I’ve just had an interesting conversation with a friend.
It began with the question, “If you begin to read a new book and it doesn’t hold your interest, how many pages does it take before you put the book aside?”
We concluded: About five. I won’t name Names, but she put a book down, unread, because the author introduced twenty characters in the first five pages and it was impossible to keep track of everybody.
So, I pulled the book “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman off the shelf.
On page 142 he states, “If you have a tendency to introduce many characters at once, learn patience. Figure out ways of staggering them … Focus on some, ignore others for now. You can switch the focus later.”
In the next paragraph he says, “Remember: It is hard for a reader to enter a new world, harder still if he is unsure who your protagonist is. Think of when you moved into a new neighborhood. Suddenly, everything’s different, you don’t know anybody. So make it easy on him … Once he is firmly in the world, once he is oriented, then let him look around. But first make sure he is hooked, or else risk losing him…”
I’m wondering how many characters you introduce in your first pages?