Writers, send your prologue/first chapter to FtQ for a “flogging” critique. 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.
When I was still truly young, The Man in White came to my family’s house on a cold Saturday morning in November. Klaus – although his name was not yet Klaus – was, of course, with him.
At twenty-one years old, I really was a young man, and I don’t mean in terms of age. I mean my attitude, compared to those around me who’d been in my year at school. Although I wouldn’t admit it at the time, I knew it deep down. It was probably why I was still working in a shit job three years after graduating and not attending university. I knew I would have crashed out halfway through the first year. In many ways, I think taking that shitty agency job was my first honest-to-god attempt at being an adult, but I could have worked there for twenty years and I don’t think I’d have handled things any better. I try to think of any adults I’ve known that would have been able to handle what that man had to tell me, and I can’t. I reckon they would have to have been psychopaths to do so, and as far as I’m aware, I didn’t know any.
Of course, I often think about what happened – every day, as you’d expect, but I mean I ask myself, specifically, if I have any regrets. That’s a difficult question to answer because there’s regret and then there’s culpable regret, you see. Active regret, to me, means things that I felt I handled badly, or wrong choices I made for the wrong reasons, you know? Like sleeping in an hour longer when you know you shouldn’t, or eating that extra dessert when you know you (snip)
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow.
This book received a superior average of 4.9 stars on Amazon. Very clean, strong writing, and a professional voice. But . . . despite the writing and attempts to raise story questions, this opening fails for me. The narrative hints at things . . . the mysterious Man in White coming to his house, being able to handle whatever that man told him, thinking about “what happened” every day. But what’s the reason to continue musing and withhold what happened? Why not start with that? With no stakes, no real feel for this character, and nothing happening, for me there was no tension on this page. Must be later, if you’re to believe the reviews. I’m not sure this reader will ever get there. 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.