Lately, I find myself starting a ton of new books and starting new ones before I finish them, and I realized that’s because for me, first chapters are CRAZY IMPORTANT.
If you don’t hook me in the first paragraph of your book, or at least the first chapter, there’s a good chance I’ll start reading something else, because let’s be real: this ain’t 1895 with only 5 fiction books at the library, folks.
THERE ARE TONS OF BOOKS OUT THERE, PEOPLE, AND I GET ANXIETY ATTACKS WHEN I THINK I WON’T BE ABLE TO READ THEM ALL.
That being said.
I’ve gathered my five worst first chapter pet peeves that will probably make me start reading something else when I come across them, and here they are.
NUMBER ONE: Your first chapter is from the POV of some random character we’ll never see again.
You know, like two random people whispering in the darkness about the scary magical thingy that’s probably going to befall your MC in ten chapters.
But the thing is, for me a first chapter is supposed to make me root for the MC. I want to feel like I can relate to him/her, and I can’t do that if said MC ISN’T THERE YET. (Feel me?)
If I go through a twenty-page first chapter only to realize I must now forget about the two people I just met because THIS is the hero of the story, I’ll just go
NUMBER-TWO: Never-ending first chapter
Personnally, I don’t exactly dig long chapters in general. I don’t mind them if I’m well into the middle of the story and shit’s going on all over the place, but if your first chapter lasts for thirty pages it’s usually a hint that you’re going to info-dump the hell out of me and I would just rather not. At all.
I want to start in the middle of the action.
Simple as that.
1-hour long first chapter?
NUMBER THREE: Five thousand decades ago when nobody cared
I hate starting in the past. I just hate it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s really well-done and some of my favorite books start with a scene that happened before the hero’s story takes place. (Like Harry Potter, and you know I’ll worship these books to my grave.)
But that can only be achieved when the scene is REALLY original and compelling. (I mean, there was a cat changing into a lady and a half-giant on a flying motorcycle, yo?) It can’t be just another way for the author to INFO-DUMP ME TO DEATH.
And what is worse than info-dumping about the MC’s current friends and school schedule? INFO-DUMPING ABOUT FAKE HISTORY.
Please, weave in that information fluidly through your story while action is going on. Please. Otherwise I’ll just
NUMBER FOUR: I wake up at seven and then I brush my teeth and then I yawn and scroll down IG and then…
I’ll admit, the first books I wrote as a teenager ALL started with my MC waking up and going through the most PAINFULLY NORMAL day of her life at school. But then I read a lot of books and realized that shit was boring as hell.
And I stopped writing that crap.
Here’s an idea: What if EVERYBODY stopped writing these types of first chapters?
NUMBER FIVE: The Lightseeker touched the Orb and now all the Darkminions are approaching Krakav Land so we must call the Great Elf
You know, like, the opposite of info-dumping.
Just a WHOLE lot of new scary words that mean NOTHING to me and that the author won’t explain, like ever.
I love it when not ALL my answers are answered immediately, obviously, and I’m all for leaving stuff in the dark for as long as possible. But, like, can I be in the loop, here? Just so I can follow what’s going on, maybe?
And that’s it for me!
What are your worst pet peeves when it comes to first chapters?
Let me know in the comments!
CHECK OUT THE SYNOPSIS OF MY BOOK
Devonna is coming out in October 2019, yay!