Reading in Library

How Important Is Your Opening Chapter?

Updated: Feb 23


Your opening chapter is the first part of your novel that your reader encounters, or that your publisher reads when deciding on whether to give your book the time of day or not. The first few pages are crucial in establishing a connection with your reader, and urging them to continue on your adventure right until the last page is turned.

Setting the tone

Stories have highs, lows, middles, crescendos and troughs – but overall, have a tone which they carry throughout their duration. A story tone will determine its readership, and to a certain degree, even its content.

Tone and voice confirm genre. A reader doesn't want to pick up a book that looks by its cover to be a romance, and find out that it is high fantasy. All the elements have to line up together to confirm the readers' expectations.

How to create voice? Try not to copy others. It comes with practice and writing authentically. You have to open yourself up to an emotional connection with your book. To get down into the layers of your conscious. This is why writing is such a difficult thing to do and takes so much out of us.

Introducing your main character

The opening chapter usually introduces us to the MC, with whom we journey throughout the universe of the story. It gives us insight into not only our MC companion but the world in which they live.

There are key elements that need to be included: Who is your MC? What is their goal? What is the truth that they believe (even if it is in fact a lie)?

In summary

The opening chapter is the first step into a world you as the writer create for your reader to immerse themselves in. It is of utmost importance to ease your reader into your world, your character and your story from the get go, so that they don’t, well, put the book down. These few examples should help guide you in writing your first few tentative pages!