Tips on making a good first chapter?

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#1

HEY GUYS! I need some major help in writing the first chapter of my story.

I have the basic plot worked out.
MC is in a typical high school setting (cliche, I know). She is socially awkward and has a low self-esteem, but then some magical force causes her to switch bodies with the most popular girl in school, Kennedy. This causes MC to find out that Kennedy is secretly a lesbian, and lots of drama stems off of that. I’m planning for the story to show MC’s character development and her journey from an awkward, insecure teenager into a more confident, positive person. She also becomes close friends with the popular girl she trades lives with, who is actually very sweet and not the mean girl MC thought she was. (In the end I’m also planning on giving the reader an option to date Kennedy.)

I’ve sort of come up with starting the story off at the school’s homecoming dance, with the opening scene being the huge dance party with everyone having a good time. Then the scene changes to MC at home alone wearing sweats, eating junk food and watching TV. Then her friends Finley and Mikaela come over bringing extra dresses and force her to come with them to homecoming, so MC obliges.

I’m just really bad at writing those fancy introductions that hook the reader and make the story sound all professional, and I don’t know how to make a good first chapter that is interesting and entertaining, but also leaving the reader wanting more so they’ll continue on to the next chapter. I’d love some feedback from someone who has a bit more experience in writing than me.

(Also if anyone has any title ideas that would be greatly appreciated :sweat_smile:)


#2

I guess my tip for you would be to not drag it out, or jump right into it. I can’t stand when authors start their stories out by having their MC standing in the screen, and narrating every little thing about them. “This is Ellie. She is 16 years old, and goes to Woodridge high. She is a nerd, but likes it. She likes cupcakes and pizza.” Let the readers find that out for THEMSELVES. Obviously, there isn’t anything wrong with narrating your story or telling your readers about the MC, but it can get to a point where it is very dragged out and boring. Stories like that usually lose me immediately.
At the same time, you generally don’t want to confuse readers by jumping straight into the action, unless you are going to do some sort of flashback. Character development is still very important and in order for your readers to want to spend their passes on the next episode of your story, you have to make them CARE about what happens next, what happens to your MC. It’s hard to care about what happens to somebody you know nothing about.
Perhaps start your story in an everyday setting. Maybe everybody in school is talking about the homecoming. What is MC’s reaction to this? Is it strong, or does she simply not care? What are her friends like?
Your first episode is not just an introduction, but it is also your opportunity to make readers care enough to read to the next episode.
Sorry if this is too long, lol.


#3

Omg thank you!! I totally agree, I also hate when stories just blatantly introduce characters in that weird awkward way. I guess I also felt compelled to do one of those fancy “I didn’t used to be a liar” types of intros where it shows dramatic pans over scenery with deep, profound words in the narrater box, but I’m starting to think it would be better to start it off more simple. Thanks so much for your advice!


#4

I don’t have any advice really, but just wanted to say your story sounds like it will be a hit. Can’t wait to read it someday


#5

Aw thanks so much!1!! :))


#6

You’re welcome, and good luck with your story!


#7

Probably a normal, typical setting where we get to know the MC through her thoughts, actions, and words. Maybe she could interact with Kennedy, thus giving the readers a little foreshadowing. A little buildup for the homecoming dance might also be nice.

I, personally, don’t like those retrospective intros set in the future where the narrator or MC is like, Wait! But first, let’s go back to the beginning. But if you like those kind of intros, don’t worry, there are probably a lot of people that enjoy them as well. :slight_smile:


#8

Closing due to one month of inactivity :slight_smile:


#9