If you’re a writer who’s been in the trenches for awhile, you know the importance of the first page of your manuscript. It’s supposed to do a myriad of things like establish voice, create character presence, and give an inkling of the premise. It’s a lot of pressure for one page. A while ago, I received a critique back from one of my CP’s (critique partners) and she provided insight into the first page, but more importantly she reacted to my first paragraph. She pointed out what she’d learned about the story and character just from reading the first six lines.

I thought it’d be fun to do First Paragraph Friday’s, where I critique the first  paragraph of either an unpublished manuscript or a published novel. If you want to participate, send me the first paragraph of your first page to writedahl (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll give you feedback about what I learned from it. Then you can decide if that’s what you wanted your reader to learn.

Today’s novel is THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS by Pema Donyo

There are three rules to staying an assassin at Covert Operatives: one, your parents must be deceased, two, your murder contracts must remain confidential, and three, you must be under the age of eighteen.

I love, love, love this opening. Did I tell you how much I love the opening paragraph? Yikes. I can’t believe how much the author captures in that one sentence.  (Do I wish I could write like that? Um, yes. Yes, I do!)

So enough gushing and onto the observations:

  1. The author clearly shows that this is going to be a YA novel that falls under either the suspense or a thriller genre.
  2. The main character must work alone to keep his/her contracts confidential and just by the sheer nature of the job, an anti-hero will be the main character, but not a bad one.
  3. I think that this will be a fast-paced read full of surprises and twists and not because of the genre it falls under. The author feels like a master writer and I expect to be in good hands with what is promised by that one sentence alone.