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The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide…

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the… (edition 2005)

by Noah Lukeman (Author)

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Title:The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
Authors:Noah Lukeman (Author)
Info:Fireside (2005), 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman


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One of the best books I've read if you're sending off to agents and publishers and if you're self editing.

As you might guess from the title, Lukeman explains exactly what agents look for in order to reject your mss by reading as few pages as possible. It starts from the mechanics of presentation and then works through the other hurdles in rejection potential order from micro things like too many adjectives all the way up to pacing, character arcs and loads more.

Good exercises and examples throughout to help you avoid these rejection reasons. ( )
  garethmottram | Oct 27, 2015 |
This is a fantastic book. It goes over a lot of concepts and offers practical solutions. Also, many of the examples that the author has in the book are laugh out loud hilarious. I enjoyed it. It would be a good book to read once a year. ( )
  tundra | Dec 10, 2014 |
Many books on writing focus on what *to* do in hope for success, yet this is such a broad spectrum that such advice will most likely only help certain types of authors.

The "do nots" are more specific, therefore Noah Lukeman's advice of what a writer should avoid is well worth paying attention to. His own writing style is straightforward, which is how advice ought to be.

Recommended for unpublished and established authors alike. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Oct 16, 2014 |
I loved this book so much that I have added it to my list of "to buy". It has great info along with practical exercises to help improve your writing. It is also set up so that you can work on your problem areas and not worry about the what is working for you. ( )
  CharityBradford | Apr 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Most Honorable Sir,
We perused your MS.
with boundless delight.  And
we hurry to swear by our ancestors
we have never read any other
that equals its mastery.
Were we to publish your work,
we could never presume again on
our public and name
to print books of a standard
not up to yours.
For we cannot imagine
that the next ten thousand years
will offer its ectype.
We must therefore refuse
your work that shines as it were in the sky
and beg you a thousand times
to pardon our fault
which impairs but our own offices.
- Publishers

Rejection letter from a Chinese publisher, from Louis Zukofsky's "A"
For my mother, who, with unhesitating generosity, showed my first (terrible) novel to her agent when I was 16, and has supported my writing with equal fervor ever since.
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Introduction:  Most people are against books on writing on principle.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 068485743X, Paperback)

The difference between The First Five Pages and most books on writing is that the others are written by teachers and writers. This one comes from a literary agent--one whose clients include Pulitzer Prize nominees, New York Times bestselling authors, Pushcart Prize recipients, and American Book Award winners. Noah Lukeman is not trying to impart the finer points of writing well. He wants to teach you "how to identify and avoid bad writing," so that your manuscript doesn't come boomeranging back to you in that self-addressed, stamped envelope. Surprise: Agents and editors don't read manuscripts for fun; they are looking for reasons to reject them. Lukeman has arranged his book "in the order of what I look for when trying to dismiss a manuscript," starting with presentation and concluding with pacing and progression. Each chapter addresses a pitfall of poor writing--overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, tedious or unrealistic dialogue, and lack of subtlety to name just a few--by identifying the problem, presenting solutions, giving examples (one wishes these weren't quite so obvious), and offering writing exercises. It's a little bizarre to think about approaching your work as would an agent, but if you are serious about getting published, you may as well get used to it. Plus, Lukeman has plenty of solid advice worth listening to. Particularly fine are his exercises for removing and spicing up modifiers and his remedies for all kinds of faulty dialogue. --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)

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