In preparation for a couple of workshops I will be teaching in 2010 on how to strengthen the opening of a novel (Better Beginnings), I am conducting an informal survey here at blog de Ramona. Here is the question:
– How much time are you, the reader, willing to give an author to capture your attention? –
A. ONE LINE. If the first line doesn’t grab me, it’s going right back on the shelf.
B. ONE PARAGRAPH. I’ll read a half page or so before giving up or going forward.
C. ONE CHAPTER. Come on, every book deserves at least one chapter from a reader.
D. THREE CHAPTERS. If the premise/set up seems promising, I’ll give it a sporting chance to really grab me.
E. HALF THE BOOK. If I’m hooked at the start, but find myself yawning in the great wasteland of Act II, I’ve fought the good fight for the author.
F. THE WHOLE THING. If I am drawn in at the beginning, I read to the end, whether it is brilliant or bitter.
G. OTHER. (You’ll have to provide your own clarifiying sentence, because I think I covered all the viable possibilities in A-F, but you never know.)
To “vote,” please post A, B, C, D, E, F or G in a comment, and add whatever thoughts, ideas, or suggestions you’d like. If there’s a book that has a really great hook that you’d care to mention, please do so.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, email your comment to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add your thoughts to the final count.
I’ll tally up responses and report on it later. Vote once and…that’s all.
Thanks for playing!