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Storytelling

Chapter 1 goals

Here's a sort of checklist I made a long time ago for what chapter one needs to do.

Introduce the protagonist

Introduce the setting

If it's the real world all you need to do for this is make that clear. If not you must introduce the world:

Introduce the plot

There should be at least a hint of how the main plot is going to start - otherwise, people might not feel interested enough to continue even if the first chapter is good.

Prologues

Some stories start with a chapter that doesn't follow the protagonist at all (or follows them years earlier) and is more or less disconnected from their story, but introduces some things about the world that would be hard to introduce from the protagonist's perspective. I think this is appropriate for some stories, but I think of it as not a chapter 1 but a *prologue*, and should be labeled as such to avoid building expectations that you aren't going to pay off. I read one book that had a prologue labeled as chapter 1 and it reaaaaaaaaaaally bothered me because I got so invested into the POV character as he existed at that time and wanted to see a story about *that person*, but then chapter 2 was like "surprise it's 7 years later and he's a totally different person now!". Almost dropped the book on the spot.

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