Saturday, September 01, 2007

The First Five Pages

My new monthly blog series will showcase the best and most constructive fiction writer's reference books. These are reference books that not only do I favor, but are most oft referred to and recommended by other writers, agents and editors. Of course, I'll occasionally throw in the obscure one that I've found particularly useful, too!

The First Five Pages, A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman (ISBN: 0-684-85743-X)

I begin my overview of the best writer’s reference books with one of my favorites I employ during the revision process. Not that it’s only good for the revision process, but it’s a wonderful refresher for those of us who write a sloppy first draft and do clean-up and fine-tune during subsequent revisions. The book should be read by all newbie writers or for anyone who wants to take their writing to a higher level. Read it before you start writing, and read it again after your first draft and before revising/editing. It’s a must have for all fiction writers.

The First Five Pages covers the pitfalls to help you avoid rejection, avoid common manuscript errors, and attract the attention of agents and editors. Mr. Lukeman points out errors to avoid, such as: a weak opening hook; overuse of adjectives and adverbs; flat or forced metaphors or similes; melodramatic, commonplace or confusing dialogue; undeveloped characterizations and lifeless settings; and uneven pacing and lack of progression.

With exercises at the end of each chapter, this reference book gives writers the tools to improve their techniques as they learn to eliminate the mistakes that cause rejection.