Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seduce Me

This post promises to be short and, oh so very, sweet...

I just read the talented Jody Hedlund's post on first chapters and, like all great posts, it made me think. She asks what it is we look for in a first chapter; what is necessary to keep the reader reading?

It's different for each of us, and varies depending upon our age, gender, mood and genre we're reading. But, generally speaking, when you open up a book, what do you look for?

Mystery?

Excitement?


Challenge?


Romance?


Do you like the action to hit you over the head, or do you prefer it be slow and building?


The answers to these questions might stretch farther than what you look for in a great read. Maybe they're indicative of what you look for in life.

What do you seek in relationships, careers, hobbies, entertainment, vacations? What floats your boat, tips your hat, rings your bell?

In romantic relationships, for example, do you like fireworks straight away or, like a kitten, do you prefer to play with it, bat at it, wait for it to surprise you?

Personally, I like the hint of something I can't quite put my finger on. I like a relationship to build slowly over time. I like the flower to open it's brilliant petals slowly. I prefer to sip a full-bodied glass of wine, breathe in a spicy appetizer, lap at a soothing cup of soup, and THEN enjoy the tantalizing main course. (And if I'm feeling especially feisty, revel in an after dinner drink!)

In other words, in writing as in life, seduce me.

26 comments:

fellow-ette said...

I'm quite intrigued... must read on! ;)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Sarah, Hah! Guess that means "it's" working...!

Julie said...

Great post and a lot to think about. I'll let you know what I come up with. :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, I know you'll come up w/something great b/c that's just how you roll. ;-)

Jody Hedlund said...

Ah, point well-taken Debra! What seduces one person, may not another! But, in commercially viable fiction, wouldn't you agree that the writing, the story, and the characters have to hook in some way? Not sure that it has to be the same way for every writer or book, but just that a slow start could be the kiss of death?

Ruthanne said...

I find I need character development and Something Unusual Happening right away. If the character doesn't appeal to me (or seems flat, or something), and nothing is happening beyond just... normal, boring days, then I usually grow bored and put the book down.

I have normal boring days. I don't need to read about them. :D

That was a fun thing about the version of Secret Keeper you sent to me. Her character was established at once, and Something Unusual hinted at. Kept me reading!

Robin said...

You know that with this awesome post, I am totally going to have to tag you out on HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY. I won't be able to resist... you sucked me in...

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jody, I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I just think being enticed to read rather than being hit over the head works better for me. A hook is definitely necessary, but it can be subtle. I'm aware of the pub world's grab-em-by-the-balls philosophy, but rarely do I read a book that blows me away on page one. And that's okay with me.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, Hello, friend! It's so great to "see" you here. Yup, I'm with you. There must be something compelling about the plot or a character right off the bat to keep me reading. However, for me it doesn't have to be Something Very Big. And, thank you for the wonderful compliment on SK. I hope the world will agree with you. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, Aw, shucks, you naughty girl! *am blushing*

nsiyer said...

Very insightful. Very often, our interests and passions are discovered if only we ask ourselves what we look for. That's great, Debra.

Debra L. Schubert said...

nsiyer, How are you doing, my friend? I've got my last Landmark seminar tonight and I'm quite excited. I've got three guests coming. It's so awesome introducing people (especially those you love) to the power and possibility of The Forum.

Tawna Fenske said...

I got distracted by all the lapping and putting your finger on things. Did you say something?

Tawna

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, No. Just that I love you and how you inspire me. ;-)

Ann Marie Gamble said...

I just read a batch of reader reviews that ignored this principle. They saw from the book blurb that vampires were involved--so the book must be action-packed horror, right? The first chapter did something different, though, and the rest of the book carried the framework out, but the reviewers acted cheated. I managed to miss the blurb, could let the premise unfold, and I loved it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ann Marie, Bingo! We've got such a need for instant gratification. Like I said, I love/need to be hooked, but I prefer it to be subtle. Let the writer write the story.

Pen Pen said...

Kittens!!
Hola, chick! I know it's been a stretch! U should know tho, that ur blog is one of the very few(like 5) I read pretty much every day. I've just felt rushed a lot recently, and the comments haven't been made-i don't like it that way tho. Like ur post says-I enjoy a slower life in all areas. My schedule is now starting to really wear me down.
I'm working on my master in psych on-line, writing some each day(must push on with the dream right?!) making macarons until like 3am many nights, and working a job that has the craziest hours. I'm a "float"(on call) therapy assistant at a live in hospital for eating disorders, depression, and the like. I really love it, but it's all over the place. :(
By tho who-Maybe I missed a post, but I haven't seen how ur lit agent/publishing dream is goin as of late-where r u at with it?working on edits?
I dunno how I feel about ur working at a desk thing tho-I laughed when i saw where u wrote in ur video. I write in bed too-thought I might be the only one, but-of course-genius overlords think alike! And-living in pjs like hugh hefner is the writer dream! Don't be ashamed of it-Go buy a silk set of pjs and celebrate it! And-when u husband comes to bed, just be like, "What the hell are you doing in my office? Do you have a meeting?":)
Loved ur Katy Perry reference too! I actually started writing this comment in that post, but I deleted it somehow. Now u get to read that PLUS even more over share by me!
I luv grocery shopping-In college I would go around for like an hour and put everything I wanted in the basket, and then eliminate things in the order of how much I want it-and what i can afford. I mess up the aisles and shelve the eliminated items wherever I am. (still do this in Target too) Sometimes I'd go with the US Weekly instead of bread and other staples-but starvation was worth it.

Did u know Katy PErry's tour dates were announced today? Houston on July 29th!!
But- I'm dying right now cuz i looked up the prices, and the cheapest seat is $102.00. I don't have the money and can't imagine asking my father for it-and my boyfriend was in an accident yesterday, so no extra money anywhere. I actually cried earlier(don't tell anyone!)-I've been looking forward to it for more than a year, and have just started jogging so I can fit in an adorable katy themed outfit for the concert.
The VIP tickets I really want are almost $500.00 a piece.
I dunno what to do. I'm scared they'll sell out like Taylor Swift's concerts did in the first couple of days. My world is black-I have no more reason to live.

:) Last thing- I'm testing shipping methods with my french macarons. Would u care to be a guinea pig for it? All free-tho there's always the chance they'd get to u all broken since it is a shipping test.
check out my bakery link below, and pick a couple flavors!

http://cupcakesbypenny.blogspot.com/

Let me know! :)
XOXO Pen

This comment wasn't long-It's obese! :)

Damyanti said...

Intriguing post. I'm with you, I like a slow build-up. But the first chapter needs to hook me in some way: either action, or character, or voice, or simply very good writing.

EmptyNester said...

Heard about your blog from Robin at Your Daily Dose and am now following and enjoying your posts!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Penny, Of course I'll be your French macaron guinea pig! I'd love to try the vanilla bean, chocolate, and/or chocolate fudge. And, thanks for the ramble - I miss you!

WRITING UPDATE: I'm working on Draft #7 of my YA novel. I hope to be on submission before summer.

Let me know if you need my address.

Hugs, Debbie ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Damyanti, I agree - a hook is essential. Great writers can pull you in subtly. That's what I love - being seduced without realizing you're being seduced!

Debra L. Schubert said...

EmptyNester, Welcome! Robin is wonderful. I'm so glad you found me though her. ;-)

WendyCinNYC said...

I don't even always know WHAT I want.

But I knows it when I sees it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Wendy, Yup, me too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.alfred angelo.

Heathertofx said...

I got distracted by all the lapping and putting your finger on things. Did you say something? Tawna

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