Bonus Blog #4 – The First Page of Someone's Story

Today I am featuring a guest post I created for my Pump Up Your Book tour:

I have copied and pasted the Q&A below:

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

My book has an arc with an ultramarathon runner. I have a few chapters that come together to form this second running story outside the main story. I wanted to start with one of these chapters because it gives you more action. After this, I set the stage and give you some insight into the world our character is in. Dropping the reader into this ultramarathon gives them a nice little tease and without it, the first 5% of the book wouldn’t have enough energy.

I also use lots of metaphors and similes in my writing. You get a few of those right away. Electric yellow gets mentioned. This comes into play a few times. It’s the school colour. You don’t know that yet but you will in a few chapters. It’s a subtle little part that helps connect everything.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

What I wrote didn’t change much. Maybe a word or two. What I did change though was the formatting. I was going for something different. I like to think this project is uniquely me in that I do a few things that are not traditional: 

I don’t indent my paragraphs (I write in a hybrid screenplay style).

  • I actually did have a version where I made indents, but after looking at it, I changed my mind and went back to my original style choice.

The chapter title spacing.

  • I was torn for a while on what to do. Eventually, I decided not to number the chapters and to instead name them all uniquely as a bit of a teaser to what the chapter is about.
  • I also added lots of white space around the titles so they pop off the page. This is absolutely intentional and part of the reader experience.

My drop cap.

  • This was a late edition. The last 48 hours before I sent the manuscript. In the end, I decided to start each chapter with the first letter dropped and then the entire first word in capitals.

The last thing is the alignment of the jogger’s action.

  • One of my beta readers actually suggested this. When I have a character running, I play around with the alignment to help add to the energy of running. This formatting decision came into the manuscript about a month before I published. I really like it and it makes a few appearances in the book.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

Nope. I love my first page.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

To be honest, I didn’t think about it much as I made these individual decisions. They all came together nice to form something unique. This was my first book. I got a little lucky and trusted my gut on some cool, creative ideas. Going forward I will always consider formatting much earlier in my project. Formatting adds a dimension to the reading experience for sure. As for the content. Action. Action. Action. You have to capture the reader’s attention right away.

Someone’s Story is still FREE while I am on my digital book tour. Come grab a copy and check out this amazing project!

Keep those minds sharp and happy readings!

B.A. Bellec

Published by B.A. Bellec

Writer and Producer. Debut novel Someone's Story is available now!

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