Friday, April 30, 2010

The Dreaded First Page

I say the dreaded first page, but it really starts at the first word. The first sentence. The first paragraph. I'ts all tied together in a delicate balance that must be synchned perfectly or the whole thing comes crumbling down.

What am I talking about? Well the list of firsts in a novel. There are books on the subject so I'm not going to rant on what has alrady been discussed. Instead allow me to rant on my thoughts about the subject.

1st. Is the first word. How simple can that be? Surprisingly not simple at all it seems. I once, a long time ago, read that you don't want to start any work with the first word as "the". It went on to explain why, but suffice to say I have an adversion to starting work with the word. So what else are no-nos in my mind. Well - names are next on the list followed by quotes. Oh and let's not forget words that are three letters or less. Now its narrowed down and we find out first word.

Next we move on to the first sentence. The hook. That first word has to fit with the hook to make it work. The hook has got to jump off the page and grab the reader on the nose and drag them into the second sentence. Of course the hook would not be complete if the first paragraph doesn't complete the thought that the hook genereated.

That first paragraph will be setting the tone - introduce your voice, the POV, and your pace. Yikes! That's a tall order. And that is where I am having the biggest problem. But this isn't where it stops. Now we have to finish out that first page. The first page will continue to enforce the pace, introduce the opening scene, and most importantly tease the reader into turning to the next page. If we can't get the reader to move past that first page - we are sunk.

So here I sit - struggling with that first page. Making changes - sending it to my few trusted readers and stir in agony until they reply. Man does it kill me to wait. Is it good enough, will they hate it, will they even respond. There is 299 more pages beyond that one all riding on the first.

It's enough to drive a person mad!!!

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