By Suzanne Hartmann

(Part of TOP TEN NOVEL STARTING MISTAKES by Suzanne Hartmann)

Chapter one is so important that if we’re not careful, we can spin our wheels trying to make it perfect. This isn’t necessarily bad if you’re finished with the first draft and revising. However, if we try to make chapter one perfect before we move on to chapter two, we can easily get stuck in a rut.

The best writing advice I ever received (from my husband) fits perfectly here: Just finish the book. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Your first draft WILL NOT be perfect. That’s why writers spend so much time revising. Writing the first draft is a creative process. At this point, it’s more important to get the story out than to perfect it.

Granted, we don’t want to send our critique partners chapters full of mistakes and typos, so we need to revise as we go to some degree. But that type of revision focuses on grammar and style. Save the perfection of chapter one for last, when you can see the whole arc of the story. Often you don’t even know exactly where the story needs to start until the entire manuscript has been written. Once this is determined, then you can focus on perfecting the hook.

So give yourself permission to write imperfect work. Resist the urge to keep going back to perfect chapter one. Revisions will come, and that’s the time to write the perfect chapter one.


Suzanne Hartmann is the author of PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1, which released from OakTara last month, and Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level, a blueprint for new authors to guide them through the process of writing and revising a novel.

Suzanne is a homeschool mom and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and three children. When not homeschooling or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study.  On the editorial side, she is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service.

LINKS for PERIL: Amazon Christian Book Distributor

Fast Track Thrillers:

LINK for Write This Way: Write This Way Blog:

LINKS for Suzanne:

Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author

Twitter – @SuzInIL


To celebrate the release of Suzanne’s debut novel,she is giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner! Entries will be accepted through 12/16. To enter, click here: WIN A KINDLE

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