Once learned, desire can be used for just about anything. Except that we are talking about writing.
For me personally, the first page is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It is no lie that this crucial page is what makes or breaks your foot in the threshold of an agent’s door. During rejects I have received I have learned that sometimes even the best premise falls short when opening that first page, reading that first sentence.
Learn from it!
Before approaching the daunting page, make sure you know what you want to write about. Some authors fly by the seat of their pants while others break down the skeleton of their story to plan ahead. Whichever way you choose to do it, find your niche and go with it. If you find yourself stuck then try the other method. When writing, I inter-change between the two methods.
After you have broken down what you want to write about you want to think about your inciting action. What is it that is going to both draw your readers in and introduce your characters? Now the inciting incident doesn’t have to be your main plot, in fact, it’s better if it’s just a small bump on the road that leads your character to decide on the course/plot of the rest of the book. However, there are a few no-nos you want to avoid when creating this…
1. Starting your book off with a dream! Trust me, nothing irks both the reader and the agents/publishers more than reading something awesome then ending up finding it all a dream! This is frustrating and poor build up!
2. Starting with an alarm clock/radio/beginning of a normal boring day! Another misconception people think is that because you want to show your character doing normal before the incident that this helps your reader build an affection for your character. WRONG! Puts them to sleep if anything! If you feel like you must at least put something odd in there like them waking up to the sound of a building coming down that they thought wasn’t supposed to come down for another month to give them time to move out.
3. Avoid Prologues! Often times, prologues are information that is either not needed or can be introduced through small portions throughout the book. Most writers feel that prologues give backstory but usually they end up being a waste of space, dealing with characters that have no other intention to the story other than that and we don’t see them again!
These are just three things that you would do best to avoid and keep the agent from chucking your manuscript, and your chances, against their window or even out of it.
When facing the first page remember your HOOK. The Hook is the crucial first sentence or first paragraph of your book. Many agents, in fact, only read the first sentence to determine whether they want to continue reading. There are avoidances in regards to this as well but that is going to be for another day.
What I encourage you to do is to practice planning for your first page. What are you trying to achieve with it and how will you bring the reader into the world that you have invested your time in? Remember the avoidances and choose you inciting incident.
The next things I will talk about are Hook, Character Creation, STP vs LTP and Showing vs Telling… Please join in.
Until next time. Keep Writing!