Here I ask/discuss some feedback I have gotten about my chapter 1.

After attending a different/second writers' critique group, I was sufficiently motivated to try to write chapter 1 with multiple characters (instead of one guy on a mountain) and with the use of dialog, and I introduced 'court intrigue." I groaned the whole time, but I did it. (I resisted adding any explosions.)

I am now curious the best way to get feedback on these two alternate chapter 1's. I am told Chapter 1 is the most important.

Should I find an online site? this is very uncontrolled.

Should I ask my family? They want to say what I want to hear.

Should I just give it time and trust my heart and save the other?

What resources would you recommend to compare two versions of a chapter? I am new to fiction.

Edit: I have the first draft of the novel done. I am halfway through the first revision. I have asked writing groups to read the beginning, since this is what must pop, for readers.


My recommendation would be to continue going to the writers' group. However, rather than dwelling too much on the first chapter, you should get on with writing the rest of the novel.

You will learn so much about the story while writing the rest, that the first chapter may drastically change anyway.

Online sites are not 'very uncontrolled' - it really depends which one you go to. Some of them have excellent critiquers who will give you very detailed and useful feedback. Scribophile is my favourite.

I tend to avoid asking family for feedback. They're not writers, and as you say, they are unlikely to give you honest constructive feedback.

To a certain extent you need to trust your heart - and you should certainly save the original. If you really love it better then the rewrite, then you should go with that, not write something a certain way because someone else tells you to.

However, I return to my original point, which is that all of this is irrelevant until you've finished writing the entire novel.

Once you've written 100,000 words or so you will be better placed to judge which is better for yourself. You can also learn more about good writing from various books, websites and of course writing groups.

Here are some of my favourite resources:


http://www.crackingyarns.com.au/ (about scriptwriting, not novels, but essentially about how to write a moving story)

https://www.novel-software.com/novelwritingroadmap (a step by step guide to writing a novel for those new to fiction - disclosure, this is my site)


  • Getting into character by Brandilyn Collins
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain
  • Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell

Good luck on your writing journey!

  • Thank you! I do have the whole thing written - and am revising the thing (have worked through ~half so far for the second time).
    – DPT
    Oct 10 '17 at 14:04
  • Ah! In that case I would definitely recommend a face to face writing group above the other options for feedback - despite the limitations of that option I still think it's the best. Oct 11 '17 at 9:45

But why would one want to publish a book that was not finished yet? Believe me, there definitely will be more versions than 2. And readers will not read the same first chapters like 10 times. Just write it your way, "haters gonna hate". If you really need feedback- just find an experienced editor.


As others have said, try not to dwell on the opening, write your story and deal with the niggles once you have a substantial story.

Personally if I'm stuck on the first chapter I will go and write the next two or three or so chapters and, if that first chapter still fits, I'll leave it and move on.

The main thing is to not get too hung up on a first draft. Changes are gonna come along regardless of how long you spend thinking over the finite details of plot.

I've planned a novel before, and the story normally changes from the original plan, I normally plan out very little of my novels these days, because that way when the characters surprise me by doing something I didn't expect them to, it's as new for me as though I were reading it for pleasure.

In conclusion, if you really want feedback on which opening works better for your story, take the advice given by NovelFactory and have a look at Scribophile etc...

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