The First Page Battle

Who knew that the real estate on the first page was so important. I learned this, dramatically, at the Pikes Peak Writing Conference.  I was hammered during one of the critique sessions and I am glad I was.

Imagine standing in front of 30 or so other writers and having an editor give your first page the once over as you read it aloud.  I had worked hard on the first page before and thought that I had a good point of view (POV), no spelling mistakes, an identifiable character and I introduced a pending doom.

My mistakes ended up being large and plentiful.  I don’t think the writing itself was horrible, but maybe it was. My real problem was where to begin the story. A previous conference suggested crescendo during the first chapter and ending with a bang.  I think that this still can be done, but my issue was that I didn’t have a good hook for the reader. 

I started with a scene eluding to a disaster – not bad – but then I went into a description of my protagonist – very bad – . It didn’t end up going well.

Therefore – this begs the question: Would you ever put down a book after reading just the first page, first paragraph, and maybe even the first sentence?

If so, then you would agree that the real estate on that first page is so important.

As I am constantly editing my manuscript – I’ve noticed a tendency to come back to that first page or first chapter – in order to ensure that everything is exactly how I want it.  It’s the make it or break it foot in the door.  What pressure!


About earthsdivide

Learning something new can be hard to do. But why not! I love what I do and what I am trying to do. It hasn't been easy but writing is fun to do. To tell a good story takes hard work and a lot of effort, hopefully, I can do both. But if I can't it will still be a great time.
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3 Responses to The First Page Battle

  1. T.F.Walsh says:

    First lines, paragraph and chps are probably one of the hardest to write… or at least for me. Everything has to work perfectly and like you say, the right spot to start… I’ve changed my so many times I lost count:)

  2. This is usually how I judge if I want to buy a book or not. If the first page is good I’ll keep reading, if not, I’ll set it back down. I completely agree, the first page is incredibly important. Great post.

  3. Jamie says:

    Wow. Having your first page read in critique at a conference? Bravo for bravery.

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