Writing Enticing First Chapters for Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels OnDemand Webinar

Writing Enticing First Chapters for Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels OnDemand Webinar

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  • You are a writer who wants their YA or MG novel to stand out from the crowd
  • You are a writer who wants to know more about reaching a young audience
  • You are a writer who wants to write a YA or MG novel but doesn't yet have experience writing for the age group
  • You are a writer with non-novel publishing credits considering making the jump to children's fiction writing


Your first chapter never gets a second chance to make a great first impression. But with an entire story to tell, how do you know where to start? When writing for young audiences with shorter attention spans, the opening is everything. Due to the shorter length of YA and especially MG novels, you have very little time and space to establish the setting and voice, so you'll want to be economical as well as exciting. Using examples from YA and MG literature, agent Carlie Webber explains the elements of creating a first chapter that gives readers a sense of who your main character is, where their story is going to go, and how to encourage readers to follow that story. She also shares some dos and don'ts of a first chapter (including openings that agents see way too often) and answer the great question of whether your prologue really belongs in your book.


  • What kind of information needs to go in your first chapter
  • The importance of a memorable first sentence
  • Where your story should begin
  • How to make your opening stand out
  • Why the time to show the best part of your book is in your first chapter
  • Tips for creating a true, believable voice right from the start
  • How great writing can make a mundane opening feel special


Carlie Webber is the founder of CK Webber Associates, a literary agency specializing in fiction for children, teens, and adults. Prior to opening her own agency, she worked for the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates and the Jane Rotrosen Agency. She is an alumna of the Columbia Publishing Course and holds a Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC Berkeley. CK Webber Associates is seeking a variety of genres, including realistic fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, women's fiction, contemporary science fiction and fantasy, romance, and modern westerns.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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