The First Five Pages
I’d heard about this writing craft book written by agent Noah Lukeman and thumbed through it a RWA National conference bookstore. A repeat mention in a self-editing workshop tape put the book on my Christmas list. The dh had to order it online, but so far it’s worth the extra trouble.
The format is chapters, ranked according to an (this) agent or editor’s patience with the writer’s skill at getting his message across. The first is Presentation, the second Adjective and Adverb (mis)use. Okay, soon after my first contest returns three years ago I got on the train with those two, though a recent crit had a gentle reminder about those pesky ly words. (Hey, the heroine is an emotional savant – she’s all about touchy-feely.)
The third chapter is titled Sound. Interesting. How one divides and punctuates sentences creates a pleasing sound. Well, I’d heard to mix the short and long sentence constructions, but this takes it to a new level. So does the fourth, Comparisons. The next is Style, and those five chapters comprise Part 1: Preliminary Problems.
There are nineteen chapters total. They not only build on each other (He directs readers to complete the end-of-chapter lessons before moving on.) but they also loop, because Chapter 3 is related to Chapter 19, Pacing and Progression. Yo-boy. All right, I’ve read into Chapter 4, but according to Mr. Lukeman, I’m still in Chapter 3, because I haven’t read a paragraph out loud and devoted four working hours to it.
Can I do this? Can I, a writer who really would like to publish, afford not to?
By the way, the book is subtitled A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile.
New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?