The Battle Over Chapter 1

Sara Jenlink (June 2016)

Let’s talk about chapter 1.

  • Tells them who they are cheering for.
  • Sets the ground floor for WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN. (Why and How come about in the story.)
  • It captivates the audience.

#1 and #2 are more important than #3, but we understand the “hook” better and can write some great ones.

Take a look at my ORIGINAL version (on the right). The first chapter starts out telling who died, not who we will follow in the story. That first page had agents and publishers engaged and laughing, but they always stopped a few lines in to ask where the main character was.  CLUE. DUH.

Notice in the original, there is a lot of info dumped. It takes 8 pages before I get deeply into the story.

In the REVISION (Draft 4 or 5 or 6 or…) I focused on the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN. Now I have given a FRAME to the story.

On Monday nights, Chris, Kurt, Quinton and I have been discussing FRAME. MAYBE, I got it. Much of the original info will move into Chapter 2, some into chapter 3. But Chapter one is “JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM. JUST THE FACTS” produced with an effort to captivate the audience.

Your assignment, “should you choose to accept it,” is to Read and Compare. What have you learned? Can you share that??