You’ve Got Five Pages, #Homecoming by #KateMorton, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

Well, we had a good run. The prologue has returned, and a rambling prologue, at that.

As writers, we hear all the time that we’ve got to hook readers in just the first few pages or else. We’ve got to hook agents in the first few pages or else.

Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor’s attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged.


Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?

Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

Homecoming by Kate Morton

Kate Morton’s Homecoming opens with a woman named Isabel. Isabel is pondering various things while hanging up some bunting for a New Year’s Day family celebration.

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

The prose itself is well-crafted, and there are certainly some interesting lines that help us feel the weight of natural Australian dangers on Isabel as she’s out and alone. Actually, Morton’s quite good at dropping hints of danger and trouble within Isabel without Isabel actually saying these are troubles–moments relating to her depression, her marriage problems, her desire to do away with her own kids, her “guilty conscience” and her determination to “make things right”–it’s all quite good foreshadowing for SOMEthing to happen. And the prologue does end with the promise of something bad about to happen. The downside, at least to me, comes with how long it takes to reach that moment. We spend the entire prologue with Isabel thinking. That’s it. Now a few pages of thoughts can be well done, for as I mentioned, Morton’s cleverly hiding hints of danger within Isabel’s psyche. But it’s a slow, slow process through all of Isabel’s thoughts, and by prologue’s end I’m saying, “Thank goodness THAT’S over.” That’s not what a writer wants a reader to feel. As writers, we’ve got to make every line count. We shouldn’t need to hide a hint of foreshadowing beneath a mountain of exposition. A little goes a long way, whether one’s writing a short story, a novel, or anything in between.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!