the story. You will want to start the story where the external conflict clashes with the main character’s internal conflict. By doing so, you will make the readers question what will happen that will force the character outside their comfort zone and make them face their greatest fears.

You will want to show how this character responds to the inciting incidents and responds to getting shoved out of their comfort zone, to show the readers what the main character’s comfort zone is. You can show their inner clash and internal conflict without info dumping and overwhelming your readers.

How amazing is this?

Many newbie writers try to paint a clear picture of who the main character is before getting to the inciting accident, which can ruin the reader’s attention as they want some sort of action that they can use to get hooked on the story or the main character.

So, to write a captivating first chapter, you should ideally introduce the inciting incident into your story as soon as possible. Shove your character out of their comfort zones and establish who they are by showing your readers how they respond and react to being shoved outside their comfort zone.

Start the Story with Something Unexpected

One of the best ways to get your reader’s undivided attention is by starting your story with the main character waking up to something that will greatly impact their lives and the story. Your character could be waking up to a boring day, but you will want to make it interesting by introducing conflict.

Despite something that might have started as an average day, you will want to show your readers something that is not average about that day. What will make that day special? What lurks around the corner?

You get the point – instead of showing an average day, you will want to show why it is not the average day for the main character. What will be the contrast? What will happen today that is different from any other day in your protagonist’s life?

You will want to incorporate that element that will set your main character on the path of their transformative journey.

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