by Cátia Isabel Silva
In the previous post, we talked about how important the first page is to the success of your book. A good first page is, without a doubt, the difference between someone actually buying and reading through your whole book or merely picking it from the shelf, opening it up and setting it back.
It’s normal, especially for a new author, to feel scared about writing such an important part of their book. That why I’m going to give you some tips that might make that task less daunting, or even slightly easier.
The main character in your book must be interesting. Is it already? Good. Now, the thing is: you don’t have much time to showcase that to your readers, so… why not on the very first page?
When we met someone new, we often judge them from the first few seconds of our interaction with them. Very often we’ll naturally catch their most obvious characteristics and label them into categories that make sense to us, for personal insight in order to know how to proceed. So, you’ll need to use this knowledge, in order to introduce your protagonist in a way which is sure to leave a great impression.
Showcase their most peculiar and important traits of personality, leading your readers to create an image of your character in their heads from the very beginning, especially one that intrigues them.
2. Dialogue or action
This is the safest way to go with, on that very first page. As soon as they start reading, there is already something happening. It’s better and usually more interesting than a description…
Start with a problem, show that there is something wrong, or about to go that way, in this world the readers are going to be exploring. You probably shouldn’t expose the full main conflict of the book, unless you want to risk giving away too much information right from the beginning, but it’s definitely a safe shot to present your character with a problem or conflict to resolve, right from the start.
You can also choose to show that there is a major conflict about something, without specifying precisely what it might be.
Every story needs some mystery, something that is not that obvious to keep the reader interested. Why not present something like that, right on the first page?
A good way to do it, is to start writing in the middle of a scene as if the reader just arrived when something was happening, and he must continue reading, in order to understand what is taking place.
5. Write it later
Starting to write a story’s beginning, with an amazing scene, when we’re still not sure of what will happen along the entire way, might turn into a huge struggle.
Don’t get stuck on that first page, just keep writing. Allow yourself to get to know your story a bit better, and then, taking into consideration that omniscience you have on your story’s world and how it will be presented, you will most likely be able to write a much intriguing and integrated first page, which connects seamlessly into the story to come!
Guest post contributed by by Cátia Isabel Silva. Catia is a Portugal native who works in the school system. In 2010, she wrote New World as her debut novel.