The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

by Noah Lukeman
4.5 20

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First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
RLoughran More than 1 year ago
Don't just read this book.
Following each chapter are a series of specific, helpful exercises. USE this book. It will make you a better writer.
I was in a slump between writing projects and THE FIRST FIVE PAGES kickstarted my butt into caring about writing again. The book's final paragraph sums it up: "The ultimate message of this book, though, is not that you should strive for publication, but that you should become devoted to the craft of writing, for its own sake. Ask yourself what you would do if you knew you would never be published. Would you still write? If you are truly writing for the art of it, the answer will be yes. And then, every word is a victory."
I've published a few books (13) and there is such a constellation of events (that we have no control over) which must be in perfect alignment in order to sell a book. I believe that superior writing will, eventually, be recognized and published. Agonizing over publishers or agents or sales of books you have in print is hell; real writers are in it for the writing. THE FIRST FIVE PAGES reminded me that if I control what I can--working at writing a superior book--I have a chance at publication.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a published, but non-paid writer. I have read lots of books about writing, and I've attended several writers conferences. This concise book answered so many things I've always wondered about. If I were to recommend one writing book, this would be the one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Noah Lukeman's 'The First Five Pages' taught me many new insights on the process of writing. The title is a bit of a misnomer, since 'The First 5 Pages' covers every major aspect of writing in a lively and indepth prose style. And yet, Mr. Lukeman does demonstrate how transgressing a number of major writing principles at the beginning of one's novel can derail one's goal of getting published. One of Mr. Lukeman's key insights is a warning to young writers not to plunge into dialogue without first grounding the reader in a specific setting. Despite such instruction, Mr. Lukeman caveats his advice often, demonstrating via specific examples that the proferred 'writing principles' are guiding advice to the general reader, and are occasionally circumvented by experienced masterful authors. The real strength of 'The First 5 Pages' are the writing examples Mr. Lukeman includes to demonstrate each and every writing principle he teaches. In each of his 19 chapters, Mr. Lukeman not only teaches you how to correctly handle 'style' or 'tone' or 'pacing and progression,' etc., but also demonstrates what the major problems are in these writing areas (with specific examples for each kind of problem) and how to fix each individual problem. His 'solutions' sections at the end of every chapter contain detailed guidance, as well as splendid writing exercises readers are to employ in improving their own creative efforts. I have read hundreds of books on writing, and must confess my amazement that Mr. Lukeman masterfully taught me so many new things. I will purchase and read his other more recent book based on my reading of 'The First 5 Pages.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This clear and concise book helps you whip your writing--and even your manuscript's appearance--into shape for publishing. It helps you to be more aware of how you use words, viewpoint, setting, and so forth. Before reading 'Description' by Monica Wood, I would have given this book five stars. However, Lukeman exhorts writers with the oft-repeated advice, 'Show! Don't tell!' Then he gives you obviously horrendous examples of telling. These supposedly prove why the practice is such a bad idea. Monica Wood encourages you to be a bit more open-minded. She shows you how you could just show, just tell, or combine both styles to create a great story. She even cites published and successful examples of both exclusive showing and exclusive telling. The First Five Pages is a great book, but writers need more than Lukeman's viewpoint to be well-rounded.
Guest More than 1 year ago
and Lukeman wrote the other one. Lukeman's guidance is invaluable. Writing is enjoyable again. His exercises have been so helpful. BUY THIS BOOK!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author of Martyr's Cry: A Mystery for Hopeless Romantics--I recommend this book highly. Lukeman is an agent with years of experience culling through the slush pile, and he knows what works and what doesn't. Every chapter is filled with practical advice and solutions to writing problems. In addition, each chapter ends with challenging, stimulating exercises to help drive the point home. The best thing about the book is that it will help writers improve their first 5 pages, plus every page that follows.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does not teach 'how to write,' but how to avoid the mistakes that send your manuscript to the recycle bin. That is the craft of writing. To be successful, you have to capture your audience in the first five pages. Noah Lukeman, a prestigious editor turned agent knows the secrets of successful writing. In reality, you must capture your reader in the first five words, sentences, or paragraphs with a strong hook and the good writing. Lukeman arranged the chapters in The First Five Pages to show each process in rejecting manuscripts. Follow the steps, and if you are lucky, you might get a contract. Do not follow the steps, and the only reason your manuscript will reach the one person who can make a difference is through a fluke. Each chapter concludes with write and rewrite examples and practices. The Lukeman way is included at the back of the book. The only way to become a better writer is to write. The following is only a brief synopsis of a few chapters. Presentation: The number one reason aspiring writers get rejections is that the work is inappropriate for the market. Simply put: do not send a bodice-ripper, swashbuckling tale to someone representing coffee table books. Other problems are spelling errors, sloppiness, faded text, and dirty paper; they all indicate carelessness that is generally reflected throughout the book. Research your market, and prepare your manuscript according to the instructions given by the agent, editor, or publisher. If they want Ariel font, give it to them. Adjectives and Adverbs: The next step to rejection is the overuse or misuse of modifiers. These words tell rather than show your noun. "If a day is described as 'hot, dry, bright and dusty,'" these words are tedious and the image becomes significantly unimportant. Overuse is very easy to spot by a cursory glance. Sound: If your manuscript has reached this level, it is being read. Pacing, rhythm, meter, or beat is about the way your prose reveals the story. "Prose can be technically correct, but rhythmically unpleasant." Read your work aloud; if it does not sound right to you, pay attention. Comparison: Analogy, simile, and metaphor can be overdone. I read about 1/3 of a book recommended to me as an excellent thriller. The plot, characters, dialogue, details, and descriptions were good. I could not read the book because everything is not like something else, every paragraph or three included a simile. Style: If the writing feels forced or exaggerated, or the writer began to showcase his words rather than the story, the probability of rejection is high. Another nit for me is redundancy; this is a matter of using the same or similar word in close proximity. It is also a reason for rejection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE FIRST FIVE PAGES is one of the best books on writing I've ever read. Don't be swayed by the review below, which is not only wrong, but factually incorrect and completely misleading. He says the 'whole first two thirds of the book are devoted to pointers like don't have misspellings or draw on your manuscript,' which is completely untrue. Those two topics are never even raised in the book, and any minor issues are only dealt with up front, in passing, in a few pages. On the contrary, the first two thirds of the book cover such important topics as 'Sound,' Comparison,' 'Style' and five excellent chapters on dialogue. He claims the book has 'no specifics and finer distinctions about what distinguishes good writing from poor' - but this is exactly what the entire book is devoted to. In fact, there is an entire chapter devoted just to 'Subtlety' and another chapter devoted to a subtle topic, 'Tone.' He suggests, as a reading alternative to this book, three books on writing, one of which I have read and is awful. This guy sounds like a spurned writer to me. The First Five Pages is one of the best books on writing there is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a very good synopsis of writing pointers for novelists. However, if you are looking for a book about how to write a gripping first five pages, not how to write, this is not it. It's about how to impress publishers with your writing (because they don't have time to read further more than five page—they are swamped). I'm still looking for a book about how to make a great first chapter. Many pundits opine about what not to do, few can tell you what to do.
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ellison61 More than 1 year ago
Explains the how-tos of writing a book. Very helpful.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry to say I learned nothing from this book. Worse, the author's off-putting--stilted, I might call it--tone kept reminding me that *he* is one of THEM while I am just a lowly wannabe. The book isn't bad but there are far easier books to read about improving your writing and getting it sold. Try Sol Stein's On Writing or Jim Frey's Damn Good series first and come back to this one later.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you know much about writing at all--if you've taken courses or published anything or read other good books--this book probably won't be very useful to you. I was attracted by the title and the fact that it was written by an agent but got very little from it. The whole first two-thirds of the book had obvious pointers like don't have misspellings or a messy manuscript or use too many adverbs. Many of the examples are blatant and laughable: they illustrate the obvious about melodrama and boring dialogue, for example--like, who wouldn't know, 'I can't pay the rent. You must pay the rent' should be avoided? What I, as a writer, need is more specifics and finer distinctions about what distinguishes good writing from poor--more substance-- and this book taught me very little about that. Far better is SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, by two editors who understand good writing and give pointers and lessons on how to achieve it, or HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL, for an understanding on structure and drama vs. melodrama, or WRITING FICTION, a classic textbook used in colleges around the country.