Tips for writing an Interesting first chapter/prologue

Ruyue

New member
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
3
Points
3
I have heard from many authors that the first chapter or prologue may very well be the most important part of the book, because that is the part which usually determines if a reader will continue to keep reading your series or not. So I was just looking for some tips of how to write an interesting first chapter/prologue that will keep make a person interested in reading my series.
Thanks for the help all of you who respond.
 

bananapink

Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
50
Points
18
I have heard from many authors that the first chapter or prologue may very well be the most important part of the book, because that is the part which usually determines if a reader will continue to keep reading your series or not. So I was just looking for some tips of how to write an interesting first chapter/prologue that will keep make a person interested in reading my series.
Thanks for the help all of you who respond.
How do I put this... hmm. Put some thrill, leave them hanging and asking for more ahaha... the prologue should have some sort of mystery to it, at the same time create a scene that will give them a glimpse of how the story is going to progress from there, or it could be one of the vital reason why this story came about. The prologue is the springboard of a story. It doesn't have to be flamboyant all you need is to grasp the reader's interest.

(I'm not helping, am I?)
 

NiQuinn

(ノ>ω<)ノ :。・:*:・゚’★,。・:*:・゚’☆
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
211
Points
63
I have heard from many authors that the first chapter or prologue may very well be the most important part of the book, because that is the part which usually determines if a reader will continue to keep reading your series or not. So I was just looking for some tips of how to write an interesting first chapter/prologue that will keep make a person interested in reading my series.
Thanks for the help all of you who respond.
Here's an interesting read about prologues.

https://www.quora.com/Do-people-read-book-prologues

Besides that, DON'T INFO DUMP. The tendency of info dumping is that you don't allow your reader to acclimate to the story. You're forcing them to believe things at face value. Unless it's important, don't wax poetic about a country's origins, history, religion, etc. Take your time and don't be impatient when writing content.
 

tiaf

The Irredeemable Artistic Fujoshi
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
138
Points
63
Hard to say. I normally have to read more than one chapter to get invested. But that depends on word count.

A prologue for example can be very short, maybe a foreshadowing of a very important plot point, an event that already happened that is the start of your story or a dialogue between characters to get the gist of their chemistry (hate, love, friendship etc.) or just to show their personality. Just make a prologue short, I hate long prologues.

A first chapter in exchange can be longer. Just let the reader know, where your story is heading. But don’t reveal to much and don’t do it like some manga and anime. Crashing everything into the first episode and destroying the pace, just to get the audience interested. Then you can simply write a longer first chapter or upload multiple chapters at the beginning.

For content, that solely depends on your genre, just put something in that makes the reader feel something. (You can look at movie trailers for inspiration)

Hope that helped somewhat.
 
Last edited:

jinxs2011

Spud Cannon
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
125
Points
43
As people above said, not too much information. Ideally, you want to introduce some key parts of your world/story - whether that be characters, setting, etc. Just... Don't do it by going "person named xxxx always was yyyy and then III happened and now zzzz".
Leave details until later. Your first chapter doesn't necessarily need to explain anything, just give the reader an idea about the story. Hook them in with something exciting, unusual and/or mysterious. And when I say mysterious I don't mean 'dude stands ominously'. I mean an actual mystery. Something that will puzzle the reader and make them wand to read on to find the answer.

...I'm kinda just ranting on bad novel prologues now, aren't I?

You know what, just do this: grab some fiction books, doesn't matter if you've read them before or even if you don't like them, just grab a bunch of books and read the first chapter/prologue. Mentally (or physically) note everything you don't like about them and what you especially do like, and then do the opposite of what you didn't like and do what you did like.
 

S-Scherr

Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
40
Points
18
Some great advice above. Remember, there's no rule that demands you start your story at the 'start'. Just pick a scene somewhere in the middle of that mystery... and start writing. Build questions surrounding the opening scene and drop the reader right into the fire. I enjoy a story that throws me right into the middle of something intense and then explains along the way how I got there and where I'm going as a reader.
 

Ninetailed_Furball

Active member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
134
Points
43
There's not a whole lot I can say about first chapters (especially after what the others have said), but if you chose to go without a prologue, then there's a few points I want to make.

Give the reader a question. It can be anything, but something relevant to the overarching story. Things like "who's this? What's special about this girl? Why does a lightbulb appear above this guy's head when he gets an idea?" Despite never actually reading it, I like to use Harry Potter as an example. The biggest question was "what's so special about this kid?" I mean, being a potential wizard is pretty amazing, but that's not what the question was. It was "what let him survive the big bad as a baby?" The author takes almost the entire series to answer those questions.

Yours doesn't have to take so long to answer them, but the questions and answers should be relevant to the entire story.

Whether you start at the beginning or in-media-rez or not doesn't matter a whole lot, and is your decision though. Some prefer taking their time to get to speed, others want to jump right in. But there's a cheat to that: prologues.

The point of a prologue is to do a few things. First, provide the question in the place of the first chapter. Second, set the tone. Third, give information to the reader that the first chapter isn't able to, but is extremely important.

The first point is self evident.

The second is basically a promise. That promise is how the story is supposed to feel. Oftentimes the first chapter has a very different feel from the rest of the story because it's used to set things up. Maybe it even takes several chapters to establish the tone. But readers often don't have the patience for that, so they decide that the first chapter is how the entire series is going to feel. The prologue exists to tell those people "hey, this is how the story is going to be like, but we won't be there for a little while, so buckle up!"

I've read plenty of stories that spent 10+ chapters doing one thing before going on to how the actual story ends up being, and a prologue would've make me realize how the story was actually going to be like much faster. I wouldn't doubt that many readers saw the tags, started reading, then quit before those 10 chapters were up disappointed that the tags lied to them.

The third point is a bit more difficult, but basically you can use the prologue in ways that you normally couldn't write elsewhere, especially so early on. Things like the differing perspectives, or events far apart from the first chapter in time and/or space. It's very easy to tease things in the prologue that can't be dealt with in the main story for a long time. Either an event far in the future of the story, or far in the past that the MC won't discover for a while. It can be whatever you want, and readers explicitly understand that the prologue and first chapter won't flow fluidly between each other.

Anyways, that's how I feel about it. Prologues are amazing tools and extremely important, but not essential.
 

Hama

New member
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
Messages
10
Points
3
Well, as far as I know, prologue must be like an extended and more detailed summary, in which you give a general view or idea about what the reader should expect from the novel, the first chapter however is the introduction or how you start shaping your story after you gave a general idea, and although not all novels follow that same principle as some merge both the prologue and the first chapter into the same thing but that isn't always a good thing
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
144
Points
43
just go with the most interesting first line you can think of, then you can figure out the rest.
 
Top