First act flubs (and how to fix them)

first acts May 24, 2023

First impressions are so important. We all know that. 

Likewise,  the beginning of your book is where you set yourself up for success or failure. 

I’m not just talking about your first line, or first page, or even your first ten pages—although these are all very important. 

(I actually have a special one-on-one coaching offer where we go over your first ten pages to make sure you’re on the right track, and diagnose any writing craft issues that should be nipped in the bud early—you can learn more about that here.)

No, I’m talking about your first act. If you're new to story structure, what we call the first act is the first leg of that three-part storytelling journey commonly known as beginning, middle, end. 

The first act is where all the rules of the game get set up. It's where your main character’s need for change is established. It’s where the central motivation, or mission, is identified. 

We draw the roadmap for the whole book in the first act. But here’s the tricky part: Writers nearly always draft that first act first, when they know least about the book they're about to write!

Imagining drawing a roadmap to a place you’ve never been. That’s what I’m talking about. 

So how do we fix our first acts? Today I’m going to talk about the five biggest first act flubs I tend to see in writers’ drafts. This is essential stuff to know. Please join me! Let’s make sure your book gets off on the right foot. 

Good writing is my jam! Put me on the mailing list, please.


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