By: C.S. Lakin
We’re starting off this new year at Live Write Thrive neck-deep into scene structure. Great scenes seem to flow effortlessly from pages of novels, but that’s far from the truth. To craft a terrific scene, a writer must keep in mind a myriad of principles and objectives.
Mondays, we’re dissecting all the components of a great scene, and to help, I’ve created a handy scene checklist (which you can download here). Be sure to subscribe to the blog and read all these posts, as well as the Throwback Thursday posts from past years that tie in with our topic this winter.
On Wednesdays for a couple of months, to further help you nail scene structure, we’ll be looking at first pages of best-selling novels of varying genres. This is our first look at many first pages. I’ll examine what makes these first pages grab readers and pull them into the novel. We’ll be using this first-page checklist to break down the key elements of these effective first pages. Keep in mind, most of what you’ll learn can apply to short stories as well as memoirs and other types of creative nonfiction.
It’s all about telling a story in a way that engages your reader’s brain. To make a brain go into alert mode, some mystery or element of danger, or the incongruous, must cross its path.
The Burden of First Pages
First pages carry a heavy burden in a novel. It’s the make-or-break page for the reader. Many people won’t read past the first page if it fails to engage their interest. So writers need to pay huge attention to the first page—maybe not so much at the first-draft stage, but at some point before that novel is submitted to agents or published.
First pages need to be tight, with concise description. . .
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