Amazon has quickly changed everything we understand about the literary industry. The obvious e-book is one example, the faster paced society is another.
Writers are struggling to keep up with what and how their stories are to be told. Gone are the days when an individual sits at the typewriter and tells his or her own story without critique partners keeping them honest, editors with less time to give it in the end, and publishers without publishing dollars for a new author.
Add in a society that wants instant gratification, and you have a whole new world to be writing for. One of the classes I teach is on smacking the reader over the head with a two by four on page one. Why? Because that’s often all an agent or editor will look at to decide whether or not they want to consider a project, and also because readers want to be instantly drawn in. If they aren’t, bye-bye book sale.
So what is the next situation that has emerged to change the way a writer writes?
You know you have a few pages to get the reader’s attention. Will that change the way you write the book? We all want each page to keep the reader turning, or sliding, or tapping. But will this force writers to give it their all for a few pages, then slow the pace?
First we said to smack the reader right side the head for 5-10 pages. “It had better be your best writing.” Then we told them they had one page to get it right. Now, for the reader, how many pages is it going to take to get them to “go to the store and buy this book”?
The answer is far more simple than you would think and more difficult all at the same time.
Write a great book from page one to page…400 or whatever. You need to get the reader’s attention right away, but you can’t afford to let the story slide. If your reader decides a glass of lemonade would taste good enough to put down the book, then you’ve allowed them a “commercial break” and there should never be commercial breaks in a great book. Don’t give them one second when they feel comfortable enough about what is happening to your heroine that they can leave her alone for even a second.
So who are you writing for? An amazing page for agents and editors? A few awesome pages for contests and samples?
Or are you writing full out for the reader who wants an outstanding book from page one to the end?