The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman

Get. This. Book.

Blurb from the publisher:

“IF YOU’RE TIRED OF REJECTION, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.

Whether you are a novice writer or a veteran who has already had your work published, rejection is often a frustrating reality. Literary agents and editors receive and reject hundreds of manuscripts each month. While it’s the job of these publishing professionals to be discriminating, it’s the job of the writer to produce a manuscript that immediately stands out among the vast competition.

And those outstanding qualities, says New York literary agent Noah Lukeman, have to be apparent from the first five pages.

The First Five Pages reveals the necessary elements of good writing, whether it be fiction, nonfiction, journalism, or poetry, and points out errors to be avoided, such as,

* A weak opening hook

* Overuse of adjectives and adverbs

* Flat or forced metaphors or similes

* Melodramatic, commonplace or confusing dialogue

* Undeveloped characterizations and lifeless settings

*Uneven pacing and lack of progression

With exercises at the end of each chapter, this invaluable reference will allow novelists, journalists, poets and screenwriters alike to improve their technique as they learn to eliminate even the most subtle mistakes that are cause for rejection. The First Five Pages will help writers at every stage take their art to a higher — and more successful — level.”

You need this book. It is practical, actionable, specific, and clear instruction on how to sail past the gatekeepers. You can feel how frustrated he is with seeing quality work get tossed aside for minor issues. You must understand the mountains of submissions they face, and how they are just looking for the tiniest little thing to toss a manuscript aside and keep chewing through their massive pile. This books gives you a shot at holding their attention long enough to bond with your work.

Mr. Lukeman, a literary agent,  wants to teach you “how to identify and avoid bad writing,” and arranged his book “in the order of what I look for when trying to dismiss a manuscript,” starting with presentation and concluding with pacing and progression. Each chapter addresses a pitfall of poor writing, such as an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, tedious or unrealistic dialogue, and lack of subtlety.

Highly, highly recommended.

What did you think?  Have you read this, or other books by this author?  What was your favorite part?  Is there another, similar book that you prefer?  Is there anything you wish the author explained in greater detail?  Do you disagree with something they said? Let me know in the comments section, below. Thanks!

Need this book? Here are some options;

You can preview it via Overdrive or Libby, ask your Librarian if your Library has access to these apps, and how it works.  If you decide it’s a keeper, here are some options:

You may find it at a used book store: Books-A-Million, Powell’s, Thirftbooks, or The Strand.

If You have a great indy bookstore near you, please support them.

or, You can buy it via Amazon

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