The First Page

You have a masterpiece in hand. You wrote it for months on end, maybe even years, and now you’re super excited about getting your work out there. However, you’re afraid… And you should be.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your book is. If no one will read it, what’s the point, right? Just a tip: the first page is critical to the success of your book, so it must be impactful.


What makes people look at it?

Most people will open a book and read the first paragraph, maybe the full first page if you’re lucky. You have to use it in your favor.

When you open a book, you usually want to know what the story is about and how it’ll be told. So, the first page has to do exactly that. You can’t tell the whole story, obviously, what you should do is lead your readers to peek through a window and catch a glimpse of your story, get a slight idea for what’s going on and become curious. If they want to enter the place, you’ve done a good job.

A novel’s first page has many functions

The first page has to make your reader curious enough to keep on reading, and for that, they need two essential pieces of information: who the protagonist is and what the conflict is about. So, you need to relay this information, without revealing too much and make a good impression.

The protagonist entrance should, most of the time, be done here and should be memorable. Something about him or her has to have an impact on your readers. As a writer, you have to keep in mind, that whatever you choose to show, is critical for the impact the rest of the book will have and the way your readers will look at the story.

So, you should put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think of what would be really annoying on a first page. Then, try your hardest to avoid doing any of the things that would lead to you writing a similar thing! The first situation to have happen in your novel must be interesting enough to make them want to move onwards to page 2.

So, you should give some context to your readers. Don’t need to tell everything, just enough to make them curious. A novel is about conflict, they should have some clue in the first page as to build a notion of that conflict, through action, dialogue or interior monologue, but it must say “there is something here that might go wrong…”

An action-filled scene suddenly interrupted by another one where, someone, somewhere, somehow related to the protagonist present on the first scene, is calm and peaceful, doing something that apparently has nothing to do with the first scene, might do the trick. “What is happening here?” is the question you want your readers to ask themselves so they keep turning the pages. Meanwhile, they’re creating a movie in their heads, brimming with possibilities. You must feed that movie carefully, not too quickly nor too slowly, so they keep reading.

What do you need for a good start?

You need to begin. The start of it all. This is always the most complicated part of a project, no matter which one we’re talking about. In case of a book, the beginning doesn’t need to be the first thing to write, never let yourself forget that. Just write your story, make it as perfect as you can and eventually you’ll find a great beginning to your tale. I assure you that makes things easier.

Another common mistake that leads the writers in the wrong direction is thinking of the beginning of a story as an introduction to it. It doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. The reader doesn’t need to know everything on the first page, just enough to make them curious enough to explore more. You can choose an interesting point of the story and start there, without any explanation. You can start with a dialogue, a problem, a conflict… Think outside the box. Be creative! This will provide you with an undoubtedly interesting start to your amazing story.

Editorial Review – Ramonst

 

 

Title: Ramonst

Author: Anthony Knott

Genre: Fiction, Southern Gothic, Crime

This novel reads somewhat like a memoir or a snapshot of the past. The summer in Tennessee enters as almost another character to the story of young Rodney, a boy tottering on the brink of puberty. He’s interested in everything and regularly writes down what he hears, but he struggles to know what to do after witnessing a series of disturbing events committed by an older, local boy adept at violence and threats.

Every year, Rodney leaves New York City with his mother to visit his relatives in a small town full of prejudices, opinions, religion, and forth-rightness. Everyone discusses everything, and the adults regularly say and do things in front of the “cousins.” Special reports, recent crimes, scandals, and medical procedures are all mentioned with alacrity, though specific details are glossed over.

The narration is from Rodney’s point-of-view, and the story has a slow, thoughtful pace that correlates to this young man—an insightful, sensitive soul who is liked by most, though he does have certain worrisome enemies that make his summer difficult.

Ramonst falls on the fringe edge of Crime Fiction, if it even belongs in that genre. Though a number of crimes occur, there is no mystery as to “who-dunnit” and the story isn’t about bringing the criminal to justice. Rather, it centers on how Rodney will survive the criminal’s threats if he tells anyone what he knows.

At times, the story flows along as lazily as a summer river, discussing baseball cards and drive-ins and mule-pulls without any concern about veering away from the “plot” of the crime and its consequences, and it can feel slow, plodding, and unstructured because of this.

Also, there were a few times when the sentences were vague and confusing. While some spelling errors contributed to this, the euphemisms employed by the narrator primarily generated this. Most of the time, there are no explanations, and certain processes, like Nana’s swallowing her tube, are never elucidated even though they happen during the story.

Even though Rodney falls under the Young Adult age, this story isn’t one of coming-of-age and growing up. Instead, it celebrates summers in the south, and will appeal to those who enjoy literary fiction more than fast-paced crime-solving or adventure.

Not a story for the weak-stomached, the tale plunges into violence, crime, and sexuality with a blunt coarseness that lends a very real dimension to the narration while making the novel primarily appropriate for adult readers.

Ramonst offers readers a dark, believable story from the south, its gritty realism balanced by the generally-optimistic outlook of youth. Featuring realistic characterization, the story flows at a steady yet relaxed pace, where events happen much as they would in real life.

It paints a portrait of a certain time and place without being overly-sentimental or judgmental, avoiding any discussion of good or bad, right or wrong. It just retells things as they were, or might’ve been, giving readers a portal to a vision of the past with all its flaws and pleasures.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

Original post here.

Editorial Review written by the Book Review Directory Production Team. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.