Tag Archives | first chapters

Add layers to your first chapter. (A look at POSSESSION)

We all know that first chapters are deal makers or deal breakers. And I’m assuming that you want yours to be a deal maker. As I do mine.

Let’s look at Elana’s first chapter to see what we can learn.

“Good girls don’t walk with boys. Even if they’re good boys – and Zenn was the best. He strolled next to me, all military with his hands clasped behind his back, wearing the black uniform of a Forces recruit. The green stripes on his shirtsleeves flashed with silver tech lights, probably recording everything. Probably? Who am I kidding? Those damn stripes were definitely recording everything.”

In the rest of the chapter we learn how Vi, the main character, has been breaking rules in this dystopian society where the Thinkers control just about everything. Zenn is her match. They are in love. And he’s about to give her a gift. But a hovercopter interrupts the moment, picks her up, and brings her to the institute for a formal hearing.

First layer:

  • We are introduced to an awesome voice.
  • Immediate conflict.
  • Love interest.
  • Introduction to the dystopian world.

And at the end of the chapter I want to know what happens to Vi.

Successful first chapter. Hooks an agent, an editor and readers.

Second layer:

  • Nothing in the first chapter is as it seems.
  • Later in the book, more is revealed, and the first chapter takes on a whole new dimension and meaning. Wow!

Sorry, no spoilers, you’ll have to read the book.

Here’s Elana’s book on Amazon – give it a try.

How can you add layers to your first chapter? How about the whole first half of your story?

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