Writers, send your prologue/first chapter to FtQ for a “flogging” critique. Just one in the queue. Email as an attachment.
Many of the folks who utilize BookBub are self-published, and because we hear over and over the need for self-published authors to have their work edited, It seemed to me that it could be educational to take a hard look at their first pages. If you don’t know about BookBub, it’s a pretty nifty way to try to build interest in your work. The website is here.
I’m mostly sampling books that are offered for free—BookBub says that readers are 10x more likely to click on a book that’s offered for free than a discounted book. Following is the first page and a poll. Then my comments follow, along with the book cover, the author’s name, and a link so you can take a look for yourself if you wish. At Amazon you can click on the Read More feature to get more of the chapter if you’re interested. There’s a second poll concerning the need for an editor.
THE WAY MY dad died was so funny one newspaper gave him a Darwin Award. That’s not a real award, it’s a joke. They give them to people who die doing something so stupid that it counts as a service to humanity. You know, eliminating their DNA from the gene pool. But the real funny thing was, everyone was so busy laughing none of them realised it was already too late. Because I was already here.
I was twelve years old when he did it. It was a Wednesday afternoon. Normally I liked Wednesdays since we finished school early, and usually Dad would take me to the beach. He’d read the paper for a bit and then fetch up in one of the bars down there drinking beer while I surfed. But things had already gone weird by then. That day we were in the garden, working on his latest project in the shade of the gum trees.
“It’ll be good. You and me being together in school,” Dad said for what must have been the third time that afternoon. He had his plastic goggles pushed up onto his forehead so his hair stuck up like a porcupine.
“Yeah,” I said, meaning no. I didn’t like the idea much. I’d been hoping it wouldn’t actually happen, but I knew just hoping wasn’t going to work for ever.
“Nearly ready for the test eruption.” He sounded so pleased with himself.
A couple of weeks before it had been a rocket made of plumbing tubes that was supposed (snip)
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow.
This book received an average of 4.2 stars on Amazon. Good writing, good voice. There is tension raised by both the foreshadowing lead and the story question raised—what happens that kills him? This is not the main story, but it does qualify for what Donald Maass calls “bridging tension,” a technique of providing strong, compelling scene tension that will lead to the larger story issue. I’ll probably give this one a read. Poll below.
Poll: what are your thoughts about this author needing an editor? Remember that the goal of the first page is to get you to turn it. If the narrative didn’t do that, then it didn’t work the way it needed to.
My books. You can read sample chapters and learn more about the books here.
Writing Craft Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling
Fantasy(satire) The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles
Mystery(coming of age) The Summer Boy
Science Fiction Hiding Magic
Science Fiction GundownFree ebooks.