Getting ready to begin a new manuscript can be a daunting thing. At the beginning of this year I start a contracted work for Abingdon's newest Quilt series. At this point the proposal has been approved, the contract is in place, the vaguest of research has been conducted--usually enough to give some idea of setting as background for the proposal, but not enough to consider research complete enough to support an entire story--and all looks well. But as every writer knows, nailing those first chapters is the toughest nut to crack. There are so many elements that need to be established. For your convenience, I've included a list of guidelines to help you scale the hump that is "Chapter One."
First chapter essentials:
Prologues are optional but if used they should add dimension to the story and be relevant.
The hook needs to be interesting without being forced. If you can't think of anything brilliant revisit the first line later.
Weave in setting with the opening dialogue and narrative.
Use snippets of the characters backstory to raise questions, add interest and establish characteristics unique to your protagonist.
Award winning novelist S. Dionne Moore is a recently named 2011 Carol Award finalist. She enjoys history and spending time with her family on their little plot of heaven in PA.
For more information, visit her at www.sdionnemoore.com. Follow her on Twitter: @sdionnemoore, or join me on LinkedIn.