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Monday, September 3, 2012

Hooking your reader from page one

I am currently reading the book HOOKED by Les Edgerton. Some of you may have read this. Some of you might not have. But I am going to quote from it anyway because even if you know this, it's worth repeating.

"Summary doesn't convince anyone of anything."

Now, go look at you current manuscript and read your first page again - not that you haven't already done so a hundred times before - and determine whether you are telling the read what's going on, or showing. This doesn't mean that you can't have any telling, imo, but I believe that in order for our writing to be effective, there needs to be more showing because "you goal is to evoke an emotional response that hooks the reader, and telling absolutely won't get it. The reader must live through that opening scene with the protagonist."

For example, if you start off your story telling the reader this is your character's first day at a new school and he's lonely and worried about fitting in, it won't mean half as much as if you show your mc walking into that new school. What does it smell like? Look like? Feel like? Is anyone staring? And where the heck is his homeroom? Showing draws the reader into the story, makes him feel like he's right there with your mc and experiencing that day, too. Because that's what keeps us reading, when we feel like we're in the story.

How does your first page stand up to this test? Need some help? Want an opinion or two? If so, send your first page to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com and I'll post the first five I receive and offer my ever so subjective opinion.

9 comments:

KarenG said...

I really like that little book. It's extremely useful in analyzing one's opening pages.

Jadzia Brandli said...

Great post, and so true! I'll have to get my hands on that book now. You'll really give your opinion if I send my first page? I'm totally going to send it then. :O)

Alicia C. said...

Isn't that book awesome!? Hasn't it Changed your LIFE! ehhehe seriously though...I really do love that book. And I did throw out my entire wip after reading it. So just a heads up...:)

Alicia C. said...

YAY! This is what we want! Participation!

Ink in the Book said...

I'm sorry I missed this! But vacation came first this weekend and this week. I hope to get back to regular posting and reading soon:) Can't wait to read the critiques!

Ink in the Book said...

Oh, and I have his finding your voice book. I'm getting this one next!

Donna Hole said...

I read Hooked a long time ago. I should read it again.

.......dhole

Laura Stephenson said...

Sounds like something I need to read. I recently started my novel in a different scene, and I've found that there are a few time lapses and a flashback within the first five pages. I think I remember once hearing that in the first fifteen pages, agents don't want to see time lapses or flashbacks. Would you agree?

mshatch said...

I think you can get away with anything if it's good enough but I honestly hadn't heard that agents don't want to see those things. However, I don't know everything about what they want and don't want either!