Brin Jackson, Fantasy writer & daydreamer

The journey of writing, craft, and of connection.

Talk of books

5 Comments

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?

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Author: brindle808

I'm old enough to know better, and young enough to want to learn. I am a reflexologist, fantasy writer and daydreamer.

5 thoughts on “Talk of books

  1. This is a really interesting topic. I recently did a course on the first few pages and the agent teaching reminded us of this point. It is critical that the main character is the first person we get to know and the reder needs to care about them pretty quickly. So I scrapped my prologue and then really tried to step into my readers shoes to improve the connection with my main character. Thanks for discussing this as it reinforces why we just love some stories and not others and it is all about the relationship we feel we have or don’t have with that very important first character, so yeah, a crowd would really jar that ability to connect.

  2. Reblogged this on Chrissi Barr YA Fantasy Writer and commented:
    A reminder to introduce your characters carefully to your reader.

  3. I can think of one book that introduced way too many characters in its first pages. I didn’t stop reading it though because I’m OCD about leaving books unread, no matter how much I hate them. Personally, I only stick to a character or two during the first pages. Less overwhelming that way.

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