Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First Five Fucking Pages

The very nice agent who gave me feedback on my first chapter thought it was interesting and well-written enough but not unique enough to grab an editor's attention in a tough publishing market.

This is the Principle of the First Five Pages at work -- grab the reader's attention right off, show the protagonist's main problem, set the tone, yadda yadda.

Now, I get the First Five principle, I do. But, still... If you cram the whole novel in the first five pages, why are you going to read the rest of it? This is tough if, like me, you are dribbling and drabbling out both the action and the protagonist's backstory so the tension builds towards a climax at the end.

Like the query letter, the First Five principle seemingly reduces writing to an artificial, commercially driven construct.

Then again, if I knew exactly how to rewrite the damn first chapter I'd do it.

1 comment:

  1. This is my fear. My story involves a twist ending, which is, well, at the END. I can't give that away in the first 5. Best I've tries to do, is drop hints early in the story eluding to this, but I don;t want to make it obvious!

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