Tuesday, August 30, 2011

¡TMI ay ay!

I've come to conclusion that my novel is a bad first date. You know, that date that gives way too much information up front and sends you running from the restaurant? The one you follow up with an uncomfortable text a few days later, if at all? I've been on that date. Heck, I've been that date. These days that text has been replaced by the rejection letters I've received for my book. Thankfully, that can be fixed.

Greater minds than mine have said that the first fifty pages of a first novel are more for the author than the reader and usually can be cut.

:::hanging head, raising hand:::

My bad habit tells me I have to give my reader all the information upfront so they can understand what's going on, why it's so important, and what to expect next. But half the fun of reading is DISCOVERY. I'll say it again: DISCOVERY.

Harry Potter wouldn't have been as satisfying if we knew that Snape (SPOILER ALERT) had loved Lilly so much that he was really protecting Harry all along. Nor Star Wars if we had known from episode one (the REAL one - for you youngsters, that would be episode four) that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Ok, that one's a movie, but it still works.

So I'm taking a good hard look at my first fifty pages. Maybe the history of the breaking of the world doesn't need to be there. Or how Wind, Water, Heat and Cold came to be. Or my main character's lineage. Yet. Giving all your information up front, while important for the writer to know, makes for a boring read. I not only want to hold the attention of my reader, but my agent, editor, and pubilsher as well. Even more so given that this is my first book.

But I got better at dating. So if I can get married, I can get published.

For more information on better beginnings, check out:
HOOKED by Les Edgerton, and

¡Buen Provecho!


  1. You are so right! Discovery is partly what keeps people reading. The other part is caring about the character enough to want to know what happens to them. Combine the two and it makes for a perfectly balanced story.

  2. Thanks! I'm finding that magic combination elusive, but not impossible. So far, editing is much more difficult than creating. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  3. You're so welcome. I really enjoyed reading your post!

  4. I've found that to be the case with my work as well. Definitely put too much into the beginning of a novel. That, coupled with my usually slow starts to novels, means I usually cut the first several chapters out once I'm done. It makes the books much, much better, and I find I don't lose anything from the story by doing so.

  5. Great advice, Jonathan! Now I'm considering just cutting those first fifty instead of trying to condense them. Huh. Brilliant! Thanks :)