Thursday, April 19, 2012

Checklist for First Five Pages

As writers, we know how important the first five pages are in our novels. I've put together a short checklist of question to be on the lookout for when writing/editing the beginning of your story.

1. Are the pages engaging?
2. Do you want to keep reading?
3. Is the main character likeable?
4. Are the characters not cardboard?
5. Is the scene set?
6. Can the reader picture everything?
7. Is the voice strong?
8. Is the voice consistent?
9. Is it passive/telling?
10. Is it cliche or overwritten?
11. Is the pacing too slow or too fast or just right?
12. Does the dialogue sound stilted?

I'm just about ready to send out more queries for The Princess's Treasure Hunt, but I would love to have a few more eyes on my first five pages. I'm too close to the story to be able to answer the above questions objectively. Anyone willing to take a look at them for me? I'm willing to reciprocate of course!


Beth said...

I'll read them if you can give me until Sunday (not sure I can get to it before the weekend).

Theresa Milstein said...

Excellent checklist. I'll be finding out the same thing when I attend the NE-SCBWI conference this weekend.

Charity Bradford said...

Ooo! I'll swap 5 pages with you. That's about all I can handle at the moment.

And I love the check list! I'll think I'll use it next week on Unicorn Bell if you don't mind?

Jenn said...

Great check-list! I would offer to look at your first 5 pages but we're leaving to go out of town tomorrow for a week and I'm sure you'll want feedback faster than that. Best of luck with your second batch of queries.

Oh, and we found out we're having another boy. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you have some offers as I am buried under the A to Z Challenge right now.

Anonymous said...

I'm up to my eyeballs right now, otherwise I'd offer to help. But that's an awesome checklist, Nicole.

Saumya said...

I love this checklist! So helpful!!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

An excellent checklist.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great checklist. Another one to add perhaps is Have you hooked your reader with what your story is about or something like that.

Good luck with the querying.

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

Do you ever visit In addition to having an awesome agent list, there is a forum...we evaluate first five pages and queries.

If you haven't been there, I strongly recommend it. QueryTracker got me on my published feet!

Angela Brown said...

This reminds me of Noah Lukeman's First Five Pages. It's a pretty helpful craft novel that hints at many of the things in your checklist.

I would be open to reviewing your first five pages if you're still in need of another set of eyes. Just let me know.


Lindsey R. Loucks said...

Yep, great checklist! I'd be happy to read some pages if you still need someone!