The first page is not to be mixed up with the Title Page, Copyright page, or Dedication page.
What is a first page?
- A first page is the magnet that brings a reader in.
- It's the hook that brings your reader into your story and keeps him there.
- It's the grabber that yanks him with words and emotion so strong that he can't set himself free, until the problem is solved at the end of the book.
- It's the trap that holds readers inside the pages of the book.
- It's the enticement to stay a little longer in this make-believe world
- It sells the rest of your manuscript
What does the First Page Do?
What makes a great first page? It tells who, what, when, where, and why should I care? Hmm. You say. That sounds like the same thing that should be in a pitch. Yes. You're right. I venture to say that each page in a book should contain something about leading up to the solution of the problem or the making it worse.
A first page hints of the dilemma facing the main character.
Tells the inner and outer conflict of the main character.
Tells the setting.
Tells the time. When you read it, you know by the first page whether it is 100 years ago or sometime in the same century as you.
Why should the reader care? It pulls you in with emotions that a reader can identify with.
Just for comparison and enlightenment: Let's look at the first pages of three of your favorite top-selling books in the genre you have chosen to write in.
You get your books in front of you or go to the Amazon link to its first page.
What must a first page have? A main character, setting, time, goal, and obstacle/opposing force/villain.
Wait. That's not all. On this first page you must also give emotional pull on the reader that shows him why he should care.
Look at 3 first pages. Have the books open to the first page or click on Amazon where they show you the first page of this best-selling book.
Print out the first page of the manuscript you're ready to send off to a critique group, editor, or agent.
Look at the first page of the story in Chapter One. Look for the things a first page has:
- Main character
- Emotional pull (Why Should I Care? Universal Emotion)
Does your first page have Pizzazz? Raise curiosity in the reader?
Can your readers relate to the main character? Feel for him? Cheer for him? Be scared with him? Cry with him?
Good luck with your publishing dreams. Keep unwavering faith in you and your stories.