Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #10 (January 2017)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo The good I liked the writing and the lack of info dumping, especially since this is fantasy and the reader needs to learn the context, world and premise. The first sentence was long, which I would normally complain about, but it was simple enough to … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #9 (December 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? In the Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker The good The voice in this book was immediate and fantastic. I knew this girl immediately and was interested in what she was doing and what she had to say. I learnt about how three years beforehand, when they were both fourteen, … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter or a book I've never read to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #8 (November 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Biblical, Christopher Galt In the last eight months of doing #FirstChapterFriday, I’ve found that it’s easier to be unimpressed by a first chapter than it is to be impressed by a first chapter. This prologue was only a few pages long—long enough for me to be able to form a negative … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #7 (October 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Cinder, Marissa Meyer Engaging first sentence? The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. I found this sentence to be a classic “I overestimate how much my reader cares about my story and its characters”. I could picture something, which was great … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #6 (September 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Face Value, Ian Andrew Engaging first sentence? It wasn’t the prettiest place to die. I liked it; it told me that I was starting the story in the middle of an action scene so it probably wouldn’t be a boring or slow start. It also told me that this current … Read more

There are millions of books in the world so why should anyone read your book over another one? Even if you win someone over with your cover, blurb and title, you're not in yet. Avid readers have dozens of books on their 'to be read' list, so why should yours be the next to be crossed off? Your first chapter should answer this question. It's your book's audition!

#FirstChapterFriday What Makes the First Chapter of a Book Stand Out?

(Video transcript) There are millions of books in the world so why should anyone read your book over another one? Even if you win someone over with your cover, blurb and title, you’re not in yet. Avid readers have dozens of books on their ‘to be read’ list, so why should yours be the next … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a novel I haven’t read before and discuss its strengths, weaknesses and overall rating as a first chapter on Instagram using the tag #FirstChapterFriday. Here's what I learnt about first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #4 (July 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Another month has flown by, which means I’ve read another lot of first chapters for #FirstChapterFriday. What did I find out this month? Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard Engaging First Sentence? I hate First Friday. It made me laugh, which had nothing to do with how good it was and everything to do … Read more

In my last video I talked about how difficult it is to start a story from just an idea and that it's best to develop that idea into a premise before you start writing or you'll have an increased chance of getting stuck. But while a premise might tell us what our story is about, it doesn't tell us much about what's going to happen. Many writers can take the premise and run with it, but not everyone works the same. If your premise hasn't got the plot cogs turning yet, how do you start? And when you do start, where do you go?

How to Turn a Story Premise into a Plan

How to Turn a Story Premise into a Plan (Video transcript) In my last video I talked about how difficult it is to start a story from just an idea and that it’s best to develop that idea into a premise before you start writing or you’ll have an increased chance of getting stuck. But while … Read more

I often hear writers say, "I have an idea for a book, but I don't know where to start."

How to Turn an Idea into a Story

How to Turn an Idea into a Story (Video transcript) I often hear writers say, “I have an idea for a book, but I don’t know where to start.” That’s because an idea doesn’t equal a story. Ideas don’t tell us much about the story at all. Ideas often involve no characters, no conflict and … Read more