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

Do urban adults often use similes such as “like a shipman searching the horizon”? Methinks not.

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:

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Well, what do you know? Here the author from last week’s episode left a positive blurb on the book for this week–The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz⁠.

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

The opening pages introduce us to Alex, a woman who is hung up on a broken friendship with Wren while attending a book release party for a mutual friend. At times the voice really shines in this prose–a bit immature, a bit creative, but overall unique. Other times the word choices do not jive with that personality–who on earth says “unselfconsciously affable”?

But it was the last paragraph I read that promised redeeming qualities to the voice, for that last paragraph gave us a very clear, colorful picture of just how badly Alex latched herself to Wren. Alex describes all sorts of glittery, beautiful dreams of a friendship with Wren mere moments after meeting her at a job. This not only explains why Alex keeps lamenting the loss of Wren and why she can’t stop thinking about her; it makes us wonder what Wren really thinks of Alex. We could very well be dealing with one character obsessing over another, fantasizing about the scale of that relationship while the truth is quite different. If so, then this suspenseful read just got more…suspensefuler.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

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