First chapter tips for new writers please!

Hey guys! So for a long time, I have been wanting to write a story. I have so many ideas on what to write & how I want the story to go. But the biggest struggle for me has been writing the first chapter. It’d be really helpful if you could tell me what you think should be included in the first chapter or what makes a first chapter interesting to make you continue reading the story.

Thanks :sweat_smile:

Gosh, I have a lot this might take a while to type up.


  • Please make the chapter long! Normal episodes are around 10-15 mins but a first chapter should always be longer.

  • Don’t have a super long exposition paragraph at the beginning. Let the information come out naturally at a good pace, so it doesn’t seem like all of this knowledge is being stuffed in the reader’s face. But at the same time, don’t leave way too much for the reader to wonder, otherwise it won’t make sense. Show, don’t tell.

  • Leave some mystery to be filled in in later episodes! If the reader has all of the answers in the first episode, nothing motivates them to read the next one and that can hurt your reader retention.

  • End on some sort of cliffhanger.

  • Don’t let the reader customize every single character. MC and love interest(s) are fine, but if you go way too far it just bores the reader.

  • Be sure to let the reader know how good of a write you are! If that makes sense. Use your most advanced directing that you know, use the most impressive stuff you have because that impresses the reader and makes them want to read more.

Good luck with your story! :slight_smile:

  • If you’re planning on including CC, try and find a unique way to incorporate it into your story instead of putting it right at the beginning.
  • Don’t make yourself as a character and then talk to the reader (author notes), as they can get annoying.
  • Include some choices to get the reader to feel involved.
  • Avoid doing info dumps and focus on showing rather than telling.

Okay, so here’s a few things to remember when writing the first chapter of anything:

The first chapter should answer this question: Who is MC and why do I want to get invested in this character? Everything after the beginning is us guiding MC through choices, but if she’s just a complete stranger, who should we care to invest our time in her?

In novels, you get more room to talk about that, but on here, you have to imagine this is a tv show. I would suggest watching the pilot episode of your fav show again to see how they timed things.

A big mistake a lot of authors make here is making the first few chapters way to short - the first chapters, if anything, should be the longer because they are free. The whole purpose of a beginning is introducing who the MC is before you introduce the problem or the LI. If the reader is not invested after the first three chapters, they are highly unlikely to come back next week, let alone until the very end. If they ARE invested, they might even stick with the story if you only updated it once a month.

For the love of God, don’t info dump (this is my mom, she’s blah, blah, blah, this is my dad, he’s blah, blah, blah, this is my bffs, they are blah blah blah), but give us a day in the life of MC so we at least get a feeling for them. Read any first chapter of a book and it’s all about the MC before the drama. If you are doing first-person narrative throughout your story, then feel free to do the over voice narrator thing (My name is Saul, and I love my home town. Ah, school, I love it but I’m not studious~) but ONLY if it’s consistent throughout the whole story. Once again, watch the pilot of a show and see how they introduce things.

I highly suggest not doing CC for more than the MC in the first chapter. The reader doesn’t have to CC everyone in the story to enjoy it- 90% will get fatigued if they have to CC more than two characters (MC and maybe a LI). If you are allowing CC for your MC, then you need to have it to it automatically CC the MC’s family members - it’s really simple and only takes about five minutes to do for each additional character - that way the reader doesn’t need to go through CCing everyone in the family.

The plot of the story should be hinted at the very end of the first chapter - of it’s a fantasy, the MC gets bitten by the werewolf, if it’s a stepbrother romance, the mom announces she’s getting married, if it’s a murder-thriller, the MC is getting ready for the party where the first character is going to be killed. Always try to end things with something that makes the reader wonder what’s about to happen.

Choices. Choices. I’m of the opinion you don’t need any major choices in the first chapter unless it helps set up the MC for later (like determining her personality type) - for instance, you don’t need to decide five minutes in if she’s going to drop out of HS or go to the university, but if you want to code it so the reader decides if she’s ‘wild’ (and thus make more crazy choices) or ‘shy’ (an thus is less likely to go to that raging party) than the first chapter is when to do it (but that can be super complicated). If you still don’t know the plot or the MC, you don’t need to be making choices just yet besides, maybe, what they should wear.

So just remember, the entire goal for the first chapter is a set up. Don’t jump right into the plot after two minutes, take the first chapter, maybe even the first two, to tell us about MC and her world.


Wow, where were you when I first started writing on episode?? Nice list :+1:


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