Left Hanging in the First Chapter

Feedback just in from someone in Italy who read Chapter 1 of my new book: “Oh my goodness-I can’t wait to read more! You’ve left me hanging…”

This reaction is what I hoped for, since my first chapter does three important things;

  1. It puts the protagonist in context. In my new book, this is an ageing MI6 agent.
  2. The setting. In this case, the opening lines are in London and based on an experience I had there on my first, and only, visit.
  3. Conflict. Chapter 1 must create urgency. Something important is happening, threatening, or unresolved. The agent in question is given an assignment, but we are led to believe that he is being followed, discover that he isn’t, and then find out that he is. I hope my readers are led to feel the same doubt and confusion that he does. There you have it – context, setting and conflict, just like any front page news. All I need is a Literary Agent who agrees with this reader and helps me launch this thriller (inserts appropriate emoji and returns to finish his morning cup of English tea).
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