Tuesday Talk- Book Reviews that Let you down??

Tuesday Talks

On Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

Today’s Tuesday Talk is coming from a fellow blogger- lianakeyblog. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should. It’s not only entertaining but I really enjoy what her blogs get at. She not only writes books but she is also a writer herself.

Anyway, she wrote in on the topic of Book Reviews. Now, it is true I have already written a couple posts on Book Reviews, more to the point on what we are looking for in a review. If you want to check them out, you can find them here: Tuesday Talk- Reviews and What We Want Part 1 and Tuesday Talk- Reviews and What We Want Part 2

But what Liana Key is getting at, is something different:

How about the authenticity of book reviews? I reviewed a book that mainly had 4&5 star ratings and every review said how funny it was but I never laughed once! It’s like they all copied the previous reviewer, in fact two reviews were exactly the same! Not the first time I’ve seen it either! – lianakeyblog

How many times have you looked at other reviews that talked a book up only to find the book was a horrible disappointment?

I think the question is, how much weight should we put in others reviews? If most of them lead to disappointment, then why read them at all?

This weeks question is exactly what I said above- How much weight should we put in others reviews? And Have you come across reviews where it seems like others just hit copy and past from the ones below them?

I’m really interested to see what you think about this. Most of the people following my blog are fellow book bloggers. I can’t help but wonder, are we waisting our time by writing reviews that could very possibly only end up a disappointment to others?

Tuesday Talk- Lets talk music

Tuesday Talks

Every Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

Happy Tuesday everyone!! I don’t know about you but it is beyond hot and humid here in Minnesota!! I hope you are staying cool 🙂

music

Image Credit: HowToBeAMusicSuccess

Today I want to talk music- So is so much out there and everyone seems to have a their own choice in what they enjoy. But I am curious if mood affects the type of music you listen to or if you have a go to selection already downloaded?

Todays question(s):

  1. Pick a mood- happy, sad, depressed, lonely, having a bad day..- and name a song that is your ‘go to’ song.
  2. This one is more for me- I need a new playlist for running, any suggestions??

I think this might be a really fun topic. I am going to wait before I post my answer because I want to see what you guys come up with. If no one posts a comment, then I try to stimulate the conversation.

Tuesday Talk- I want to hear from you!!

Tuesday Talks

Every Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

It’s been a while since I have done Tuesday Talk. I wasn’t sure this was something anyone would miss, but the emails asking for it back say otherwise.

This time around, I want to do things differently. One reader said they have wanted to participate in Tuesday Talk but never felt knowledgable enough to do so. Honestly, you don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion. If you want to participate, please do so. If you want to participate anonymously, email me (boundtobeme3@gmail.com) your response and I will add it myself via an ‘anonymous friend’.

In a couple days I will post part two to Tuesday Talk- Powerful Books Part One. It has been a month since I asked the initial question.

But before I do this, I want to know-

What topics are you interested in or what would you like to see for a Tuesday Talk discussion topic? This can be running related, characteristics of books/writing, things that irritate you, we can even focus on a specific book or author, creative blocks, reading slumps… Honestly, it can be anything you want!! Just tell me so I know which way to take this.

The purpose of Tuesday Talk is to connect with YOU. Help me do that!

Tuesday Talk… is anyone out there?

Hi everyone, I am just sending out a reminder if you want to participate in Tuesday Talk this week, it is about books that leave lasting impressions. If you missed this post, you can find it here.

Here is the question to consider:

This weeks question: Name a book (and author please) that has left a lasting impression on you. For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to stick with the more positive impressions. And then write a small snippet of what it was about this book that has stayed with you. Was it the characters? The struggle? The way the author wrote?

I normally write my follow up by Saturday but because I haven’t had anyone participate, it will take me longer to do the research and see what the world thinks. But honestly, I would rather write about what you think and the books that matter to you.

So please, consider participating. You can leave a comment or shoot me an email: boundtobeme3@gmail.com

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday Talk- Powerful Books Part One

Tuesday Talks

Every Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

There are books that entertain, books that inform, books that enthrall – books that speak to our rational side, connect with logic, reflect on our intellect and mirror our emotions. And then there are books that seem to speak directly to the soul – life changing books that make you question your core beliefs or maybe connect with a side of yourself you didn’t know you had. Either way, they stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

This week I want to talk about inspiration and the books that connect and stay with us.

Now if I ask you to name your favorite book, most of you would be pulling your hair out, wondering how you could name just one. So lets not go there. What I want to look at are the books that leave a lasting impression on us. Sometimes these books fall in our favorite category and sometimes they don’t.

This weeks question: Name a book (and author please) that has left a lasting impression on you. For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to stick with the more positive impressions. And then write a small snippet of what it was about this book that has stayed with you. Was it the characters? The struggle? The way the author wrote?

After writing about my book choice, I can see how writing a quick response might become difficult. If you would like to write a longer response, you can email me at: boundtobeme3@gmail.com

I will collect all of our answers and put together a collection of powerful books that have stayed with us. I plan on posting this around Saturday. I hope you participate. I would love to see what books have left an impression.


Mine is easy-

The Bluest Eye

This book tells the story of a young girl convinced that her blackness makes her ugly and worthless. If only she had blue eyes, she thinks, her life would be different.

One of the ideas behind this book is how we see the world and how the world sees us. The little girl in this book (Pecola) thinks that if she has an attribute of whiteness, blue eyes, then she will be worthy, loved, deserving..

One of the scenes in this book is when her and her friends, are drinking out of Shirley Temple cups with Shirley Temple’s image on them. All of these images (from the medial and whatnot) surround her- Images of whiteness, white girls, beautiful white girls, cute white girls. And the ways in which they are actually adored, treasured and idolized. These white girls are idealized in a world that doesn’t treasure or idealize Pecola. So as she’s literally drinking in Shirley Temple, she thinks she’s going to absorb her in some way, but in actuality, she will never become her because Pecola is not seen. She’s invisible.

At the time and maybe even still today, this story highlights how our world, our media, is saturated with images of white women, white skinny women who are kind of put on a pedestal of beauty. And then beyond that, this book also sheds light on the cycles of violence and abuse.

This book is a hard read because of the injustice, emotions, rape, and cruelty. The ending is sad and I remember at one point telling my professor how sad this book made me and how I didn’t want to finish it. She told me something around, “Sometimes we have to face the sad and ugly to understand the world around us.”

Tuesday Talk- Beta Readers Part Two

The concept of Beta readers have been around for a long time. While some swear by them, others find them more hassle than they are worth.

When asked her thoughts on Beta Readers, T. A. HERNANDEZ said, “As writers, once we’ve worked on a story for so long and poured so much of ourselves into it, it can be very difficult to see some of the flaws with the plot, setting, characters, etc. A beta reader will be able to see the things you can’t. As an outsider, they’re looking at the story from a completely different perspective and can offer valuable insights about which aspects of the story work and which don’t.” 

Rob Baker, author of Constant Traveller R801168, used Beta Readers for both his books. “Beta readers are a test run for real life, for when the public reads your work. Just had 7 beta readers for my second book, now at the editor.” 

One author compares using multiple Beta Readers to having too many cooks in the kitchen. “There is a such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen and of course that causes chaos because everyone has different opinions and sometimes those opinions clash with other beta readers. I tried to follow their suggestions, opinions, etc. making those corrections, but, it just ended up a total mess. It was like having too many voices in my head and it was causing me great distress.”Angel M.B. Chadwick

This weeks Tuesday Talk I focused more on worth of Beta Readers. Although I didn’t get any discussion here, I did find great discussions through Goodreads and the internet.

What is a Beta Reader

Beta Readers or Alpha readers is a non professional readers who reads a manuscript with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling. But they also suggest improvements within the story, its characters, and setting. These improvements could be anything from pointing out plot holes, problems with continuity, difficulties with characterization or believability, etc. Overall, the point of a Beta Reader is to help the author write a better novel.

Are there Downsides to Beta Readers?

Sure. Just like anything, there are both positives and negatives. Angel M.B. Chadwick provided me with the best overview of her unpleasant experience with Beta Readers.

The Beta Readers Angel found did not seem to have the experience she was looking for and misrepresented their skills. They were not thorough with pointing out grammatical errors or inconsistencies.

“…if you find inconsistencies in my novel give me a detailed and very thorough report of all the inconsistencies and errors don’t just name a few and be vague about the rest. It makes me as the author unable to thoroughly fix the problems.”

Angel talks about not being able to stay in contact with her Bata Readers. She would email them and never hear from them. Overall, her experience sounded really frustrating. To help prevent others from having similar experiences, I have listed ideas or ways to help find the right Beta Reader for your manuscript.

What/who to look for as a beta readers:

First lets talk about who isn’t a good fit- Family, Friends, Significant Others… In a way, they are too close to you. Unintentionally as it may be, there is some predisposition for them to like what you write. Or at least tell you they do. The people you love, love you back and don’t want to hurt your feelings. Because of this, you want to look outside your close circle of trust and look for someone who doesn’t know you.

Ideally, at least one of your beta readers should be someone within your books target audience. This way, you can get an idea of how your book will be perceived.

One of the suggestions was to find Beta Readers who know more about the writing craft than you do. And if you think about this, it makes a lot of sense. If you want to get better at writing, you look to the experts. Same concept goes here- You want feedback from someone who is more knowledgable than you and can help your writing grow.

But the question remains, who do you know if this particular Beta Reader is a good fit?? Well, one suggestion is instead of sending your entire manuscript, just send a couple chapters.

“Another thing that sometimes helps is to only send the first chapter or two to a prospective beta reader, then see what kind of feedback they give (or if you hear back from them at all) before sending the rest of the manuscript. That also gives the beta reader a chance to see if they really want to continue reading.” – T. A. HERNANDEZ

Sending off a couple chapters instead of the entire manuscript also allows the reader to figure out if they would be interested in your story and what kind of feedback you would be getting.

Where to find Beta Readers: 

I think the easiest suggestion is social media and the saying- birds of a feather flock together- easily applies here. As bloggers, we tend to want to connect with people who we share similar interests. Through blogging, you are able to create a reputation for yourself and more than likely if you help others with their writing, they will be more than willing to help you back.

Outside the blogging community, there are other social connections such as the Goodreads group Beta/Proof Readers. Although I am apart of this group, I have yet to participate in any readings. This group has around 1,770 followers and various discussion groups ranging from tools of successful writing, finding Beta Readers, self editing tips, and much more.

Scribophile is another writers aid to help writers. According to the website description, it’s an online writing community for writers of all abilities looking to improve each others work through thoughtful critiques and sharing writing experiences. How this website works is you earn ‘points’ by reading and critiquing other authors writing. When you’ve earned enough points, you can post your own writing for others to critique. The website guarantees at least three thoughtful critiques when you post your writing. And for the last three years the site has been awarded the top 100 best websites for writers.

Wattpad is another website that allows readers to interact and share their thoughts while reading your book. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with the website. It was a little more difficult to figure out how the process works but that could just be me. According to the website, you upload your book and create an enticing blurb about it and wait for people to read it. There is no guarantee people will read your work or that you will get insightful critiques back.

A couple responses I did receive mentioned how swapping stories with another author was the best way to find good criticism.

“I generally find that swaps are more likely to work out and ensure that both parties finish reading and providing feedback. The other fantastic thing about swaps is that they give you a chance to critique other writers’ work, which is incredibly helpful to your own writing. I can’t even begin to say how much my writing has improved since I started critiquing for other writers.” – T. A. HERNANDEZ

Better Beta Reads was recommended by Angel M.B. Chadwick. She had amazing success with Deb Rhodes from this website. This website outlines specifically what will be done with your manuscript, what to expect, and how they will approach your writing. Unlike most Beta Readers, her services come with a charge: $50 up to 30k word count, $100 up to 60k word count, $125 up to 100k word count, and $12.50 for every 10k words after. She also provides an editing service to make sure each sentence is “publication ready”. For this service, she charges $1 per page.

When do you use beta readers:

Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. But that isn’t always the case. So the question(s) remains- Do you use them after you have written a couple chapters? Half the book? All the book?

Honestly, I think this is a personal preference. You know yourself better than anyone else. For some people, they might need the reassurance while others it takes writing the entire book for them to work out all the kinks.

“I think it’s better to get a beta reader after the manuscript is finished in most cases. I know a couple of authors who write excellent first drafts, but most people–myself included–seem to need a full draft or two to really figure out the story and characters. I just don’t think there’s much point in seeking out feedback until you fix all the problems you know are there already, and that probably takes at least one or two drafts.” – T. A. HERNANDEZ

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions..

Throughout the countless websites I looked at, every single one mentioned the need to present your best work. Which means do not send your first draft. A Beta Reader, in the simplest terms, is a reader and all readers talk within some kind of community. Your story will be talked about. Ask yourself, how do you want your story to be talked about? Do you want them to remember the plot and characters? Or all the frustrating spelling and grammatical errors?

“I can always tell when an author has failed to do this (revisions) and it’s extremely aggravating. First of all, it makes the story incredibly hard to read when you have major inconsistencies and a ton of grammatical errors. Secondly, it makes me as the reader feel like I’m wasting my time. Quite frankly, if you couldn’t be bothered to polish up your own work before you sent it out, why should I have to deal with the mess? It doesn’t have to be perfect, but at least make an effort.” – T. A. HERNANDEZ

One recommendation is to set your manuscript aside for a week (at the very least), then go back to it and make any revisions you see fit. And then do it again.. and again after that.

Suggestions & ideas to keep in mind while working with your Beta Reader:

Now that you found your Beta reader, here are some things to consider.

  1. Beta Reading is a free service (for most). You don’t pay Beta Readers money for their time or their help. So try to make the experience as pleasant and positive as possible. Because really, they are doing you a huge favor.
  2. Be upfront about what you are looking for. If you are looking for specific feedback on your characters for example, then communicate that to your Beta Reader. A suggestion was to provide your Beta Readers with specific questions for them to look for. Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think it limits your feedback but maybe I’m wrong.
  3. Don’t take it personally. I know you have spent months pouring a part of yourself into your story. And then to have someone else rip it apart can be heartbreaking and hurtful. But try not to take it that way. Be grateful and remember to keep the experience positive. If you don’t agree with the feedback they give, maybe give yourself some time to think about it or maybe skip it. But either way, thank your Beta Reader for their time.
  4. As mentioned above, some have found Beta Readers can disappear on you. Thoughts on this range from the probability of them getting busy to becoming uninterested in your story and just not telling you. If this really worries you, try swaps- swapping stories with other authors. Disappearing doesn’t happen as often because there is a mutual trust to follow through and help each other.
  5. Don’t be afraid to set limits or due dates. If you need this back in three weeks, tell them two. This gives you and your Beta Reader a little wiggle room.
  6. One Goodread author suggested copywriting your manuscript. He mentioned how it only cost $35 and is well worth the piece of mind.

Well, I hope this helps. I think there is a lot of information out there on Beta Readers. Far more than I could ever recap here. Good Luck and let me know what you think.

 

 

Tuesday Talk- Beta Readers Part One

Tuesday Talks

Every Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

This week I want to focus more on the writing process and take a look into Beta Readers. As an author, there comes a time in your writing (at least for me) where you wonder if you are on the right page. Is the plot moving fast enough? Is there enough or too much detail? Are the characters relatable or being true to themselves? Is this book on the right track?

So many questions go through a writers head, but how do you answer them?

TRUST

Yikes, I said it. And for me, this is one of the scariest things to do. I have put months into the chapters I have written so far and the fear of someone taking my work and calling it their own is very real!

This is my question for the week:

  • How do you feel about Beta Readers? Have you ever been a Beta Reader for a novel? If you have, tell us about your experience. If not, would you ever be interested in being one?
  • And for the writers- do you use Beta Readers when writing your novels? If you don’t, is there a reason why? If you do, how do you go about picking this group of people?

I am really excited to see what everyone says about this. Please join in the conversation and lets find out if Beta Readers are worth the time, effort , but more importantly the TRUST.

Around Friday or Saturday of this week, I will write a recap of all the information I found and the conversation we have had. Happy Talking!!!

Tuesday Talk- Blogging Part Two

Blogging is something we all love to do. It gives us the opportunity to connect with others, to share our opinions, and for some it gives them the opportunity to be themselves. Blogging is wonderful but sometimes it’s not always great.

Regardless of what kind of blog you have, everyone has found themselves in a spot of frustration. Whether it’s over not finding the words to write, writers block, or time- we have all been there!

Earlier this week I ask you two questions: I asked if you would list something you have struggled with since joining the blogging community and if you found a way to overcome this struggle. You can find Part One of this post here

Here is what I have found either searching the web or through various responses I received:

  1. Finding followers but also finding followers that participate- comment/like- your posts. As a relatively new blogger, I find this the hardest obstacle to overcome. I have a nice number of followers but I am only ever able to get a handful participating at a time.
    • Solution- Keep trying to engage. I have been trying to come up with different topics that might interest you guys. Sometimes they seem to be more of a hit but others fall flat.
    • Combustible reviews suggested, “I’ve found, when I was first starting out, that one of the best things was to make an effort to be social, meaning going onto other blogs and commenting on their posts. We’re a nosy bunch and more often than not they’re going to check your blog out.”
    • Going off of what Combustible Reviews said, leave comments on other blogs. But you can’t just leave half heated comments like ‘great post’, although that is nice to hear. The key is to make intelligent comments that add something to the post or discussion.
    • Solution- Set time aside each day, or couple days, or once a week- but set time aside to make comments on others posts. Your followers will get to know you and more people will hop over to do the same.
  2. No traffic.. I feel like this kind of goes with the first one. It is beyond discouraging when you look at your stats and see them practically at zero.
    • Solution- At least this is what I have been doing but I really try to roll it off my shoulders. I can’t beg people to read my stuff. My grandma always told me- Don’t borrow trouble- meaning stop worrying about things that you have no control over. I have no control over who reads my blog. All I can do is try my best to connect with others. But in the end, it is up to them (you) on if you want to read my posts.
    • Vineeth suggested finding a target audience- “That’ll help you cope up with the near-zero stats. And as time passes, you’ll eventually get more readers.”
    • Going off of what Vineeth said, take a look at your posts and re-evaluate them. Are you writing something that would be interesting for your target audience? Is what you posted worth attention or just something you put down so you can add a post?
  3. On Balie Sussman blog, one of the frustrations listed is Blogging or Reading Slump. This can mean you aren’t finding the motivation to pick up a book to review, you are at a loss of what to blog about, or maybe you have writers block.
    • Solution- I really think you need to find what works best for you but here are some ideas: Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to write/read/review/blog. You will get back to it but maybe it’s a good idea to take a break. A day away or two won’t kill you.
    • Solution- Try doing something else. If you have a writing block, try writing about something that isn’t your story. Maybe do a couple writing prompts. For reading, pick up an old favorite and read a couple chapters. I don’t think you need to read the entire book but enough to remind you there are good books out there. As far as blogging goes, Maybe as another blog to be a guest blog on yours. Of if you could go off of what they posted. Don’t plagiarize and be adult about it- give credit where it is due. But personally, I don’t think there is a problem with going off of another topic.

I know this isn’t much but I hope what is here helps! Good luck to all the bloggers out there 🙂

Tuesday Talk- Blogging Part One

Tuesday Talks

Every Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

Usually by Sunday I have Tuesday Talk outlined or at least have an idea of what I am going to talk about. But because I was under the weather, I found myself sipping coffee on a Monday morning wondering what I was going to talk about. It wasn’t until I came across Balie Sussman blog, or more specifically her post entitled: Things only Book Bloggers Can Relate Too, that I figured out what todays topic was going to be about.

This specific blog listed her seven cons to blogging. Yes you read that correctly. Even if you don’t want to admit it, blogging isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it’s wonderful, sometimes its a bit crazy, and sometimes it just kind of sucks.

So why do we do it? What makes up push through the difficult aspects of blogging and keep posting week after week? Hopefully your response is the good outnumbers the bad 🙂

Here is my question, or maybe it’s more of a challenge, but there are two parts:

Part one– I want you to list however many struggles you would like, but please list at least one, that you face when it comes to blogging. This can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Is it coming up with new material? Getting discouraged when you see no one has visited your blog that day? If you are looking for more examples, check out  Balie Sussman post.

Part two– I know this is going to be the hardest part for some but try your best. I would like you to list some of the ways you counteract these struggles. If you don’t have any, that’s fine. Please don’t let this part of the question prevent you from participating in this weeks discussion. But again, this part can be as simple as you go for a run to deal with inspiration or saving your post as a draft to come back to the next day.

I really challenge you, if you haven’t participated in one of my Tuesday Talks, this is the one to participate in. Together lets create a list of tools to help overcome some of the most common obstacles we face as a blogging community.

Again, sometime around Friday or Saturday I will post part Two of this segment where I will collect all the answers in one write up. Thanks ahead of time for participating!!


Here is my answers:

Struggles to blogging:

  1. Finding followers but also finding followers that participate- comment/like- your posts. As a relatively new blogger, I find this the hardest obstacle to overcome. I have a nice number of followers but I am only ever able to get a handful participating at a time.
    • Solution- Yikes!! I have no idea. I guess keep trying to engage. I have been trying to come up with different topics that might interest you guys. Sometimes they seem to be more of a hit but others fall flat.
  2. No traffic.. I feel like this kind of goes with the first one. It is beyond discouraging when you look at your stats and see them practically at zero.
    • Solution- At least this is what I have been doing but I really try to roll it off my shoulders. I feel like I have been putting a lot of time into this blog and that is all I can do. I can’t beg people to read my stuff. My grandma always told me- Don’t borrow trouble- meaning stop worrying about things that you have no control over. I have no control over who reads my blog. All I can do is try my best to connect with others. But in the end, it is up to them (you) on if you want to read my posts.

Tuesday Talk- First Lines Part 2

Once a reader opens the cover of the book, (according to some) the author has a short window of opportunity in order to grab the readers attention. It’s no surprise that most of the time you can tell if you will like a book based on the first line. A good opening line causes the reader to think, it slowly pulls them in, but most importantly it gets them wanting more.

Earlier this week I asked both writers and reviewers what their favorite opening line was. And although the responses varied in regards to genres, they were all surprisingly (or maybe not) similar.

“It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body.” – I hunt killers by Barry Lyga. 

This line was given by ravenandbeezWhen asked why this line was captivating, the response was easy, “I still haven’t read it but the mystery aspect of it is so strong. I just need to know more.”

TheTattooedBookGeek felt similar about his passage:

“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere-the One Who walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years-she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.”-  The Passage (Passage trilogy book 1) by Justin Cronin.

When asked what it was that made him place this book from the maybe read into the definitely reading pile, he said, “I’d say as it really intrigued me but also because it made me think that Amy (the girl) was going to have a big part in the story and made me want to find out more.”

Here are a couple other responses I received:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.“- Hobbit

“Maybe he should have been more worried about the ghost detector going off.”– Labyrinth A Greywalker novel by Kat Richardson

“Morganville, Texas, isn’t like any other dusty small town. It’s got secrets. It’s a company town…and the company is vampires.”– The Morganville Vampires Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Most of the responses I received talked about the books inquisitiveness and how it pulled them in. However, lines that fail to deliver this “pulling effect”, are most often categorized as boring, plain, or lack information. Hallie offered her advice on what she felt successful first lines need: “The first line needs to be something that can make you smile, or make your jaw drop, or perhaps make you curious.

Ok, so what does this mean to writers. Well, according to some- not much. Yes, first lines are great, but some argue they don’t make or break the success of your book. According to one goodreads critic, Jp, their advice:

“There are a number of things that must be done in the first chapter of a book–and they can be learned. If you’ve done all of them, and well, you might have a successful book. No telling. You must do what you do in your own way and tell the story as only you can.
If you’re submitting a book to an agent or a publisher, you can be rejected for any number of reasons, not always having to do with what you wrote. The thing is not to be discouraged, but to keep writing.”

According to Sequoia, author and critic, it’s not just the first line but the first seven that have meaning.

“When I was in graduate school, a professor introduced me to something she called the 7 sentence rule. Basically, within 7 sentences (give or take), the reader should have a pretty good sense about at least one (but ideally 2-3 or more) of the following: main character, central tension, a theme, setting. As a creative writing professor, I stress this to my students. As an editor, I usually know if I’m going to accept or reject a piece by the end of the first or second paragraph.”

In the end, what do we walk away with? Well, I’m not honestly sure there is a right or wrong answer here. I think everyone is different. Someone once told me, “Books are like clothing in that what one person likes, the next person wouldn’t like at all. it’s very personal.”

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend!