Let’s face it: first pages are hard. First chapters are hard. First sentences are hard. Why? Because they are supposed to act like bait. They’re what’re going to hook your reader and drag them into the rest of the story. As a writer, your job description is pretty much a fisher of readers. And nobody ever said fishing was easy.
In fact, fishing is really, really hard. I’m not trying to sound discouraging; it’s just the truth. Fishing takes patience, practice, and a whole lot of dedication. Many times, readers (including myself) never make it past the first page, let alone the first chapter of a novel. I’m going to turn off my novelist self for a few minutes and talk to you guys as a reader.
Sometimes novelists wonder what makes us put down their books before we’ve given them a chance. But I’m going to tell you a secret: readers aren’t nice people. We’re not going to read a book we aren’t totally fascinated by just because we want to give the author a chance. It doesn’t work that way. That makes the author’s job even harder, because now they have to learn to hook people who don’t want to be hooked. Continue reading