Thursday, 7 February 2013

Opening Chapters

Agents and publishers will often make a judgement based on the first page of your proposed book, even though the submission requirements ask for the first 3 chapters. The rest of the first chapter should then set the time, pace and setting and entice the reader to continue.

While I was writing Temptation, I went to the cinema to see Iron Man 2 with my husband and son. Before the movie began, we waited for the trailers but I was still thinking about the chapter I had just written, then the trailers began and I will never forget it. They started with Speilberg's "Super 8" and in the first 30 seconds I wanted to see the film and it was at that point, while looking up at the giant screen, I realised an opening chapter should have the same kind of punch. The trailer grabbed me visually and I thought, how do I do that with words?

There are some great opening lines to books and if you have one in particular, then let me know.

I like the books that immediately get you into the mood of the main character. I read Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" when I was 15 and it had me hooked from the first sentence even though I didn't know at that time what a huge deal that book was; to me it was just really good reading.

Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" had me too, but it was because I instantly felt relaxed and almost felt the warm wind in my hair as the narrator and his son travelled towards the Dakotas. Little did I know, I would soon be plunged into the deep turmoil that followed. I used to read sections and then have to put the book down so that I could digest its words and meaning.

I love film as equally as books, both topics are debated heatedly by a group of misfit geeks in my second book "Star Keeper." The beauty of being a writer is that you can be and say whatever you want and you can be both sides of any argument: Dr Jekyli and Mr Hyde if you will.