First Chapter Bad Habits #Writers #AmWriting


Warning: some of these first chapter habits are naughty but at the same time they can be quite pleasurable:

  1. Tell the reader everything. I am such a blabber mouth. I struggle to keep secrets and I hate surprises. Given the chance, I will tell you, the reader, everything  you need to know in the first chapter about the plot, characters, twists and ending. I will feel a lot better once its out and then I will just pad out the next 130 pages. Sigh!  I am controlling this by planning and structuring my plot. Being a writer who never plotted made this problem worse. I have had to change my ways to resolve this issue.
  2. Go cliché crazy. I love clichés. I know they can be damaging but they make me smile. Given the chance I would open my book with ‘it was a dark and stormy night’……hang on, that is the opening sentence of my book! I am controlling this by just having a raised cliché awareness.
  3. Introduce all my characters. I want you, the reader, to meet and greet all my major and minor characters as soon as possible. In the first chapter I am bubbling with excitement and struggling to contain myself. Given the chance I would open my book with a merry parade of all my characters. I am controlling this through planning and structuring my plot. Again being someone who never plotted made this worse. Planning and plot structure keeps my excitement under control.
  4. Start with a quick weather report. I am obsessed with looking at the weather app on my phone and knowing what the weather conditions are for the rest of the day / asking myself will I need a brolly (umbrella)? Seeing as though I always like to know what the weather is like outside, given the chance I would start my book with a quick weather report. I am still learning on this one.
  5. Extensive character lists. I love making lists. The majority of my blog posts are list based. Given the chance I would provide you, the reader, with a detailed descriptive list on what each character looks like; brown hair, chestnut eyes, slim, stick out ears, skinny legs and large feet. There would be no work for the reader if I was left to my own devices. I am still learning on this.
  6. Back Story Overload. I know the back story should be hinted at in the first chapter. Given the chance I would tell you everything you needed to know about the back story. A lot of books that I have read lately don’t start the backstory until chapter three – eeek!  Again this can be controlled through plot and structuring of your novel. It’s a tough one especially if you are someone like me who cannot keep anything to themselves.

You will all be glad to know that I am very restrained now.  If anyone would like to tell me their first chapter secrets I will not tell a soul 🙂

Take care out there writers!

Photo; Stocknsnaps

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Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

46 thoughts on “First Chapter Bad Habits #Writers #AmWriting

      1. Yes. All except keeping my daughter’s birthday present a surprise for seven months! Sadly, I still hinted at it, which is DANGEROUS! haha I want to tell everyone everything. I might be the queen of TMI, too. *sigh*

  1. You know I disagree with you. Reading two of your novels in progress I think you did a very good job with pacing and not saying too much at all. I especially mean this about the story geared more towards young adults, the fantasy with the clocks (totally speaking in code to protect the characters privacy 😉 )

  2. Lol – I think these are true of all of us. As for clichés, I’ve found they work really well with a small twist. For example, instead of saying, “her face turned white as a ghost,” make it, “her face turned white as a vampire ghost” (or something).

    1. You are one of my writing heroines and to hear that you are a pantser makes me submit my annual subscription to the Sarah Potter fan club. I am trying to change my ways and it’s really hard. I like surprise too. Thx 🙂

  3. I love #2. I wish we could speak in cliches! Why should I find a new way to adequately explain an awkward situation that someone already invented for me? Sigh / long exhale combo.

  4. You do love your lists. Another great blog post! My hubby is also overly interested in the weather. It’s one of those things I don’t usually give a thought and don’t have to because he will keep tabs on it for me. As for my secrets, I will keep them to myself, Miss Blabbermouth. lol

  5. I am actually a plotter, but I struggle with the first chapter also. I end up not having the first chapter written the way I want it unti the book is finished. It’s the hardest chapter to write in the entire book. I am working on another book now and am fixing to do my third complete rewrite of the first chapter. But now I think it got it the way I want in my head. It’s a process, but eventually, with lots of work, anyone can write a good first chapter.

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