Sunday, April 5, 2009

Writing Challenge - Mission #3 - Writing the first 5 Pages

sleeping girl on computer Pictures, Images and Photos

Operation: Maggie Readiness
Mission #3: Writing the first 5 Pages

Character Profiles – check
Synopsis – Check
First 5 pages – do now!

Anyone who has ever written a book knows how intimidating those first few paragraphs can be. Days, weeks and even months have been spent agonizing over just the right words that will hook a reader, agent or editor and entice them to keep on reading. Boy that was a mouth full!

No one said this life was going to be easy. Nope. Those that have this type of delusion coming into this crazy world rarely keep it long. That doesn’t mean we have to let it take over our lives. It’s easy for someone sitting on the outside of the manuscript to say just put the words down on paper. I can say this until I’m blue in the face; but until I actually try to do it myself, I have no idea how hard it can be.

With this said, I highly encourage you to read back to Friday’s post with Margie Lawson. She gave some fabulous tips on techniques utilized by some very successful authors. If it works for them, why not give it a try.

This week’s assignment is to tackle those first 5 pages. Not a big deal. On average, this is 1,250 words. One page a day for 5 days or ¾ of a page per day for 7. Use Stephanie Bond’s technique and set an egg timer for 15 or 30 minutes at a time. Even as busy as I am, I’m pretty sure I can sneak in a few of those.

So, get crackin and start working on those first 5 pages. Check out Margie Lawson’s tips and for a little added incentive, check out GRW’s new and improved Website. Browse around the drop-down menus and don’t forget to print off that application for the Maggie submission. No time like the present to start filling it out.

How did you all do on that synopsis???


Maxine Davis said...

Loved your post! You are right: Margie Lawson was awesome and let's not forget that your help with a synopsis is so valuable!

But me? well, I 'pretty much' have the character profiles, I've got my 5 pages - minus the countless revisions to be made, but I have successfully put off doing the synopsis. I have it somewhere in the back of my brain, I just have to get it to drift forward through the mush.

Billi Jean said...


Mmmm, well, I am sooo backwards in this writing assignment-- I've only been on your site twice, so maybe I need to hang out more -- but --- I never write the synopsis first and I have a terrible habit of just sitting and writing -- and my chapters are too long. So, now I am working on laying out a plot line and shortening my chapters. And low and behold! I find your site again and bam! Your topic is right on!!! Just what I need. I'm going to tag this as a daily or at least weekly read. Thanks for creating such a wonderful and useful site!

best, billi jean

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Maxine. If the synopsis isn’t perking right now, no worries. You are far ahead with those 5 chapters, so kudos!!! I’ll be honest and tell you that my synopsis is only part way done. I have the beginning and end. I’m kicking around the middle but didn’t like it. Soooooo, I’m just going to ignore it for a week or so and see if that helps. See? Easy as pie….grin…. Great job and definitely keep at the character profiles. Even if you NEVER use most of it, YOU know your character better than some of your friends….

Hi Billi Jean. No stressing about being backwards. This is all for fun and a huge way to try and crack that whip for some of us that need that extra push to get their writing ready for the Maggies. You are entering, right?????....grin…… Seriously, this was a completely different direction for me, too. In the beginning (when writing was not so much work as it was fun), I did my synopsis/outline at the beginning. It in no way resembled a real synopsis, but it was easily adapted to one if I needed it to send off to a writing contest or (heaven forbid) an agent… I eventually got to where I put the synopsis off. So I was hoping this might motivate me (at least) to find that “fun” that was lost. And of course to get the darn thing ready for the Maggies…

We are glad to have you over here. Definitely come back and see us. We have some wonderful bloggers on the site with tons of useful advice, not to mention our awesome guest bloggers with fabulous giveaways!!! Can’t wait to see you again. And keep writing.

Tami Brothers

Tami Brothers said...

Woops. Meant pages, Maxine. See, here I have you even farther ahead than you even thought...grin....

Keep it up!!!

Cyrano said...

My WIP is half done. The synopsis for the WIP is finished.
Wait, no applause please. I'm very, very good at starting a book. I'm awful at finishing the darn thing. So I plan on concentrating on my next five pages - one page a day for five days. I'll take it one day at a time.
By the way, I love the Stephanie Bond egg timer idea. I'm gonna use that!
have a lovely Sunday,

Carol Burnside said...

It's helping me just knowing that I need to report in here each week. This week has been a little slow. I'm on a roll today and still writing, but as of now, have nearly 4K.

Maxine Davis said...

Tami, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read chapters! I thought I'd have to work night and day to have them by April's meeting so that I would not have lied to you. Of course now I have to do 5 more pages and 5 more and . . .

Darcy Crowder said...

Tammy -

I'm a little late signing up...but I'm on board now. Whew! I have the character sheets done, working on getting the synopsis AND 5 pages I can live with by the end of the week. Wish me luck. :)


Nicki Salcedo said...

Tami, you are my hero. I'm trying to keep up!

CiCi Barnes said...

Again, just like last week, I'm a day late. Buuuutttt, I'm working on my chapters, so I'm not being lazy.

Like Carol, having to report here is making me do my thing on my story.

Of course, working on does not equate to finished. I'm still haunted by the synopsis, but it is improving.

Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Tami.


Tami Brothers said...

Hey Ladies!!!

Glad to see you all over here. Again, sorry about that Maxine!!! grin....

This has definitely helped me, so I'm thrilled it might help you all just a tad as well...

Keep on writing!!!


Stephanie J said...

I missed the first two challenges but I'd already made a "finish the d*** novel!" goal about a week ago so I'm on board!

I don't know why I've had such a hard time coming up with character information but as I was writing last night it was finally coming to me. I guess I'm doing the steps in reverse right now...

Kelly Lee said...

I got my characters (mostly) figured out, and wrote a draft of the synopsis. I'm stuck on one plot point - I've got to figure out how to kill a character - but other than that I am ready to start writing (I think). :)

Thanks for keeping us on track!

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Hey guys--sorry I missed last week. I have the character profiles courtesy of BIF. I have a bad synopsis with lots of suggestions from Nancy Knight--can't beat it. And, yest, I have my first five pages. But I'm going to have to rewrite them courtesy of some stellar critiquing from Sandy and Pam.

If there's anything I'm discovering, it's that you can't get there without the help of a few friends! : )