Today I’m blogging about “The Inside Scoop: Analyzing Openings as an Agent, Bookseller, and Reader, Then Solving the Problems as a Writer” Workshop presented during RWA’s 2010 Conference by author Robin Perini and author/freelance editor Claire Cavanaugh.
The speakers started with a survey of agents, booksellers and readers. Most agents knew by the end of page 1 if they didn’t want to read on, though they might read up to 10 pages. (Such a scary thought!) They want to be given enough of a hook within the first two or three paragraphs that they are interested in reading on.
What sorts of things do agents and/or readers want to see on the first few pages?
- Characters in conflict
- High concept
- Who to root for
- Setting up of reader expectations such as tone and genre
Some tips for creating compelling openings that will make people read on:
Do you have a favorite opening for a book? What is it that makes this opening so compelling for you?
For me, it’s the opening to Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. We know by page 2 that the heroine is not a typical woman. Far from it. She’s got a dead body in the back of her truck. Who wouldn’t be compelled to read on and find out why?