Engaging Readers from the First Sentence

First words – arguably the most important

ML Keller- The Manuscript Shredder

Chapter 1- This is not a drill


Since most of my edits are first chapter shreddings, I see more opening pages than any other part of a WIP. After reading them, I’ve concluded that so many fail because writers are treating chapter one like a practice run. They iron out a setting, introduce the entire cast (complete with grocery list descriptions), and jot down some backstory so the real story can begin in chapter 2.

Too bad your reader has already abandoned you.

From the first sentence, every word in you MS must be part of the story

Yes, the story must begin with the first word of the first sentence, and it must leave everything that isn’t part of the story out. Do we want to hear about Goldilocks getting dressed that morning? No, it isn’t part of the story. What about the very dramatic argument the Three Pigs…

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