What makes a good first chapter/episode in your opinion?

And what makes a really bad first episode or chapter? What do you think are the key ingredients for a story, in order to instantly glue you to the story and carry on reading? How about the important elements in different genres?
Sorry for the number of questions. All feedback is appreciated, thanks in advance x

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I’m not a fan of seeing the MCs morning routine when the story starts: waking up, picking an outfit, “ohnoes I’m gonna be late!1”, grabbing a cupcake, and saying goodbye to their mom who always seems to be wearing a power suit.

Throw us right into the story. Introduce your characters as the story moves along.


Thank you, I’ll make sure to check thoroughly next time, I’m still getting used to it haha x

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Tips for you, @Kax

Do not make your first Episode about character customization. Obviously, NO ONE is going to want to continue it (at least the majority) since the first chapter is pass-free, people want to get an idea of what the plot line is.

  1. Cliche Plots? (NO)
    I’ve read plenty of posts about horrible cliche plots about MC falling in love with the meant-to-be-guy. Make your plotline unique to other often used plotlines.

  2. Introduce us to the setting
    Be straightforward. I’m not to keen on plots where MC has a secret or bad past. It’s used too often and obviously, it’s not fresh. EVERYONE wants something fresh, to begin with.

  3. If you are writing a bad boy story, don’t always make the MC having romance issues. Instead, you need to make the MC be brave, not just tongue-tied
    Obviously, the MC having romance complications are often used plots. And some romances are just forced too much, “go with the flow, but slowly” don’t rush love interests.

  4. Make Episodes around 10-15 minutes long
    10-15 minutes is everyone’s preferred length for an Episode, 5 minutes is too short, but 20 minutes and people stop loosing focus.

That’s all I have to say, good luck on your story!


Thanks x

Well for a good first episode, I’d say it has to do with content. If it’s got a decent amount of the story in the first episode and I can get a general idea of what’s to come, that’s great. If there’s a cliff hanger or even just dropping little bread crumbs here and there, that provide me with questions I need to find answers to, that’s what will make me read on to episode two.

A really bad first episode starts with an author note saying “sorry this is bad, this is my first story, I am still learning, it will get better, there are no choices in this episode, blah blah blah”.

I also find that whilst I don’t need spectacular directing in the first episode to make it “good”, poor directing is something that might make me not continue on to episode 2.


Upon a survey that I call when I first joined the forums, the summary included the dad of the MC dying, and the vote was should the story start before his death, or at his death. Most voters picked before his death so that you know the characters better. I dont know if this is relevant to you, but it might help.

In addition to above. One thing that I dislike, and will stop reading a story, is if the main ‘plot’ takes too long to kick in. For example of your story surrounds a girl going to a brat-camp, i expect her to go to the brat-camp within 3 episodes. I’ll give an example of a story. Sector 9, the MC took at least 7 (?) episodes to see her powers. Even then it was just a cliff hanger. I continued nevertheless, but 98% of the time I don’t.


I’m not a fan of character introductions. By this I mean introductions like “This is Blah Blah. She is blah blah blah”. I’d rather just meet the characters naturally! So for me, a good first episode won’t have any character introductions, yet we’ll still meet and get to know the main characters.

I like stories that get to the plot pretty quickly. Obviously, I don’t mean stories that give everything away in the first three episodes, but by the end of the episode I like to know what the story was about and have some idea of the direction in which it will be heading.

Find a unique way to start the story! Someone mentioned above that they’re sick of stories where the MC wakes up, grabs a cupcake and goes to school. This does happen a lot lol. If a story has a unique opening scene, then there’s a better chance I’ll be hooked from the start. I really like stories that open with “wow” factor- a unique opening scene that’s well directed.

So essentially, to me a good first chapter needs to have a unique opener to grab you from the start, then should get into the story and not just focus on introducing every single person in the MC’s life.


This is a good question. I feel like sometimes readers say they want more to happen in the first chapter. I am not exactly sure what they mean. This is an introductory chapter. I can tell some of what is going on, but I want the readers to get to know the characters first and their backgrounds, so they can understand where they are coming from.

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When I say that, what I mean is I need to at least have an idea of where the story is going based on the first episode.
Think of a TV series. The first episode isn’t just character introductions. We meet the main characters, but we also dive into the story.
At the very least, there should be a good cliffhanger to hook me.
I mostly read thrillers, mysteries and horror stories though. Romance would probably be a bit different, but I’d still want to have an idea of what the plot’s about. Essentially, I need to have a reason to continue reading.


Thank you for explaining.

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