Now I have never, ever, shut a book after less than fifty pages. Agents, publishers and editors are not as forgiving. I’ve spent the day looking for the most important steps any author can take to get an agent to request more work. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Don’t spend too much time setting the scene. Get to the action!
- Do place the hook.
- Do introduce the protagonist and their main problem (that second part is kind of hard).
- Do start with dialogue, if it fits the situation.
- Don’t introduce more than two characters.
- Avoid dream sequences.
- Don’t start every sentence with a pronoun.
- Don’t try to be Shakespeare. Use common words and both long and short sentences.
- Be subtle. Don’t give the plot away.
- Show the genre in the first page.
- Prologues are out of style.
I’ve read one book by Noah Lukeman already, and really want to invest in his second writer’s guide, “The First Five Pages.” If it’s any good, I’ll let ya’ll know. Until then, I’ve listed a few good articles that I discovered as I was researching this topic.