First Chapter Stew


The first chapter is arguably the most difficult one to craft. Not only do you need to introduce your protagonist and their circumstances, it’s also important to do some world building to give the reader a sense of setting.

This process can be likened to a chef flavouring a meal… Too much of one herb or spice can easily overpower the others and affect the overall flavour. 

The Recipe

The most important ingredient is the protagonist, as no matter how wonderful your setting and plot, a reader needs to feel connected with the main character in order to continue reading.

Plot needs to be sprinkled liberally into the first chapter, or at least anticipation of a solid plot in the pages to come.

World building can be hinted at in chapter one and built upon in subsequent chapters. 

However, the most important thing a writer can do when faced with a crisp white page is bravely dive in and write something down.
Changes can always be made later in the process… As Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton once said “Nothing is ever written, it’s rewritten”.

Be prepared to experiment, even if that sometimes means scraping burnt offerings into the metaphorical bin, and starting from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Bon appetite!


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