Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The First Five Pages

A Writers Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
- Noah Lukeman, Simon and Schuster

 If you missed my previous post—You must buy this text. I summarize the genius. Part 1 of 3:

 First Level of Elimination: Preliminary Problems
1. Presentation
  • Reach out to the appropriate agent
  • Use the correct format
2. Adjectives & Adverbs
  • More is less
  • Allow the reader to fill in
  • Allow reader to use his imagination
  • Overly common description / Hackneyed
  • Weaken their subjects—use stronger nouns and verbs
  • Affect is inevitable commas which slows pace
3. Sound
  • Prose can be technically correct but rhythmically unpleasant
  • Sentences that are too long/short; not well divided; misuse of commas, periods, colons, semicolons, dashes & parentheses
  • Echoes—repeated sounds: character names, pronouns, unusual words, repetitive words
  • Alliteration
  • Resonance—context of a sentence within the paragraph; paragraph within page…
4. Comparison
  • Good but can be applied poorly: tell the reader to stop, pay attention; interrupts flow; slows down the text
  • Absence: work can resonate intellectually but not emotionally
  • Elements must deserve the comparison
  • Is it common place/cliché?
  • Is it the most efficient way to illuminate idea
  • Does it meet "specificity?"
  • Does it fit the contextual vocabulary
5. Style
  • Forced or exaggerated writing: too archaic, florid, minimalistic, academic, clipped, protracted, self-indulgent
  • Is it about the writing, or the story?
  • Gets in the way if too noticeable
  • Beware of redundancy of ideas
  • Style abused is self-indulgent
Write Every Day!


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