LIVE Class: The First Three Chapters with Hannah VanVels, Monday, January 27, 8:30pm EST

So you’ve decided to try to get your book traditionally published. You’ve done the research. You have a great draft, a great synopsis, and you’re ready to start shopping your manuscript. You have extensive notes on complex worldbuilding, character backstories, maps you’ve sketched out, notebooks full of additional content.

How do you decide what makes it onto the page? How do you set up your story, giving just enough information about the world you’ve created without bogging down your reader with information dumps? How do you balance relaying background information to situate your reader with moving your story along?

The first three chapters are often the chapters that an author edits and revises the most, and for good reason. Often you only have the first three chapters to grab your reader before they start to glaze over—or worse, move on. We’ll take a look at introducing setting without overwhelming your readers, introducing characters that your readers will invest in right off the bat, and starting your plot at the right moment in the story in both standalone novels and series.

You can tune in live, or submit your question ahead and watch the replay at your convenience. 

Hannah earned her BA at the University of Michigan and holds MA degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago. A lifelong lover of books, Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins.

With nearly a decade of editorial work under her belt, Hannah made the jump to agenting. She also owns her own freelance editing business. Hannah loves working closely with authors and coming alongside them to make their vision come to life on the page. Whether working on fiction or nonfiction, it’s always Hannah’s goal to preserve the author’s vision and voice and take their writing to the next level.

Hannah lives in West Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats. You can find her posting about books, pop culture, and animals on Twitter @hannahvanvels or Instagram @hannahvanvels.

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