Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Impressive Beginning

For a book to succeed in drawing readers into the plot and characters, the beginning needs to be impressive. Polished, entertaining, catchy, something that drags the reader along until she doesn’t even realize she’s halfway through chapter two and her coffee is cold.

Often it’s an action scene. Sometimes it’s a puzzle the character begins to solve. The ways to do it are as varied as the number of books out there. What it isn’t, is long flowery descriptive phrases about people or places. Get the reader racing along with you first, and add a few scenic details briefly along the way incidentally, or as dialogue.

It’s very important that each word in these first scenes is exactly right, because one wrong word (or typo!) can throw the reader out of the story before she’s fully hooked. A reader may hate a word or typo later in the book, but once she’s invested in the story and the characters she’s more likely to keep reading. At the beginning one single error can be enough for a reader to put down that book and choose one of the other hundred in her To Be Read pile.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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