It’s time to travel back, back to red-thread letters and caramel voices.
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?
Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:
Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese
I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.
I did not read the blurb for Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese, but by the end of the first page I realized we were dealing with a character who inspires Nathaniel Hawthorne to write The Scarlett Letter. It’s an interesting concept, especially since Isobel, the protagonist here, does seem to be experiencing some sort of magic by seeing the world in vibrant colors. Her mother scares her into keeping it secret, for witch-burnings can and do still happen in Scotland in the early 1800s. The prose itself reminds me of Louise Erdrich–lines to experience by sound as much as by sight. And for one who doesn’t dive into historical fiction much, I found myself intrigued by Isobel’s determination to enjoy the colors of her visions “safely”: through needlework as a seamstress. If you are not one for historical fiction, I understand passing on this one. For those who want a unique journey to the past or to experience a classic story from a fresh perspective, then I highly recommend Albanese’s imagination here.
No matter what the season brings, keep reading!
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!