ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: The First Five Pages

Updated on October 21, 2011

Before the Book Review:

I picked this book up during a stint in a Speculative Fiction Writer's Group. The group later fizzled out, I am sorry to say, but I suppose all good things must come to an end. I should tell you that I definitely have more than my fair share of writing books on my shelves, and I probably wouldn't have bought this one if it hadn't come so highly recommended. Not because it didn't seem like a good book, but because after a certain point you start to wonder if maybe all you are doing is buying books instead of actually writing. No, I'm serious, I probably have about twenty books that I have bought over the years. But enough with that, I bought it and added it to my collection and I can honestly say that it was the last book on writing that I have purchased. Now, on with the review!

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

Coming from the perspective of a literary agent with previous editing experience, Noah Lukeman sets the stage quite strongly in the introduction. It's nice to see that a book lecturing on the importance of the first five pages does so well at the very beginning. I think what impressed me the most is that Lukeman is quick to dispell the notion that any writing book should shape the foundation of art. Instead, he argues, his book is merely a guide to help your writing to be better received by agents and editors alike and sheds some light into the inner workings of those worlds.

The First Five Pages is a book about writing, and should not be read with the sole purpose of navigating the publishing gauntlet, but the insights this book provides are invaluable. Of course, every beginning author wonders how to get published, but that will come in time. You must first ensure that your manuscript is up to snuff before launching it on some ill-prepared voyage on the angry ocean of broken dreams.

My biggest complaint about this book is that the "bad examples" are horrible, so much so that any writer even thinking of publication should be able to see just how bad they are. Sure, it makes a point, but it really doesn't show us real-life examples of decent writing that just isn't quite there yet. And isn't that what we're looking for? But if that is the biggest complaint I have, I suppose the book isn't all that bad, is it? In all actuality, I did learn a few things by the time I finished it, so it was definitely worth the buy.

Another refreshing part of the text is that Lukeman doesn't beat around the bush or assault you with name-dropping. It's just a straight-forward lesson on how to avoid a lot of the mistakes that the majority of writers end up making on the road to publication. Most manuscripts, in Lukeman's experience, are read with an eye looking for the flaw -- any excuse to toss it to the side to make room for the hundreds or thousands of other manuscripts awaiting their turn for perusal.

If you've made it through the first draft of your novel and you're looking for a resource to use as a standard with which to gauge your work, or you want some good tips to consider before beginning the journey, I highly recommend Lukeman's The First Five Pages.

Sound off!

Was this Review helpful?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • vox vocis profile image


      8 years ago

      I´ll keep this book in mind! What is scarry in the whole matter, is that, a really great piece of work could be denied for publishing and underestimated. The publication history of The Lord of the Rings is a great example. After it was finally published, so many critics claimed it was a terrible piece. Nowadays the book is thought one of the most important literary works of the 20th century. (The same struggle with making the film, and it broke the world record).

    • BradyBones profile imageAUTHOR

      R. Brady Frost 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory

      The exercises that Lukeman provides are definitely a good way to examine what you've written and can really shed some light on problem areas you may have never noticed before.

      Thanks for stopping by, SimeyC!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      9 years ago from NJ, USA

      Interesting review thanks - like much in life, first impression counts - and those first five pages are important! I must check this book out!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)