Many of the folks who utilize BookBub are self-published, and because we hear over and over the need for self-published authors to have their work edited, It seemed to me that it could be educational to take a hard look at their first pages. If you don’t know about BookBub, it’s a pretty nifty way to try to build interest in your work. The website is here.
I’m mostly sampling books that are offered for free—BookBub says that readers are 10x more likely to click on a book that’s offered for free than a discounted book. Following is the first page and a poll. Then my comments follow, along with the book cover, the author’s name, and a link so you can take a look for yourself if you wish. At Amazon you can click on the Read More feature to get more of the chapter if you’re interested. There’s a second poll concerning the need for an editor.
Cage Foster wasn’t afraid of the dark. He didn’t believe in creepers going bump in the night, and he could deal with the occasional nasty critter. But something about Ironwood Plantation’s cellar made the hairs on the back of his neck stand at attention. And he’d already been down there once today.
The cellar stunk. It reeked of mold-covered earth, stale air juiced up with God knows what dead animal carcasses, rotting wood, and several decades’ worth of dust. Like so many antebellum homes, Ironwood’s cellar was made of earth and bricks with some decaying Mississippi cypress thrown on top. Late afternoon sun shined in the kitchen windows and cast a shadow down the basement steps. An old light bulb and an equally ancient string hung somewhere past the bottom step, but since the entire fuse box had crapped out, Cage had to fumble down the rickety steps and hope he didn’t end up landing ass over backwards on the dirty cellar floor.
“Wiring up to code my ass.” His nose curled at the odor. “If it were, that cheap sander wouldn’t have blown the fuse.”
“You gon’ go down with me?” Harvey Lett, a square– shaped man with tobacco-stained teeth and a graying beard that desperately needed a trim, stood behind Cage. The only electrician willing to hurry out to an abandoned plantation house with old wiring and a fuse box from the (snip)
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow. You can turn the page here.
Green is clearly a skilled writer, the narrative is just fine. But a literary agent once said, “Good writing is not enough.” We have good writing, but story questions? The character has a bad feeling about a cellar. Then we wander off into description. Nothing actually happens. And there’s no hint of stakes if the vague creepy feeling pays off. There’s a fine hook at the end of the chapter, and all the setup wasn’t, in my view, needed. This is a mystery; get to the body.
© 2016 Ray Rhamey