Category Archives: Openings

The Powerball of First Page Resources + A Critique Giveaway!

As many of you know, I run a monthly critique contest here at the blog, where I offer to read first pages and share my feedback. People are so grateful to win, but I have to ask: who’s the real … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Emotion, Empathy, Openings, Pacing, Point of View, Show Don't Tell, Voice | 7 Comments

How to Nail the First Three Pages

Let’s face it, talking about writing the first pages of a novel is stressful. It can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned writer, because as writers we all know how scarily narrow the window is, and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Build Character Empathy in Your First Few Pages

You may not be aware, but I’m kind of obsessed with first pages and chapters. They’re not the end-all-be-all for keeping your audience engaged, but it’s definitely true that if you lose readers in the opening, you risk losing them … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Character Wound, Empathy, Openings, Reader Interest | 12 Comments

Garlic Breath For Writers (aka, Bad First Pages)

“If you cannot write a compelling opening scene, from the opening sentence, I’m not going to finish your proposal.” – Agent, speaking at a recent writers conference The opening page of your novel is your big introduction. It’s what an … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, Point of View, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Read More Fiction (A New Year’s Resolution for Writers)

Are we too late for New Year’s resolutions? I hope not, because there’s one I urge every writer to make. Read more fiction. It should be easy for us, right? Here, we’re all story lovers. But I mentor a lot … Continue reading

Posted in Dialogue, Openings, Resident Writing Coach | 24 Comments

Finding the Sweet Starting Spot for Your Story

  I used to hate writing story openings. I could never find the right spot the first time around. Sometimes, I started too far into the current story, leaving readers scratching their heads and squinting as they tried to figure … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Finding Your Way Into Your Story

I recently avoided a workshop assignment that should have been completed in no more than an hour because I couldn’t find a way into my story. This workshop generates significant, raw material for me. New characters and compelling stories emerge; … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 27 Comments

Making your Character Shine From Page One

Happy Monday, everyone! Angela and I have been so focused lately on the launch of our setting thesaurus books, it feels like that’s all we’ve been doing for months. So we’re excited to get back to the normal Writers Helping … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Guest Post, Openings, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What Killed it For Me #6: Action Too Early

It’s likely that we’ve all encountered these stories—the ones that open with an explosion, plague, car chase, alien abduction, fist fight, or other volatile scene involving a main character that we know virtually nothing about. I get why authors do … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, Uncategorized, What Killed it For Me | 30 Comments

What Killed It For Me #3: Too Much Going On

  And now, for the latest book I gave up on. This one was a fantasy and there were like five books in the series, so I figured it would  be good. And it WAS very promising. But it was … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, What Killed it For Me | 17 Comments