I’ve written before about the importance of the first five pages of your manuscript. If you ever decide to go the traditional route of publishing, the agent usually asks for the first five pages. That’s all he/she needs to evaluate your writing and premise. In those first five pages, they know if they want to continue reading or not. It’s the same with the person who buys your book.
Some editors claim to know whether they are likely to reject the manuscript after reading the opening. Make it count. Make sure the first five pages are rejection-proof.
Using this checklist should help:
Do your first five pages…
- Have a great opening line that launches your plot?
- Introduce the hero, heroine, or villain?
- Introduce your main plot or major subplot?
- Hint at your main character’s internal conflicts?
- Have a sense of time and place?
- Have little or no introspection? Stay out of your character’s mind-focus on the here and now.
- Have more dialogue than narrative? Don’t start with backstory or information dumps.
- Leave the reader wondering what will happen next? What’s the hook?
- Have structurally and grammatically sound sentences?
Something to think about.