Hi. I’m an old guy who used to write a lot when I was young and have recently gotten back into it after 30+ years. I’ve released a trilogy on Amazon’s KDP and my third novel (fantasy) is currently making the rounds of rejection from agents – will probably also end up on KDP.
Anyway, I’m going back and fourth on outlining two different novels. I have a question on one – a detective/horror novel. How common is it to have the main character not show up until the third chapter? In my current novel making the rounds, the main character shows up in the first chapter after a prologue. In this new one, I would really like to get some mood/background in first. To do that, the main character (a small-town marshal) won’t show up until the second or third chapter.
First and foremost, if you have already self published the first two novels in the trilogy, querying agents is a waste of time on the third unless the first two novels are selling really well.
It’s preferred to introduce the main character as soon as possible, but it not completely wrong to delay. What’s important is conflict. Is there conflict in the first two chapters that drive the story forward. If it’s just background setting then readers will be bored. I hope that helps.