Tomorrow (the 19th) my fabulous critique partner Jo-Mama and I are giving a presentation to our local Romance Writers of America chapter. We were asked, along with another chapter member, to talk about contests and critique groups.
I am concentrating on contests for my portion of the panel, specifically contests for unpublished writers. One of my topics covers things in contest entries that drive judges BONKERS. But as I was going over my speaking notes, it occurred to me that this could just as easily be things in books that drive readers BONKERS.
Editors and agents aren't the only ones who make decisions on books after reading a page or two. I can usually tell right off if I'm going to like a story, and I know I'm not the only person who stands in the aisle of the bookstore reading the opening page.
It is so true that an author must hook the reader on page one. There better be something compelling, fresh, or different on that very first page for me to keep reading page two. I don't know about you, but lately, I've run across waaay too many stories whose beginnings leave me scratching my head or yawning. I've seen or read these openings too many times before, and I'll bet you have as well:
- A big fight is going on or a huge chase, but I (the reader) have no idea why or who these characters are, nor do I care.
- The heroine (or hero) looks in the mirror or out the window and contemplates her past and/or future.
- The heroine (or hero but again usually it's a female) is late for work or an important function.
- The heroine hates her job (usually justifiably), has just been fired or is about to get fired.
What about you? Is there a particular opening scene you've seen too often lately? Have you read a good book with one of Aunty's openings and it totally worked for you? What are some other things in books that drive you BONKERS?
In keeping with our Go Red celebration, Aunty is giving away a red box of six pretty lip glosses from Ulta and an AHA pin to one lucky commenter!
The healthy heart tip for today is: If you want to get a start on health for your heart, take a walk! Walking costs nothing to get started and can be done in your very own neighborhood. Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day provides heart-health benefits.
Sign up for the Go Red Better U Program and receive two free romance e-books.
From Feb 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's Better U Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited edition magazine (that features this offer) on newstands and in a grocery store near you.
Go Red for Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books.