Friday, February 20, 2009

More on Beginnings

“The first chapter, the first paragraph, the first sentence - all are of paramount importance. Imagery, setting, characters, smells, noises, thoughts and emotions must be forward, intriguing, and captivating. It is vital the author snag the reader’s attention, grab hold of all the senses, and bring the story alive with immediacy.” -- Marvin D. Wilson in Ask the Editor -- First Chapter Importance
For the novelists reading this blog, here’s a counterpart to yesterday’s quote on short story beginnings. Normally, if I’m not into a novel after the first couple of chapters, I put it away and move on to another. There are too many choices out there for me to struggle reading a book I don’t find interesting.

I made an exception to this last month. I forced myself to read a book because it was written by a famous, award-winning author. It was a mistake. I found the prose slow going, the characters cliched, and the ending disappointing.


Loren Christie said...

You're making me feel better about all the books I end up putting down. I tried to pick up Twilight last week just so I could have the authority to review it on my blog. Well, I couldn't get through the first page because it was making me gag...and I consider myself pretty tolerant...I personify cats and dogs to entertain myself.

Annie Wicking said...

I know what you mean. Sometimes I find it hard to understand how some books do get published when it's said that if you haven't hooked the reader by the end of the first page, forget it.

I suppose these agent/publishers know what to look for in a book but it leaves me puzzling sometimes.