First, let me say thank you to Giovanni. It’s great to be here and hopefully meet some new readers!
My name’s Mark and as you can see from my own blog (http://empyricaltales.blogspot.com/), I’m only starting out as a blogger. I still have a lot to learn, despite the upcoming release of my second novel. Like my own blog, I wanted to do something different for the Scoop. I have a Theory of Firsts: the first sentence, first paragraph, first page and first chapter have to hook me. Too many times, if I’m not feeling it by the end of the first paragraph, then I may not enjoy the book or sometimes even finish it (kind of like my eight minute rule for movies). Try it with something like Great Expectations. When I start reading that one, I can’t stop. I’m not comparing anyone to Dickens, simply giving a good example of how the first page creates that needed hook for me. I have a couple new books waiting for me on my shelf and randomly pulled down Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller (no relation). Haven’t read it, haven’t even creased the paperback spine. What I thought might be interesting would be to do a review of the first page and only the first page. Now, if you’ll excuse me for a couple minutes, I’m going to read the first page of Knight Errant. Be right back...
Sorry. That took longer than I thought because it had a prologue. So, yes, I’m a Star Wars nerd and yes, I read the whole prologue. Then I read the first page of the first chapter. You can call a technical foul if you’d like, but I’m not going to count the prologue. Interestingly though, both the prologue and the first chapter start in a similar way. Both have a seemingly random character performing a seemingly random task. I say seemingly because I have very little idea what may be in store. I do know that good storytellers introduce their important characters early, so hopefully Narsk the Bothan doesn’t get disintegrated on the next page. The first sentence of the first chapter is “In Sith space, everyone is a slave.” I know this story takes place about a thousand years before Luke Skywalker and I know the Sith are some bad dudes. To me, this is a good first sentence. Sets a tone that allows for change. Slaves need to be freed or free themselves. I would like to see this as the basis for the character arc, although we have yet to meet the main character, Jedi Kerra Holt. The whole reason for any story is the character arc, the fundamental change of the character. Arthur becomes a great king, Luke becomes a Jedi. I anticipate that in some way Kerra frees herself from either literal or metaphorical slavery. However, our focus is page one, Narsk, hanging upside down in a high-security ventilation shaft. Sounds like he’s a slave doing Sith dirty work. Except, he thinks he’s special. Then Miller lays on some heavy sci-fi making SW Universe references and going techie with a special concealment suit. These are the kinds of things that fans of this genre look for in a good read. Then that’s it for the first page.
Based on what I read, would I read the whole book? Of course. But remember, I’m a nerd. Star Wars aside though, Miller puts us right inside his character’s head. He puts us in an unusual predicament, literally a cliff-hanger on the first page. I have to wonder if Narsk is hanging upside down to clean the vents or is this how he is infiltrating a high-security area? Are you going to read this based on my opinion of the first page? If you’re a fan of Star Wars novels, then I expect this to be a good one.
Mark Miller is the author of The Empyrical Tales, a fantasy-adventure series. Book II: The Lost Queen will be available May 1, 2011. Look for the upcoming review on Gelati’s Scoop. For more info on the series and author visit: www.MillerWords.com or Facebook.
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