Somewhere Amazing

A site for celebrating the amazing!

How a book begins…


I started to read a sample of a book on Kindle. Once I had finished the sample I found I was enjoying the story and now have to decide whether to buy it on Kindle or actual paperback. That’s beside the point though.

The first ten pages or so of the book I found quite convoluted. Quite a few characters introduced maybe too quickly and some background history that I didn’t entirely follow. I persevered and before the sample ran out found myself enjoying the story although it only seemed to get going after the character/history preamble. I found myself asking why an author begins a book with a ‘convoluted’ section?

Surely, especially at the beginning of a book, the idea should be to hook the reader with an easily flowing piece of writing, maybe a dramatic opening but if not dramatic certainly easy to read, writing that can be read effortlessly, without reaching for the paracetamol?

Maybe for a well known author this doesn’t matter quite so much because they know their loyal fans will buy the book anyway. For anyone else it might be more of a struggle and some may give up and possibly lose out on a great story because of a hard going opening section.

I’ve always been fascinated to read reviews where the conclusion is that the book takes awhile to get going but to persevere because it gets better, is hard going at first but improves. I’ve always wondered why I should have to persevere? If my frame of mind while reading is ‘to persevere’ then hasn’t the book failed in its mission to provide me with enjoyment?  Maybe the author was, in the first ‘difficult’ pages, getting to grips with the story themselves, feeling their way into it. Or may its just my impatient brain that generally needs a story to be easy to get into, have an instant hook to it and if there are parts later that require reading glasses and intense concentration to get through then I can deal with that as I’m into the story. Maybe I expect too much. I’ve also heard people say that you should never judge a book until you’ve read at least fifty pages, allowed yourself to ‘get into’ the story. I’m afraid my patience generally doesn’t extent that far. 

But why make it hard right at the start?

Or maybe, not having written a novel yet myself, I don’t quite get why an opening section can ‘get away with’ being like treacle to wade through even if later it dilutes into some freely flowing cream.

Any thoughts welcome 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Somewhere Amazing



Author: Through Another Lens

Christian man from Glasgow, Scotland. On the autistic spectrum. Find me in my posts...

6 thoughts on “How a book begins…

  1. I find what you describe as a hallmark of a novice writer. Best advice I ever got as a writer was to throw out your first chapter, as usually all you are doing is setting up the story for yourself… your readers don’t need that. That first chapter is for you, not them.

    • Thanks for reply. I agree, it does feel like an author is using the first chapter to set themselves up. Someone once said that you can’t always control what comes out, that if that’s how the story wants to be told you have to let it be told that way. I would probably tell them they’re listening to the wrong story! Or at least telling it in the wrong way. Thanks again.

  2. No thoughts to offer, I’m afraid…. I’ve never been a reader however; my partner devours a book each week (or thereabouts) and he always says it takes a while to get into them… I’ve never had an interest in books, which is quite contradictory to my nature; I seem to get more out of a synopsis of something that allows me to soak up information easily and quickly. I have tried to read however; (please excuse if I sound arrogant) my imagination is so vast I’m always re-writing TV programs and dissecting the writer’s viewpoint or second guessing what I believe is going to happen, etc. It’s just better not to try.
    Well for someone who started of saying I had nothing to offer, I’ve certainly said a lot…!

    • I wish I could devour a book a week! I’m a slow reader so have to be choosy about what I read. Although given I’m a slow reader I have a strange tendency to go for epic books! You don’t sound arrogant, just honest. Nothing wrong with a vast imagination. Thanks for reply.

      • Yes, me too… I’m actually dyslexic, so reading can be quite draining; especially if I’m tired. I’ve certainly improved over the years however; nothing has really inspired me to read (novels that is). I read a few Sci-fi books in my teens, which I enjoyed, and later the Kaywana Blood series by Edger Mittleholzer, which is a tale of slavery beginning in Africa and later in the south of US. Blood thirsty and lots of sexual pursuits happening. Just the thing for a young woman to introduce herself to unbridled sex and passion (speaking about me)…. haha…. I just googled Kaywana Blood and it has some good ratings… If you like an epic read perhaps this series may be for you….

        • I understand the bit about reading being quite draining. Its a little frustrating when you’re enjoying a story but are too drained to continue. Thanks for book suggestion, not sure that one is for me but I do like the Sci-fi genre…actually I like almost any genre!

Deep breath, fingers poised, off you go ...!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s