Made in America

How to Write the First Chapter of Your Book

Sometimes, the hardest part about the writing process is actually getting started.

You have a book idea in your mind, and now it’s up to you to extract those ideas from your imagination and put them on paper. Sounds easy, but for some it can be rather difficult.

In today’s blog, we’re going to offer you some helpful tips on how to write the first chapter of your book.

Every book requires certain touch points in order for the story to unfold in front of the readers’ eyes. With that said, keep these tips in mind and consider them a jumpstart to your novel-writing journey.


Attention grabber

The first few pages of the first chapter serve a vitally important purpose to the survival of your book. These pages will either reel your reader in or have them close your book and move on to the next one. In your first chapter, you’ll want to set the scene, mood and the tone of your story. Introduce your protagonist, provide details – paint the picture of this person. Write in a way that your reader feels as if they’ve been put right into the protagonist’s shoes. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to introduce the problem, the focus of your story. It’s this issue that will drive your story’s plotline further.


Got a problem?

A problem is necessary in order to move your story along, and this problem cannot be easily solvable. This challenge is what will set your story into motion, so it shouldn’t be something that can be stopped immediately. It’s the fuel that keeps your story going. Focus should also be placed on your protagonist’s internal and external struggles while dealing with the issue at hand. Now, you don’t want to be all gloom and doom with your writing. There are myriad ways to introduce a problem in your story. One of which may be your main character having everything only to have it taken away. Or you could deny your character of his deepest desires and have him chase after it to obtain it. Your problem is contingent on your main character’s personality. What makes him tick? It’s up to you, the author, to decide that.


A change of heart

Through your character’s journey, he might make a discovery that changes the course of the story. It’s this fork in the road that will ultimately lead your character to the change that we mentioned previously. When you start writing the first chapter of your book, your character will be one way, and it’s your goal to make your character malleable so that the readers can see a full transformation by novel’s end.  As the author, it’s your job to be the instigator, to add fuel to the fire. You already stoked the fire by introducing a problem into your protagonist’s life. It’s important to note that your main character must be malleable. When the problem is introduced, his or her personality must change. Your character will start one way, and through the trials and tribulations of your story, your character will take a different shape by your book’s final page. As we mentioned in the last point, you’ll want to meld together your character’s external struggle with an internal struggle. Your story’s progression will either provide a resolution or add fuel to the issue. Just think of a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. In your book, it’s up to you, the author, to make that butterfly emerge right in front of your readers’ eyes.

So, if you’re ready to begin the first chapter of your book, take note of these tips to help get you started!

Sometimes however, partnering with someone else can help you as the author stay on track and motivated to complete your novel. If this sounds like something that interests you, learn more about our available Writing Coach services!


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Publication via the Dorrance imprint is a perfect choice for the author looking for a complete, high quality, personal publishing program that leverages the expertise of publishing professionals. Find out for yourself today!

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