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.
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 50 PAGES
Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?
Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:
The opening line of A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong floored me:
“My grandmother is dying, and I am getting coffee.”
Immediately I and any other reader who’s coped with family death could relate to this protagonist. We don’t know if she’s fleeing the emotions, flippant about the ordeal, or somewhere in between, but many of us have had that mundane mixed with the monumental in ways we may or may not prefer. The opening pages proceed to break down that our protagonist, Mallory, is a homicide detective and that she is in Edinburgh to be with her grandmother in her final days. The rest of the family is still in the United States, so relations are strained with phone calls and job obligations. I was 100% in with this protagonist, having been in that position myself. Armstrong utilizes the first-person limited POV well, establishing this character’s inner conflict between her no-nonsense approach to life and the emotional weight of her grandmother’s impending death.
This is not why I first picked up this novel, however. The dust jacket promises time travel, so I was also looking for hints of that time travel and was rewarded in the first five pages. Mallory specifically mentions she is not a student of history, but that she and her grandmother would occasionally visit the more “macabre” sites of Edinburgh. My only real qualm with this book is that in five pages Mallory is about to get into trouble, but for some reason is not prepared as she would be on any given day in the United States; for instance, she’s jogging at night in Edinburgh, but she does not have her knife that she carries with her while jogging in the States. Why? She doesn’t know how to call for help in Scotland. She’s been visiting Scotland all her life and doesn’t know the emergency number? Such forgetfulness seems completely out of character; yes, we’ve only known this character for a few pages, but from what we’ve seen earlier, this just doesn’t add up. Frankly, I think the forgetfulness is a cheat to ensure the time travel occurs, but I’ll have to keep reading to find out.
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!