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The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success Paperback – November 25, 2011
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About the Author
Jeff Gerke (www.marcherlordpress.com and www.wherethemapends.com) is an author of fiction and nonfiction including such books as the Operation: Firebrand novels. He has worked as an editor for numerous publications and is the founder of Marcher Lord Press, an indie publishing company dedicated to producing the finest in Christian science-fiction, fantasy, and other genres. He is also the author of Plot Versus Character, also from Writer's Digest Books. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Top Customer Reviews
This book uses movies as examples, and I think that was a good thing, although at times there's a little too many examples about some easy concepts that don't need as many examples that the author gives.
The one thing about this book is that it stresses, over and over, that you need to 'show' and the author goes so far as to say that you "never" do any telling in the first fifty pages. While, I guess, that's true, there is a place for 'telling.' In that respect, this book reads like it's about screenwriting more than fiction at times... the author doesn't acknowledge stuff like 'internal monologue.' Personally, I like reading books because, unlike movies, books can put you in the heads of characters, and that is one aspect of writing fiction that was not mentioned a single time in this book... so, I also recommend reading 'Showing and Telling.'
Overall, though, this was a good book about a topic that there haven't been many books about, so I recommend it.
I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Gerke speak at the Writer's Digest Conference in January and I immediately jumped in line to get a copy of his book signed. He was a terrific speaker who provided lots of examples and explanations. His workshop was one of the best at the conference.
The first part of the book is dedicated to explaining the submission process. Some important points he raised are that your opening lines must hook the reader. He clarifies that starting with action isn't about blowing stuff up or having someone's life at risk. IT SIMPLY MEANS IT MUST BE INTERESTING TO THE READER.
He also talks of the three bombs: POV, show vs. tell, and character creation. A problem with any of these can blow up a book and not in an Oprah knocking on your door sort of way.
The rest of the book focuses on what your first 50 pages must do. And it's a lot. A lot a lot. In this section he touches on how to engage your reader, introduce your main character, establish the main character's normal, establish the story world's normal, start the inner journey, and follow the Three Act structure.
As I read this book, I analyzed my two finished manuscripts and tried to think of where I'd missed the mark. Where I needed to work further on them. What was not working in their first 50 pages.
This is one of my favorite craft books because Jeff Gerke's conversational presentation style is captured perfectly in these pages. I felt like he was talking right to me and sharing his personal experiences. He used lots of movies as examples which made concepts much easier to grasp and apply later to my own work.
This is a must read for any writer submitting their work to agents and editors.
Gerke covers: character, setting, first lines and initial suspense building - something that stood out from other 'writers on writing' is that Gerke goes to the effort of explaining how to follow the advise he espouses. For example rather than just saying "your character needs to be sympathetic" we are provided with methods of achieving this.
In short, a must read for those struggling through the writing process.
The first 50 pages talks about common cliches that editors don't like. This book starts out with a look inside an editor's head. What the submission process is like. Also it talks about the three bombs that will kill your novel. This book gives excellent examples of what you should and should not do in your first 50 pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great book I think every novelist should read - especially new writers.
As with all writing books, there is some info you've read in other books, but Gerke structures... Read more
I am thrilled with this book! I have read at least 100 books about the craft of writing, and this book has been one of the most helpful... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kelly
This was my first book of Jeff's that I consumed. I have since moved on to several of his other craft books as they all greet you at the door, take your coat, and offer you a hot... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dianna
The author Jeff Gerke wrote this book to encourage all writers in whatever way they are writing. If any writer is in doubt about their writing, if it is good enough, this is the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Angel Help
The information in this book is extremely valuable for beginning authors as well as experienced authors. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Phyllis Zimbler Miller
As a by-choice indie, I could give a flying hoot-a-nanny about what agents, editors and publishers think. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Anna Erishkigal
Very helpful book. Really makes you focus on the critical opening and set-up. All else depends on it.Published 12 months ago by n.beth
I find Gerke's books on writing to be fantastic! I got lots of great ideas for my writing. However, Jeff, you need my proofreading and editing services, there were so many typos! Read morePublished 14 months ago by PrairieGirl