So, I've got a marvelous agent interested in my first book. She's been kind enough to give me some feedback, and I've decided to do some revisions. While I've been prepping for retooling the first chapter, I thought I'd take a look around at what other folks in my genre are doing. I stopped into the local Barnes & Noble to check out some beginnings.
I've got a breakdown of some openings below:
Fallen by Lauren Kate
This novel is YA with the paranormal romance angle. It begins with a man sketching a woman who he's known before. They kiss and shadows descend. Something paranormal is insinuated, but left up to the imagination of the reader. The next chapter launches into the story. There was a time this would have been considered a disjointed and cliched trick, but it really seems to work for this story.
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
This is a book of short stories and poems. It's not technically YA or MG, but folks reading my stories often mention similarities to the author's style. The first tale begins with a poor, desperate character forced into odd company by a bad turn of fortune. The third story begins with personified months sitting around a bonfire. Another story begins with a girl being chased in the dark. Another starts with a supernatural opening, some begin in first person, and some begin with dramatic misleads.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
This book is MG fiction. It actually starts with a series of sketches, which was neat. The main character, Hugo, is watching a toy shop. He has stolen from the shop, and he's checking to see if his crime has been discovered. Great opening - voyeuristic feelings, criminal activity, and the sketches are unique.
The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Another MG book. This story opens in first person with a boy telling how he stole magic and nearly disappeared forever. It then goes on to a more standard opening with setting.
This is the point where my descriptions get a lot shorter as the cafe is filling up.
Entwined by Heather Dixon
A YA book, this opening is on the eve of a big ball from the point of view of a young girl. It seems to be a neat variation of the twelve dancing princesses fairytale. It was a bit slow moving.
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
First person opening with a very fairy tale feel in a YA book. The old orphan opening. Looked interesting.
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Magic opening centering on the ominous and mysterious. This is a MG book.
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler with art by Maira Kalman
This book was the best of the bunch. It has a second person opening, which is very impressive both technically and for the way it engages the reader immediately. It's YA with essence of heartbreak.
I was excited to see a lot of the beginnings, but the cafe got crowded. I hope this helps some of you MG and YA authors out there.
Wishing you every kindness,