Tag Archive - Prologues

Considerations for the First Page of Your Novel

I hope you know why it’s so important to craft a terrific first page. Surely if your first page is awful, it’s likely your reader won’t read further. And that’s a bad thing.

When we realize that literary agents often won’t read beyond the first paragraph if it doesn’t spark interest, it puts a lot of pressure on us writers to come up with a stellar first page.

But it doesn’t and can’t stop there. A great first page is not going to make up for the next three hundred blah pages.

While there is a ton to learn about scene and novel structure (and my blog contains something like a million words of instruction on those topics, so dig in!), there are some key lessons to learn about fiction writing from focusing on the first page.

Why? Because the elements on a first page should (and usually do) reflect the quality of writing in the rest of a novel. In other words, you can’t just work hard to make that first page sing and then ignore the rest of your manuscript.  Continue Reading…

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: Leaving Time

This week, in our examination of first pages of best-selling novels, we’re taking a look at a best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult called Leaving Time (2015). While this novel is categorized as a thriller, it’s really more Women’s Fiction.

We’re using my first-page checklist to go through each author’s first page to see why and how it effectively draws the reader quickly into the story. While novels don’t have to have every one of these checklist elements on the first page, usually the more they do have, the stronger the opening.

Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. She has great characters, terrific themes and motifs, and usually gets right into action in her opening scenes, setting up her premise with characters in the middle of a difficult situation.

A terrific example of another powerful intro is found in My Sister’s Keeper, another of Picoult’s many runaway best sellers. As with Leaving Time, she starts off with a prologue (when you have time, read it by looking inside the book here on Amazon). And since prologues have been the topic of debate for years, before we look at this particular prologue, I want to talk a little about this structure. Continue Reading…