Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Crash and burn


First pages are the devil. I've lost count of how many times I've gone back to the first page of my wip and altered something. Will it ever be ready to show to anyone?
The trouble is we know how little time agents/editors and the like spend reading our submissions. We've been told oh so many times that if the opening page doesn't catch their interest, the submission gets tossed aside.
We all know a first page needs to draw the reader into a story, and make her/him want to turn the page. So there should be some sort of tension or action to get them hooked enough to read beyond the first page.
Bridging conflict is useful here. A little something to pique the curiosity. It keeps the reader reading because s/he wants to know why the protagonist is scared. What is he expecting that makes his palms sweat? A hint will do for half a page and then you plant another little hook that will take the reader another half page. He's scared because he has to do something outrageous or dangerous. If you can get your protagonist's voice down here, that will be a plus. A likeable character snares readers, and before they know it, they've turned the page.

4 comments:

Anita Davison said...

Jen, if you are talking about 'Matho's Story', I don't think you have to worry. That one drew me in right from the beginning. And I know you have revised it since then! If I were an agent, I wouldn't toss that one aside.

Sarah Callejo said...

I'm rewriting now, and my first pages make me feel so insecure.
Just stop fidgeting with yours, I'm sure it's fine.

Anne Whitfield - author said...

I agree. First pages can be troublesome!

Jen Black said...

Well, we'll soon have the truth because I'm sending it out now - while still tinkering, of course!