You’ve Got Five Pages, #Horse by #GeraldineBrooks, To Tell Me You’re Good.

Hello, amazing fellow creatives! Here’s to more fun perusing the library’s new releases to see what strikes our fancy. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve retitled Story Cuppings to better fit the premise of the podcast.

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.

Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?

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.


Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

Horse: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks.

What will you, fellow creative, learn in the first five pages? Let’s find out!

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

The first chapter of Horse by Geraldine Brooks leaves me with…mixed feelings. On a technical level–scene execution, prose, and such–Brooks is stellar. The very word choices the protagonist makes in those opening pages say a lot about the protagonist’s nature; in fact, some of the word choices made me feel like I lack the intellect to fully appreciate the language utilized here. Still, the memories the protagonist recalls of family bereavement while interacting with a racist neighbor also experiencing grief speaks volumes as to the power of upbringing and culture in our lives. I just wish it was clearer as to where this story is intending to go. I don’t want it broadcast and/or spoonfed to me, but I do need *something.* Brooks’ last line of the chapter does promise there will be a *something* when Theo discovers “the horse” in the neighbor’s discarded items on the street. But when I see Chapter 2 is not going to continue with this momentum but will instead change over to a new protagonist with a new point of view, I worry that we’ll be stopping and starting several times before the plot can truly find its groove. I am likely assuming too much here, but as a picky reader, I am just not a fan of hopping among the characters, especially when we’ve barely gotten to know even one of them.

As always, I love hearing what’s on the shelves of your own libraries. Libraries Rock!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

6 thoughts on “You’ve Got Five Pages, #Horse by #GeraldineBrooks, To Tell Me You’re Good.

  1. Totally agree on this: “I am just not a fan of hopping among the characters, especially when we’ve barely gotten to know even one of them.”
    I just started a book that switched characters AND decade in Chapter 2 :/
    (It’s French Braid, by Anne Tyler – I stuck with it cos her books are usually worthwhile).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s taxing on both the reader and writer: the writer’s got to make sure the voice and prose are clearly different, but even then it may not work because the reader’s not had enough time with the first character’s voice to know it well enough to separate it from another pov. It’s just too gosh darn soon.
      I hope French Braid was worth reading in the end! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m almost at the end of French Braid, and I’ve found it disappointing so far – and I normally like Anne Tyler books.
        Chapter 1 is set in recent times and then chapter 2 zooms back to the 1960’s or ’50’s and the narrative then moves forward through time from that point. Two characters in Chapter 1 were grandchildren of the main characters but they are fairly unimportant in the story, so why start with them? I’ll report back when I finish the book, but so far it’s one of Anne Tyler’s weakest for sure :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ooo, excited to hear more of this! Yeah, the multiple POVs often doesn’t feel necessary–oh hey, I did that with my second novel, so I’m not saying it’s a bad method. It just needs to be worth it and limited. Like when Christie hops between TEN different characters? Noooo thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s