Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge!! Time is up, and frankly, not a moment too soon. 645 comments on Blogger, 29 on Myspace…. wow. I’m really blown away both by the quality of the entries and the fact that there are SO MANY OF THEM.
Holly and I definitely have our work cut out for us. I’m honestly have no idea how long it’s going to take us to read through the entries and decide upon finalists. BUT. At some point in the near or distant future we will somehow settle upon a list of finalists and you will be able to vote on the ultimate super grand prize deluxe winner. So keep checking back.
And seriously, one big round of applause for Holly for agreeing to judge. She is a champ, and I hope you are all enjoying her awesome blog.
Thank you again to everyone who participated!! This has been a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to reading all the entries, and in fact…
Southern Writer says
I consider books I’ve heard about from a friend (actually, I just finished reading Atonement, which I heard about on this blog, and coincidentally, a friend of mine began reading it the very same day. Excellent story). Anyway, then I read the inside jacket, or back cover blurb, followed by the first page, and then a page from somewhere in the middle to see if the writing and voice are consistent. The first 50 pages? As if!
Ray Wong says
The way I pick a book (without knowing the author or the book): read the blurbs, then the first few pages. If the first pages don’t grab me already, I read a few more, probably in the middle of the book. If it still doesn’t grab me, I pass. However, I’ve picked up a few books that didn’t have a “grabbing” first chapter but the middle just screamed “read me!” and they were fantastic reads.
I just read Atonement, too, because of the movie (which I liked very much) and it’s also something I’m writing, and I must admit I was impressed by the first few pages — I thought it would be slow, but McEwan’s prose just grabbed my attention immediately. There was no dead body. In fact, nothing much happened in the first chapter, but it promised me something profound. That’s exactly what the first few pages should do — a promise!
I do judge books by their first page first. If it seems slow, I read a random page farther in. If the writing still bores me there, I drop it. But I don’t judge a first page by its shock value. It is the overall feel that counts. Either I enter the world or I don’t. That is why I take a lot of crits with a pound of rock salt.
quoting Julie Weathers:
“I wish I had posted all the various beginnings on my blog so I could track the morphing.”
Don’t you ever archive old copies on your hard drive? There are various ways. I have a horrendously embarrassing collection. I might post some of it somewhere, someday. Probably in the secret special members only part of my forum.
BTW, thank you all over the place, Nathan.