The 1st-10-pg mistakes I hate: Part-1

I have been critiquing for a while already. Reading many manuscripts—often just the beginning of the few chapters, I find myself repeating the same points to everyone. So, I thought, I would point them on my blog and add the link from the next time along with the feedback, if I’m giving a free critique.

1. Setting, Setting, Setting: Gosh! In the beginning, I used to patiently explain this point. But, lately, I find it disturbing, often annoying. Your first page, your first para, your first line MUST start with your protagonist doing/ saying/ thinking something in the PRESENT, not in the dream/ past/ yesterday/even today in the morning. NOW (I know there are award-winning exceptions out there; you have to be smart enough to know which ones work). Brings me to the next point.

2. NOW! NOW!! NOW!!! Your protagonist must be doing/ saying/ thinking something in the PRESENT on that first page, not in the dream/ past/ yesterday/ today in the morning. NOW—do I have to say it again? I guess I do, and I will.

3. Not enough of the character, but you are giving me the setting again. The characters are the priority, the world comes later. The characters make us want to know more about their past and the world they live in. Think like your high-school geography. You don’t care what the other end of the world looks like until you have a friend/ partner who lives there. You have someone you care about from somewhere else?—That’s when you start asking, how are the roads, how is the food, what are the best places to explore there, is that place safe? How’s the climate? Is the tornado frequent there?—You ask all these, 'after' you have someone you care about, present in a place not similar to yours.
4. DIALOGUES: Dialogues can be a nice way to show what the protagonist is like, to build his/her character, personality, even settings. However, petty/poor/hi-hello-how-r-u-yes-more-sugar-in-the-coffee-please kind of daily-life dialogues which EVERYONE in the world can say should ABSOLUTELY BE BANNED for not just the first 10 pages, but the whole Manuscript. I mean, just think about it, why would I read about your MC, if s/he can’t say cool/interesting/rich things like Thanos/ Joker/ Batman? if I don’t find your MC different than the 7 billion people why should I bother reading about him/her?
5. Relatable: Does it mean, the MC has to be cool and perfect from page one? No. Otherwise, there won’t be any journey. S/he can be the stuttering introvert. HOWEVER, s/he must have the strong/ multidimensional/ seeker mind and an interesting brain that at least ‘thinks’ differently, interestingly in those expositions, if s/he at least doesn't say those things aloud to the other characters, s/he should think interesting things which most people don’t.

If this post helps you, please share it. It inspires me to write more such posts.

***A few other writing bloggers liked this article and posted it with my name as the guest author. If you find me there, support them, too. We all are trying to make the craft more available for the authors who are desperately looking for the right materials, despite the fact that life and living push them hard at the walls most times. If you can relate, please know, you're doing a great job! Hats off to anyone who stays in the creative lines of work, and hats off to their near ones who support them.

#First 10 Page mistakes all authors do
#Make the opening pages right
#What's wrong in the first few pages?
#How to make the first pages engaging?
#How to write the irresistible opening of a fiction?
#Fiction writing.
#Writing the first chapter


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