Writing Advice

Marcy Kennedy’s “10 Writing Mistakes That Kill Your First Chapter.”

Knife stabbing a book on a dresser

Author Marcy Kennedy has compiled her ten writing mistakes that kill your first chapter.

Check them out:

#1 – A Boring/Generic First LineDon’t show me the character doing anything completely normal and forgettable. Waking up, getting out of their car, folding their laundry…

Your first line needs to raise questions in the reader’s mind and make them curious or hint at trouble/conflict. Preferably both.
#2 – Point-of-View Shifts
Head-hopping is always a problem, regardless of where it crops up in your manuscript, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean a point-of-view shift carried out with a proper transition.

Confused? In your first chapter, one of the things you need to do is convince the reader to invest in your main character. They need to spend time with them to do that, and if you switch POV characters within the first chapter, the reader doesn’t have enough time to make that connection.

Read the entire list here.