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I love what Ruth Harris has to say about rewriting the first chapter once you get the story done. By then your story has settled down and is more cohesive. So then the first chapter needs a serious re-look. She has a bunch more tips, so head on over to Anne R Allen‘s blog and check it out. How do you manage unruly first chapters?
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First Chapter Blues: Tips and Fixes
June 26, 2016 by Ruth Harris
Someone waves a gun in the first sentence.
In the second sentence, Jim (or is it Jill?) is walking his (or is it her?) dog in the rain.
In the third paragraph, the dog gets loose, runs into the middle of a movie set where the handsomest/most beautiful/most famous movie star in the world falls instantly in love with the owner of the toy poodle/doberman pinscher/golden retriever.
In the last paragraph, Jim (or is it Jill?) is tied up in a cellar. She or he is getting fired/laid by his/her billionaire boss. Or s/he is in the kitchen making cupcakes. Or driving a Ferrari on the Grand Corniche while some people (good guys? bad guys?) are going somewhere in a truck/tank/bus/boat/private jet.
So what is this? A mystery? A thriller? A cozy? A romance? Urban fantasy?
Who the hell knows?
Certainly not the reader who by now is gone, girl, gone.
Basically, what we have here is a mess.
Of course I exaggerate but, based on a recent random reading of “Look Inside” samples, I didn’t completely make this up, either.
Your first chapter needs to be seductive, enticing, compelling and coherent. Getting it right is crucial—and it’s not easy.
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