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The Important Book Opening

Whether published or not, those first pages are extremely important. Those are the pages, and scenes, that make or break the book and either grab the reader or send them packing–whether you’re selling the book in the store or trying to get an agent.

What do you do if you know those opening chapters are slow?

When it comes to revisions trust your gut. You will not have an opportunity to explain your book to readers, you need to let your book speak for itself. If there’s a problem, you need to fix it.

A build-up can actually be a very fast entry to a book if it’s done right. The pacing of a good build means that even if there’s not a lot of physical action, the reader feels it build as they go and knows that things are happening. The action is psychological. If you have to explain your build it’s not working.

A rule when it comes to editing is if you see a problem, agents and editors will too. Don’t risk rejection because of something you already know needs to be fixed.

Category: Blog

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2 comments

  1. I just went through the agony of throwing out a book opening at least twenty times because the ones I had just were not working and were, frankly, boring. It’s up to the characters to tell their stories, not me. As writer, I just interpret into words what they show me on the mind screen. Once I let the cast in my head take the stage, the real opening of the book emerged and I was able to move past the dreaded chapter 1 curse.

  2. What are the most important items to include within the first few pages, or even the first paragraph to grab the readers attention and hold it? Are there any specific things that you look for? Do you we need to introduce the protagonist right away with a brief description? Do we need to start out with the inciting incident? Or is it different with every book?

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