Gripes, On Writing

Authors, I’m telling you again

HOOK. ME. WITH. CHAPTER. ONE! I’ve done this post once before, but thought the message bears repeating  again.

I read 100K books in about a day. Rarely more than two. That’s not a brag, just a statement of fact. If, however, it takes me two weeks to read the first 19 pages of a book, there’s a problem…especially if chapter one is over thirty pages long. Fortunately in this case, I was reading another author’s WIP, so the problem could be remedied before publication.  But with the numbers of books I read and proof, I run into this problem again and again: chapter one sucks.

Lemme tell you something. Chapter one is typically the excerpt chapter Kindle, etc. pull from. It’s the one that should be on your web site, enticing readers to keep reading. It’s the one chapter that MUST ROCK.

A lot of people tell you that your first sentence must draw readers in. Meh. I don’t personally buy that. I’m savvy enough to give you a few chapters to hook me. But if you go on and on about nothing, dump more information in that first chapter than in the remainder of the book, blind me with secondary, tertiary and even quaternary characters, I’m going to put the book down before going much further.

Think about it.