It's been quite a week. Not much writing, editing, or critiquing my fellow writer's works. I spent the week visiting and caring for my 88-year-old mother, as my sister, her regular caregiver, went on a cruise to Alaska. It was wonderful to have the time to spend with her. Although there were moments of anxiety over health issues, there were many more filled with laughter over her comments and antics. Enough to fill up my notebook for future stories.
I did take some time to think about what to write on my blog this week and decided to talk about a book I read a few years ago. In my opinion, this book is a must read for aspiring writers. The knowledge I gained from this book is invaluable.
The book is called, "The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile" by Noah Lukeman, a literary agent with his own agency. An accomplished author, agent, and speaker, he comes well-qualified to write this type of book and it has become part of the curriculum for many writing programs in universities.
The basic message of this writer's guide is some agents and publishers will skip over a synopsis or plot summary and go straight to the manuscript or sample chapter attachment. The first five pages must introduce a protagonist with well-developed characterization, a great hook, even pacing, and progression. To the qualified reader, any common mistakes found in the first few pages are bound to be repeated over and over throughout the manuscript. The agent/publisher may quit reading if this is the case. This guide stays away from plot development because even the greatest story cannot be sold if it is full of common mistakes and displays poor writing skills. The idea is for the writer to edit their first five pages, apply their new found knowledge, and use it to edit the entire story before sending it out into the publishing world.
I highly recommend this book and added a link to Noah Lukeman's website. He has written other books you might find interesting as well. http://www.noahlukeman.com/
As an added note, some of you who subscribe to Miss Snark's First Victim blog site, recently entered her query letter contest. If you go to Noah Lukeman's website and click on About, you will see a reference to an e-book called, How to Write a Great Query Letter. This short is free for download, his way of giving back to the publishing community.
Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.