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The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by [Lukeman, Noah]
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The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Amazon Review

The difference between The First Five Pages and most books on writing is that the others are written by teachers and writers. This one comes from a literary agent--one whose clients include Pulitzer Prize nominees, New York Times best-selling authors, Pushcart Prize recipients and American Book Award winners. Noah Lukeman is not trying to impart the finer points of writing well. He wants to teach you "how to identify and avoid bad writing" so that your manuscript doesn't come boomeranging back to you in that self-addressed and stamped envelope. Surprise: agents and editors don't read manuscripts for fun; they are looking for reasons to reject them. Lukeman has arranged his book "in the order of what I look for when trying to dismiss a manuscript", starting with presentation and concluding with pacing and progression. Each chapter addresses a pitfall of poor writing--overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, tedious or unrealistic dialogue, lack of subtlety--by identifying the problem, presenting solutions, giving examples (one wishes these weren't quite so obvious) and offering writing exercises. It's a little bizarre to think about approaching your work as would an agent, but if you are serious about getting published, you might as well get used to it. Plus, Lukeman has plenty of solid advice worth listening to. Particularly fine are his exercises for removing and spicing up modifiers and his remedies for all kinds of faulty dialogue. --Jane Steinberg


Review from previous edition Intelligent, important, valuable, and entertaining instructions. . . . It should be read by all novice writers - and by those whose books are already published but intend to write more. (Richard Marek, former editorial director of Kirkus Reviews)

Mr. Lukeman has written a definitive handbook on the pitfalls to avoid in your work. . . . I highly recommend The First Five Pages to anyone who is serious about their writing. (

Tricks of the trade add to The First Five Pages' value, as do tips on grammar, style, voice and dialogue, and writing exercises. . . . A bargain when you consider all the information packed into [it]. (San Antonio Express-News)

Novice and amateur writers alike will benefit from literary agent Lukeman's lucid advice in this handy, inexpensive little book. Carrying the craft of writing beyong Strunk and White's classic Elements of Style, this book should find a wide audience. . . . Writers' groups and workshops will want multiple copies. (Library Journal)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 468 KB
  • Print Length: 202 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (11 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006A6EDQU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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26 January 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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26 May 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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29 March 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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