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What makes the first ten pages to Dude,-I-make-you-curious-pages?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. This stuff is split by novel and screenplay. The first ten pages have to be killer pages otherwise land your masterpiece into the garbage can. But what makes a page to a killer page? Personally, I don’t know so much. I just know that the first sentence mustn’t answer all question. For example, the first sentence of the book The selection: “When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic.” Why is this a good one? How I told you already. It didn’t answer all the 5 (?) main questions. To the contrary, it made the reader even more curious! But how do you transfer this curious to the first ten pages? Let’s discuss.
     
  2. I'm not a published writer or anything, I write more for myself. But for me, to get those "you-make-me-curious" moments in my stories. Not sure if it spans 10 pages but I'd like to think that my first chapter is usually like that. It depends on the type of setting for my stories.

    If I write about a familiar setting like Earth or alternate earth, etc... Or a more modern setting like per example my Walking Dead fanfiction. I started my chapter with 2 women who just killed someone and then fled the scene. So I felt like, from a reader's point of view', that I caused a lot of questions that need to be answered. Like who are these women? What happened? Who was this person they just killed? Etc... So that's what hooks my readers to want to continue to the next chapter.

    But when I write in settings that are very 'fantastical' like taking place on another planet etc... [an original one, not fandom]. Then I start by easing the readers in by showing them a glimpse of what a 'normal' day on planet x looks like. Starting with maybe an NPC who is friends with the main characters, or the main characters themselves, or maybe even the villain. etc... So in this case for me, I get to draw people in because they might be more curious about the world-building aspect and the cultures. They'd like to see more 'glimpses' of the other worlds.

    So in the end for me, it depends on what type of story I write and then adapt. I also try to put myself in the perspective of a reader. :3
     
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  3. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    First you make them care, then you make them curious. You HAVE to make the reader care first. Set up the character in such away that the reader immediately connects to them. Think about the way Pixar sets up their films. The first thing they do is introduce a character and show them being “real”. They show who they are. Their hopes and dreams and loves and passions. Once the reader feels a connection to the character then you can throw them into a heap of trouble, and the reader will be curious. How will they get out of this?
     
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  4. Hallen

    Hallen Scribe

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    I suppose there are many elements that make the opening of a novel compelling. I think it's a mix.

    Characters, yes absolutely. Give the reader something to latch onto. It's that age-old sympathetic character that will hold a reader's attention.

    Beg the question. Giver the reader enough where they are intrigued. Let them know that something is going to happen. It does not have to be earth shattering, it doesn't even have to be the main plot point of the story. It just needs to be enough to get them to turn the page. And, it should integrate with the character and often it should involve a choice.

    If the reader cares about the character and you have setup something that makes the audience want to read the next page to find out what is going on, then you will have done it well.

    Go read the first chapter of novels that you love. Analyze it. What did the author do to make that character seem real to you -- relatable? What things occur that make you want to find out more? Avoid the prologues and all that. Get to the real first chapter where the main character is introduced.
     
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  5. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I read a book a long while back called 'The First Five Pages' by Noah Lukeman... I read two of his 'how to write' books and liked both of them. I am not sure what I retained honestly, but I still often recommend it to people looking for good 'how to' books.

    https://www.amazon.com/First-Five-Pages-Writers-Rejection/dp/068485743X

    Course that is the first five pages and not the first ten.... but... I think the same principles apply.

    I'll probably echo some of the comments above, but its really not 5 pages or 10 pages. it's just, is this hooking me or not? Sometimes the hook comes later and some authors get away with that. Sometimes it comes in the first sentence.

    I would say, I've got to be given a character I become interested in, and I have to become interested to see what happens to them. So, its almost like they have to create some kind of pull to pull me along into the next scene and the next until, well, I am just interested in all of it. For me, I feel the hook comes in when things change and I know the life of some character or the world for that matter, wont be the same after. Then the journey is on its way. And in my own writing, I tend to start at the moment things change so it does not take long for that to happen.

    However, I don't wish to be sounding like someone who is pitching the hook. Cause, I think readers are sophisticated too, and when they pick up a big book, I think they give some room for the hook to come a few pages later. But, man, you don't want to be on chapter eight and have the reader going? Um, why do I care about any of this?

    How to transition from the gaining reader trust and moving into the long story... Well, I think the opening has to lead into big story. Kind of like, opening question, leads to more questions and those more questions have to be bigger questions. Why is my dad talking to that stranger? Ahh..Why did that stranger kill my dad? Ahhh more...Why is he saying kill everyone in the home? Where do I run? Who is this guy that took me in? What the hell does he mean last of some dead race? Surely a dark lord could not care about that? Take this map and find the mythic crystal and good luck to you....What the hell is all this, and am I really going to do this?

    If you are struggling, I would suggest figuring out what you are good at (or want to become good at) play to your strengths. and bring it out right away. If you have awesome characters, then give me some of those, or if setting up the mystery is your thing, put me in a mystery. That sort of thing. Trying to get it all right from the first effort is seldom gonna work out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  6. Malik

    Malik Archmage

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    The first ten words, the first hundred words, the first ten pages, the next four hundred pages after that. It's not like you write ten strong pages and get to bullshit the rest. Strive to write every line as strong as your first. It all matters and it never gets easier.

    A hundred thousand words isn't a lot to tell a story with; each one has to do something. Writing a novel is a feat of endurance. You can never let up.
     
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  7. Rkcapps

    Rkcapps Sage

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    Along with making a reader care and inquisitive, strong dialogue is necessary. I found the book Dazzling Dialogue a tremendous help.
     
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