Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Write On Wednesday: The Intro

I’ve had a few people read my book now and the most consistent feedback I get is, “Once I got to chapter four I was hooked.”

Now I know that my particular story starts out a little slow. But it’s intentional. I wanted time to build a base for the rest of this book, and the two that hopefully come after it. I wanted time to show what a normal, everyday situation was for my characters before the catastrophe hits, at the end of chapter three. For me, books are like swimming pools: I want to take my time getting acclimated to the temperature. I don’t usually like to just dive in to immediate breath-holding. I like time to warm up to the idea.

But does that make me unmarketable? Here’s the problem with the first three chapters being a warm up; that’s all agents want to see right away. So when I get a rejection (like I did again yesterday) I just think “but if you would’ve kept reading, you’d be hooked!” Which begs the question; should I scrap the warm up? People are used to 80-90K words in a novel these days, and my book ends up in the 133K range.

What kind of books do you like best? The kind that abruptly throw you in the deep end, or the kind that let you lounge in the wading area for awhile first?


  1. For me, I have to know that something amazing is coming if I'm going to sit through a slow intro. I've noticed that a lot of books and movies tend to have a really "hot" open, then slow down in chapter two and let you catch your breath, then get back into the action. I think it's a pretty good path to follow.

  2. For me, I like a book that starts right away with an amazing Introduction. I really like books by James Patterson for that reason and because it's a "who done it" type of book. I do read slower books as long as I know they will get better. Usually, if a book is slow to begin with I read the last chapter and if that sounds good, i'll continue to read the book the correct way.

  3. You can judge a book by it's cover and by it's first 3 chapters. The prologue was a nice warm up to the suspense. Not all books have to be suspenseful in the "who will save the world?" or the "who will die next?" sense. Sometimes it is okay to be "what will the character reveal today?" sense. Does that make sense? To me the question is always am I getting value for the hours I'm putting into this? (game, movie, book, tv, time with the kids, anything)
    Your book was pretty much worth the trip. Though I think it kind of tripped and the end because you were in to big of a hurry to get the next book. Let me enjoy what I have now.

  4. If you really enjoy your slower opening, but are worried about agents not getting to your big 'hook', why don't you just make your slow opening shorter (ie. one chapter instead of three).


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