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Write Great Beginnings: How to start a novel, hook readers from page one, avoid common first-chapter problems (Writers’ Guide Series)

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The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid. In this b The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid. In this book, Sandra Gerth draws on her experience as an editor and best-selling author to teach you where to start your novel, how to avoid common first chapter problems, and how to hook your readers from the very first page. Each chapter of this practical guide includes concrete examples and exercises that will help you write an irresistible beginning. Whether you’re a novice writer working on your first story or an established author with several novels under your belt, this book will help you: - Decide where to start your book, - Understand important elements of every powerful opening such as the inciting incident, - Write a kickass first line, - Hook your readers from the very first page, - Introduce your characters and get readers to care about them, - Establish the time and place of your story, - Get your readers emotionally involved in your story as soon as possible, - Describe your setting and your characters without stopping the momentum of the story, - Incorporate backstory and reveal your characters’ pasts without overwhelming readers, - Create chapter endings that will make readers keep reading. - Avoid openings that are boring, confusing, clichéd, or misleading, - Discover what types of openings to avoid, - Find out why prologues and flashbacks can be problematic and how to handle them effectively.


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The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid. In this b The beginning is the most important part of your book. The first chapter—probably even the first page—is what makes agents and editors accept or reject a manuscript, and it’s what makes readers decide to buy a book or pick another. But writing a compelling opening is hard because there are so many things a great beginning needs to do and so many mistakes to avoid. In this book, Sandra Gerth draws on her experience as an editor and best-selling author to teach you where to start your novel, how to avoid common first chapter problems, and how to hook your readers from the very first page. Each chapter of this practical guide includes concrete examples and exercises that will help you write an irresistible beginning. Whether you’re a novice writer working on your first story or an established author with several novels under your belt, this book will help you: - Decide where to start your book, - Understand important elements of every powerful opening such as the inciting incident, - Write a kickass first line, - Hook your readers from the very first page, - Introduce your characters and get readers to care about them, - Establish the time and place of your story, - Get your readers emotionally involved in your story as soon as possible, - Describe your setting and your characters without stopping the momentum of the story, - Incorporate backstory and reveal your characters’ pasts without overwhelming readers, - Create chapter endings that will make readers keep reading. - Avoid openings that are boring, confusing, clichéd, or misleading, - Discover what types of openings to avoid, - Find out why prologues and flashbacks can be problematic and how to handle them effectively.

30 review for Write Great Beginnings: How to start a novel, hook readers from page one, avoid common first-chapter problems (Writers’ Guide Series)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    After reading Show Don't Tell by this author I knew I wanted to read more of her non-fiction books. Write Great Beginnings ended up being the second book by this author I read and I think it's another great non-fiction book. This is an in depth look at writing beginning, but also includes plenty of advice that's applicable to later parts of your book as well. This book was easy to read and follow. It had short length chapters and exercises at the end of each one which were a great way to summariz After reading Show Don't Tell by this author I knew I wanted to read more of her non-fiction books. Write Great Beginnings ended up being the second book by this author I read and I think it's another great non-fiction book. This is an in depth look at writing beginning, but also includes plenty of advice that's applicable to later parts of your book as well. This book was easy to read and follow. It had short length chapters and exercises at the end of each one which were a great way to summarize and practice the information in each chapter. It was easy to follow and understand and is full of great information and tips. There is advice about what to avoid or not to do or if you want to include a certain things like flashbacks how to handle it well. There is a part about the three story act and the role of beginnings. There are chapters that deal with advice on how to make your beginning great and more. It really approaches the topic of beginnings from a lot of different angles and discusses multiple aspects. I really enjoyed reading this book and it's clear the author knows a lot about the topic due to her editing experience and has seen a lot of book beginnings. I like the way this book is written and how she explains the advice she gives. A lot of the tips also seem very applicable and I definitely think it's helpful for authors who want to know more about the topic. For me it gave me more insight in why sometimes when I read a sample or first chapters and I am hooked and other times not so much. To summarize: This is a great book about writing beginnings with plenty of advice, tips and information about how to write a good beginning. There is information about the role of the beginning in a book as well as things to avoid and how to hook readers from the start with a good beginning. While focused on the beginning of a book there is advice that's applicable to later parts of a story as well. I thought this was a very informative read and it gave me more insight into why some book beginnings work so well and others less so. I would definitely recommend this one!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Walch

    Successful writers are lifelong learners. Aspiring writers that become successful writers are already dedicated lifelong learners. After 40+ years of ghosting books and articles for clients in the electrical and electronics industries, I’m still learning. There’s always something new to learn. That’s especially true for the fictioneer. No matter what they write, fiction or nonfiction, every successful wordsmith devours at least one new crafts book every month. With craft books, every writer has Successful writers are lifelong learners. Aspiring writers that become successful writers are already dedicated lifelong learners. After 40+ years of ghosting books and articles for clients in the electrical and electronics industries, I’m still learning. There’s always something new to learn. That’s especially true for the fictioneer. No matter what they write, fiction or nonfiction, every successful wordsmith devours at least one new crafts book every month. With craft books, every writer has his or her favorite authors. One of mine is Sandra Gerth, because she not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Besides her series of crafts books for writers, she has also published sixteen novels under the pen name, “Jae.”  The aspiring fictioneer faces many challenges, but Sandra Gerth’s Writer’s Guide Series helps them meet and overcome all of those challenges. There’re five books in that series, with Write Great Beginnings being the fifth book in the series. These books can be read in any order, but Write Great Beginnings is a great place to start. In Write Great Beginnings, Sandra promises to teach the aspiring fictioneer how to start a novel, how to hook a reader from page one, and how to avoid common first chapter mistakes. Many authors of how-to books make those same promises to their readers, but few make good on those promises the way Sandra Gerth does.  The other books in the series, Goal Setting for Writers, Time Management for Writers, Show, Don’t Tell, and Point of View are mandatory read for every aspiring writer. I have them all on my craft books. Bookshelf and read and re-read them again and again and each time come away with some new bit of knowledge that I can use.  Today, at the ripe old age of 77, I have retired from ghosting books for clients in the electrical and electronics industries and am doing something that I have always wanted to do, write a fiction series, so Sandra and I will spend a great deal of quality time together. If you are a writer, join us.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Miller

    To start! The knowledge imparted in this guide is highly valuable in regards to writing your first chapters of your novel. Learning to craft your beginnings and hook is what make a reader go to the end of your book. The information is laid out in a easy to apply Formula. Great advise for all writers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter F

    Learn How to Begin Your Novel This is an excellent book for fiction writers who want to learn how to structure and write the opening of a great story. My ebook is filled with many highlights which only proves the value of Sarah Gerth's book. Learn How to Begin Your Novel This is an excellent book for fiction writers who want to learn how to structure and write the opening of a great story. My ebook is filled with many highlights which only proves the value of Sarah Gerth's book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert Wain

    . Wonderfully informative,with so much so interestingly presented I feel I shall be revisiting often. I would recommend this ebook to all aspiring writers.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten McNeill

    Great resource! To hook the reader right away and immerse your reader into the story, this book is excellent to teach you awesome techniques on crafting a beginning. It goes beyond the first page or even the first chapter. Detailed, informative, and with helpful exercises.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alu

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joy A.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pistachio7188

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Martin

  12. 5 out of 5

    William Stacey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chanelle Nash

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

  17. 4 out of 5

    Summer Hurst

  18. 5 out of 5

    D. Park

  19. 4 out of 5

    William Hudnall

  20. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Littlejohn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louise

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rita

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mcdonnellroseline

  25. 5 out of 5

    Blair Hodgkinson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zandra Drugan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda Marsden

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brit

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marchell Dyon

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pablo Gutiérrez

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