Tuesday, June 14, 2011

That Critical First Page

Think of the books sold because of the first page, the first sentence even.
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. – The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Marley was dead; to begin with. – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I didn’t realize he was a werewolf at first. – Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

I felt her fear before I heard her screams. – The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. – A Painted House by John Grisham

I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. – Storm Front, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Note what each example has in common.
Simple nouns combined with strong verbs. Few adjectives and nary an adverb. The first sentence takes the reader by the hand and yanks them into the roller coaster ride of the story.
Every writer from published to the newbie must have Betas and critique groups. They provide the perspective, the fresh eye that a MS needs to breathe.
Find a beta or a crit group that fits your style.
My team members and I called for First Page submissions onUnicorn Bell.
Give your First Page a shot at our critique group. You'll be among friends.


  1. And that first sentence is always the most difficult. I've changed the one in my latest work about ten times now.

  2. You are tempting me! I may yet join.

  3. Upon reading this, I went back and changed my first sentence. Thank you!


  4. Ah, my first sentence and page need work but I don't know how. I think I'll submit to your group?

  5. I don't have to shave my head or wear purple Nike's or anything, right?

  6. @ Bethany
    Of course not. That is voluntary. and it is a Mohawk not totally bald.

    but, what's wrong with purple Nikes?

    *checks shoes. hm. purple with a swish on the side*


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