Friday, 13 June 2014

F is for First Page

When I browse in a bookshop or library, first the book cover grabs my attention, then I read the back cover blurb and finally the first paragraph. If this interests me I read the first page and I might buy the novel.

After much thought, naming my main characters and completing a character profile I'm ready to write the first page of my novel. By the time I finish the novel I can't count how many times I've read, re-read and revised that crucial page. I want the reader who is browsing to be intrigued, so I introduce conflict to draw the reader into the novel. I also make sure I have answered the questions:

What? What happens?

Where? Set the scene in a few sentences.

When? In which era is does the novel take place?

Why? Whatever happens, why does it happen?

How? How does the catalyst, conflict, and or crisis happen?  (Fans have told me that the opening words of my novel Far Beyond Rubies, "Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards," intrigued them.

Who? Establish the characters' personalities. Show how the character reacts to the crisis.

Aim for a balance of description and dialogue.

Of course, there are many novelists who are more talented than I am but I think the above might be of interest to new writers and readers.