Monday, April 11, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Rainy of the Dark: What Reasons Would You Not Read Past The First Chapter?

3 Reasons I Won't Read Past Chapter One

Like most readers, I go into a book expecting—even wanting—to like it. The cover art satisfied my frivolous side. The blurb piqued my interest. So, I make coffee, grab a blanket, and dive into the first chapter. Then the moment is shattered. Why?

Grammar. This has become a prominent debate lately. Does a good story need good grammar? No. But does a good book need good grammar? In my opinion, yes. Knowing the basic use of verb tenses and punctuation isn't too much to ask of a writer. Really, it isn't.

Point-of-View. Few things shatter the moment more than the point-of-view changing a half-dozen times in the first ten pages. First-person and third-person limited are popular for a reason: it helps the reader attach to the main character. I'm not opposed to third-person omniscient, but not every writer pulls it off. This isn't to be confused with multiple first-person or third-person limited point-of-views.

Dialogue. Yes, dialogue should mirror real life conversations, but it should also be moving the story forward. I don't want the “good morning” exchange, and I don't want the characters to describe in dialogue something that just happened in the narrative. In the first chapter, that can be a death sentence.

Once I've made a commitment to a book, I try to keep it. Sometimes, it just doesn't outweigh the to-be-read list. Most of these issues can be fixed with a little effort. If you're a writer, I advise going over your manuscript and seeing if you're guilty of any of these. Then, see if you can improve it.

Your readers will be happy you didn't shatter their moment.

What reasons would you not read past the first chapter?

*Visit Rainy's Blog at Rainy of the Dark 

1 comment:

Patricia Lynne said...

For me, the first page just has to keep my interest. I have to want to know more, to feel a desire to turn the next page. I'm not sure if some of what you listed would hinder that desire or not, possibly, but I know I have put down many books because the first page just didn't draw me in.