By: Kristen Lamb
We can Twitter ’til we flitter and Facebook ’til we face plant and that won’t matter much in the greater scheme of things if we fail at our single most important job—writing a great book. Our single greatest challenge is to hook the reader hard enough to buy (and then read) our novel.
Sales ultimately are impacted by reviews and if no one reads and no one finishes?
Yes, covers are important and social media is vital, but those sample pages can mean the difference in No Sale and Big Hit.
One writing book every writer should have is Hooked by Les Edgerton. I think this was the first craft book that truly woke me up and showed me all I really didn’t know about writing.
As a new author, there were far too many elements I believed were important when in reality? Not so much. Additionally, because I was focusing on the wrong “stuff” I was failing to develop the “right” stuff.
What I love about Hooked is how Les demonstrates how all the factors that go into making great beginnings don’t just evaporate. These are tactics we must keep employing throughout the work to keep the reader engaged and turning pages. Our job is to obliterate sleep, to send our readers tired and grouchy and over caffeinated to work…but ultimately satisfied.
Let’s talk about some common ways beginnings fall flat.
The Writer is Easing Into the Story
Nope. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had writers wail, “But you don’t understand! The story really starts on page 50.”
Okay, then cut off 49 pages and you’re golden.
Modern audiences simply don’t have the attention span for us to go on too long. Yes, I get that the authors of yesteryear got away with this, but they were competing against shoveling manure and shoeing horses, not YouTube, Facebook and 24-hour entertainment. Additionally, writers back in the day were often paid by the word, so that sucker was padded worse than a freshman term paper.
These days we need to get to the point as quickly as possible and fiction is about one thing and ONE thing only. Problems.
Readers Don’t Need a Set-Up…Really
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If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
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- Learn how your own creativity is a trap, and the system for getting unstuck during free training on May 25, 2016. http://ow.ly/ObtO300Nvw9
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- First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: Support and Defend | Live Write Thrive http://ow.ly/2Npm300NxlB
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