My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Non-fiction/ Writing
The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid.
In this book, Sandra Gerth draws on her experience as an editor and best-selling author to teach you where to start your novel, how to avoid common first chapter problems, and how to hook your readers from the very first page.
Each chapter of this practical guide includes concrete examples and exercises that will help you write an irresistible beginning.
Whether you’re a novice writer working on your first story or an established author with several novels under your belt, this book will help you:
– Decide where to start your book,
– Understand important elements of every powerful opening such as the inciting incident,
– Write a kickass first line,
– Hook your readers from the very first page,
– Introduce your characters and get readers to care about them,
– Establish the time and place of your story,
– Get your readers emotionally involved in your story as soon as possible,
– Describe your setting and your characters without stopping the momentum of the story,
– Incorporate backstory and reveal your characters’ pasts without overwhelming readers,
– Create chapter endings that will make readers keep reading.
– Avoid openings that are boring, confusing, clichéd, or misleading,
– Discover what types of openings to avoid,
– Find out why prologues and flashbacks can be problematic and how to handle them effectively.
After reading Show Don’t Tell by this author I knew I wanted to read more of her non-fiction books. Write Great Beginnings ended up being the second book by this author I read and I think it’s another great non-fiction book. This is an in depth look at writing beginning, but also includes plenty of advice that’s applicable to later parts of your book as well.
This book was easy to read and follow. It had short length chapters and exercises at the end of each one which were a great way to summarize and practice the information in each chapter. It was easy to follow and understand and is full of great information and tips. There is advice about what to avoid or not to do or if you want to include a certain things like flashbacks how to handle it well. There is a part about the three story act and the role of beginnings. There are chapters that deal with advice on how to make your beginning great and more. It really approaches the topic of beginnings from a lot of different angles and discusses multiple aspects.
I really enjoyed reading this book and it’s clear the author knows a lot about the topic due to her editing experience and has seen a lot of book beginnings. I like the way this book is written and how she explains the advice she gives. A lot of the tips also seem very applicable and I definitely think it’s helpful for authors who want to know more about the topic. For me it gave me more insight in why sometimes when I read a sample or first chapters and I am hooked and other times not so much.
To summarize: This is a great book about writing beginnings with plenty of advice, tips and information about how to write a good beginning. There is information about the role of the beginning in a book as well as things to avoid and how to hook readers from the start with a good beginning. While focused on the beginning of a book there is advice that’s applicable to later parts of a story as well. I thought this was a very informative read and it gave me more insight into why some book beginnings work so well and others less so. I would definitely recommend this one!