Do you feel like you should have written your first chapter months ago? But here you are still bumping around with no start and worst of all no words on paper. I know, writing the first chapter can be hard. Try this; it helped me and maybe it’ll give you the start you’re looking for. Create a template or a shell to put your words into as you write. You can easily form a chapter template with repeating elements that go in each chapter. This way, you don’t have to guess or re-create the wheel with every chapter.
Over the years, I’ve noticed the top non-fiction books create an easy road to guide readers through their book chapters. They take their readers on a pleasant journey. This road usually includes headings, subheadings and bulleted lists that I call mile markers. They go on to add visible exit signs (summaries), on and off ramps (transitions) and other road markers for each chapter. As we all know, it can be stressful to take a journey without a clear road to travel.
Most people enjoy a journey on a paved and clearly marked road. So instead of leaving your readers to follow a muddy dirt road of disorganization through your book, use repeating elements to build a highway with easy markers (headings, lists and good paragraphs) and exit signs (great summaries.)
For example, in John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You” book, built a super highway using repeating elements. These repeating elements formed a highway that led you smoothly through each chapter. If you read the book, you noticed that each chapter had the same basic form (highway). For you to create chapters that lead and guide your readers through your book on a highway include at least these five elements:
1. Chapter title: The title lets the reader know what they will read about. Use the same titling principles you used to title your book. Remember principles like create memes to tell a short story. Keep it short and parallel like in a list. Do your best to power punch it. Make each title grab your reader’s attention once again.
2. Subtitle: The subtitle is optional. Most use it instead of the brief quote if their chapter title needs explaining or emphasizing in some way. For example, if you managed to start a story in the main title and you want to finish it in the subtitle, a subtitle emphasizes and explains its meaning.
3. Brief quote: Insert a brief but related quote directly following the title. You might consider a brief quote if you aren’t using a subtitle. For both would be too much. One or two quotes from your speeches or other authorities in your field which support the title would be good.
4. Introduction: Begin each chapter with six to eight paragraphs of introduction. Write an introduction that include a story presenting the chapter’s main principle or thesis. For short books three to four paragraphs sound great.
5. Opening statement: For example, you could open each chapter with a thought provoking question or a startling statistic that show where your audience is now (before reading your book.) Many start with a short story or analogy. Whatever you open with, make sure it’s an attention getter to hook your reader.
Step out of your comfort zone; use the tips above for writing the first chapter to your non-fiction book. Do this and you can easily write, complete and even publish your book fast. See you at the finish line. Finish fast; finish strong and sell sooner.
For a how to guide to write your first chapter, start here: First Chapter Challenge http://firstchapterchallenge.com