So what shouldn’t you have in your first chapter?

A word of caution – these are not rules. I don’t like rules much. They’re sometimes limiting and sometimes they’re just statements said so many times people think they must be true. (Like never starting a paragraph with ‘and’ or ‘but’.)

But there are some cliches, some approaches that become very tired, especially for those people like agents and editors, who read more than their fair share of first chapters. I’ve written a blog for Savvy Authors giving my opinion about some things I don’t like in first chapters. Anything any of you might wish to add?


About Greta van der Rol

I'm an author of fast-paced, action-adventure novels, mainly space opera - although I've been known to write in other genres. I live not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoy photography and cooking when I'm not bent over the computer. I have a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping me in my writing endeavours.

Posted on 18 October 2012, in On writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. All good points, Greta. The best way to learn how to write is to read lots and lots of books–both published and unpublished.

  2. I tried leaving a comment on the page itself but it ignored me. Not important, though, because, yet again, I agree with everything you say. My would-be note ran:

    Excellent advice as usual. On the other hand, with so many books to read and so little time in which to read them, I’m grateful to any author who lets me know very early on that I should stop reading and move to the next book.

  3. Since I am presently searching for an entrance into the novel percolating in my mind, I read every word and agree 100%. Nothing infuriates me more than misspellings and grammatical errors that have found their way into a page of print. a few years ago, i cancelled a long-standing subscription to a newspaper for just this reason
    I gree with your emphasis on the fact that the reader wants to begin to get acquainted with the main character from the start, and not find herself on a wild goose chase of paths that suddenly evaporate.

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