The Beginning, and All the Rest

On the strength of a description of sardine fishing, a series of pages so enchanting I read them out loud to my husband, I bought “Zeitoun,” by David Eggers.

The rest of the book has been a disappointment. (I’m only about a third of the way through, so it could get better–maybe?) It’s not terrible, of course, but it’s not as good as I expected.

So often writers are told to make sure our first sentence, first line, first page, first chapter draws people in, makes an impression, sets the stage, kicks ass.

It’s not that we never hear advice about what comes after that first bit. On the agents’ blogs I’ve read, the key message is always and forever, “Write a good book. Then, only then, should you dare even think about contacting me.”

But if David Eggers needs to be reminded, then we all do. So here’s a reminder for us all, and especially myself: Don’t forget about the REST of your article, book, poem, what have you. Make it all count, please. Your (future) readers are counting on you.


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