by Lynn H Blackburn
I want to write a book that keeps people up at night. Before that can happen, I’ve got to write a book that will keep an agent, and then an editor, turning pages…and then ask for more.
If you’ve read any books on the craft of writing, or attended any type of conference, you know how critical those first 40-50 pages can be. Those are the pages you submit to contests, the pages you include in proposals, the pages that must—not should be, not need to be, not ought to be—MUST sparkle and shine so brightly that when your dream agent reaches the end, they are distraught to discover that they’ll have to request the rest of the book to find out what happens next.
So, no pressure. None at all.
This is where TheFirst 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke steps in to save the day. Jeff Gerke knows what he’s talking about. As an editor, he’s been the one flipping through the pages in the slush pile and he’s seen it all. As a writer, he’s been the one straining his cranium in an effort to hook his readers and keep them turning page after page.
The First 50 Pages begins with a peek behind the editorial curtain. What are those editors thinking when they open the file that contains your baby? What do they hope to find? What will make them stop reading before they finish the first chapter, or, worse, the first page?
Then The First 50 Pages deconstructs all the elements that make up a great opening including main characters, the hero’s normal world, the character’s inner journey, and much more. Special focus is paid to the first line and the first page. And it’s all written in an engaging, humorous, accessible way.
No matter where you are in the writing process—whether it’s the first line or the tenth draft—you owe it to yourself, the agents, the editors, and most importantly, your future readers, to read The First 50 Pages.
Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.