Saturday, March 17, 2018

First Chapter Pointers - Part 1

by Elva Cobb Martin 

My good friend and amazing author, MaryLu Tyndall, wrote me that she is collaborating on a book of how to write novels with nine other great authors. MaryLu's part is "How to Write First Chapters."  She asked me to share from my two novels some major points we need to cover in first chapters. Here are her points with her examples and  examples I gave her from my two novels, In a Pirate's Debt and Summer of Deception.

Hope these pointers help you nail down vital information for your first chapters! The how-to book she is helping write will be released in the fall. I'll let you know when!

1) A sentence describing the protagonist in the first chapter of your book(s) Here's MLT's example. 
Heroine has run away from an abusive uncle, endures a storm at sea, and is now shipwrecked on a deserted island.  The Redemption, MaryLu Tyndall

Heroine  Travay flees a forced marriage in Jamaica and falls into the hands of a pirate. 
      - In a Pirate’s Debt, Elva Cobb Martin

Heroine Rachel accepts a summer nanny job on a Charleston, South Carolina, tea plantation to discover if her brother really died in a plane crash over the Atlantic as reported by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). No one at the plantation, including the new owner, knows of her job offer.    
         - Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

2) A sentence or paragraph describing the setting in your first chapter. Here's an example of MLT's. 1692 Heroine is nervously walking through the Cat and the Fiddle Tavern, Port Royal Jamaica.

1720 Jamaica Heroine is fleeing a forced marriage on horseback pursued by the jilted suitor.
            - In a Pirate’s Debt by Elva Cobb Martin

Contemporary heroine arrives late, and unexpected, at Barrett Hall Tea Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, for a summer nanny position.
            – Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

3)A sentence or paragraph describing the situation in your first chapter. MLT's example: Charity's Cross: Heroine has just shot and killed her husband.

When confronted with a forced marriage, Travay Allston flees her stepfather’s Jamaican plantation on horseback and dives into the sea. A pirate rescues her.
     -In a Pirate’s Debt  by Elva Cobb Martin

When Rachel York arrives at Barrett Hall tea plantation for a summer nanny job she finds the uncle who offered her the job has died and told no one about her job offer.
     -Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

Is this helping you nail down some major points we need to cover in our first chapters? Don't miss Part 2 next week for three more points! 

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Elva Cobb Martin is vice-president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels published with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site,on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest
        Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: