Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Write Your First Chapter in 7 Days, Talk by Jerry Jenkins


Summary of Webinar Presented by Jerry Jenkins
8 p.m. EDT, 24 October 2018

Jenkins is a best-selling author of hundreds of titles, millions of copies. First, he thanked his audience for attending.

What is holding you back?
-         Writing at the wrong time of day? He’s a morning person. Know yourself.
-         Priorities out of whack? Important, but not as important as your family. Make the time. Sacrifice. Even four hours a week can suffice.
     Establish a writing routine. In a.m. he works out, showers, gets to keyboard, turns off distractions.

-        Writing, done right, is serious business.

-        Determine what it is you are desperate to say, but don’t be a fearful perfectionist, leading to procrastination, the excuse for “writer’s block,” which is really writer’s fear. Do the work!

He faced his own fears, has overcome them.

First, break the project into many manageable pieces. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Write the front matter of the book, header, title page, your name, Dedication (short), Acknowledgments, inspirational quote or poem or song, Prologue/Introduction or just start without labeling. Next, title and first paragraph of Chapter One. Print it out. A successful start. Celebrate. Next day, do some more.

How to generate ideas? Nonfiction writers are readers and great writers are great readers. Be omnivorous. Fiction writers should imagine a scene and then start from there; e.g., a bus arrives, and someone gets off…who, why? Who meets them?

Outline? Some novel writers do, some don’t. “Pantsers” write by the seat of their pants, to find out what happens! Experiment to see whether you are outliner or pantser. What do you prefer? There is a classic story structure:
-          lead is plunged into trouble
-          gets worse
-          hopeless
-          hero rises
     Avoid clichéd situations as well as verbal clichés. Make the reader care: details about the characters and their goals.
     First chapter should have these six goals
-        grab the reader
-        describe the hero
-        plunge him into trouble
-        set the tone you will maintain
-        establish the pace
-        [could not hear, screen froze]

Even the most successful writers still cope with their fear, but the best writing is born from overcoming this fear. Hard work is the key to success. “I want every book to be better than the last.”

Voice: it is hard to develop? Remember the coolest thing that happened to you and imagine telling the most important person in your life about it, and that is your writing voice.

Make all your writing decisions to be reader-first.

The remainder of the webinar described a course from Jenkins. You can contact him at and investigate the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild at

Summarized by
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
where I offer economical personal coaching and editing.
24 October 2018


No comments:

Post a Comment