Monday, January 04, 2010
The right sort of beginning makes all the difference
So I'm reading this book called Hooked by Les Edgerton. He's an author whose won several awards and he teaches writing at the University of Toledo. It was cheap at a used bookstore and I thought it looked interesting. I've never read any of his work, fictional or otherwise, so I was a little worried about picking up a book on writing that was written by someone I'd never heard about. I'm so glad I did though.
I'm only 2 chapters in and it's already helping a lot.
The book is all about writing fiction the will hook readers and editors and publishers from the first scene. Which is something that an author definitely had to be able to do if they want to get published. Edgerton has been an editor in the past so he knows how they think and he teaches writing so he also knows how the average beginning writer thinks. He uses that knowledge to his advantage in the book and gives a lot of great tips for how to capture an editor's attention as well as how to pick out the most common mistakes that writer's make in the very beginning of a book.
I decided to apply what I had read to the book I'm currently just starting to work on. I was stalled about 2 pages in and had no idea how to transition from the scene I had written as the opening into the main part of the story. I got rid of what I had written and took Edgerton at his word, that starting with the conflict first thing was the right idea. Guess what?
He was right! Now that I've done so the words are flowing and the ideas won't stop. Not a great thing when I really should be going to bed right now, but still...this is a definite improval over sitting and looking at a blinking cursor and cursing my characters for the uncooperative natures. I'm a little sad that starting the story where I am means killing off a character I like in the first 3 pages, but that's just the way it is.
So if you're an amateur writer and having some trouble getting your stories off the ground, I'd reccomend this book.