Write The First Chapter

Starting out | Fiction
"Well begun is half done" says the old proverb. A good first chapter not only sets up a novel for a reader, it can also be a touchstone or a compass for a writer struggling through the thickets of the later pages. But how on earth do you write one?
This week-long course is for the procrastinators who have so far lacked the courage to begin the book they've always dreamed of writing. It's also for the perfectionists who feel they'll never know enough about the form to be capable of pulling it off.

The aim is for participants to arrive on the course armed with nothing but the intention to write and leave with a first chapter and clear sense of where their book is headed.

The course tutor, award-winning author Marcel Theroux, will be both mentor and drill sergeant, creating a safe and a supportive environment for practitioners to tinker, play, write, suffer false starts, and keep going.

We'll use some simple writing exercises to spark ideas for protagonists, set-ups, and first lines. There'll be some examination of the broad principles of story structure. We'll talk a bit about dialogue, plotting, research, genre, and editing your work.

But the emphasis of this course is on overcoming the impossible demands of the internal critic in order to start writing and keep going.

Participants will be offered one-to-one tutorials on their work-in-progress over the course of the week.

Students are free to write in any genre or style they choose, but everyone will be expected to have read F. Scott Fitzgerald's short novel, The Great Gatsby by the time the course begins in order to give us some common terms of reference.
Click for more info

This course runs for five days, 10am–4pm each day, with the morning session running 10–1.30pm, and the afternoon work-time running 2–4pm.


MORNING: Introduction; getting started; first lines. Pacing. Scene-setting. Authenticating detail. Writing instinctively. The internal critic and how to evade it.

AFTERNOON: Guided practice.


MORNING: Character and conflict. Dialogue. Writing to plan: beginning, middles and endings.

AFTERNOON: Guided practice.





Scene and sequence. Thinking about structure.


Guided practice.



Editing and polishing. Beyond the first chapter.


Guided practice.

15th - 19th January 2018

Availability: Out of stock

0 Places


Marcel Theroux is the author of five novels: A Blow to the Heart, A Stranger in the Earth, The Paperchase (winner of the...



Come to one of the world's great literary cities and study creative writing at Faber Academy's home in historic Bloomsbury. Our London courses take place at Faber and Faber's offices.

View Map
View Map