Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Talking Tuesday: Beginnings

How many pages do you give a book before you decided whether or not it makes the cut?  In a society so focused on instant gratification and saturated with endless sources of entertainment, the number of pages an author is granted keeps shrinking.

I will state that your brilliant hook may not need to be your focus during the writing of your first draft.  If you focus too much on only your first chapter you may get sucked into the pit of first chapter rewrites never to be seen again.  It can be worse than quick sand so beware.

Would the classics pass the test of today's media consumer?  Maybe.  It depends on the reader, I am sure.   Would your first chapter be an ace?  Hopefully!  Let's answer a few questions to determine how well you are doing.

1.  Is the voice in your opening compelling or sleep inducing, much like that of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off?

2.  Does your first chapter read more like a travel brochure showing all the pretty places in your setting?

3.  Were you so excited about the back story that your first chapter info dump is comparable to giving water to a thirsty ant with a firehose?

I did say a few questions, I don't want to overwhelm you.   I am sure you are a pro at writing extremely clever openings which quickly and effectively endear your main character to the readers while simultaneously conveying the conflict and setting.  I, however, have a lot of work to do... so I will leave the excuse for someone else.  I am off to write.

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