Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Mysterious First Chapter

What am I reading now?  The Girl Who Heard Demons (Janette Rallison)

Annd . . . what do I think so far?  Shy Adelle Hansen hears demons, but she’s determined to make friends at her new high school by keeping her ability secret.
When she overhears supernatural voices celebrating the impending death of the school quarterback, Levi Anderson, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. However, the demons aren’t the ones plotting; they’re just celebrating the chaos, and Adelle must contend with earthly forces as well if she wants to preserve Levi’s life.
Handsome, popular Levi doesn't appreciate Adelle’s self-appointed role of guardian angel. As Adelle battles to keep him safe, she’ll have to protect her heart, too. Can she do both?

Exactly what goes into the 
the Mysterious First Chapter?

The first few pages will make or break a reader. Lisa Mangum gave a lecture on writing and said (I'm paraphrasing here) that ...
•the job of the first sentence is to make the reader read the second sentence.
•The job of the first paragraph is to make the reader read the second paragraph.
•The job of the first scene is to make the reader read the second scene.
•The job of the first chapter is to make the reader read the second chapter.
and so on!

So what needs to go into that first chapter?

K.M. Weiland has this list. You can find it on her blog at http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/character-arcs-5/
It is part five of a 15-part series that is a MUST READ for writers wanting to improve the structure of their craft!
"The Characteristic Moment has to accomplish several tasks. It has to:

  • Introduce your protagonist.
  • (Probably) reveal your protagonist’s name.
  • Indicate your protagonist’s gender, age, nationality, and possibly his occupation.
  • Indicate important physical characteristics.
  • Indicate his role in the story (i.e., that he is the protagonist).
  • Demonstrate the prevailing aspect of his personality.
  • Hook readers’ sympathy and/or their interest.
  • Show the protagonist’s scene goal.
  • Indicate the protagonist’s story goal.
  • Demonstrate, or at least hint at, the protagonist’s Lie.
  • Influence the plot, preferably directly, but at the very least in a way that foreshadows later events."
Brandon Sanderson said this (paraphrasing from a session taught at LDStorymakers 2016) of the opening chapter:
The opening chapter is a hook, and a hook is a promise. It is a microcosm of the entire story. He went on to say that we should review the opening scene of the Temple of Doom--Indiana Jones considering how it relates to the entire film.

1 comment:

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great advice there. And I loved Rallison's Demon book.