There’s a wall by your house. It’s old, decrepit. Sad thing, really. There’s bound to be little furry, slimy things living in its stones. Maybe some beautiful, rare flowers grow just on the other side. Or this is the refuge of the Fairy Queen & her Sparrow Prince.
Writing has always felt like this to me: a curiosity, something to step towards slowly so I don’t disturb the rest of the world. To stand before, nervous because I don’t know how to find my footing. To finally grip, slip, & fall. To grip again, & again, until I pull myself over the ledge.
I’ve come to find my footing in writing fantasy with characters who crack wise, screw up, and hurt. Hard. Come with me now, and find them in worlds of magic that sing with the elements and race beyond the stars.
Welcome back my fellow creatives! In the midst of surviving Midwestern snow, rain, more snow, more rain, and a single epic sledding trip– –my family and I find warm solace in rereading old favorites. Bo explores his biographies of the … Continue reading →
Happy New Year, my fellow creatives! I hope 2023 is a kind one to us all. I’m eager to work with my university to develop strong goals as an educator, an advocate, and as a writer. That includes chatting with … Continue reading →
Yes, I know that hashtag #characterdesign is more of an art-related thing, but it fits with this little lesson learned, believe you me. This week started with its usual chaos: calls at 5am for a substitute teacher in 5th grade–no … Continue reading →
Rarely do I allow myself to write with lyrical music on in the background. The words don’t always jive with what I picture in my head, and tend to distract me from the goal of the scene. And yet, there … Continue reading →
As writers, we hear all the time that we’ve got to hook readers in just the first few pages or else. We’ve got to hook agents in the first few pages or else.
Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor’s attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged.
JEFF GERKE, THE FIRST FIFTY PAGES
Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?
Goodness, ANOTHER happy find! I don’t know if I’ve ever had such a run with great books on this podcast. 🙂
Babel by R.F. Kuang not only has a fascinating book cover, but an intriguing premise as well: the world’s magic is manipulated through words and silver, and in the early 1800s, England is the master of that magic. The opening is not set in England, though, but in China, where a young boy awaits his death from cholera, the same illness that had already taken his family. A mysterious British professor knows where he lives and magically heals him before taking him to the English Factory. Where this factory actually is I’ve no idea, as this would take us past five pages, but I can safely say the first five pages do a wonderful job of hooking us as readers. Kuang’s use of descriptive language wastes no time ensnaring us with her description of the boy’s mother dying of cholera and his acceptance of his fate. On the second page, we’re already shown a magic healing; while it doesn’t tell us how the boy is healed, it’s enough worldbuilding for us to know that some have magic, and others do not. As a writer, I’m also intrigued by the details dropped about the mysterious professor and English woman who helped raise the boy. What is it about this particular child that has drawn distinctively different English people to him, thousands of miles away in China? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. 🙂