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General Discussion > What do you like or expect from the first few pages of a book?

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hawker | 40 comments Someone recently told me they don't like any book that starts with a tragedy...I wondered what others thought and what you liked/disliked from the first part of a book?


Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 608 comments Thinking to some recent reads including one I read ten pages of waiting for someone at a store, I think I like it when something is happening that makes me wonder or really want to know more - compared to just a character thinking about the situation or looking back. If that made sense. I think I would agree that I'd just as soon a book not start with a tragedy!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

For myself I like being thrown in to the action first thing it helps grab my attention because lets face it if the book starts off slow I probably won't finish it because that's what sets the tone in my head. I also don't think a book should start with a tragedy either those things should be left for later in the story when people are more emotionally invested in the characters and what's going on in the story.


message 4: by Amethyst (new)

Amethyst | 18 comments I love it when it starts with something I don't understand and I'm expecting an explanation and then I slowly discover the "pieces of the puzzle"
That's just amazing!
I also love it when there's a big surprise at the end. It makes me think about the book for days after I read it. (but I guess you didn't ask that!:P)


message 5: by Wan (new)

Wan (wanwaddell) | 195 comments I really don't care what or how a book starts with. As long as it grabs my attention. If the first few chapter didn't capture my attention, it would either go back to my TBR or get deleted. I have very little DNF.


message 6: by C.C. (new)

C.C. | 219 comments I like it when it starts in suspense/mystery and the story builds up into the climax. There are some books that starts so strong and falls flat when it comes to the climax and resolution.

Also, I like it when the characters are introduced properly in the first few pages. When characters are introduced properly they become memorable even if they're not the protagonists, or their only supporting. It also creates a bond with the readers, so they get attached to the characters. Again, I've encountered a couple of books with such poor character introductions that I forget their roles, or that I forget them completely.


message 7: by Lisa Anne (new)

Lisa Anne (lisamessegee) | 120 comments Jacquelyn Frank's Adam (Nightwalkers, #6) by Jacquelyn Frank started with a tragedy. Some readers loved it. Personally, it upset me so much that I couldn't continue reading. But then, I was already invested in the characters from previous books.

Are you writing a book that starts with a tragedy? If you're introducing your character with a tragedy and you do it well, then I have no problem with it. Be wary of using flashback, though. That stops the forward momentum of the story.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Tempted By Books (michelletemptedbybooks) | 195 comments I HATED the whole Jacquelyn Frank series, but that is a personal opinion.

For me what I expect in the first few pages are an immediate interest in the main character. If I can't identify with them or have any vested interest quickly, then I will never have one.


message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hawker | 40 comments My book, Embrace the Darkness, starts with the loss of someone. It made me wonder what other readers thought of the subject of the start of a novel. I am reading various novels that are successful and they start with tragedy, I guess it depends how it is dealt with.

I haven't read the Jacquelyn Frank series!


Mlpmom (Book Reviewer) (mlpmombookreviewer) | 839 comments I don't mind if it starts with a loss. I just want something that will captivate my interest however that may be, with actions, romance, loss, whatever.

If I read the first few chapters and I am not that interested in it, it is really hard to make myself want to read further.

I use to finish every single book I ever started and with so many books out there to read now and with ones I review, that just doesn't happen anymore.
After 5 chapters, if I can't get into the story or the characters, I put the book down.


message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hawker | 40 comments Yes, I am like that Mlpmom. I definitely need a book to captivate me. I want to be interested in the characters and the subject, or I put it down. When I stop reading for whatever reason I want the book to stay in my mind, to wonder about the story....not for the book itself to encourage me to put it down....


message 12: by PM (last edited Jun 06, 2012 09:17PM) (new)

PM (personalmiracle) | 242 comments I am finding that it is the "voice" that captures me. I am sure there is some proper terminology in literature courses for this, but I was reviewing someone's book today and it hit me that I couldn't care less about the character and I wondered why.

Here is a tiny clip of where it just hit me that something in the wording was just not making me care what happens:
"He pays and offers ... I tell him I’d rather walk ..."

As an example of a style that makes me care, I suggest Twilight. Say what you want about the writing, something in Meyer's style made me feel like I was not just hearing Bella, but I was Bella.

What is the difference? Why did I just want to stop reading one, and I couldn't forget the other?


message 13: by Lisa Anne (new)

Lisa Anne (lisamessegee) | 120 comments Rebecca wrote: "My book, Embrace the Darkness, starts with the loss of someone. It made me wonder what other readers thought of the subject of the start of a novel. I am reading various novels that are successful ..."

It's just that one book, Adam (Nightwalkers, #6) by Jacquelyn Frank , that starts out with a tragedy. I liked the rest of the series (unlike Michelle).


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hawker | 40 comments I feel I offer that in my story. :-) Although, keen to know what readers opinion is!


message 15: by Elle (new)

Elle (louiselesley) I don't know what I really like (there is so much it would fill a whole comment really) but what I don't like is the whole fall-in-love straight away or get together straight or sex straight away.

Or frankly anything MAJOR straight away (death i can deal with if it isn't a major character or it's in a series and it's far along although then i sometimes feel cheated)


message 16: by PNR lover (new)

PNR  lover | 430 comments For me nothing starts a book better than some alpha males kicking arse.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I need something that grabs me and pulls me in. Usually it's the way the author writes that attracts my attention, but sometimes it's an event that makes me go, "What?!"


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