I’ve finished the first chapter, hurrah! I tweaked it a little bit, as I mentioned in a previous post, so that it led straight into the action and leaves you with a little cliffhanger at the end. The cliffhanger’s a little obvious to the reader given the paranormal theme of the story, but the protagonist is none the wiser so I think it fits OK.
I’m not sure yet if it’s a strong chapter or not. It’s mostly dialogue with a bit of the protagonist’s inner monologue thrown in. I’m not keen on huge amounts of exposition in the first chapter, I think you’ve got to give the reader a stronger sense of the unknown before giving any explanation otherwise it’s just not fun. If I’m not told something that’s obviously key to the story at the beginning I have to keep reading until I find out.
There are some exceptions to this though, sometimes you just have to give some details out or you’ll lose the reader entirely. I began reading a sci-fi-ish book set in a post-apocalyptic world a while back (haven’t finished though due to study/writing/baby demands), and the entire world was completely unfamiliar – obviously it’s post-apocalyptic, but we don’t know what happened, it’s set in the future so lots of tech that doesn’t exist in our world does exist, and coupled with the heavy use of jargon (written in first person), I found it quite hard to work out what was really going on or being described. I’m going to keep working at it though, just in case it was my baby brain causing the confusion.