Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Page Neurosis

I have trouble with my first pages. Not that I realise I do at the time, as I try to start as late as possible into the action and leap forward from there. It's only afterwards, when the book is finished, I read it through and think... meh, too soon!!!

The book now out with agents is a prime example. From first to second draft, I cut the first thirty pages. THIRTY. And yet when I originally wrote it, every one of those thirty pages was absolutely crucial to showing the heroine's relationship with various members of her family and friends. Do I hear the words SET UP??

From second to third draft I cut another dozen pages, so the first page showed the arrival of the hero into the heroine's world. And just recently, before submitting, I ruthlessly chopped the vast majority of the first two pages. And the scary thing is all those pages I deleted - just Are Not Missed!!

So I was intrigued to discover Julie Cohen, ModX and Little Black Dress author, is doing a Q&A on eHarlequin this week, entitled Tightening the First Page. It's illuminating and well worth checking out, even if you're not targeting series romance.

5 comments:

Tempest Knight said...

I mostly have problems with my first line. If I don't have that line that grabs me, I can't move the story forward. Thanks for the link! I've bookmarked it to check it out later. Have a great weekend!

Sara Hantz said...

Ohhhh, we love a bit of slashing and burning!!!!

Christina Phillips said...

Tempest, me too! In fact your comment reminded me that Liz Fielding has an excellent article on her webpage about first pages - I'll add that link in my post!

Sara. Oh yes. I seem to have done nothing but slash and burn just lately!!

Shelley Munro said...

I must check this out. It's scary how often agents/editors stop reading after the first paragraph.

Christina Phillips said...

Shelley - yes exactly. The cereal killers workshop with Kristin Nelson really hammered that point home!!