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The first chapter of your book is the onramp to the world you are creating. It needs to be broad and hinderance free, sucking your reader into the vortex that is your story.

Which is why I’m re-writing mine, and you might want to consider re-writing yours.

I don’t know about you, but when I wrote the first chapter, my level of confidence that the story would end the way I thought it would was at, on a good day, 80%. I had a rough plot outline. I knew generally how the story would unfold, what the major plot points were and how the resolution would tie back to the beginning (though, to be honest, the resolution I ended up with ties back to a different part of the beginning, and in a much more satisfactory way).

The onramp I wrote was to a literary freeway that I didn’t quite get to.

And really, by the time you’ve written 80,000 or 90,000 words, you know your characters a lot better. You’re in their skin a lot more. The subtle characteristics you’ve developed in them, the mannerisms, the verbal back and forth between characters, is smoother, snappier, better by the time you’ve reached the end of your book.

But, unless your reader is a psychopath, buyers don’t read the last chapter to decide if they are going to purchase your book. Amazon’s “Preview” doesn’t preview the last chapter. Your best chapter shouldn’t be the last one, it should be the first one (but only marginally better than all the other chapters).

So one of the final editing tasks I will do, once I’ve cleaned up the rest of the manuscript, is to completely redo Chapter One.

What do you think? Let me know below.

 

About the author: Tony McFadden

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