Friday, March 23, 2018

First Chapter Pointers - Part 2

by Elva Cobb Martin

We shared in Part 1 that my great friend and award-winning author MaryLu Tyndall is collaborating on a book about novel writing. She is collecting samples for How to Write First Chapters.  She gave me six pointers and her examples for info we need to include in first chapters and asked me to share examples from the first chapters of my novels, In a Pirate's Debt and Summer of Deception. 

We covered the first three in Part 1 and you can find them in my post last week. Click here for Part 1 

To review briefly, they are:

1) A sentence describing the protagonist in the first chapter.
2) A sentence or paragraph describing the setting in your first              chapter.
3) A sentence or paragraph describing the situation in your first            chapter.

4) A sentence describing your character's goal, as revealed in Chapter 1. MaryLu Tyndall's example: Given no other choice, the heroine pirates the seas for enough money to keep her sisters from unwanted marriages. 
The Red Siren, MaryLu Tyndall

Travay Allston determines to make it to Charles Town to an aunt and escape the pursuit of a powerful suitor who has won her hand gambling with her stepfather.
  - In a Pirate’s Debt by Elva Cobb Martin

Rachel York takes a summer nanny position at a Charleston, South Carolina, tea plantation in hopes of getting in touch with her reportedly deceased brother's last Charleston DEA partner.
   - Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

5) A sentence describing your character's problem or roadblock as revealed in Chapter 1. MLT's example: Heroine is being sold as a white slave on the Island of St. Kitts.  The Blue Enchantress, MaryLu Tyndall

Travay on horseback takes the wrong turn toward the Caribbean instead of to Kingston, and her determined suitor in hot pursuit corners her on a cliff at the ocean’s edge.
    -In a Pirate’s Debt by Elva Cobb Martin

Rachel York arrives at Barrett Hall for a summer nanny position but no one seems to know about her job offer.
  -Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

6) A sentence describing how you ended the chapter with a bang. : MLT's example:  Heroine is kidnapped by a pirate and tossed into a cabin only to discover he intends to sell her to a Spanish Don in Columbia  
The Raven Saint, MaryLu Tyndall

After forcing her horse over a cliff into the Caribbean to escape a forced marriage, Travay is rescued but discovers her savior is a pirate—a murdering, thieving pirate.
  -In a Pirate’s Debt by Elva Cobb Martin

Rachel York meets the distrustful, handsome new owner of Barrett Hall and is told the uncle she says offered her the nanny position died two weeks earlier.
    - Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

Are these pointers helping you nail down the information you need to plot your first chapter? Don't miss Part 3 when I plan to share a first chapter to illustrate the six points!


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: