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#IrelandReads What Makes a Bestselling First Chapter?

Good morning all, it’s #IrelandReads today! A huge national initative to get people reading – I know you don’t need any encouragement, but I thought this would be interesting for Inkwell visitors. I interviewed Linwood Barclay the other day for Winning the Writing Game in a fascinating chat about his process – do watch it if you can, his take on chapter endings is genius, and he maintains that as a new writer you live or die by your first page – he has a very good point! Watch back here:


Thinking first pages, if anyone has 20 minutes to spare and a cup of tea at the ready, I thought you might like to dip into the opening chapters of Sam Blake’s The Dark Room, set in a spooky country house hotel in West Cork. It’s my fifth book (I’m Sam Blake for anyone who doesn’t know, Inkwell was originally set up when I was a newbie struggling writer, trying to learn the craft – it seems to have worked!) The Dark Room has been in the Irish top ten for five weeks, outsold Graham Norton, and has been getting fabulous feedback so I hope you enjoy it.

Here we meet Alfie Bows and Rachel Lambert before they get to Hare’s Landing…but more importantly for you, look at the information that’s conveyed in the prologue and opening chapter – I’m establishing location, story setting, the main characters, and the heart of the mystery. Only a few words have changed in the prologue since it was first written. Enjoy!

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