Monday, March 14, 2011

First Page Phobia

Confession: I am terrified of first pages. 

Like, shiver-till-my-nerve-endings-fail-me terrified. 

That's why I've been rereading books in my WIP's genre. And my favorite books in general. I check for overall tone, flow of words, and characterization. To me, the best first pages/chapters give you a sense of everything that's happening and a sense of what's to come later on. Ever heard how agents refer to that opening line as a guarantee? Well, I think the first page strengthens that guarantee. It reinforces the point the author wants to make with the image they create with the opening line. 

No pressure, huh?


I guess my my main concern is cramming too much into one place. To me, nailing that perfect balance takes two things:

1) Practice

 2) Patience 

Oh, and critique partners help A LOT, too :)

So yeah, my advice is simple: work x100000000 on that first line/page/chapter/wholemanuscript. Beat the fear with perseverance. And eat some chocolate while you're at it. 

Okay. That last thing doesn't really do anything for your WIP, but... it's... important?

Now tell me: do you have first page phobia? If so, how do you deal with it? 

Oh, and DON'T FORGET: my Blogoversary Book Giveaway is still in full swing! Enter to win a book or preorder from my to-read pile!  

Oh, oh, AND!!! Today I'm discussing YA Boys and Actors over @ Operation Awesome. Go. Swoon with me. 


  1. Well, I didn't have first page phobia.... but now I feel a bit first page doesn't give you a guarantee of what's to come. The first chapter does yeah...but all of that in a first page? definitely not.

  2. It's easy to get hung up on stuff like this. For me, the only cure is to expect it NOT to be perfect the first time, or even the fifth time. I just have to get it on paper, and I'll worry about the rest later. That mindset allows me to keep writing without getting paralyzed.

  3. Oh, gawd yes. Even though I know I'll probably be rewriting most of the first act, I've got this very weird idea that my first page should be perfect from the start. If not the first page, then at least, the first line.

    How do I get through it? Well... No tried and true method, honestly. I just put down the best thing I can, and then go from there knowing I'll probably have been able to think of something better by the end of the first draft. That's the theory, at least.

  4. First pages, heck first LINES scare the crap out of me. You want something epic that people will remember, but you don't want it to be cliche...ugh. I usually word vomit my whole first draft and then go back to fix it later. I also have amazing critique partners and a great RWA group that I always read my first 5 pages to and they tell me if I should move the start or if it even makes sense.

  5. For the first draft of my second novel I preemptively ditched first page phobia by telling myself I'd have to revise the all important first line/paragraph/page/chapter but you can't edit the unwritten novel and it was better to just start somewhere.
    - Sophia.

  6. I have a first paragraph phobia!!!! The first 2 sentences have to be perfect or else I'll just eat more chocolate!!

    Take care

  7. I have a phobia of starting up any writing for the day. So I usually trick my mind. I open the file, go to the office kitchen, come up with a first sentence, then in excitement run back to the computer and start writing.

  8. You know what's weird? I never really had a phobia of 1st pages until I started attending conferences. I always sit in on the 1st Page critiques and usually leave feeling really crappy about my work. :( Don't get me wrong--these sessions are really helpful, but I second-guess myself more now.

  9. I'm with you on the first page fear! I prefer writing last pages! :)