Tuesday, August 09, 2005


This will be a short post. Or not.

I guess you never know when you write the first sentence how far you’ll get before you’re ready to quit. Well, maybe YOU do, but I don’t.

Like my two daughters. Amy usually has a five-year plan of goals, etc. Joy has a five-minute plan—maybe. (Joy takes after her dad.)

Anyway, I spent some of my prime blogging time working on the opening of my book. I’ve never been really happy with the opening. There’s kind of a hook, but not much of one.

I’ve read that if an agent or an editor isn’t hooked solidly in the first ten pages, the rest of the manuscript never gets a look. The idea is to grab the reader’s attention, or set up a quick cliff-hanger that will entice them to keep flipping pages to find out what happens.

People who’ve read mine (first ten pages) report that they want to keep going and are interested, but the interest level is mild compared to really good openings.

My new Critique Partners picked up on that right away, and offered a great suggestion for how to fix it. The irony is, their suggestion results in an opening similar to one I had in an earlier version, but scrapped when my agent thought it distracted from the main story.

But with this new suggestion, I can tie in the opening with a new “scene” at the end and make a much neater package.

I know, none of that makes any sense, and you don’t care. But it’s MY blog, and I’m excited about making progress.

So, unlike Hamel’s blog, which is always well written and thought-provoking, my blog is merely provoking.

Told you this would be short.


Karyn Lyndon said...

Did somebody say "package"?

Anonymous said...

Karyn, you crack me up.

Geez, duke, maybe you should be my agent.

That said, I care about this. Every time I read your posts about your novel, I start thinking about my own writing. How can I improve this, what about this. And what I just realized about my attempted novel is that the hook was cool to me, but not many others. So you're educating me as you blog.

Thanks, for both the constant kind words, but also the constant education about writing, life, and dick and jane.

the many Bs said...

I'm glad you're working on your book. Good luck to you. It will be published. I have no doubt.

Anonymous said...

There's the Karyn we know and love! If there is even the slightest possibility of innuendo, she homes in on it like radar.

Also, "five-minute plan"? What's up with that? Plan? I'm afraid you may be giving me more credit than I deserve. (ha ha)

Looking forward to reading the newly revised version.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Hey, Christina, I did say "Maybe." Occssionally you (and I) have a plan. And every once in a GREAT while, I have a clue!

And yes, that's our Karyn. (And they say that men think with their... well... "nether region.") (Package?)

Candace said...

John, isn't it great having a couple of good critters around (as in, CPs)? They're worth their weight in GOLD. My rewrite is going well because I have my critters' comments right beside me as I go. Has Lantz responded to your email yet about keeping him?

Jodi said...

Progress is progress, in any form. And you're your own worst critic.

Okay, done with the cliches.

Karyn Lyndon said...

I'm telling you (and Hamel, too.) Let the first book go. Especially if it's already been shopped around.

Write another one. Then when you sell it (because it will be so much better because you learned so much by writing the first one) and they ask you what else you've got...you run to the first manuscript, dust it off, and get it published too. I've heard lots of published authors say that's the way it happens. You RARELY sell the first novel you write first.

Of course, what do I know...I'm merely one of the unpubbed myself.

Nankin said...

What's a plan?