Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pick Up Lines and Firsts

I’m actually talking about first lines of books and queries to pick up an agent. It seems to be coming up a lot lately. From things that seem to keep appearing to read, to a brief discussion with another writer.

In Noah Lukeman’s book, The First Five Pages, A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. He says right at the beginning of the book that really it should have been called The First Five Sentences. Since they are so critical in getting your audience hooked in, especially first hooking an agent.

As those of us who have attended the James River Writers Conferences – coming up in October if you want to check it out and come see us all – and sat through the First Pages session, aka American Idol of Writing session. Well, it doesn’t take long to realize how Critical that first page is. And according to Lukeman, how critical those first five sentences are.

And, gulp, according to something I read recently, how critical the first line is!

The First Line.

Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, it did leave me blinking a little blankly. Then I think a bit of terror set in. Then I went racing to current works-in-progress….yes, I have a couple going right now, the YA is ‘main’ one but when that gets a bit tough for me there I go over and look at couple of short stories or whatever they turn out to be, and dabble a bit on them. Whatever I can write on that will keep some kind of flow of words going. It’s been a very hot and dry summer.

I mean, like I said, from going to the James River Writers Conferences and doing a lot of research and all, I ‘knew’ the first few pages were important. Well, technically, All the pages are important, the first couple, Critical. But as you’re mired in the grit of slapping down words and trying to get them to stick to the paper….it just helps to have a remind sometimes of how important each word is. Especially when you are just starting out. Both as a writer, And your first pages / first sentences.

So, how are your first sentences going? Need to take another look at them perhaps?

And once you get your sentences in your manuscripts tight, then there’s comes the honing of the pitch line.

So, Kris, this one’s for you. ;)


Selling Books in One Line or Less

Elizabeth Bluemle

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