As a reader, before attempting writing for others, I would walk the aisles of a bookstore on the hunt for a new book to read. In the perusal, when finding something that seemed to capture my interest I did something instinctively. Ignorant that what I did was S.O.P. in the industry bringing me the product I would now be holding. I would read the first page to decide if my hard earned cash should jump from my wallet to the cash register. I read for prose, for style and a glimpse of the promise of an adventure that would lead me to turn that first page.
As a writer its hard to pick a point to start. We always want to start at the beginning. I know that’s always where I want to start. In the first novel that I’m shopping, that’s what I finally did. The first draft did not. It had a 5,000-word introduction. I loved that 5,000 words. Truly I did. It told you all you needed to know about the man my main character becomes and the world I was trying to invite my reader into. After beta-readers and common sense prevailed, I excised it altogether.
I took the chance that it would be better for the reader to learn the character and his world by following him through his life and trials. I’ve gotten positive feedback in regards to the start of my book. From the shock and guffaws, the first page delivers readers have followed the characters.
It all comes back to the start. That first sentence, first paragraph, first page is the doorway to an unknown. We need to make it as inviting and enticing as possible. It has to show the tone, style and promise your story will bring to the reader. That first page needs to make them want to turn to the next and not close the cover and slide it back onto the shelf.