Hear that sound? That’s my sigh of relief. The one still resounding after I figured out our live webinar was actually live when we thought it was.  HOLY PANIC MOMENT!

To everyone who attended our maiden Fifty First Chapters live broadcast, your comments were hilarious and totally distracting. Bring it on next week.  I’m taking a screen shot before we finish so that there’s no danger of losing them this time!

Heather and I plan to see you all for Session 2 on Thursday, Jan. 15, 8 PM, Mountain time. To make things easier ALL instructions and links are below:


  1. To attend, just watch!  You can watch live and ask questions, or wait 15-30 minutes after the live broadcast ends, at which time YouTube allows you to view the video anytime.
  2. When you have questions, type them into a chat window on the lower right hand corner of the YouTube page. Be warned: the chats disappear when the broadcast ends. I plan to take a screen shot of them this time and blackmail people as appropriate.
  3. Be funny.
  4. TO WIN THE FREE FIRST CHAPTER CRITIQUE, you MUST sign up for a newsletter on THIS PAGE. Over there. —-> Yes, on the right hand sidebar. Once you sign up, you will get emails with the hand-outs attached. Plus, you’ll be able to email your first chapter to me if you win. :) There will be TWO winners this week, because Heather has also offered a critique. Yay!
  5. If my description of the optional homework from last session confused you, here it is more concisely: Pick a book in your genre that you’ve read before, write a premise for it with all four components, and then read the first chapter to see how the writer chose to address the four components. If you choose to do this, we’d love to see it! Send it!  I’m at nikkitrionfo at gmail. We’d love to see premises or even some jotted notes about how the author may have highlighted different aspects of the story in the first chapter than you did in your premise. How much of the story did the author get to?  When did the inciting incident happen? (Note: the inciting incident is the titanic set-up which we talked about, when you can see how the two forces of the story oppose each other.)


  1. An updated Session 1 Hand-Out.
  2. The Session 2 Hand-out.
  3. The Course Description and What Will Be Taught in each session
  4. A recorded video of Session 1.
  5. The live broadcast of Session 2. You can also watch the session right here on this page, using the video below. However, if you want to chat with everyone (and Heather and me) while watching, please open the video inside YouTube (just click the words Session 2.)


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50 First Chapters Goes Live Tonight!

So today I was lucky enough to have lunch with Scott Forman, who leads Utah’s Horror Writer chapter, and Jeff Scott Savage of 13 Case Files fame and they asked how to find the link for my upcoming webinar.

That link was supposed to be on this website.


But finally . . . the link to the 50 First Chapters Webinar is here!

Literally. Just click on the link and you’ll go to a Youtube page.  Once there, you’ll see a countdown to 8 PM.  At 8 PM, you’ll see the webinar conference going live.  Please note that there may be a 60-90 second airing delay, so you may have to wait until 8:01. Do some relaxation exercises in the meantime.  In case you have trouble with the link, the address is

Cool advertisement and course description below!

T H E  L O W - D O W N

When your reader scopes your first chapter, imagine it like he’s trying to get a date.  Does he pick the cute girl studying in the corner, or the gal who announces she’s new in town, has tickets to a hockey game, and is dying to try the local food rave?  You know the answer. He goes for the girl who’s ready to live a new story, and yes, he goes for a first chapter that promises the same.  Plain old good writing isn’t enough for a first date, er, chapter.  Have you organized the flow of your story to advertise early your most interesting characters, your coolest action scenes, the deepest irony of your premise?  Is it depressing to invent all that coolness and figure out how to show it off in the first 12-20 pages AND set up a story arc, theme, and inner conflict at the same time?  Heck, no!  First chapters are so full of promise that sometimes readers cheat on their existing books just to ride the first-chapter wave all over again with a new one.  (Not me.  I break-up first.)

For info on all three sessions, go here.

For the hand-out that accompanies the first session, go here.

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