Friday, April 01, 2011

ABC, A for Anfang (start)

revealed quite a lot of intersting prompts, that would be all interesting to write about ... but for today it could be only one. It's the start of April and the start of the challenge, so what's better than to write about beginnings.

Oh, btw: My ABC list is written in German and I'm going to use the German words!
A for Anfang = start/beginning!

If you belong to that species of book lovers then you'll might know that wonderful feeling holding a brand new book in your hands. The excitement, the expectations. You know, the moment you open the book is like opening a magical door, then you begin to read the first lines and you enter a world filled with unknown places, different times and new friends. I love beginnings ... as a reader!

From a writer's point of view the perspective changes a little bit. Now it's on you to create exactly that kind of magic, that draws your reader into your story.

I'd like to ask you: How many pages do you read before you buy a book? Does that influence you, if you buy the book or not? And later on: Do you always finish a book? How many pages do you grant the author before you finally decide to stop?

I ask for two reasons:
First of all: I belong to that category of readers, who always finish a book. And according to my motto 'Always give a second chance, but no third.', even if I don't like a book, I would try another book from the same author.
Second, and more important: There are many advices for openings, like Amie Kaufman's What Does Your First Page Say About You? And Judy Hedlund writes in her article Potential First Chapter Problems, that the first 15 pages are essential. Your first chapter should start with kind of a bang, else you run the risk to lose your readers (or even get rebuffed by an agent).

I was wondering: Is that so? With really every book? Every story? Every genre?

What about romance or comedy? Even horror delivers a great example: Stephen King. He's known as the Master of Horror, but if you know his books, he's also very talented for lengthily descriptions and procrastination. Very often there's no big bang at the beginning, instead you have to turn patiently 50, 100, 200 or even many more pages until the final showdown.

I totally agree, it's advantageous to have a grand opening, but I would also say, that's no a general rule! It's said, don't judge a book by its cover. I would also say, don't judge a book by its first 15 pages!

All right, that was my start ... no 15 pages, but hopefully good enough for you to come back?!? See you then tomorrow with the letter B!


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