6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

I’ve read thousands of “page ones.” Very often I don’t read page two. Sometimes all I read is that first page and I make judgements based on what I see there. As an agent and a reader my practice is that if I’m not connecting with the material I move on–and quickly. I wish I hadContinue reading “6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One”

Perfect Characters as Default: Why this is problematic

The number of pitches, synopses or opening lines I’ve seen like this is outstanding: [Your character’s] life was simple, quiet and perfect…until it wasn’t. I’m being dramatic, but perfection as a default is firstly boring, and secondly I want to know where the humanity is, not the godliness. Think about these tips instead: I assume thatContinue reading “Perfect Characters as Default: Why this is problematic”

The Makings of a Captivating Prologue: Skill, suspense, backstory and plot

I’ve touched on how not to write a prologue, but today I want to lay out the makings of a really striking prologue. A lot of writing blogs tell you ‘what not to do’, which is always subjective in itself, so let’s explore a great prologue and see why it works. Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers (hisContinue reading “The Makings of a Captivating Prologue: Skill, suspense, backstory and plot”

The Dreaded Prologue

Fact: Prologues in fiction should be avoided. This may be unpopular advice but there are reasons why agents and editors alike refrain from keeping prologues once they begin working on material. Prologues are often backstory and backstory can be added anywhere. They can be distracting when the reader doesn’t know the characters yet and soContinue reading “The Dreaded Prologue”