Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - First Lines #amwriting #amlearning
When I was re-reading How To Write Mysteries by Shannon OCork I came across a quote by Mickey Spillane. While he was talking about mysteries I believe the quote applies to most genre fiction,
"The first page sells a mystery and the last page sells the next one."
To me this makes sense for all stories. I've often read a book by an author never read before and the first page draws me in and the last page makes me want to read the author's next book. Sometimes the author's back list is sought. This has happened to my with romance, fantasy, science fiction, action adventure, mysteries, You name it. I've often found these books by accident when looking for another book.
So what does that first page need to do to pull a reader forward? These sentences set the tone of the story, establish the time period, define the setting, and introduce a character that makes the reader want to learn what is happening in this world you have created. Have you ever read a story and been fooled by perhaps the blurb, the cover or something else and when you start reading learn this story isn't what you signed on to read? I have and that makes me not want to read any more words of the story. hat first page is very important. This is the bait.
Now about that last page. The last page needs to end where the story does, needs to satisfy the reader in an emotional way, and be something to remember since you want your readers to buy your next book. I've read books where the story ends. I have that emotional reaction but the writer goes on and on to explain what happened or to show the characters having their happy or satisfactory ending continue into the future. Sometimes this is a chapter or an epilogue. So often that makes me go ho hum. Not something you want your reader to feel.